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We’ve really been conscious as to where our money’s been going lately, and I’ve been taking many steps to ensure that there is little to no unnecessary spending. There are so many tips and tricks to save money, some of ...
We’ve really been conscious as to where our money’s been going lately, and I’ve been taking many steps to ensure that there is little to no unnecessary spending. There are so many tips and tricks to save money, some of them easier than others; some are downright a pain-in-the-butt. Lots of things I don’t like doing just because they aggravate me or are more work but when you want to conserve as much money as possible, you do them. Here are some of the things I don’t like to do to save money. -Wash and reuse plastic freezer bags. I feel like it is hard to get these clean, but really it’s not as bad as I make it to be. They drying is the longest part- often when the outside dries I flip them inside out to get the inside to dry. One really good thing about reusing the plastic sandwich bags is that we’re keeping them out of the landfill. We do use glass reusable storage containers, but for some things, plastic freezer bags are the way to go. -Hang dry laundry. What bugs me about hang drying laundry is that it takes a lot longer than throwing your clothes into the dryer. Also, the clothes come out stiffer than if they were dried in the dryer with wool dryer balls. If it helps save money on the electric bill then it’s worth it. Also, the clothes will hopefully last longer and unnoticed stains are much easier to get out than if the clothes have been dried in the dryer. -Minimize/consolidate trips. Before, I was taking a trip to Target at least once a week. Now I’m trying to stay home as much as possible to reduce the amount of gas we use and minimize our unnecessary spending. I try to hit up as many stores as possible when I’m out so that my time isn’t wasted and I don’t have to go back out again. I miss (at least) window shopping for fun. It’s also a pain to have to take the baby in and out of the car a bunch of times when I go to many stores. -No poo. Sometimes I get tired of having to mix the baking soda and water, then apply the apple cider vinegar rinse, etc.  I would also love to just wash with a good smelling shampoo and have the scent last.  The nice thing is, with no poo I’m not exposing myself to a bunch of chemicals and I’m also saving a ton over buying all natural shampoo. -Going without cable.  *Sigh* I love having cable, just because I know mindless tv is right there at my fingertips, but is it really good for us?  No.  Going with Netflix is a much better option to help save money. First world problems, right?! Overall, these aren’t horrible, they’re just not what I’m used to.  I am hoping that with time they’ll just become second nature and I’ll be used to it! What things do you do to save money that you don’t like?
about 6 hours ago
For some, a challenge, that is, a game is an effective way to step of the effort. It can also serve as a spark for those who are ready to change. A few Yakezie bloggers (Single Mom, Rich Mom, Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance, Money Fu...
For some, a challenge, that is, a game is an effective way to step of the effort. It can also serve as a spark for those who are ready to change. A few Yakezie bloggers (Single Mom, Rich Mom, Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance, Money Funk, and Move to Portugal) recently started a challenge about who can reduce variable costs the most over the next month. To win, I recommend the crowbar method. It’s very simple as it is essentially a 100% reduction (don’t spend any money) and as such it will win. Of course this will only work because the competition only runs for a month. For longer challenges, you’d need something like the 21 day makeover. I never really thought deeply about tricks to reduce discretionary expenses. What used to work for me, though, was Walk everywhere. One is less likely to go out to buy something discretionary if it has to be paid for with physical activity. Only carry $20 in cash. No plastic. This means not only does one have to walk to shop, one also has to walk to the bank. And one can not spend more than $20. (Without another trip to the bank of course.) Fun ways to add to the competition is to allow the proceeds of selling stuff to add back on the expenses. Much of my discretionary spending is driven by selling old stuff. This keeps the total amount of stuff I have at an appropriate level and that makes the choice of homes much more flexible than if I had a lot of unused stuff around. It also provides a natural brake on spending. It is easy to just pull out a credit card. Too easy; so there is no challenge. If, on the other hand, the acquisition of new stuff or even the purchase of an experience (for shame ) depends on “making a sale”, it becomes much more satisfying. Originally posted 2010-06-10 10:12:32.
about 8 hours ago
Monday 30th $7.57 lunch Tuesday 1st + $450 freelance income $66.67 hotel (1 night – Casablanca, Morocco) $57.01 hotel (1 night - Marrakech, Morocco) $72 hotel (1 night - Lyon, France) Wednesday 2nd + $50 ING Direct referrals $6.58 ...
Monday 30th $7.57 lunch Tuesday 1st + $450 freelance income $66.67 hotel (1 night – Casablanca, Morocco) $57.01 hotel (1 night - Marrakech, Morocco) $72 hotel (1 night - Lyon, France) Wednesday 2nd + $50 ING Direct referrals $6.58 lunch $40.76 dinner & movie Thursday 3rd $22.78 groceries Friday 4th + $1,333.57 freelance income $7.56 lunch $41.78 gas Saturday 5th $26 VIFF tickets (x2) Sunday 6th $7 parking $4.46 snack $13 VIFF ticket $14 dinner Freelance Income: + $1,833.57 Expenses: - $387.17 TOTAL: + $1,446.40 Welp, I think I’ve already blown my Morocco/France budget by booking myself into hotels instead of hostels. Logistically it makes sense, and it makes me feel a bit better since I’ll be traveling solo, but financially it cuts me to the core of my budget traveling heart. :| It’s that darn single supplement when it comes to booking hotels! With these hotel bookings, I’m completely set for my trip. One week until France! Other than the hotel bookings, this week has been relatively normal in terms of spending. I did attend three VIFF films this past week: Particle Fever, Young & Beautiful, and The Summit. All of them were really interesting, and it makes me wonder why I never bothered with the VIFF before… so many of the movies look fantastic! I’ve got tickets to one more film this week, and then the festival is over until next year. :) Oh, and I finally got paid out for some big freelancing contracts. And a huge thanks to those who have used my ING Direct referral code posted on my sidebar. How was your week of spending? The post Spending Recap: Sept 30-Oct 6, 2013 appeared first on Give Me Back My Five Bucks.
about 9 hours ago
Our family is lucky that none of us work for the federal government and therefore we are not affected by the furlough of 2013. Perhaps you are not so lucky. I’m sorry that you’re going through the furlough, and I hope that th...
Our family is lucky that none of us work for the federal government and therefore we are not affected by the furlough of 2013. Perhaps you are not so lucky. I’m sorry that you’re going through the furlough, and I hope that the money-saving and frugal-living tricks I’ve shared with you over the years are helping you to get through these lean times. Others are trying to help, too. Just yesterday, my piece on Parade.com focused on 5 furlough freebies for federal workers. It covered restaurants that were giving away food, where you could go for a free movie, and museums that were waiving admission for not only federal workers but also members of the military. In addition, that piece talked about how Hyundai was waiving any car payments on loans and leases during the furlough. Turns out you may get help from financial institutions that provide loans as well. Here’s what my research uncovered: Customers Bank today announced a new program, the Employees Furlough Assistance Plan (EFAP), designed to assist workers who have been furloughed as a result of the current federal budget impasse. For workers affected by the government shutdown Customers Bank will grant a one-month deferral on consumer loans, as well as a one-month forbearance on mortgage payments. Customers Bank has branches in Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Sandy Spring Bank, with locations in Maryland and Virginia, announced today that it is offering assistance to any U.S. government employee, including men and women in the U.S. military, impacted by the furlough, including payment extension options for consumer clients of Sandy Spring Bank on various loan products, and penalty-free CD withdrawals for clients who have CD’s with Sandy Spring Bank – up to $7,500. TD Bank has launched TD Cares which includes a Payment Assistance Program to support federally employed TD Bank customers who have been furloughed and will not receive their regular pay as a result of the government shutdown. The program will run from Oct. 10, 2013 through the earlier of Nov. 2, 2013 or the end of the government shutdown. Some of the services include late fee refunds on TD Bank credit cards and assistance with mortgage payments. You might also enjoy (Note: Some offers may have expired)Pet Food Recall August 2013The post Help for Those Affected By Furlough 2013 appeared first on Suddenly Frugal Blog.
1 day ago
Community colleges are a great way to launch your college education, and save money while working toward a degree. While community college is generally a good fiscal move, there are some pitfalls you should account for before you enroll....
Community colleges are a great way to launch your college education, and save money while working toward a degree. While community college is generally a good fiscal move, there are some pitfalls you should account for before you enroll. Many students start off at a community college to save some cash before going off to a four-year university to complete a bachelor’s degree. But families won’t save as much money off the total cost of a four-year degree if they don’t manage the community college years carefully. According to U.S. News and World Report, course choice, scholarship and financial aid applications, student budgets and 529 plan distributions – the money from a tax-advantaged college investment account – should all be part of planning how to pay for a community college student’s education. Experts recommend families and students do the following to maximize college savings. First, don’t take courses that you don’t have to. Check transfer credits before enrolling each semester: A big way students can save money when starting out at community college is by letting the school know where they plan on finishing their education before they even choose courses. Don’t take two years of course work and find out nothing transfers. Not doing enough research could mean families would to have to pay for an extra year or two of tuition at a four-year school. If a family had saved for only two years of a four-year university education, they would now have to find a new way to pay for the extra time in school. At some colleges, the admissions office is the place to get help planning future college transfers, Paul Seegert, admissions director at the University of Washington told U.S. News. At other schools, students may need to contact individual academic departments. Make sure the community college you choose has transfer agreements with four-year institutions, especially anywhere students are considering completing their education. The University of Washington, for example, has arrangements with 36 community and technical colleges in the state to accept specific transfer courses. Don’t spend more time at community college than you need to, especially if you rely on financial aid to pay for college. You could risk exceeding financial aid time limits: According to federal financial aid rules, you can’t exceed maximum time limits for receiving aid and course work must count toward your degree. Students should “take care of as many of the basic requirements as they can at the community college,” says Kay Lewis, director of financial aid at the University of Washington. This is another reason why students should verify that their courses will count toward a final degree. Taking courses that don’t count toward graduation from a four-year school could extend a student’s time in school past maximum federal and state financial aid time limits. For instance, the maximum time limit for Pell Grant eligibility is 12 semesters. Families that normally would qualify for the federal student aid program may have planned on having these funds when determining how much to save. If they exceed the 12-semester limit, they can’t count on these funds for the latter years of schooling. Many state grant programs have eligibility limits for time to earn a degree, as well. Students should check with their state department of education to verify state eligibility limits. If you can, pay cash, but don’t skimp on scholarship applications: When possible, pay cash for community college, so money that is invested in a 529 plan can continue to grow to help pay for the last two years of college. Students should still fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid whether or not they plan on getting loans or even accepting grants. This form is also used to evaluate students for scholarships from the community college. If a student earns a $1,000 scholarship from the commun
1 day ago
Here’s an easy exercise. Find a calculator. Think of the last thing, you bought. What was it? A pair of pants? A sandwich? The electric bill? A tank of gas? How much did it cost? Write that down. Now try to think of how long ago it...
Here’s an easy exercise. Find a calculator. Think of the last thing, you bought. What was it? A pair of pants? A sandwich? The electric bill? A tank of gas? How much did it cost? Write that down. Now try to think of how long ago it was since you bought the same thing before that last one e.g. if you just paid your electric bill, it was probably 30 days since you paid it the last time. If you don’t know, do an honest estimate. Take the calculator and multiply the price with 365 and divide by the number of days you found above. That’s your annual cost. Multiply this number by 25. Now you got to ask yourself one question. If you had that amount of money, would you spend it on a life time supply of that item? If not, then that item is too expensive and you should not buy it. See a more detailed explanation for the reasons why that is. Conversely, suppose you get offered a life time subscription to e.g. a magazine or a membership to a club as opposed to paying annual fees. Divide the lifetime cost by 25 to compare it to the annual fee. If lifetime fee divided by 25 is lower than annual fee, and you see yourself being a life time member, go for it even if it does seem expensive. Originally posted 2007-12-11 15:50:00.
1 day ago
One of the goals many of us have is to grow our wealth over time. In many cases, it’s more about the financial security and the ability to live a comfortable lifestyle, than it is about […]Recommended For You:3 Good Reasons t...
One of the goals many of us have is to grow our wealth over time. In many cases, it’s more about the financial security and the ability to live a comfortable lifestyle, than it is about […]Recommended For You:3 Good Reasons to Take More Risks3 Things to Know Before You Invest4 Easy Lifestyle Habits That Lead to Financial Freedom8 Simple Steps to Financial FreedomBeing Realistic about Your Investment ReturnsRead the rest of 5 Basic Principles for Growing Wealth at BeingFrugal.net.
1 day ago
This has been an interesting year so far. I wasn’t sure how I thought I was going to increase my salary, while decreasing my freelance workload… but I thought I could figure it out. Clearly, based on my results so far below, ...
This has been an interesting year so far. I wasn’t sure how I thought I was going to increase my salary, while decreasing my freelance workload… but I thought I could figure it out. Clearly, based on my results so far below, it hasn’t worked out in my favour. What I have learned is how much I’m enjoying having free time. My schedule is still busy, but not working until 2am every evening has helped me achieve many athletic goals this year, as well as strengthened friendships with people that are really important to me. Many of you also know that I’ve been single for a significant portion of the year – and after nearly 8 continuous years of being in committed relationships, it’s nice to have time to myself. And dating this time around has been… interesting to say the least. :) I have a better understanding of what I’m looking for, but I’m definitely not in any rush. Anyway, below is my progress so far on my annual goals. Financial Earn $85,000 to $90,000. NEEDS WORK. This goal is fading, and fading fast. Realistically, I don’t think I’m going to make this goal. I scaled back my freelancing and blogging a lot this year. Still. I did pick up a few freelance writing contracts – including a couple of feature pieces for the Toronto Star – so that will help. But I think I’ll end up around $75,000. Put an extra $2,500 onto the mortgage. ON TRACK. I lost one month of increased payments because the bank took a long time to process my request, and then they couldn’t do it until the billing cycle lined up properly. But I’m back on track and averaging around $220 extra each month. Save $16,000 in my Retirement Portfolio. NEEDS WORK. I just increased my auto deductions, and am looking to ramp them up again for next year… but because I was so far off my income target, this was the one category that suffered. Diversify my investments. CHECK! Go, Questrade! Start contributing to charity. CHECK! I’ve decided to contribute monthly to WaterCan. Personal Go on one big trip. CHECK! I’ll be headed to Morocco at the end of October for about 2 weeks, and am really looking forward to it. I’ve budgeted just over $2,000 for the trip (which includes a 10-day group tour with Intrepid Travel), which I think should be more than enough. Run in a half marathon and two 10km races. CHECK! I’ve already run two 10km races (with a PB of 49:59), and have two half marathon races coming up – one this coming long weekend in Victoria, and another one in late November in Stanley Park. Take a French language class. FAIL. Since Nic and I broke up, I’m less interested in learning French. But that being said, I do still think it’s a valuable skill to have – especially in the industry that I’m in. There are so many jobs that require a second language… so perhaps I should make this more of a priority next year. Professional Invest in a grown-up wardrobe. CHECK! Since realizing how much I’ve actually spent so far this year on my wardrobe, I’ve drastically reduced my shopping. That being said, I’m still happy with everything I’ve purchased and I think I look a lot more professional. Read 6 marketing books. ON TRACK. Okay, technically I’ve only read one book on social media. But I think that since I’ve been watching a lot of business and marketing-related documentaries, they should count for something. Right? Right. Scale back my freelancing. CHECK! Do you love how the only goal I’ve actually completely achieved so far this year is my goal of doing less? :P I do think I need to step up my freelancing a little bit (because my lofty financial goals have suffered as a result), and I’ve started bringing my hours back up. = The post Q3 Review: 2013 Goals appeared first on Give Me Back My Five Bucks.
2 days ago
Source: Slate.com As this government shutdown continues, many of you are worried it could affect student loans and public education. As it turns out, you’re right to be concerned. College students may now find themselves affected w...
Source: Slate.com As this government shutdown continues, many of you are worried it could affect student loans and public education. As it turns out, you’re right to be concerned. College students may now find themselves affected when it comes to their finances. This is largely due to the furlough of Education Department employees who manage disbursement of funds. For now, 14 million students will continue to get financial aid when it comes to federal loans and Pell grants. If there’s no resolution within a week though, nearly 4,000 employees who process student aid will be furloughed. This could even make it difficult for students to apply for new loans or grants. This means the money for these grants and loans could be delayed. Elementary and secondary schools could see a cut off in cash flow to their local districts as well if the shutdown continues. Some are concerned this could cause problems when it comes to the quality of education offered. One college student said he hopes Congress gets it’s act together, for everyone’s sake. While most financial aid has already been given out for this semester, some workers said it’s hard to tell what the future will be like. Rhonda Howell, a financial aid counselor, said, “It really depends on how long it takes. Right now, student loans aren’t being denied or any of that sort.” If these student aid employees were to be furloughed, it would mean students would have a difficult time asking questions or getting answers about a loan or grant. According to the Washington Post, a prolonged shut down will result in the following effects on the Department of Education: TOTAL EMPLOYEES: 4,225 EXPECTED TO WORK: 212 FURLOUGHED: 3,983 The department will still distribute $22 billion to public schools that is normally obligated on Oct. 1. This represents the second half of 2013 funding already appropriated by Congress to help educate poor and disabled K-12 students and to fund career and technical education programs. This funding does not require further congressional authorization. If the shutdown lasts a week, approximately 212 of the department’s 4,225 full- and part-time employees will be working. An additional 30 employees may be called to work if the shutdown lasts longer than a week. Pell Grants and Federal Direct Loans will continue to be processed, although payments may slow if there are fewer employees to handle them. Other grant programs that use previously appropriated dollars will continue, including Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation and Promise Neighborhoods. At the same time, NPR reports that the Education Department has said that a shutdown beyond a week would “severely” curtail the cash flow to school districts, colleges and universities and vocational rehabilitation agencies that depend on department funds. For example, colleges rely on department funds to pay ongoing expenses for staff in programs for disadvantaged students. The department would not make additional details available on Friday about the number of districts, colleges and universities and vocational rehabilitation agencies that could more immediately feel the impact of a shutdown. The post Prolonged Closure Could Delay Student Aid Payments appeared first on Affordable Schools Online.
2 days ago
Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details. This week, we have a wonderful contribution from NerdyMinimalistIslandGirl. She exp...
Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details. This week, we have a wonderful contribution from NerdyMinimalistIslandGirl. She explains how a trip to an island country marked the beginning of her minimalist journey. NerdyMinimalistIslandGirl writes: NerdyMinimalistIslandGirl 2013 wasn’t a year I expected it to be. In late 2012, I graduated with my Master’s, started my doctorate, and began a new job—my dream job. The new job lasted for only six weeks before I was laid off. Then I began several miserable months of unemployment. During this time, besides wallowing and fervently searching for a job, I had to go overseas for family reasons. Luckily, I had some savings for the unexpected trip, and there I was—traveling to the other side of the world with just a small piece of luggage and handbag. While overseas, not only did I have my mind off of disheartening unemployment, but I also turned to minimalism. On the island country where I was located, I don’t think the word “minimalism” is even used—it’s their way of life. Homes were simply made and had just the basics: table and chairs in the kitchen; a couch, table, and maybe a television in the living room; and a bed and nightstand in the bedroom. On average, people had a dozen items in their wardrobe, including two pairs of shoes—a pair of sandals and a pair of tennis shoes. Food had simple, fresh ingredients: fresh rice, fresh fish or other meat, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruit—all caught, bought, or made on the same day or from the day before. Water was the choice of drink; sodas were available but only in glass bottles that were used and returned to recycle. There was minimal waste. Even entertainment was simple and included singing, dancing, walking, or playing cards. Work didn’t consume their lives; they worked to live—not lived to work. Family was the center of their lives. The people I met did not have much “stuff,” but they had full, happy lives. My world was turned upside-down. I yearned for the simplicity and minimalistic aspects of their island life. I knew that upon arriving back to the States, I couldn’t exactly emulate what they had, but I want to simplify and minimize every aspect of my life. I began to differentiate between my “wants” versus my “needs” and what was baggage and what was truly important to me. Still in the midst of unemployment, the journey to minimalism was cathartic. I divided my time among applying for jobs, working on my doctorate, and working towards a minimalist lifestyle. Here are the little steps I took, in random order: Decided that I wanted people to be the center of my life–not work, titles, or money De-cluttered and organized my e-mail box and consolidated all of my e-mails into one account Pared down my entire wardrobe to 33 items every 3 months and donated clothes I did not fit anymore or wore only once Organized, purged, shredded, and recycled all my paperwork Cut down all of the possessions in my apartment to 53 items/groups of items (besides my 33 wardrobe items) Transitioned into all digital/paperless billing and documentation Limited unnecessary paper and plastic use Cut out TV/cable Limited wasting food and began buying and consuming food I won’t waste Began using less electricity Stopped myself from buying new clothes Consolidated and simplified any way I can During this journey to minimalism and after applying to 144 job positions, I finally landed a job. I move in two weeks to begin the new position. With me, I will bring a new perspective in life, a whole lot less “stuff,” and more insight on what is important to me. I’m looking forward to a new beginning, but I know the journey has just begun. {If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.} Related posts:Real Life Minimalists: Deb Real Life
2 days ago