5 Foods That Save You Money

5 Foods That Save You Money

When it comes to stretching the budget most of us look at our food budget to take the cut. One way to make cuts is to stock up on foods that save you money. When you think of cheap foods often what comes to mind is BEANS… In truth beans do not save you much money if your family does not like them. Wasted beans is wasted money.

What are some foods that save you money?

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7 Tips for Teaching Your Teen to Be Financially Independent

7 Tips for Teaching Your Teen to Be Financially Independent

Our job as parents is to teach our children to be strong, confident adults who can become successful members of society. Of course, a teen is still a kid, but there are some things you can do to better prepare them to be financially independent.

1) Have them Work

School is the most important thing, but a summer job or after school job is a great way for a teenager to become financially independent. Even young teenagers can find ways to make money such as a paper route, grass mowing, snow shoveling, or detassling corn. Most fast food jobs hire at the age of 15 or 16 with parental permission.

2) Charge Rent

Another way to help your teenager be financially independent is to charge a small monthly amount for rent. This teaches your teenager how to pay bills and gives them a feel for the real world. This could be $25 a week or a month depending on how much money they make working.

3) Open Accounts

In this day and age, it isn’t always safe to carry around cash. Opening a checking and savings account with your teenager is not only a safer way for them to manage their money, but gives them a little more independence and education on balancing accounts.

4) Encourage Savings

It is recommended that 20% of everything a person earns should be put in savings. Teach this saving tip early so it continues through adulthood. When opening up accounts, encourage your teenager to put 20% of each paycheck into their savings account.

5) Let them Buy a Car

Buying a car is a huge decision, but a great incentive for saving. If your teenagers know they want a car and they have to buy it, it will give them more incentive to put that 20% in their savings account each paycheck. Not only does this teach financial savings, but it also teaches teenagers the value of money, and how much work it takes to actually buy a car.

6) Have them Pay Insurance

Another way to build financial independence is to have your teenager pay their own car insurance. Car insurance for a teenager is expensive, so it may be best to keep them on your policy and allow them to pay the discounted price.

7) Have them Buy Essentials

You provide everything for your child while they are young, but as they get into their teen years, it is important to make them start buying things on their own. Instead of buying five name brand pair of jeans at the beginning of the school year, set a budget that you will pay for their clothes, and if they want extra, make them pay for it themselves.

Teaching a teenager to be more financially independent isn’t going to happen in a few days. Gradually build your teenagers responsibilities as they get older starting from their earlier teens. The earlier you start this transition, the better equipped for life your teen will be when they reach 18.

5 Painless Tricks to Build Your Emergency Fund

5 Painless Tricks to Build Your Emergency Fund

Building an emergency fund is vital but it can be hard to do when you are living paycheck to paycheck. Build your emergency fund with small steps that you will barely notice and you can stop the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. Small steps add up and you’ll enjoy the padding of a nice savings account.

Use these painless tricks to build your emergency fund.

 1) Look for bonus money

that you can transfer right to savings. This can be ATM fee refunds, interest on accounts, or cash back points. Check with your bank to see if it has options to send funds over directly to your savings. If not mark you calendar for the appointed dates these deposits come in and move them over yourself.

2) Save the change

When you find or receive change don’t spend it, save it instead. Put the change right into a coin jar and fill it up. When the jar is full take half for fun money as a reward for sticking it out and toss the other half into your savings account. You have gone without spending this money for a long time and you won’t even notice it missing.

3) Look for rebates on items you already buy 

Rebate money saving apps are a great way to do this. Build your emergency fund with these by putting the rewards amount into your savings. If you receive payment in a way you can not add to savings just swap and use cash for the savings and spend the reward on things you need. Walmart has a great Savings Catcher program and app that helps you get money back when something you buy is cheaper at another local store.

4) Get a side job as a mystery shopper

Mystery shoppers make a small amount of money but they get reimbursed for the things they buy. This lets you earn a bit of extra money you can put into savings and get something you want or need for virtually free. The extra bonus of free stuff and a bit of cash means you can toss the money you earn into savings without feeling any hit to your budget.

5) Host a yard sale

Get the clutter out of your house and earn a bit of cash for your savings account at the same time. Have fun with it and reap the rewards of building your savings painlessly while clearing out things you probably shouldn’t have spent money on in the first place. This can also help you become more mindful of your spending.

You can build your emergency savings without feeling the pain of extra financial strain by looking for money that you do not already expect and budget for each month. By building up your emergency savings you end the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck and the financial devastation of emergencies.

5 Expenses You Should Avoid Paying with a Credit Card

5 Expenses You Should Avoid Paying with a Credit Card

A credit card may seem like a friend when you’re in a crunch, but misuse of the cards can create a lot of stress or even financial ruin. It’s important that you know when to – and when not to – use your credit cards to prevent a mass of debt that you can’t seem to get out from under.

Read on to learn five expenses that you should never put on a credit card!

1) College Expenses

No one wants to graduate from college with a lot of debt, but credit card debt fresh out of school can be the worst. Avoid placing your college tuition on a credit card, as the interest rates will likely be much higher than you can get with a regular loan through your school or the government.

Check out any and all scholarships offered by your high school, hometown, or the college you will be attending. If necessary, get a part time job to help pay for expenses such as books or gas to and from school, so you aren’t tempted to put it all on a card.

2) Wedding Costs

Similar to college, newlyweds shouldn’t begin life together with an alarming credit card balance. Financial stress is not something you want to create in your first years of marriage. A smaller wedding may not be as extravagant as you wish, but it will relieve you of any possible arguments over the debt you have waiting for you as soon as you return from your honeymoon.

Create a wedding budget, and accept that a smaller wedding may be necessary to avoid the hassle of credit cards. Alternatively, push back the date until your wedding account has enough in it to cover the essentials you want for your big day.

3) Furniture

The “0% for 12 months” credit card offers from furniture stores may seem enticing when you want to redecorate your bedroom or the den, but avoid financing such a large purchase. Sure, you have a year to pay it off, but the odds that you will are slim and no one wants to have such a large debt looming over them when trying to enjoy their new purchase.

4) Vacations

It’s fun to take a break from the real world, but not so much when you return to a large credit card bill. It’s very easy to spend more than you planned when you charge your lodging, food, and attractions. Find ways to save money on your trip rather than introducing more stress into your future.

5) Medical/Tax Bills

Sometimes, serious bills arise that we don’t plan for. A child has a hospital stay, or you miscalculated your taxes and owe the IRS. You may want to reach for your credit cards to settle these debts, but it’s usually not a good idea. Instead, remedy the situation by reaching out to the company you owe money to and setting up a payment plan.

 

8 Ways to Save Money When Dining Out

8 Ways to Save Money When Dining Out

Everyone loves dining out. It’s fun, relaxing and extremely convenient. Unfortunately, it can also be expensive. Here are some tips for saving some money when eating out at a restaurant:

1) Choose lunch over dinner

If your schedule permits, choose to dine out for lunch instead of dinner. The lunch crowd is often made up of office workers on a tight schedule and a tight budget – and restaurants know this. Dine at this time of day and you’ll be able to enjoy lunch specials at great prices.

2) Split your meal in two

Most restaurants offer food portions that are fit for more than one person. Save on your meal and split an entrée with your spouse. Young kids rarely finish their food – so have them share an entrée, as well! If you don’t feel it’s quite enough food, split an appetizer too.

3) Ask for a doggie bag

Is the size of your entrée too much for you? One trick is to separate your meal into half as soon as it arrives, then take the other half home for your lunch or dinner the next day. Restaurant leftovers are just as delicious the following day and you end up with two meals for the price of one.

4) Drink water

Drinks can definitely help rack up a bill if you’re not careful. Skip the soda or iced tea and choose to drink house water instead. If you want to drink something other than water, then ask your spouse if he or she wants to share a drink with you.

5) Have dessert somewhere else

A tiny dessert can cost quite a bit at a restaurant. If you’re on a limited budget, then settle your bill and head somewhere else for dessert. Why not satisfy your sweet tooth at a nearby fast food joint or bakery? Often you’ll get way more for your money.

6) Don’t split the tab

If you’re out with a group of friends or co-workers, then avoid splitting the bill evenly. Ask for your own bill so you won’t need to fund your friend’s beer while you drink your glass of water. If the entire group is sharing a bill, then beg off and say you need to leave a little earlier than everyone else.

7) Pay in cash

The next time you dine out, try paying for the entire meal in cash. You’ll be more watchful of the items you order, and you’ll also be forced to stick to a certain budget.

8) Use a Groupon

You can find lots of great local restaurant deals on Groupon where you can often save up to 50% off of your bill. I use Groupon deals quite a bit for several of my favorite restaurants and it’s been a great way find new places to try out.

9) Always leave a tip

Yes, we know that you’re trying to save money – but don’t save money at your server’s expense. If your server provided you with excellent service, then let him or her know you appreciated it!

Keep both your stomach and wallet happy. Try some (or all) of these tips the next time you dine out and you might even find yourself dining out more often!

5 Things You Can Cut from Your Monthly Budget

5 Things You Can Cut from Your Monthly Budget

Have you been looking for ways to beef up your savings account? Take a good look at your monthly budget and you’re bound to come across several things that you might be able to do without. Here are some suggestions on ways to reduce certain monthly expenses or take them off your budget completely:

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10 Tips to Help You Have a Wonderful New Year’s Eve on a Budget

 10 Tips to Help You Have a Wonderful New Year's Eve on a Budget

New Year’s Eve is such a fun night! But whether you’re hosting a party or not, it can be costly. If you’d rather not start the new year having just spent a small fortune, you’ll have to stick to a budget. But how do you have a fun New Year’s Eve without spending a lot? Take a look at these 10 Tips to Help You Have a Wonderful New Year’s Eve on a Budget!

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Final Numbers for June – Saved $310.40

June-at-a-Glance

We are right in the middle of moving across state lines to be closer to my parents so we’ve been eating from the freezer and stockpile quite a bit this month, but I was still surprised to come in so far below my monthly budget of $300! For the month of June I spent $80.11 to buy $390.51 worth of groceries, toiletries, and cleaning supplies, or a savings of 79%! According to the spreadsheet I’ve spent $802.58 so far this year for $3,220.48 worth of stuff, or 75% off. That equates to an average of $134 per month for our family of six, or 74¢ a day per person! Of course I’ll need to start stocking up the freezers again once the move is finally over, but it feels good to be keeping expenses down right now while we’re having all these additional moving costs.

Final Numbers for March – Saved $494.69

glance_0313

We’ve been eating from the freezer and stockpile quite a bit this month, but I was still surprised to come in so far below my monthly budget of $300! For the month of March I spent $182.43 to buy $677.12 worth of groceries, toiletries, and cleaning supplies, or a savings of 73%! According to the spreadsheet I’ve spent $500.50 so far this year for $1,975.52 worth of stuff, or 75% off. That equates to an average of $167 per month for our family of six, or 93¢ a day per person!

End of the Year Numbers & 2013 Goals

glance_2013

Here is my year at a glance for 2012 – I’m very proud of these numbers and excited to share, but honestly I’m looking forward to beating them in 2013! I’d like to thank Angela at The Coupon Project again for putting the spreadsheet together that I’m using. I’d highly recommend that you download Angela’s new updated version of the savings tracker spreadsheet for my favorite price – free!

This year I bought $10,582.20 worth of products for only $2,584.30, or 76% off. Take a look at the ‘coupons’ and ‘discounts’ columns and you’ll see that less than half of the $6,763.02 that I saved was from coupons and the majority was from sales. That shows that you can save 30-50% without clipping a single coupon if you simply buy things when they’re on sale, and buy enough to keep you until the next sale. So how much you want to save and how much time you want to spend are completely up to you, but you CAN do this!

For 2012 I set a budget of $300 per month for our family of seven, plus two cats and a dog. That’s $69/week ($3,600/52 weeks) or $10 per person, which I felt was reasonable and still allowed for some room in the budget to expand the stockpile. I’m thrilled and more than a little surprised that I actually spent an average of $50/week for all of 2012! Even though that’s just a little over $7 per week per person, I’m still going to keep the budget at $3,600 for the new year, $300 per month or around $70 a week. The kids are growing fast and seem to be eating more every day so I hesitate to lower the goal at this point. Considering that I used to spend around $325-350 a WEEK, I’m very excited to know that we can easily live with a grocery budget of just $300 a month!