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Saving Money

Get Your Finances on Track for the New Year and a $100 Giveaway

Happy New Year!  Another holiday season has come and gone. Hopefully you aren’t in a cold sweat waiting for this month’s credit card bill!  One nice thing about a new year is the opportunity it brings for change if you aren’t where you would like to be with your finances.  What would you like to accomplish this year? Pay off debt, save for an emergency fund, stop living paycheck to paycheck, save for retirement? Maybe you had a great 2012 and want to continue on the same path.  January is a great month for taking a look at your finances and making plans for upcoming year. What Are Your Goals? Goals kind of get changed or forgotten if no one knows what they are. Take some time to put down what you would like to accomplish this year. I like to have some goals that I know I can accomplish with a little effort and some stretch goals to really try my hardest.  An easy goal might be to save $50 a month toward an emergency fund or to put toward debt. A stretch goal might be to pay off all credit card debt by the end of the year. ...

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Hosting a Frugal, Rocking Holiday Party

That title might be a little misleading. Parties do cost money, and if you are in a financial bind, you really shouldn’t be hosting one. However, if you like to entertain, there are ways to do it frugally. I did host a pretty rocking Christmas party for my employees this past weekend. Obviously, these tips don’t work if you have 200 people to serve and entertain, but if you are hosting a small holiday gathering, there’s no reason you can’t have a great party without having to ask Santa for grocery money next month. Food Basically for any party, you need to provide food. There is nothing wrong with doing appetizers only. If you buy those fancy pre-made trays at the grocery store, it is much less work, but you’ll end up spending 3-4X more. I like to buy veggies and fruits, then cut and arrange them myself. If you don’t have serving platters or utensils, dollar stores or thrift shop are a treasure trove of holiday serving items right now. You can also buy something like a big bag of frozen shrimp at the grocery store. These cost less and provide more volume than buying the pre-arranged platter with ...

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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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