Hope for your financial life and beyond

40 Money Saving Tips That Also Help Preserve the Environment

I’m not a “SAVE THE PLANET!” type of guy. I fail to see how the earth is in any danger of being destroyed or irreparably harmed by the progress of mankind. I don’t worship the earth, view it as our Sacred Mother, or think it has a higher priority than the people who live on it.

money saving tipsBut I’m also not a “slash-and-burn” guy. I don’t believe progress should come at the blind expense of what it does to the earth. Nor do I hold to the theory – often expressed in religious circles – that since the whole world is going to burn in the end we can do with it now as we please.

I see extremes when thinking about either of those positions. To me a more balanced approach is called for that recognizes and supports the need for human progress and at the same time develops constraints for the purposes of conservation.

It’s more about wise stewardship than saving or using/abusing.

To that end I believe there are certain issues on which SAVE-THE-PLANET-guy and slash-and-burn-guy could even agree.

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How We Save Money on Healthcare

Enjoy this post today on healthcare by my good friend Laurie from The Frugal Farmer.

Brian talked recently about the 5 lessons he learned from his recent surgery. Brian is an active guy, and I can only image how much fun he had being sidelined a bit by his torn meniscus and the subsequent surgery. Not to mention the money it costs these days for anything from a simple doctor appointment, a necessary prescription drug or, as in Brian’s case, a surgery.

Not all medical expenses are avoidable: there are many diseases and conditions for which medical treatment (so far, anyway) is the only known help. However, there are many health conditions that are in our control, and many ways for people to cut down on their share of the 3+ trillion dollars that Americans spend on healthcare each year.

4 Ways to Cut Down on Healthcare Costs

Here are some of the things our family does to cut down on annual healthcare costs.

#1: Eat Well

I know most people don’t like to hear it, but a diet that consists of a large amount of fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy fats and minimally processed foods can do wonders for a person’s health.

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Keep Your Emergency Savings Fund Under Your Mattress?

What should you do with that emergency savings fund money you’ve been accumulating?

I don’t know. Why don’t you just keep it under your mattress? That’s probably the best idea.

(Cricket noise…)

April fools! (Sorry, just couldn’t resist.)

emergency savings fund under mattressNo, no, no…a thousand times NO! Please don’t keep your emergency savings fund money under your mattress. That’s one of the worst places to keep cash around the house. Under the mattress or the bed will be one of the first places a burglar looks for valuables.

Now there is nothing wrong with keeping cash around the house. You might need some for a spur of the moment issue. Banks aren’t always open and you might not be able to get to an ATM. But you don’t want to keep the emergency savings fund around the house.

Why?

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Would You Use Cheap Toilet Paper For a Penny?

Would you save money by buying ultra cheap toilet paper? I had an encounter recently at the grocery store that led me to consider it.

Several weeks ago I’m in the checkout line waiting to pay for my groceries. As I’m loading the items onto the conveyer belt a sweet, older lady steps in line behind me. She had only a few items in her hand to purchase so I immediately felt bad that she would have to wait for me – because I had a fully loaded shopping cart.

cheap toilet paperShe began to comment on the size of my haul to which I’ve come to have a standard reply – “Yeah, it takes a lot when you are shopping to feed six.” But then she began to analyze my purchases. Evidently I’d done really well that week, as she was excited to see fresh fruits and vegetables in my cart and the assortment of buy-one-get-one products I snagged.

Then she asked me if I’d got “the penny item” on sale that day. I had a vague recollection of seeing somewhere along the way that my store promoted a penny item but I’d never paid attention to it. I don’t usually coupon so stuff like that is never on my radar.

So I told her, “No, I missed that” to which she proceeded to tell me that it was a four-pack of toilet paper. Not only that but she would go get me one if I wanted it.

Oh boy…what to do?

Should I Let Her Get the Cheap Toilet Paper?

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99 Simple Action Items to Help You Spend Less and Save More

Have you set any goals yet for 2015? Hopefully so and at least one of those goals was money related. Money is a driving force in our lives and financial goals help us tell our money what to go do with itself.

spend less and save moreDuring the last week of December I always look at the cumulative total of all that I spent during the year. This is really easy to find if you are using some form of money management software. I use Quicken so all I have to do is select a budget report of income verses expenses for the year and Quicken does the rest. In an instant of calculation I can see all my financial details from the year.

Inevitably, as I look through all the spending categories I end up remarking, “Whoa…how did we spend that much on (fill in the blank)?” I’m sure you’ve done that too. It seems our spending has a tendency to get away from us during the course of a 365-day year.

And if spending is getting away from us then so is saving. If we are spending more that means we are saving less. In years past I’ve been discouraged at how little we saved.

To Build Wealth, Spend Less

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5 Budgeting Tips to Save Money for the Holidays

Want to save money shopping this holiday season? Today’s guest post by freelance journalist Ivan Serrano begins our countdown to Christmas with these five budgeting tips.

With Thanksgiving only a week away, Americans are already shopping for the holidays.

budgeting tipsAccording to the 2014 Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey (.pdf), the average American is expected to spend $718 on holiday gifts alone. In addition, one-fourth of Americans plan to spend more on holiday shopping this year than they did in 2013.

While many Americans are planning to spend more during the upcoming holiday season, consumers are still looking for ways to save. Ninety-six percent of Americans believe discounts will be important for their purchasing decisions this year according to Accenture.

As you plan for the upcoming season, here are five tips to help you budget money for the holidays:

Set a short term savings goal for the holidays

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My 6-Yr. Old Has Earned 100 Dollars and We Are Opening a Savings Account

This past Saturday my 6-yr. old son and I made a trip to our local bank. This trip wasn’t for me though. He was there to open his very first savings account.

savings jar with $100 bills His first deposit was for $103, a very cool amount of money for a six year old to already have. The best part about this money though is that it was earned. All of it came from commissions he has earned from doing work around the house.

My wife and I don’t give our kids allowances for reasons that I’ve shared before. We believe in giving commissions. We developed a chore sheet with assigned tasks for each child based on their age.

Our kids do the assigned work they’ve been given each week and they get paid for that. Don’t complete the work and they don’t get paid. It’s as simple as that. I think that accurately reflects what will take place in a real world work environment.

Teaching Kids About Savings and the Bank

We start our kids out with doing paid chores at age five. So for one year and a few months now Doot-Doot (our 6-yr. old) has been doing five chores per week for which he gets paid five dollars. Two dollars goes into his savings jar, two goes into spending and one dollar goes towards giving.

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The Best and Worst Places to Save Money in the Budget When Getting Out of Debt

Lets assume that you’ve finally decided getting out of debt is a priority and are looking to save money in the monthly budget by cutting expenses. Where do you start?

getting out of debt

The Headache Factor Equation will help you determine which spending categories to cut first.

Not all categories are created equal. In some you can find money savings quickly. Others are going to take a little more time and effort. Some budget cuts will be easy to endure while others might lead to some family frustration at the lack of spending for that category.

In order to better identify the best places to save money in the monthly budget I’ve created the “Headache Factor Equation.” This formula takes into consideration three factors that are each scored on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being positive and 5 being negative. The lower the total cumulative score of the three factors the better when determining where to start saving money first.

The three parts of the equation are:

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Saving Money Throughout College

Enjoy this guest post today from my blogging friend Glen at www.howtosavemoney.guru.

glasses and highlighter resting on bookAs Brian has been talking all things college lately, I thought I would chime in with my own take on how college students can save money.

Avoid borrowing more money than you need

When I was first told that people in the US borrow money to go and live on campus (essentially borrowing to pay rent), I actually couldn’t believe it. Not only that, but my friend (who is from the US) told me that it is common place for students to do this.

I live in Australia, and while there certainly isn’t as many colleges to choose from as there are in the USA, the idea of getting a loan to pay for accommodation close to college just wasn’t an option.

Instead, I decided that I would attend a local college and utilize the public transport system to get to and from my classes. I had to plan my journey to fit within the transport timetable, but I also saved so much money.

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4 Sneaky Ways to Save More Money and a Giveaway!

Enjoy this guest post (and giveaway!) by Brent from VOSA. Brent’s a world record holder, inventor, engineer, entrepreneur, world traveler & eternal optimist. You can read more of his writing about personal finance, entrepreneurship and travel at VOSA.com.

shoes and tv

Do your personal finance habits have you lost?

Left sock, right sock. Left shoe, right shoe. Right shoelace, left shoelace.

That’s the routine I’ve followed when putting on my shoes for as long as I can remember.

It’s so engrained into my mental and muscle memory I literally have a hard time doing it any other way even when I try.

Now I’m sure there are some behavioral psychologist reading this saying “claaaasssiiic O.C.D.”.

O.C.D. or not, habits like this rule our lives more than we know it.

Just think about how you put on your shoes, or the first three things you do every morning when you wake up, or how you respond when someone ask you “how are you?”

Chances are, that you too, have some standard routines that you weren’t aware about until just now.

Don’t get me wrong, habits are a great thing. They allow us to save mental capacity for when we have to make bigger and more important decisions than which sock and shoe I should put on first or weather you should brush your teeth before or after your shower in the morning.

Studies have proven that willpower is a finite element that you can exhaust over the course of a day.

This is why you’re more likely to eat that piece of cheesecake at 11 PM after a long and stressful day compared to 9 AM when you’re putting out fires and savings lives at your day job.

How Habits Form

Knowing how habits can govern your actions can help you financially. In this post I’m going to focus on four different sneaky ways to use habits to save more money.

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The Hidden Costs of College: How to Manage the Incidentals

costs of collegeMy alma mater, Cedarville University in Ohio, has a favorite destination that attracts students each and every day while school is in session – Young’s Dairy in Yellow Springs. It’s definitely one of the hidden costs of college because I had no idea how much time I would spend there. It seemed like once a week someone in my dorm would yell, “Hey, we are making a Young’s run. Who’s coming?”

Boy, that was always tempting. Seemed like it always came at the right time too. You know…at 9 o’clock at night when your punching out that term paper and your stomach is rumbling. So what college student could resist a grilled cheese, fries and milkshake in that moment?

Defining Hidden Costs of College

Those late night snack runs are one example of the hidden costs of college. They are hidden because we miss factoring them into the overall expense of college. Students and parents focus on the big college numbers that are causing so much trouble: tuition, fees, room and board and forget there are a bunch of little incidentals that, when taken cumulatively, add up to big dollars.

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