How to Plan a Memorable Family Vacation Without Going into Debt

How to Plan a Memorable Family Vacation Without Going into Debt

Isn’t is sad that most vacations people go on are financed? It is hard to enjoy a vacation that you know isn’t paid off yet! But you can take a memorable family vacation without going into debt. The world tells you to put your vacation on credit and take care of it later. I promise you will enjoy your vacation that much more if you don’t go into debt for it. Check out these tips!

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How to Save Money on Your Home Mortgage

How to Save Money on Your Home Mortgag

If you are looking to save money on your mortgage, you have come to the right place. Whether you have a mortgage or are looking to take one on, it can be intimidating. There is a lot that goes into a mortgage, so saving money where you can is important.

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Tips for Saving $5,000 in One Year

Tips for Saving $5,000 in One Year

When you think about trying to save $5,000 in one year, it gets overwhelming. I like to break my goals down so they’re much easier to achieve. This year, I have a goal of saving $5,000 in one year. Sounds like a lot, but I am up for the challenge. I wanted to share some of my tips for making this goal a reality.

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10 Things to Stock Up On During the Holidays

10 Things to Stock Up On During the Holidays

This time of year we have sales happening left and right. Sure you are thinking about gifts for the holidays and food for those smorgasbord meals. If that is all you are shopping for you are losing a great chance to stock up during the holidays for the best prices of the year. These ten items are worth stocking up on even if you have to mix your budget up a little.

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6 Tips to Trim Your Household Budget

6 Tips to Trim Your Household Budget

Running a household is expensive business but the good news is that you can make some relatively painless cuts to keep more of your hard earned cash in your pocket, or preferably your bank account. Here are some ways to minimize your expenses and trim down your monthly household budget in the process:

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7 Tips for Gaining Control of Your Finances in the New Year

7 Tips for Gaining Control of Your Finances in the New Year

The new year is upon us, and that means it is time to start gaining control of your money and getting yourself financially stable. If you have been struggling with getting your finances on track, the start of a fresh year is the perfect time to get focused. If you aren’t sure where to begin, take a peek at these 7 tips for gaining control of your finances in the New Year so you can enjoy the financial peace you deserve.

1. Track your spending.

It can be a difficult to face reality when it comes to your day to day spending. Coffee stops, gas, dining out, clothing purchases, and other day to day purchases can all add up quickly. The best way to face what you are spending is to track your spending. Track your spending for 10 days to see where your money is going and to get a clear picture of where you can start cutting costs.

2. Make cuts.

Once you track your spending for 10 days, start making cuts wherever you can. See which purchases can be eliminated all together, and which can be cut back. Try to identify which ones were impulse purchases, and which ones you couldn’t honestly afford. Take an honest look, and see where cuts and savings can be found.

3. Practice saving methods daily.

There are so many ways to save money: clip coupons, price match, wait for sales, buy second hand, etc. Start utilizing these practices in your day to day life. Even if you haven’t in the past, now is the time to get into the habit of these practices in all areas of spending so you can start saving money wherever possible.

4. Opt for cash only purchases.

One of the best ways to get back on track is to opt for cash only purchases. When you avoid charging items, you avoid buying items you may not be able to afford. You also avoid high interest fees as well as late fees for late payments. Instead, opt to pay cash on everything so you are only buying what is truly in your budget at the moment.

5. Bring your family on board.

Hold a family meeting to let them know about the upcoming changes. If they know you are working on a tighter budget, opting for cash purchases, and utilizing various savings methods, they can best help you meet your goals and support your efforts. If you wish, you can also find a friend or buddy to take on this challenge with you. Support always helps!

6. Go on a spending fast.

When you go on a spending fast, you refuse to buy anything for the designated length of time. It can be a day, a week, or even a month. You will be amazed at how much you can save in this time period and how much “stuff” you really don’t need! You will also be forced to get creative, which is fun and challenging.

7. Find non monetary ways to reward yourself.

We often make purchases we can’t afford because we feel like we deserve them. Well, you deserve financial peace as well. Find non monetary ways to reward yourself for your hard work. Some ideas could be a nap or sleeping in; a visit to a local park, some free music downloads, etc. Find ways to spoil yourself without spending dough.

When you keep these tips in mind, you can enter the New Year ready to save and get your finances in check! Give them your attention and see if they don’t make a difference in your life.

6 Ways to Be Frugal at the Workplace

6 Ways to Be Frugal at the Workplace

You may not be paying the electric bill or water bill in the office, but that doesn’t give you the right to be wasteful. If you are practicing frugality and energy saving techniques at home, then why not do the same at your workplace?  Your efforts are sure to be noticed and appreciated by those in charge.  Here are some ways you can be frugal at your office:

1) Turn off the lights when leaving a room.

Is your meeting over? Turn off the lights whenever you leave a conference room or office. The simple act of flipping a light switch can significantly reduce your company’s overhead expenses and energy usage.

2) Do away with the hard copy.

Think twice before printing a document, try storing documents on your computer instead. By reducing the number of pages you print on a daily basis, you are saving a lot of paper, ink and money.  If you absolutely must print a document, try to print on both side of the paper. Some other ways you can use less paper are by keeping your documents single-spaced, choosing smaller fonts and font sizes, and decreasing the document’s margins.

3) Go potluck.

Instead of going out to lunch as a team, why not have a potluck lunch in your office instead? Create a fun theme (such as “breakfast for lunch”) and have everyone bring in a dish from home. If you have officemates who don’t want to cook, then ask them to bring in utensils, ice, or drinks.

4) Bring your own glass, mug or thermos.

If you’re a heavy (water, tea or coffee) drinker, then bring a glass, mug or thermos to use at the office. Think of all the paper and Styrofoam cups you can save!

5) Upgrade or repair when possible.

Many offices replace computers, printers and other pieces of office equipment when they start acting up or slowing down. Take time to identify the cause of the problem and see if it’s possible to extend your computer or printer’s life by repairing it or upgrading it. Your computer, for example, may just need to be reformatted or need an increase in RAM.

6) Spend company money sparingly.

If you’re going out of town and are given a generous per diem to cover your daily expenses, there’s no reason to spend it all. You can treat yourself to a grand meal every now and then, but there’s no reason to eat at posh restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It may not be your money, but you should spend it like it was your own.

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How to Save Money Using the Internet

These days it is very possible to save a significant amount of money using the Internet. You simply need to think of the various ways you can utilize your computer and Internet connection.  Here are some ways the World Wide Web can make your monthly paycheck go further:

1) Shop around.

The Internet is brimming with information, and all you have to do is search for what you need. Whether you are planning to buy a new microwave oven or a brand new car, doing online price comparisons will help you find the best deals and help you save a lot of money. It also helps to search for reviews on a particular product to see if the product is worth purchasing.

If you love to purchase things online, then you definitely should take advantage of sites that help you get the most bang for your buck. Some great places to visit are RetailMeNot.comFreeShipping.org, FatWallet.com and Coupons.com.

2) Reduce your phone bill.

You’ve probably heard of Skype—well there’s a reason that it’s so popular. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Skype is just one of the many programs that allows you to make calls over the Internet. You can even make video calls! Say goodbye to expensive, traditional calls on the telephone. Skype-to-Skype calls are completely free, and sound quality isn’t compromised one bit.

3) Stream TV shows and movies.

Let’s face it—your household can survive without a television. Television shows and movies can be found on the World Wide Web, and the best part is that you can watch these shows on your own time. Sites such as Redbox and Netflix won’t burn a hole in your pocket, and Crackle and Hulu are great for streaming television shows.

4) Do away with MP3 players.

Who needs hundreds of CDs and expensive MP3 players with excessive amounts of space when you can stream your music straight from your phone or laptop? Of course, you might have to deal with the occasional advertisement, but that’s a small price to pay. Try signing up with sites like Spotify and Songza, and you’ll never have to buy another music CD again.

5) Telecommute.

If your company allows or encourages telecommuting, then by all means, try it out. You’ll not only save precious time by working from home on your personal Internet connection, but you’ll also save hundreds of dollars on gas, parking and food expenses each year.

These are just some of the many, many ways that you can save money with the help of the Internet. With a little resourcefulness, you’ll find that the possibilities are endless!  How do you use the Internet to save money?

5 Practical Ways to Get Rid of Credit Card Debt

Are you purposely ignoring the increasing amount of credit card bills piling up on your kitchen table? Don’t worry—millions of other people also know what it’s like to be behind on bill payments. If you are deep in debt, you first need to realize and accept that you have to face these debts straight on. Here are some practical tips to help you out:

1)  Ask for a lower rate.

Call up your credit card company and kindly ask the customer service representative if there’s any way you could get your current rate lowered. The worst that they can do is say no to your request. Who knows? They might just agree!

2)  Divide your minimum credit card payments in half.

Interest is based on your account’s average daily balance for the month. Why not divide the minimum credit card payment in half, and then pay this amount twice a month? By doing this, you’ll also be able to schedule your payments around the time you get your paychecks, as opposed to scrambling to gather enough funds for one large payment at the end of the month.

3)  Follow the snowflake method.

The snowflake technique requires you to use any extra money to help pay off your credit card debt. Did you get cash as a birthday present from your parents? Did you make a few dollars from garage sale earnings? Use these additional dollars to pay off your debt instead of spending it or putting it in the bank. It may not seem like a lot—but every little bit counts!

4)  Find an additional source of income.

If your monthly earnings just aren’t enough, you might need to find another source of income. If your schedule permits, then try looking for a part time job that you can do in the evenings or during the weekends. Utilize your talents to make a little extra money. Write articles for local magazines or newspapers, or develop a website for a friend’s business. A few extra dollars per month can make a huge difference in getting you out of debt!

5)  Build an emergency fund.

It may seem like a tall order, but do your best to allot a portion of your budget towards building up an emergency fund. If you need to make a sudden trip to the doctor or send your car in for repairs, it’s better to pay for such expenses with cash instead your credit card!

Follow these tips and you’ll make steady progress towards being debt free. Focus on your goal and commit to getting yourself out of credit card debt, one payment at a time.

Photo Credit: iClipart

Six Simple Ways to Start Living a Frugal Life

Frugal living doesn’t necessarily mean living a cheap life or depriving yourself of the things you want. Instead, it means living within one’s means in order to be able to save money for more important things such as health care or your children’s college fund.

Here are a few small steps you can take towards living a frugal life:

1. Use the library.

Buying books and watching movies can get expensive. The cost of renting movies can add up as well. Try taking a trip to the public library. You might just be surprised to see the wide selection of books and movies available. Are you on the lookout for a specific book or movie? Place a request and they just might be able to find it or hold it for you.

2. Group your errands together.

Plan your weekly schedule ahead of time. If certain errands have to be done in the same part of town, then do them all on the same day in order to save on your gas expenses. If your errands are nearby, then you may even want to consider walking or biking.

3. Pay your bills online.

Make good use of your Internet connection and pay your bills online. You can choose to directly pay your creditors or set up a hassle-free automatic bill payment with your bank. This is a great way to save money on stamps and gas!

4. Eat out less.

Yes, eating out is more fun. However, it is far more expensive compared to eating at home. Try to eat at home a little more than you would in a typical week and you’ll definitely see your savings grow. Keep in mind that eating out at dinnertime is usually more expensive compared to eating out during lunchtime!

5. Use cold water.

Keep your water heater bill down by using cold water. Don’t worry, you can still use hot water for your showers—but your clothes and dishes don’t need hot water. Whether you use hot water or cold water, they’ll still get cleaned either way.

6. Make your own cleaning products.

Do a little research on the Internet and you’ll find that you can easily make your own cleaning products—and that they work just as well as the ones from the store. Stock up on cleaning agents like baking soda and vinegar and you’ll save yourself a lot of money!

We know that you may not be able to make these sudden changes all at once, but take things one step at a time and you’ll be well on your way to living a much simpler lifestyle.