How to Budget and Save Money

April 8, 2013


In this down economy, learning how to budget and save money can make the difference between paying the mortgage and living on the street, having food or being hungry, and being able to retire versus working until you die.

If you think about it, no matter how hard things get, there is always a way to save money for those that are willing to put in the hard work. It’s those that refuse to compromise that end up suffering.

To start with, if you really want to learn how to budget and save money then you need to accept the reality that you won’t be able to buy everything you want. You often hear of people saying to cut out the latte or eating out, but I find that it’s those experiences that make budgeting worthwhile.

The trick to setting a budget isn’t in cutting out every pleasurable item in your life, but in finding ways to pay for those items, which means you can do two things:

  1. Earn more
  2. Spend less

Today, we’ll talk about the second point, because it’s the easiest to fix. My strategy is to find the sweet spot between having fun and still having enough money to pay the bills.

Analyze Your Buying Behavior

Start by analyzing your purchasing behavior to look for moments of weakness. When do you spend more than you can afford to? Is it when you are hungry, or after a few beers? Do you spend money when you’re depressed, or when you are happy?

Learn to isolate and eliminate the types of behaviors that put you in the hole.

Make Small Cuts

Rather than dropping cable or satellite TV all together, why not cut down to the next smallest plan to see how you get by. If you’re paying for cell phone minutes that you don’t use, then look into a lower rate plan.

Are you paying for high speed Internet when something slower will do?

Essentially, make small changes that don’t hurt as bad, and see how they effect your morale. It’s important that you don’t cut too much, which usually leads people to over-react and binge-shop.

Save First

The best way to save money is to start putting it away before you have the chance to spend it. If you really want to learn how to budget and save money then it starts with the actual saving.

Put aside as much of your paycheck as you can afford to, and try to pretend that it doesn’t exist. I like to use a separate bank account for that reason, and check it so little that I rarely remember the password. This is a nice way to keep my money away from my own dangerous spending habits.


Just remember that what goes down, must come up. If you budget well and live below your means for a time, you are bound to bounce back up and find a renewed vigor. The trick is making it through the tough times without going broke.

If you want to know how to budget and save money, then start by relaxing and not letting your finances dictate how you feel about yourself.

7 Tips to Reduce Your Car Insurance Rate

September 6, 2011


Here are several ways to reduce car insurance rates.

Choose the ones that suit you, your car and your age and circumstances best.

  1. The car you drive affects your insurance rates. Choose wisely.

    Yes, we all want that super hot fast sports car. Buying and driving it, however, will make your car insurance rates higher than they need to be. Before you buy a car, it’s a good idea to collect all the details about insurance for that particular make and model. Include both the cost of mandatory (in most states) liability insurance rates, as well as optional, but sometimes financially smart, theft and comprehensive insurance.

    Your insurance rate depends upon the price and the repair cost of the car, should you have an accident. Insurance companies also offer theft insurance, which pays you the (wholesale) value of the car in case of theft. This can be a good idea, especially if you take out a loan to buy the car. In fact, the lender may require you to have this type of insurance. Some cars are more popular with thieves than others, so it’s worthwhile to check this out (theft rate) before you make your car purchase.

  2. Where you park your car overnight will also affect your rates. If you have access to a garage or other protected environment, you most likely will pay less than if not.
  3. The surest way to reduce your auto insurance payments is to ask for higher deductibles. The deductible is the amount of money you have to pay from your own pocket when a claim is made before your insurance company pays the rest. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium amount.
  4. If you have a good driving record – no tickets, no accidents, then you have an excellent chance for lower rates.
  5. You can have all your (and your family’s) insurance policies with the same insurance company to get more discounts. Group auto insurance is also an option for a reduction in your auto insurance premiums.
  6. Some online insurance policies offer a discount. So buying online insurance is a good way to save some money.
  7. Take a Driver’s Education course. Most insurance companies will offer a discount if you can show that you have successfully completed a Driver’s Education course.

These details may differ from one state to another and one insurance company to another. So you should collect 2 or 3 quotes from different insurance companies and choose the best one that suits you, your car and your financial condition.

What is Financial Planning?

September 1, 2011


Financial planning can be a scary word to some, but once you understand what it encompasses, you’ll be glad you took the time to delve into it. No one likes living pay check to paycheck, and with the proper financial planning, you can set your self and your family up for success. Let’s take a brief look at some of the basic aspects of proper financial planning. Keep in mind that it is always recommended that you find a trusted financial planner to help you through major financial decisions.

Solid financial planning starts with a proper and realistic budget. Budgets are often times not realistic. A budget basically allows you to see a clearer picture of what monies are available and what that money is used for. When you go to spend money on thing you realize that the same money is not available for something else. Secondly cutting down on your expenses helps to lay out a better foundation for you financial plan. You actually use your budget to see what expenses can be cut down. Do really want to pay for the mega channel list, when you only to watch the basics? A small cut back on a several things adds up to a large savings. Thirdly, start pulling out of debt. Let’s face it, we don’t want debt, but most of us do. Start by paying more than the minimum amount due each month. That will cut down on the time it takes to pay off the debt and also save you interest dollars as well.

Start planning for your retirement. Yes, unfortunately we will all get older and changes are, we aren’t going to want to work well into our sixties, seventies, and eighties. The time to plan for retirement isn’t then, it’s now. The Internal Revenue Service has stepped up and provided tax advantages like the employer 401K plans, retirement accounts for individuals, and even retirement plans for individuals who are self-employed. You can actually earn credits, qualify for deductions, and tax free earnings in some cases.

The last thing you want after setting up your budget, cutting your expenses, working on eliminating debt, and preparing for retirement, is an unexpected disaster. Proper insurance for your home, income, car, and life aren’t simply a suggestion, they are a necessity. Better to invest small amount toward insurance and be protected in the case of an accident, or pay nothing until the accident takes place and watch all your hard work go down the drain?

Taking these simple steps and applying them to your financial life will certainly get you on the right track, no matter were you live, how big your family, or what you income. Keep a focused eye on your finances, it will be well worth it both today and in later years.

Top 5 Coupon Sites

July 20, 2011


With the economy on the rocks, gas prices steadily rising, and food prices souring, there’s no reason not to use coupons to their full advantage. Yes, it might be a bit of extra work, but most diligent coupon clippers can save 10-40% on their monthly shopping, with ease.

One of the best ways to save money on normal, everyday expenses is by clipping coupons from your local circulars and newspapers, but today I’d like to shift gears a bit and talk about my five favorite online coupon sites, which I use every month to save money across the board.

  1. Retailmenot

    This website has a coupon code for everything. Simply enter your search term and you’ll find a list of available coupons, each with their own success rating and links to help you get to the final product page. Though many Retailmenot coupons are expired, I always check here before moving on to other websites.

  2. Groupon

    In case you haven’t heard of Groupon, it’s a local daily deals website and email newsletter that hooks you up with incredible deals, many at least 50% off normal retail, every single day. The best part about Groupon is that the deals come straight to your inbox, and they have a mobile app too.

  3. LivingSocial

    This is another daily deals website that features even more 50% off coupons for things like spa treatments, sporting events, and movie tickets. If it’s not on Groupon, it might be here!


    Granted, this site has some spammy offers, but it’s also very thorough, and let’s face it, the name is in the URL! If you’re struggling to find savings on big box store items, is a great place to check.


    These guys have great deals on grocery store items, so make sure to visit and print out as many coupons as you can before hitting the grocery store aisles. If you combine these deals with some regular coupons, you’ll save quite a bit on your normal daily/weekly/monthly shopping sprees.

Beyond these five, you can also find websites that sell clipped coupons, which also work great for grocery days. Another option is to sign up for newsletters and reward programs so that you can get deals via email, and/or earn points back on purchases. The key to catching coupons really isn’t a secret, you just have to keep your eyes open for them.

How Much Car Insurance Do I Need

June 18, 2011


Insuring your vehicle is not just a legal necessity. It is also just plain good sense. Unfortunately, car insurance is fairly expensive and what a plan does and doesn’t cover isn’t always obvious to the untrained eye. Therefore, to ensure that you the best possible protection for your dollar, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

You do not want to pay for something that’s unnecessary, of course. But how do you determine how much car insurance you really need? Nearly all states require a certain minimum amount of coverage. State minimum coverage is the very least you can get away with while still being able to drive legally, and it is generally the least expensive package to purchase. Least expensive is not always the best idea, though. If something happens, you may find that you’re in a lot of hot water and your state minimum coverage just isn’t enough.

A state minimum plan generally covers personal injury if you should be in an accident, as well as medical costs for your passengers and the other motorists involved in the accident, repair fees, attorney fees, and sometimes even monetary compensation for pain and suffering. The limits on these are often too low to do you any good, though, unless you have a very small income and no assets to speak of. For example, if you find yourself in an accident where you are responsible for the damage done to the other motorist’s car, your minimum coverage might only extend to half the cost of a new car. In order to avoid paying thousands of dollars out of pocket, you should aim for at least $25,000 in property damages coverage.

You’ll also want coverage that will get you a new set of wheels in the event of an accident. How much you decide to get, however, depends on how much your car is worth. If the car is worth under $5000, the insurance payments are likely going to be too high to make it worth it for you. Even if you total that car completely, it’ll be less expensive to just replace it in comparison to the premiums, and if the accident was the other guy’s fault, his insurance is the insurance that’s going to get you taken care of.

All in all, how much car insurance you need depends on how much your car is worth and how much you can afford. Shop around to find the best coverage at the best price, and you’ll feel much safer being out there on the roads.

How to Save Money on Groceries

June 9, 2011


I remember a day when a 2 Liter of Pepsi was 99 cents, and you could get a gallon of milk for just a buck or two. These days, prices haven’t just increase, they’ve increased big time.

So it comes as no surprise that a family once able to stock the fridge and cabinets with food might now be struggling just to keep a few shelves full. The average family now pays over $1,000 for groceries per month, and it seems like costs are only continuing to rise.

So today, to help you fix that dent in your wallet and keep the fridge full of not junk, but healthy food, we’re going to talk about how to save money on groceries without going on a starvation diet.

  1. Coupons
    You might have seen the new show that’s all the rage lately – Extreme Couponing, which presents case studies and personal stories of renegade shoppers that have become so good at using coupons that they often walk out of the grocery paying less than 1% of retail cost.

    Now, I don’t expect you to become a crazy couponer, but just using coupons period will show you how to save money on groceries instantly. Start getting the Sunday paper, and clip coupons. Also, keep the circulars and browse them for good deals. It’s instant cash back in your wallet.

  2. Buying in Bulk
    I realize that buying in bulk can be costly, but one of the tricks people use when showing others how to save money on groceries is buying what’s on sale now, and stocking up. It’s counter-intuitive because logic tells you to only buy what you need, but if you get in the habit of buying lots of what’s on sale, then your average bill will slowly decrease until you’re paying less than ever.
  3. Not Shopping Hungry

    I realize this isn’t a trick, but it’s important that you show up to the grocery with a full belly so that you don’t get suckered into buying things that you don’t need. When you’re full, you move fast and avoid distraction. When you’re hungry, even the boxes look good.

  4. Use a List

    When you go grocery shopping without a list, you end up walking through the store and waiting for something to stick out and say “buy me.” The problem with that is that like shopping hungry, you get sucked into endcaps and displays that trick you into spending more than you want to. This is why they put the milk in the back!

  5. Buy Store Brands

    Many store brands are just as good as the original, and if you really want to know how to save money on groceries than you can start here and save as much as 50% right off the bat.

The trick to saving money on groceries is in buying smart, and paying attention to store patterns. If you learn how to master the coupon, bulk, and store brand game, then you’ll win every time.

How to Save Money with Coupons

June 2, 2011


Recently there’s a new show on TLC that has been driving men and women crazy with excitement. It has to do with something they call “extreme couponing,” and it appears to be a way to walk out of the grocery store with hundreds of dollars worth of items, for a fraction of retail cost.

And while many people probably don’t have the time and energy to devote themselves to a lifestyle of extreme coupon clipping, there is something to be said for using coupons as a way to save money. Taking even a casual approach could lead to savings of 20-40% savings per month, and that adds up fast!

Analyzing the best tips from the experts, I’d like to present the best tips for how to save money with coupons.

  1. Sunday Paper

    Much of the week’s specials and deals will be announced in the Sunday newspaper. This is also where the best coupons arrive. If you really want to save money with coupons, then it starts with actually having them. The Sunday paper is where you start.

    The Sunday paper also contains advertisements of sales and specials, and even if you don’t find any coupons, you can see where you should visit for the best deals.

  2. Take Advantage of Coupon Matching

    Many stores will offer to double or match coupons that you bring from the paper. If your current grocery store is missing this fantastic option, then look around until you find one that does. Even if you have to drive an extra twenty minutes, it’s well worth the extra time to save $100 in groceries per week.

  3. Buy in Bulk

    The best couponers make their best gains by buying as many sale items as they can and then storing them for later. Though this doesn’t work with produce and dairy, it works with things like toiletries and boxed items. Buy as much as you can afford, and save so you don’t have to buy it next time.

  4. Coupon Clipping Services

    If you search the web, you’ll find a host of coupon clipping services that allow you to buy coupons for use in your local grocery. You can search for products you buy regularly, and buy as many coupons as you need. They usually cost between 10% and 20% of the money they save.

  5. Organization

    The most important tip from extreme couponers to learn how to save money with coupons is to be organized. Get a coupon book that you can use to store and organize coupons. Use this to make your grocery lists so that you set out to get exactly what you need. It also helps to know how much of each item you want, and where you can go to get the best deal.

The trick for learning how to save money with coupons is by getting active and paying attention to the way groceries price and sell items. If you learn the game, then you can win every time.

Is Internet Phone Service Cost Efficient?

May 9, 2011


With the introduction of home computers and the internet, it was only a matter of time before companies developed internet phone service. Providers such as Magic Jack and Vonage have really taken off in the last couple of years with their low monthly and yearly plans. These plans include unlimited long distance. People jumped on these when they first appeared on the scene.

Once the customers installed and started using these services, it quickly became apparent to many of them why they maybe were not such a bargain after all. There were complaints of echoes on the line, or just not being heard, or able to hear the caller on the other end. For some customers, these services were little more than glorified walkie talkies. But people continued to use them because, in spite of all the technical issues, the price was still much better than anything the local or national phone services could offer.

The good news is that improvements were made over time to the internet phone services. While all the bugs aren’t worked out, there are now enough positive responses to make it seem a worthwhile venture. There are still some disadvantages, the biggest one being that if you lose internet for any reason, your phone service will go with it. However, in this day and age of cell phones, most people usually have a backup in case this happens.

Even with the drawbacks of internet phone services, there is still the price to consider. For just a fraction of the cost of landline phone companies, you can have free unlimited long distance as well as free local calls. Caller ID and voice mail is included in your monthly or yearly rate. So, as the costs of your non internet phone service providers continue to climb, you are saving a huge amount of money by using services such as Vonage or Magic Jack. For a lot of people, as long as the service works most of the time, they feel the savings are well worth any aggravation.

If you are someone who has a great longtime relationship with the local phone company, it’s still worth it to at least look into the internet phone services. You might be shocked at the amount of money you will save for the same service you get now. There are probably many ways you could spend all that extra money you will have left over at the end of the month.

Save Money on Gas

April 21, 2011


The United States Energy Information Administration has reported that in 2010, the average price per gallon of gas was $2.78, and in 2011, is expected to reach almost a dollar more at $3.70 per gallon.

For people that still remember paying 99 cents per gallon back in the nineties, this is a big shocker, and a sign that things are changing and changing fast. Learning to save money on gas is no longer just an option, but a necessary way of life.

But how do you do it, especially as gas prices continue to rise? We’ll show you how in the next few steps.

  1. Drive Less

    Yes, it’s obvious, but almost so obvious that people don’t think about it. Consider grabbing a bicycle for short rides to the store or walking children to school instead of driving them (if you can).

  2. Ride on Two Wheels

    Motorcycles and scooters get great gas mileage, so if you’ve ever had the thought of buying one then now is the perfect time to do so. You can often find a new or used motorcycle for less than $10,000.

  3. Trade in for a Hybrid

    If your car is killing you on gas, then consider trading it in for a hybrid. This is tough to do if your car is new or you owe more than it’s worth, but if you crunch the numbers, it might make sense to make the change so you can save money on gas.

  4. Buy Low

    Treat gas prices like the stock market, and try to stock up on fuel when it drops. Buy gas cans and fill them up too. It never hurts to have an abundance of gas if you can buy low and use high.

  5. Pay Cash

    Many gas stations offer discounts for paying at the pump with cash. If you find one that does, get in the habit of carrying around some spare cash explicitly for this purpose.

  6. Specialty Cards

    Some gas stations offer discounts for paying with their credit cards or their special members cards. The trick here is to make sure you pay it off as soon as you can so that the bills don’t pile up on you.

  7. Rideshare

    On Craiglist you will find plenty of people looking to bring an extra person on board to help save money on gas. If you don’t trust Craigslist, it wouldn’t hurt to ask a co-worker, friend, or neighbor to go 50/50 with you on daily commutes or long trips.

  8. Public Transportation

    Many cities have bus routes and train routes that ride through most of the major areas. If you’re having a hard time paying for gas, then looking into this option will help you get around without filling up the tank.

  9. Cheap Gas Websites

    There are nearly a dozen websites and mobile applications that post regular updates on where you can find the cheapest gas in your area. Use these and you’ll save money on gas every time you fill up.

Buying Foreclosed Homes

April 5, 2011


You may not like to think about profiting from someone else’s loss, but you can find many homes that have been foreclosed on at bargain basement prices. These are homes that were repossessed due to their owners not keeping up with their mortgage payments. They are sold at discounted prices because the lenders involved just want to get their money back with out worrying about making a profit. A lot of times this means that you can get foreclosure rates that are too good pass up.

You will need to be sure to do your research before writing that check though. It’s important to find something that will meet your needs as well as your budget. Many times these foreclosed houses will need a lot of repairs. It also seems that the banks are not responsible for any damages to the properties.

Foreclosures come in all shapes and sizes. You might even find some that are totally run down, with mold and structural damage. The problem with buying these properties is that it can take a lot of money and time to fix them. The mold can actually be hidden in the walls and this is something you don’t want to deal with. The good news is that you will also find foreclosures that are located in good neighborhoods. This property will be worth the price if you only buy it for the land. There may be some other wonderful traits that can make the property an amazing find.

Whatever type of foreclosures you may be ready to buy, you will need to sign several addendums and other clauses that will exonerate the bank from any responsibility for the home’s condition, once the sale has been finalized. This will all be done before any contracts are signed. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to have the property of interest inspected to make sure the home is in good living condition.

Since banks and lending institutions don’t view foreclosures as a way to own the property, you can usually get a very nice deal. They are not interested in fixing up these properties. Their interest is just to get a return on their money. This way of thinking is what motivates them into selling great properties at bargain prices. While this does happen often, there will be situations where it isn’t the case. Before deciding to buy a foreclosure, it will be necessary for you to do your research to make sure the property is worth the money.

Organize Your Home Financial Department

April 5, 2011


One of the easiest and most commonly overlooked ways to improve your financial state is to simply organize it. Having something where it should be so that you may find it when you need it is fast, easy, and usually easier on the eyes in your home office!

Experts say that home finances can be broken down into three main categories: bills due, important documents to keep, and trash/shred items. From those three main categories, you are able to break one into subcategories. Important documents to keep can be the one that often becomes tricky and messy.

A good suggestion for keeping this file organized is to invest in a small filing cabinet. If a filing cabinet is not a choice for budget or space reasons, consider either a pendoflex or rubber/plastic filing system. These can usually be purchased at a local superstore or office supply store for as little as seven dollars. You will want to make sure that there is a significant amount of files inside. While you may only need ten or less now, that number will probably change in the future. And example of sub-file categories might include documents like tax returns, mortgage documents, warranties for home items (which can also again be subcategorized by room), retirement documentation, investment statements, and insurance policies.

A simple process for each document that comes your way would follow this process:

Is this documents a bill to pay, important document to file, or should it be discarded/shredded? If it is to be filed as an important document it could be categorized as monthly documents (to include bills paid, automobile payments, monthly insurance, monthly investments, etc.), yearly documents (tax returns), and warranty/product information. Other classifications could include education, organizations/clubs/activities, or religious documents.

Each and every home should have a basic organizational structure for their finances, yet still be custom designed to the individual. The point of this organization is to keep you on track of what is where. This will also aid in research for the future. You may want to sum up all of you spending in a certain area for last year. In the unlucky even that you are ever audited by the Internal Revenue Service, the inspector will be impressed that you maintain such an organized financial department. Setting up a solid financial organization can also ease the process for your heirs after you are gone. This creates less of a burden on them and makes the overall process simpler and easier.

Finding the Best Deal for Air Flight Tickets

March 2, 2011


When you are trying to find the best deal for air flight tickets, you may wish someone else could just do it FOR you. Don’t despair though.There are some ideas to make this ordeal a bit easier for you.

Planning a trip, whether for business or pleasure, can be a tiring experience. One of the first things you will want to get out of the way is finding the best deal for air flight tickets. Once that is done, it sometimes feels like you can just sit back and relax. There are just so many airlines to choose from that it can make you crazy sifting through them all to find the best fare.

Now, that you are despairing again, you need to know that it isn’t quite as bad as all that. If you have a travel agent, start by calling her. If you don’t already have a special one, try calling a few different agencies to see what sort of specials they may have going on. It may really surprise you at how much money you can save by going through a good travel agency. Doing things this way also takes off a lot stress from you.

Looking to the internet for information is an excellent way to find the best deal for air flight tickets. All of the airlines have websites created just for people like you. There is a wealth of information on these websites. This is where you can find all the regular fares, bargain fares, arrival and departure dates and times to various cities, and anything else you want to know. It also enables you to compare prices, which helps you make the best choice for you.

Patience is the key to getting the best deal for your money. The phone calls and the internet search is going to take a lot of your time. You need to know that before you even start the process. Maybe do a bit of meditation beforehand to prepare yourself.

However, once you have found that perfect air flight ticket price, you can sit back and enjoy the planning of the rest of the trip. Yes, you will need to do the packing, book the hotel room, and get your house ready for your absence, but the worst part is over. You have found the affordable fare for your trip, and all is right in your world.

The Benefits of Buying in Bulk

February 28, 2011


Buying different items in bulk amounts can be quite a money saver when it is done the right way. This works especially well for large families, but it can also be advantageous to couples and single individuals. People are paid at different times depending on where they work, and those who receive their pay every 2 weeks or once a month seem to manage their money better when they buy needed items in bulk.

Items such as toilet paper, paper towels, canned goods, boxed food, and other things that have long expiration dates, are all good things to purchase in bulk amounts. Once the paper goods are bought, you can put them away and not have to worry about replacing them for 2 weeks to a month. As for the canned and boxed goods, these usually have quite a long shelf life. These may start to build up after awhile, so be sure to sort them according to their expiration dates.

As for frozen foods, these can also be purchased in bulk depending on what sort of food it is. Buying frozen foods in bulk usually makes more sense for larger families, as you can be sure it won’t go to waste. However, it can be also put to cost saving use by smaller families as well. When you find a meat pack containing family favorites, buying more than one large package is a good idea. Frozen fruit can also be stocked for quite awhile as long as it is protected from freezer burn.

It is also possible to buy bread products in bulk. Fresh bread can be bought, frozen, and thawed out as needed. There is some bread that comes frozen. You can buy these in bulk amounts and store them to use as you need or want to.

Drink mixes such as Kool-Aid or Crystal Light can be bought in bulk and stored for months. These are much cheaper than sodas and can actually be much better for you if you are using the sugar free mixes. Different types of juices can be bought as either frozen or bottled, and will last for at least a month at a time.

As you slowly stock your pantry and freezer, you will start to see the money savings add up. This will become evident as you need to purchase less and less of certain items on each shopping trip. In order to do this type of shopping, consider getting a membership at a store such as Sam’s Club or Costco’s. Bulk shopping is a specialty at these stores.

How to Make Spare Change Count

February 26, 2011


You most likely have come home at the end of the day to find you have amassed quite an impressive amount of change. This includes quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Many people need to spend their pennies as well as count them. If that’s you, there is still a way that you can save this change and turn it into something impressive.

First of all, you will need to find a container for your change. If you want to keep them in separate denominations, you will need a container for each one. Some people keep a gallon jug on hand, as it has been found that when you fill one of these to the brim with quarters, you will have $1,000. That’s a pretty nice chunk of change, no matter how long it may take you to save it. Other containers that work are large mayonnaise jars, pickle jars, or large jelly jars. Anything that is somewhat large and has a lid will do.

Once you have your containers, you need to work on your mindset. Don’t think of your change as something that will buy you an extra soda. Start thinking of it as “not yours.” This means that when you get some change back from something, make up your mind that you are not allowed to spend it. The change no longer is yours to spend because it now belongs to the jar. As soon as you get home, take the change out of your pocket or purse and put it in the container. Before you know it, you will find that container is completely full.

It sometimes helps to have a goal that you are saving for. This will provide some willpower when you are tempted to spend some of those quarters. You simply think of what you are saving the money for and that temptation should fade away. If you are someone who has extremely low willpower, it may help to find a picture of your goal and attach it to the container. You will be able to see what you are saving that money for, which can make it easier to keep from spending any of the change.

Once you have your container full, pay a visit to the bank to get some coin rolls. It will be much easier to cash your change in if you have them all nicely rolled so that they can be counted as dollars. You collect your cash for the change and you’re on your way to that special goal.

Keep More Money in Your Pocket

February 23, 2011

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Money is a great thing and even better when it stays in our pocket. Keeping your finances under control isn’t easy especially with the economy the way it is currently. A few back to the basics ideas can really help with putting some money back into our financial pockets.

The two largest variable expenses are gas and food. Gas prices are at an all time high. It is important now, more than ever, to keep your car in good shape. Make sure you have given it a tune up, oil change, and the tires have been rotated. Experts say that 55-60 miles per hour is the best range for achieving better gas mileage. While this isn’t’ always possible, just keeping it in mind can assist in the gas bill. Also, this might be a fun experiment to try for a few days. Place a half filled cup of water in your cup holder with no lid. Driving with the cup prevents you from sudden bursts of speed. This alone can increase your gas mileage. As for cruising with the windows down and the A/C off, experts agree this is more myth than anything else. While turning off the air conditioner does save some on gas mileage, rolling down the windows disturbs the aerodynamics of the car. We suggest leaving the A/C on until you hit stopped traffic, then cut it of and get some fresh air.

As for food, well, we all probably eat out more than we should. My soft stop is Olive Garden’s Tuscan soup. But the next time you get the urge to visit your favorite restaurant, try this instead. Call your buddy over and look up copykat recipes online for some great eat-out recipes, for eating in. Not only does it usually cost less to make it at home, we are saving gas money, and best of all, we have another meal for lunch tomorrow.

Don’t forget, that the local grocery store still runs some great deals in the weekly paper. It’s probably been years since you picked one up and had a look at it, but you would be surprised how much money you can save just in meats alone. Pick up several of the really great deals and throw them in the freezer. When you’re savoring the flavors of a delicious steak three weeks from now, you’ll remember what a great deal you got on these babies.