Friday, October 4, 2013

Top Ten Money Saving Tips

1.) Go on a Fiscal Fast
Can you go 7 days without spending any money?  Most Americans already have enough food in their pantries, refrigerator, and freezer to last 30 days.  What else do you need if you have basic clothing and shelter?  Try purchasing necessities like gasoline prior to your 7 day money detox.  Taking a break from spending gives you time to reflect on your spending habits.  Use up tiny bottles of shampoo, travel soaps, and food that would normally go out in the trash.

2.) Use What you Already Have
Do you really need another bottle of perfume or pair of jeans?  Do you already have 2 boxes of opened cereal but you are interested in trying another.  Consider looking at the reason for your purchasing.  Is it because you need it or is it because you are not fully satisfied with the items you have already purchased?  Did you know that there are Youtube channels dedicated to "empties"?  People actually shows their "October Empties".  Here they show items they successfully used in its entireity.  They let you know if it was worth the purchase and if they would repurchase the item.  I have learned the value of fully using an item.  Any bit of an item that is discarded represents wasted money.  You are not just throwing away product, you are throwing away your hard earned cash.  Next time you throw away your half eaten banana.. Imagine you are throwing $.20 or (2) dimes away. A half eaten box of cereal thrown away because it is stale is even more costly, around $2 wasted!  It all adds up.  A leak in your spending is still a leak which adds up over time.

3.) Quit Eating Out
Cook from home!  I know this sounds easy for me to say.  You are busy, I understand.  You have a job, a family, possibly kids, school, church, a social life, laundry to do, dishes to clean...... you need to take a shower.  The list goes on and on.  There are not enough hours in a day.  Trust me, I know.  Sometimes the last thing I want to do is cook a meal.  So I just fold and grab a quick burger.  Just know that this is why we pay tons for the wonderful world of convenience eating.  Not only is eating out 6x the cost of eating in, but eating out is typically extremely processed, full of salt, and just unhealthy.  I understand it is nice to have a meal made for you.  Keep dining out to a minimal and when you do go out to eat, you will enjoy it more.  Make it a treat, not a daily expenditure.  There are affordable places to eat.  Chili's has (2) eat for $20.  Thats $10 each for an appetizer and a meal.  Most of the time they give you enough food to take home.  So $10 gives you dinner and lunch.  A $5 dinner and $5 lunch.  Cant beat it when its supposed to be a treat.  Most recipes for outside dinning can be found online.  Try making your version at home.  Make extra and freeze small portions to take to work.  

My favorite meal prepared at home is chicken breast (soaked in soy sauce, brown sugar, carrots, and olive oil) for 30 minutes, steamed green beans, and brown rice.  Its cheap, healthy, and easy.  It is my go-to meal.  It costs around $2 a serving and tastes even better the next day.  Find what it is you love and keep it stocked.  This cuts down on food waste.

(Items listed above are food I cooked from home in the past 3 months!)

FYI: Stop food waste: 25% of the food purchased in American households are thrown away in the trash.  Imagine spending $100 and throwing away $25.  No Bueno!

Tip: Freeze food that is going bad. Milk into ice cube trays for iced coffee & especially fruit. You can easily use it in smoothies!

(freezing bananas)

4.) Family Fun Night
Cheap Entertainment: think pot luck, movies, pictionary, Uno, tumbling towers, cards, board games, and even twister!
Living social offers 50% entertainment in your town.  Utilize networking.  Your friends can probably get you on their guest list for clubs, 1/2 off food at restaurants.   Look for deals for free concerts, seminars, lectures, book readings.  Tons of stuff to do for FREEEEEE!!

5.) Create a Capsule Wardrobe
You have heard the saying "a closet full of items but nothing to wear".  It has came out of my mouth plenty of times in the past.  This is because I did not know exactly what it what that I liked to wear.  I didnt have those go-to items.  A capsule wardrobe is just a collection of about 10 key pieces that can be mixed and matched with everything!  These can also be referred to as your closet basic or 10 essential pieces.  As a woman, my capsule include:

White Blouse
Black Blouse
Loose Basic Tees: White, Black, Nude, Gray (Neutrals)
Dark Denim Skinny Jeans
Black Blazer
Black Pencil Skirt
Black Pump
Nude Heel
Neutral Clutch

I also throw in: 3 favorite jewelry pieces.

Examples of capsule photos:

(^^My Favorite Look Right Now)

I pin my fashion inspirations:

6.)  Minimalism
Think of things you can live without
I once read a blog that got me thinking.  The more you own, the more you need to accompany the things you own.  If you have a bathtub.  You then need a bath rug.  If you have Barbie, she has never ending clothes, shoes, accessories, houses, cars, pets... etc..
Less clothes, less to clean, less to move.  More to save.  Invest in key pieces and make them your favorites.  Quality over quantity in every aspect.  Look at all-in-one products.  No need to have a separate camera, camcorder, phone, computer, calendar, little black book, and a calculator. DOWNSIZE!  If you do not view your items like you did your favorites items as a kid, consider getting rid of it.  You know if your mom took away your favorite toy you cried and you were on your best behavior to get it back.  You love that item, you value it, you cherish it.  As adults we no longer have our parents to remind us of what we cherish.

The burning house project: If your house was on fire, what would you grab?  Quick, think! Your house is on fire and you have 30 minutes to grab the most important things.  Suddenly 'things' are not as important.  Safety amongst you, your family, and pets tops the list.  Or so it should.  If you are worrying about your clothing.. you might have a problem.  These things can be replaced unlike the other irreplaceable.  Some of us put to much emphasis on our things and obtaining money to buy these things.  Start thinking what you would want to grab if your house had caught fire.  If should show you what you value.  Consider getting rid of the things that don't make the top of the list.  What if your house was not on fire but you needed to quickly move.  Would you be stressed at the thought of packing everything?  Don't let your possessions hold you back.

7.) Cheap Alternatives
Buy store brands/generics (double check ingredients, 9/10 the product is exactly the same as branded product).  International version text books are exactly the same but cost 1/6 less.  I got a $40 book that would have cost me $250 in the book store.  I get my oil changed at Midas for $19.99 instead of paying $45 at the dealer.  There are cheap alternatives for everything! I just got a $3.49 Dolce and Gabbana this past Wednesday at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. It fits me better than a $22.80 cheap Forever 21 version and it cost less too.  Keep an open mind. Freeganism: if you can get it for free. Don't ever pay for it.. PERIOD!  I got a free couch, 4 chairs, a room divider, cat toys, cat lounge set, etc... This is just a small list of my freebies.  I will make a youtube clip on all my free stuff.  I get stuff free because someone else didn't want it anymore and trust me, I cannot put a price-tag on how much I value these items.  Try out

8.) Become a DIY Queen/King
Not to be a nag... but you probably can cut your own hair and paint your own fingernails.  Savings of $60+!!! Why pay for something that you can easily do for free?  I understand if you do not feel comfortable dying your own hair, changing your oil, making your own jewelry.  In doubt about anything?  Youtube it! I youtube everything!  Do you know someone that can sew?  Try trading services (bartering). Maybe you can babysit.  For Christmas.. I am asking my Aunt to fix my favorite pair of Pajama pants.  They are 10 years old with a broken elastic however I refuse to throw them away because they are so comfortable.  She can for Christmas, it may cost only $2 to fix them but the value of them being usable again mean more to me than any card or gift that someone can give me.

9.) Cut out Unnecessary Expenses
Do you have a gym membership that you do not use?  Have cable and internet?  Work too many hours to pay for your cable that you don't even have time to watch?  Make a budget and consider cutting out unnecessary spending.  I have internet because it is necessary to my online business.  However I do not have cable!  I use and stream for free with no downloading.  Use players: sockshare, putlocker, nosvideo, nowvideo, and gorillavideo.  These are the best players.  You will get some pop ups that you close, then it plays.  If it is loading slow, give it 10 minutes then watch it.  I will never go back to cable again.  Cant get the website to work?  Put the show that you love on hold at the library and watch it un-interpurrted.  I will be picking up Season 4 of Breaking Bad this week.  I know, I am a behind.  But I am having a blast catching up!

10.) Coupon Codes  <--- make sure to check out this place prior to making a purchase online or in a store. You can download the retailmenot app on any smartphone!  You can save SO much $$$ and even get free things!  Coupons are out there for a reason! Use em!
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