Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Best money saving tips for moms

Best money saving tips for moms - Some of the best money saving advice, posted by moms on our message board

Leave your money at home

When you know you are going out with your girlfriends, leave your money at home. Suggest outings to the park or library, but if they insist on shopping, you won't be tempted if you don't have the cash! I've done a lot of window shopping in the past, and I usually realized that I didn't need the things I couldn't afford anyway. If you need more motivation, tally up what you spent on your last few outings and get an average. Then when you go out sans money, you can remind yourself (and your husband) of how much you saved!" --ivegot4

Turning of the light

"Save money on electricity by turning off lights and saving up laundry for big loads instead of multiple smaller ones. If you pay for water, it will help in that department as well." --aseleener

Best money saving tips for moms - Some of the best money saving advice, posted by moms on our message board

"I called my cell phone company and asked them for a list of all of the features I was paying for. I found out I was paying for stuff I didn't even use, so we cut back our phone bill by $20 a month." --KilliansMommy

"I spend a little more on some things that I can make last longer, like juice. I buy V8 Fusion but put only a little in the sippy cup and cut the rest with water. My daughter doesn't notice!" --ra11en

"My husband and I do our big shopping trip at the beginning of the month. We get all of the pantry staples, non-perishables, and frozen items for the month, including meats that we freeze. Then, I only go back to the grocery store maybe once a week if we need fresh produce or milk. Getting most of the grocery bill out of the way early really helps our monthly budget." --darplocho

"I am a huge rummage sale junkie. I buy most of my kids' clothes at them. I even stock up for the next season. You can find great things very cheap and some of them look brand new. Just make sure that you wash and disinfect them. You can buy toys, gear, clothes, and shoes!" --kfiedler

"Call your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate. With my minimum payment being my second-largest monthly bill behind my mortgage, I was desperate. They lowered my rate from 17.24% to 14.24%." --aseleener

"Buying cloth diapers whenever my daughter is at home, like on weekends, or evenings after daycare has saved a bunch." --ra11en

"We survive by rarely ever eating out. We pack lunches and cook everything at home. We go out to eat once a week, as a family, to a lower priced joint like Chilis or IHOP." --rallen

"Don't buy special baby towels, yours will work fine! I use All Free & Clear instead of Dreft." --nursegina

"My church just started participating in Angelfood Ministries, a great program for saving money on groceries. There are no qualifications for buying the discounted food, and the food is great. If there is no ministry in your area, you could start one." --Theparent24_7

"Babies usually like to play with boxes, pots and pans more than the toys we buy anyway. Of course, you'll want to buy some toys, but don't go overboard. They love your dishes!" --nursegina

"Keep an eye out for good sales. I discovered that Babies 'R' Us had the cheapest Isomil formula. I also buy generic diapers in bulk. At first, I was really skeptical on the generic but they have come a long way." --MomofBrendy

"As the weather gets warmer, try walking places instead of driving (if you don't live out in the boonies, that is) or bicycling. Last week I walked to a lunch meeting and I walked to get my hair cut. Every little bit helps." --aseleener

"I do have one little secret that I don't t hink many moms know about. I shop at Once Upon a Child. They carry clothes, toys, carseats, swings, strollers, etc. Everything is checked out and in very good condition. I pretty much can outfit my daughter for an entire season for $50 more ore less. She has Old Navy, Polo, Gap, and many other name brand clothes and we rarely pay more than $4 per piece. Search online to see if they have a location near you!" --Chelle

"We have a phenomenal second generation kids store here. Non-stained, name brand baby clothes for a few dollars. Check your area phone book for something like that. For as long as my son wears his clothes, why spend $25 on a sweater?" --MomofBrendy

Best money saving tips for college students

Best money saving tips for college students

Live like a college student. 

The reality is that you're a college student. So live like one—don't spend money you don't have yet. Though it may feel difficult, living like a student now will place you in a better financial situation when you graduate.

But do you need it? 

One of the most important money saving tips is not to buy on impulse. Wait a few days and see if you still need the item.

Best money saving tips for college students

Where does your money go?

Where does your money go? It is important to know where you are spending your money. This will allow you to develop better spending habits.

Make a budget.

Estimate your monthly income and expenses.

Milk your student status. 

Lots of places will give you a discount simply for being a student. Look for places that offer savings when you show your student I.D.

Don't abuse credit. 

Be responsible with credit cards. Only charge what you can truly afford to pay off each month and make sure it fits into your budget. If you are easily tempted to overuse, leave the credit card at home and take only the cash you can afford to spend.

Nothing's impossible. 

While it may seem impossible to save, try anyway, even if it's only $10 a week. Place the money in a savings account that's not attached to your ATM card so it is not as easily accessible.

Keep it safe. 

Be sure to keep receipts, student loan documents and other financial statements. You never know when you will need to refer to these documents.

Use the used. 

Look online or check with your college bookstore for used textbooks for classes, which can save you some money. Selling back your used books at the end of the semester could score you some extra cash. Check online or with your campus bookstore for buy-back details.

Be a cheapskate. 

Many colleges offer lots of free or cheap activities on campus which will provide the opportunity to socialize without a lot of expense.

Extra cash. 

As long as you are able to manage your studies, a part-time job is a great way to earn a little extra spending money.

Keep score. 

Make sure you pay your bills on time, every time. While this may seem obvious, paying on time is a big factor in having a good credit score.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Tips to save money on a tight budget

Tips to save money on a tight budget - Don't start the new year short on cash. Saving money is not only possible, it's imperative that you save when your discretionary dollars are limited.

"When your budget is tight, one random expense has a huge impact because it's harder to come up with the money," says Kelsa Dickey, owner of Fiscal Fitness Phoenix in Arizona.

Finding a way to start saving money so that unexpected expenses aren't so devastating may not be easy. But shifting your thought patterns can yield long-term results.

"Being a 'saver' as opposed to a 'spender' is a mindset that may not be natural to most people," says Aries Jimenez, financial life planner for San Diego Wealth Management. "However, it can be developed through practice."
Tips to save money on a tight budget

Here are 8 ways to save money when money is tight.

Shop smarter

Stop buying things without shopping around for the best price, says Keith Klein, CFP professional and principal at Turning Pointe Wealth Management in Phoenix.

Make a commitment to comparison shop for essentials and look for coupons and sales online or in your local newspaper. Then, buy the lowest-priced items.

Don't stop there. Take the difference of the amount you paid and the amount you would normally spend on the item and put that money into a savings account. Even if it's just a few dollars per shopping trip, those small sums will add up, Klein says.

Keep the change

It seems old-fashioned, but take the loose change out of your pocket, your change purse or your car tray, and save it in a jar. Look for ways to add more money to your jar. For instance, every time you withdraw cash from the ATM, put 10% of what you withdraw into your cookie jar savings, Klein says.

Every month or quarter, count the money you've accumulated in your jar and add it to your savings account, Klein says.

Pay yourself first

If your strategy is to wait until everything else is paid and save whatever is left over, reconsider your process, Jimenez says. "It is much better to pay yourself first by creating a savings goal each month, then paying fixed expenses and budgeting the rest for variable spending," he says.

Consider putting most of your paycheck into your savings account and making a recurring weekly transfer to cover necessary expenses. "This helps you keep on track. Then make a decision each week on where any excess should go: to remain in the account to cover any upcoming expenses or to be dedicated as extra savings," Jimenez says.

Save with purpose

It may be difficult to put money back simply for general savings, so it's important to have a clear reason for your savings.

"The purpose may be to have emergency funds, to have a vacation fund or a variety of other reasons," San Diego Wealth Management's Jimenez says. "But without knowing that 'why,' it is very easy to neglect or dip back into that fund for other purposes."

Dickey of Fiscal Fitness Phoenix recommends opening several different savings accounts, each with a clear purpose. You might have a car repair fund, a clothing fund and a vacation fund.

"Put what little you have left into each one whenever possible," Dickey says, even if it's just $25 in each. "Saving with a purpose is crucial. Remind yourself that if you're saving money, you're doing something right, so even if the amount is small, it's still better than nothing."

Make it automatic

It's much easier to save when you don't have to rely on yourself to transfer funds into your savings account. Klein recommends having your employer divide your automatic paycheck deposit into a checking account and a savings account.

"Most automatic deposit systems accommodate multiple accounts, so all you need to do is decide how much to put into savings each check, and you will never even see that money coming out," he says. "Even dividing it 3 ways enables you to direct money to your bill-pay checking account, an amount for short-term savings and 10% to 20% into longer-term savings."

If you're self-employed, schedule automatic transfers from your main checking account to your purpose-based savings accounts on a recurring basis, Jimenez says.

Stop using credit cards

"If you don't have any money to save at the end of the month, you shouldn't be putting more onto credit cards," says Bob Gavlak, CFP professional and wealth adviser at Strategic Wealth Partners in Cleveland. "The 1st goal should be to pay them down and get rid of them so that you can start to work from a cash basis as opposed to a debt basis."

Rather than using a credit card to fund living expenses that are outside of your income, cut out nonessentials and focus on eliminating your use of credit cards. If your extra cash each month is spent on making credit card payments, you'll never be able to save and get closer to your financial goals.

Create a budge

While setting a budget can be tough, it's the best way to become a disciplined saver, Gavlak says. Start by determining your fixed expenses, and then look at your needs for other expenses -- food, gas, clothing, entertainment, etc. Determine a number for weekly expenses and challenge yourself to stay within that budget.

Gavlak recommends setting a specific amount, such as $100 a week, and taking that out of the bank in cash at the beginning of the week. "Only use that money for the week and try not to allow yourself to dip into anything else," he says. "Then, try to go down to $90 or $80 per week to see what you really need."

Once you've grown accustomed to living on your budget, you'll open up more money for saving toward various goals.

Stay committed

Klein of Turning Pointe Wealth Management recommends that most people work toward saving 20% of their earnings each year. But that's not easy to do.

"I have found that when people commit to this savings level, often some reason will come up in the first few months that will discourage the saving," Klein says. "Maybe the kids need braces, a tree falls on the house or the car gets a dent."

If that person works through the crisis and continues on the savings track, they're more prepared to deal with future crises that may arise. Eventually, they begin to think of other ways to deal with it, rather than dipping into the savings, he says.

After a year of forcing yourself to save and receiving the self-esteem that comes with it, most people will be committed to the lifestyle of saving and often will find ways to save even more, Klein says.