Frugal

4 Things Our Grannies Taught Us

4 Things Our Grannies Taught Us

For the forty somethings out there, you’ll probably remember (especially if you live in the UK) quite a few things which your granny or granddad taught you which you don’t have the time or inclination to do nowadays… Stay with us while we have a stroll through some of these things and discuss if what Granny taught us is worth reviving!

1). Brilliant Money Saving Granny Tips – Wine and Preserves

Nowadays, most of us get our wine and jam from the Supermarket, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll have grown up with every summer being an orgy of fruit picking, brewing and pickling, which had a two-fold benefit over the modern consumerist approach: Doing these things yourself saves heaps of money, it creates food which is much, much better for your insides and of course there is the real pleasure of creating something which tastes far better than anything you can get from a supermarket!

Of course, wine-making and the creation of preserves and pickles requires a whole heap of knowledge, but if you’re the sort of person who loves ‘getting your hands dirty’ this is one way to both save money and give real meaning to your food. There’s nothing better than having a glass of your own home-made wine with a nice crusty loaf and some of your own jam or preserves. What’s more, if you use something like elderberry or wild redcurrants then the actual fruit is available for free… you just have to track down a source!

2). Fix Your own Clothes – Darning Socks

We’ve all been there – you have socks which you wear from year to year. Eventually, with all the wearing and washing, socks have a tendency to develop holes in the toes. I can remember my granny spending hours darning socks – basically using wool and a needle to fix the holes. This meant that the socks took on a sort of life of their own, became almost organic in nature and changed over the years. Actual equipment to achieve this feat is very low tech and consists of a large needle and some appropriate thread or yarn, but the results speak for themselves with long-lasting socks which never need replacing. Perhaps not one for the fashion conscious, but for those who value their cash more than fashion a great one to remember!

3). Use Every Part of the Animal

It always staggers me that supermarkets today offer such a small range of the choicest cuts of meats and tend to shy away from offering any of the less attractive parts of an animal. You’ll see meat laid out all shiny and red (mainly because these cuts of meat are sprayed or painted to make them look enticing!) but you very rarely, unless you go to a specialist butcher, see things like heart, kidneys or brain. These parts of the animal can, ironically, produce some of the tastiest food, yet because of modern culture we’re not offered these parts of the animal. Nowadays, with meat costing so much, it makes sense to use these cheaper parts of the animal – try liver and bacon casserole and tell me it isn’t delicious!

4). Learn To Knit!

Most of our grannies were all well versed at knitting, infact it was positively encouraged during the war years. It’s something which the normal person in the street wouldn’t have the first clue about now, yet this most practical of hobbies gives so much whilst allowing the creation of totally unique clothing… and of course the cost savings are enormous over actually buying knitted clothes! For the price of one knitted jumper from a high street fashion shop you can create three jumpers yourself – all that’s required is time and patience and some nice yarn, a couple of needles and a knitting pattern. Once you know the basic steps required to knit you can knit whilst watching TV, relaxing or in bed. Perfect!

Pack Lane Wool offer a large range of knitting yarns from Noro Yarns, crochet equipment and a whole host of materials for all sorts of crafts.


8 Great Apps for Managing Personal Finances

8 Great Apps for Managing Personal Finances

Spending money is easy. Keeping track of the money in our accounts is the hard part. In today’s digital world, much banking is done online. Many people take advantage of banking technology by having their paychecks automatically deposited into their accounts each month. Others sign up for automatic bill pay for all of their monthly bills. These modern conveniences make it easy to keep up with our finances. However, if we don’t always see the cold, hard cash leave our wallets, it can be too easy to overspend or not be aware of all our purchases. With tax season approaching, many people are flailing to gather receipts and account for yearly spending. Get your finances in order with the help of one of these apps for your smartphone.

Mint

This free app for Android, iPhone and iPad devices lets you keep track of your entire financial life in one spot. Receive alerts when bills are due, track your monthly budget, or create savings goals. Easily access your financial information in graph form.

Pageonce

Pageonce is a versatile app, available for all smartphones including Android, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Windows Mobile. View your finances on user-friendly graphs and charts, receive alerts when bills are due, or program the app to warn you when you are about to overspend.

EasyMoney

EasyMoney is an app for Android users only. It features a wide range of tools to keep your entire financial life in order. You can track all of your spending by category. It has the ability to photograph receipts or check registers, allowing you to keep them organized with the rest of your finances. You can try it free for 30 days.

Pocket Money

Pocket Money works with iPhones and iPads. This thorough app leaves no financial stone unturned. Enter every amount spent, or you can set it up to track those monthly expenses that never change. Purchase the Photo Receipts plug-in to easily input your miscellaneous spending. Desktop versions are also available for Mac, Windows and Linux.

MoneyStrands

This app for the iPhone allows you to set up a budget and helps you stick to it. You can view all of your accounts in one place and set it up to receive alerts when bills are due.

Gift List Budget Shopper

This iPhone app is for those who love to shop. The app will help you budget for gifts you intend to purchase, plan shopping trips, and help you search for products via the Internet. There is even a feature for tracking greeting cards.

CheckPlease Lite

CheckPlease Lite is a simplistic app for iPhones. The app can divide the guest check evenly when you are dining out with friends and calculate the tip. It is available in four languages and currencies.

BillMinder

This app organizes all of your monthly bills in calendar format so you can easily see what’s due, how much and when. Use BillMinder for iPhone or iPad to always be on the same financial page as your spouse or other household members. The app will sync with multiple devices, so you can all access the same up-to-date information.

Smartphones open up all sorts of new possibilities for managing and handling your personal finances. Take advantage of these to stay organized and save money. Visit billeater.com four more helpful Money-saving tips.


Do You Need to Make a Financial Change?

Do You Need to Make a Financial Change?

Do you feel like you need to make changes? Is your budget just not working out? You might not feel comfortable with your income and expenses, or be unsure how to approach money. If you need a change, here are some questions that can help you get on track and find your way.

Where Am I?

Evaluating where you currently stand is essential before any other financial steps that you are considering. Even on a small scale, this is true; how would you compare car insurance rates without first evaluating what type of car insurance you need? Take the following points to get you started:

  • What is your debt situation? Take a look at your debt-to-income ratio, how your debt is spread out (i.e. in credit cards or personal loans, at a variety of interest rates?), and so forth.
  • Consider your savings goals. Do you have certain financial goals that you wish to meet? Are you on target to meet them?
  • How do you organize everything? Do you have an efficient system for keeping your budget, accounts, and important documents in order?

Note that some ways to improve your finances are complementary to one another. In the last point above, simply changing the way you budget can help you get more organized, and in turn produce financial results.

What Do I Do First?

Rome wasn’t built in a day. While it might take time to conquer debt and get a truly comfortable hold on your finances, there are always ways to take small steps to your goals.There is one tip that doesn’t involve anything special: it begins with your budget. Once you start devising your budget, take a step-by-step look at your finances and where there is opportunity to save money. By keeping up to date with your insurance options, credit card choices, and your general living expenses, you can take a systematic approach to managing your money.

Look at your familiar problem areas, and also any that you haven’t addressed in some time. If you haven’t, for instance, taken the time to compare car insurance rates in the past –or just haven’t done it recently– then perhaps there’s an opportunity to find a lower premium if you look around. From saving to investing money, you might be able to identify relatively simple ways to help right your financial ship, so to speak.

“Can I Do That Myself?”

Yes, you usually can! It’s often a matter of motivation. There are some poor personal finance habits that are caused by a lack of financial know-how. Maybe disorganization and a poor memory are to blame, in part or in full, for other financial woes. Both these problems can be remedied if you apply yourself to picking up the skills you need. Consistency and motivation make up one of the most important dynamic tandems in personal finance. Keeping yourself on track and moving forward is very important for success.

Spend some time on a complete overhaul of your finances. Look at ways to save money, get out of debt, and make your money work for you with term deposits or other savings and investments. At the end of the day, your success will come down to organization and execution. You need to stay motivated and consistent, and simply keep working toward your goals one step at a time.

What will it take to improve your finances? Whether you think you need an extra job, or just a tweak to your budgeting methods, what needs to change? Start asking yourself some financial questions to figure out your way forward.

Citations:

This article is by personal finance blogger Brian Neese, who shares his car insurance comparison tips and term deposit rates updates online to help ordinary people save and make money.


New Software to Run your Finances

New Software to Run your Finances

Economy seems to have been the buzz word for the last couple of years. Everyone is paying more attention to the economy, their jobs, and especially their finances. With technology on the rise, and their prices getting more affordable, many are turning towards tech to help keep their finances in order and save as much money as possible.

The economy’s future is unknown, but your finances and budget don’t have to be. If you are also turning to your computer or smartphone to help manage your finances, then you should consider the software and apps you will need in order to stay organized. Here is some of the most popular software to keep you on top of your finances.

You Need a Budget:

YNAB is personal finance software that implores 4 rules of budgeting. Each rule is implemented in the software as well as teaches you how to look at your money differently. These rules include giving each dollar a job, save for a rainy day, roll with the punches, and stop living paycheck to paycheck. More than just a system for their software, these rules can be applied to everyday spending.

The software shows you how to create your budget and stick with it. You can import your bank statements to see where your money is going, where it has been, and how much you are saving. The software remembers everything from your normal bills, to the larger infrequent payments that need to be made. There is even an iPhone and Android app available for managing your budget on the go. You can try it for free, but the full version of the software is $60 and is available for Mac and Windows.

Manilla:

This is an online service that basically puts all of your bills in one place. By adding all of your accounts, Manilla will show balances due, payments that have been made and reminds you of when your payments are coming up. You can easily track all of your utilities and other bills with one password. This service is meant to help avoid late fees and overdraft charges by offering an easier way to view your monthly bills. Currently Manilla is n beta and is free to sign up.

AceMoney:

Since Microsoft Money is no longer supported or upgraded, many are looking for full featured software to replace it. AceMoney is one of those software suites. It is a cheap solution that offers downloadable transactions, budgeting, and investment tracking, plus much more. The software tracks your spending habits and shows you how to budget your money more effectively. You can view reports in AceMoney or export it to your favorite spreadsheet format.

Buxfer:

This software does it all. It allows you to upload reports from your accounts, track payments, and even set spending limits. If there is more than one in the family with access to your accounts, you can even track shared expenses and spending. For those who want to keep an eye on your budget while on the go, there is an iPhone app available to see where your finances stand no matter where you are.

Either the economy needs to improve or we need to improve our budgeting. If your finances are on your mind, look to technology and the many different software suites available for managing your personal budget and spending. Take the small amount of time it takes to enter your account information and yield the rewards of a better financial future.

Author Thomas Hathaway is a finance consultant and contributor for payday loans uk, a site that provides more information and cash advances when you need an advance on your regular paycheck.


7 iPhone Apps for the Frugal Mom

7 iPhone Apps for the Frugal Mom

As if moms today aren’t busy enough raising kids, working full time jobs, taking care of the household, and committing to countless other obligations, we are often responsible for managing family finances. If you’re anything like me, you make it a personal mission to provide everything your loving family needs while spending the absolute minimum.

You probably cut corners by not treating yourself to clothing and accessories, buying secondhand items, and never even touching an item that isn’t boasting a sale tag. There are so many ways to save money today, but it often requires a lot of time and motivation–luxuries we aren’t often afforded. Thankfully, there are several new apps for the iPhone that will make saving money fun, easy, and quite possibly addictive.

Bill Tracker

This app lets you input all of your monthly bills to help keep track of outgoing funds. It will remind you of upcoming due dates, and you can easily keep track of all your bills in one convenient place. You never have an excuse for late payments again, and you will save so much by eliminating late fees.

Mint.com Personal Finance

Manage all aspects of your financial life with Mint.com’s app. Get easy access to all of your checking, savings or credit card accounts. This app will even categorize your transactions, and create a personal budget for you, based on your spending habits. It does require a PIN number, so users don’t have to worry about financial confidentiality.

Save Benjis

This app is a bargain shoppers dream, saving you time as well as money. With its built-in bar scanner technology, it will scan any item you are looking at in the store, and then give you all available internet prices for the same item. If you find a better bargain, you can purchase the item right from your phone, and rest assured that you got the best possible deal around.

Yard Sale Mapper

Forget sifting through the weekly paper with your highlighter, marking all upcoming yard sales, and then carefully mapping your routes on that worn, city map you got when you moved in. This app gleans information from Craigslist.org and YardSaleTreasureMap.com to highlight all of the best sales in your designated area.

Gas Buddy

Count the number of times you’ve filled up your tank with gas, and then cursed as you drove around the corner to find gas three cents cheaper. The Gas Buddy app will have you tallying up the savings, because it uses GPS technology to find the cheapest gas in your current location. It will also provide a map to get you there quickly and easily.

Rue La La

When you want to splurge on clothing and accessories for yourself without the guilt, Rue La La saves the day by giving you access to all the latest sales, deals, and steals. It will even notify you of upcoming sales events, so you can be sure to get the best price on that item you’ve had your eye on for months.

My Supermarket

Spend less on necessary grocery items by using the My Supermarket app. The app turns your phone into a bar scanner, and will give you a list of prices on the same item in different locations. You can also use the app in conjunction with Tesco Price Checker. If you find an item cheaper than what the app found, Tesco offers a refund in the amount double the difference in prices.

Jessica Bosari manages the money-saving site, Billeater.com, where you can find answers to your questions about free money for bills, saving money on home phone bills, getting discount theater tickets and more.


The Unexpected Costs of Living

The Unexpected Costs of Living

Life is full of mysterious setbacks and hiccups. Especially when it comes to finances, nothing is for certain and nothing should be taken for granted. A healthy financial plan should take unexpected costs into consideration, because so many times in life we find ourselves paying money for things we didn’t expect. These are called contingencies and a fraction of your Visa debit card balance should be set aside to pay for them. The following is a short list of unexpected but common occurences that you could find yourself subsidizing and what to do should they happen:

Car accident. One of the great risk/reward, promise/peril dichotomies of modern living is driving an automobile. Its usefulness to business, commerce, and personal convenience is widely established, yet within a period of just a few seconds, you can find yourself in the hole for thousands of dollars because of a single errant turn of the steering wheel. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death and also one of the leading costs of insurance. If you get into a car accident, immediately contact your car insurance company. If you can afford it, increase your deductibles in order to reduce your premium. Also, drop unnecessary coverage features.

Personal injury. A broken leg, deep cut, or surgery can cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills. Ideally, you’ll have health care insurance to balance out these costs. If not, you could find yourself in debt for years, possibly decades. Even with health care, the deductibles for some plans are up to $500 or more and that’s not counting the added costs of physical therapy, additional surgeries, and the time you may need to take off from work in order to recuperate. Our bodies are fragile and a major injury could happen any day. You don’t need to be paranoid, just financially prepared. It may be worth hiring a personl injury attorney. Often times you can be awarded significant amounts of medical subsidies from the courts. At the very least, contact your health care insurer and find out what procedures will and won’t be covered.

The vagaries of Wall Street. For anyone who invested significant amounts of money in stocks in the past decade, the fluctuations of the market are no surprise. Many people lost thousands of dollars, even their entire retirement plans when the economy crashed. Hopefully, this served as a lesson learned in the fragility of man-made systems. But for people who are persistent and keep investing in risky stocks, it’s good to be sure you’re not using money you can’t afford to lose. Investing in the stock market is no get-rich-quick scheme. Be patient and smart and look for promising penny stocks and stocks that pay healthy dividends.

We all know the normal costs of living. What can pass under the radar are the unexpected costs of living—freak accidents, injuries, market crashes and other anomalies that while unusual are somehow par for the course. Be smart and set aside a fund to help pay for these costs so they don’t liquidate your bank account.


The Festival of Frugality #321 Reviews

In order to save enough money it is important to practice frugal living. It is always good to save some extra bucks in order to prepare for emergency situations. Frugal living has other advantages too. You will be surprised to know how many innovative ways are there to manage your finances and earn some extra bucks. Read on to know this week’s Festival of Frugality hosted by the Financewand.

Kevin presents What Are You Doing to Turn Your Discomfort into Action? Posted at Invest It Wisely. Here it he has discussed in details about how you can feel social discomfort when you are in debt and lose out on peace of mind. The article also enlightens the readers about how to find out the source of your discomfort and get over with it.

Marissa presents Learning to invest posted at Thirty Six Months . Here she discusses about how you should invest and ways in which you can make your stock investment successful. You will also get to know how you should figure out your financial situation before you venture out into investment field.

Miss T presents Finding Your Dream Job and How to Land it posted at Prairie Ecothrifter . In this post she discusses about how you can find out what your dream job is and what kind of training or skills would be required in order to pursue it. The catch to the story is that you are even provided with solution as to what you can do if you find you don’t have the required qualifications for your dream job.

LHV presents January Progress Monitoring posted at Little House in the Valley. The post is about how the author makes a number of New Year’s resolution such as driving a bike at a certain speed and also saving money and keeps them. In the end the result of the attempts are also evaluated.

Aaron presents The Golden Rules of Sales Networking posted at Aaron Hung.com. He provides you with a few pointers on how to expand and increase contacts in a sales job after you have established them. This is necessary to succeed in a sales job.

YFS presents 5 Financial Tips I Learned From Watching MTV’s The Jersey Shore posted at Your Finances Simplified. As the name suggests, this post is about the things you should do in order to hike up your finances and increase your income.

Kylie presents Day 1 Setting a Budget posted at Kylie Ofiu. Here she discusses in details about how you can set your budget in a manner so as to minimize your costs.

Frugal Toad presents How to Acquire Business Financing with Bad Credit posted at The Frugal Toad. Here you will get to know the ways in which you can get capital for your business even if you have bad credit. This is important as most of the times you can’t get a loan with a bad credit on your account.


5 Ways to Be Frugal

5 Ways to Be Frugal

Being frugal does not imply that you are cheap, selfish or mean. You are only being frugal because you are trying to save for something specific or clear a certain bill. To stay focused, you have to write all your goals down and know what you want to achieve. Through a lot of commitment, you will be in a good position to meet all your goals.

1. How To Be Frugal
First of all, you should calculate the amount of all the cash that you have on hand, and how often you will receive more cash. Once you finish, you need to compile a list of all the things that you need. Then, go through it again to confirm that all of these things are actually necessities. Once you have made the confirmation, it is advisable that you start calculating the cost of the different commodities that you have listed. This way, you will know the amount of cash that you have to spend every month.

2. Start Shopping!

Look for stores that have free samples and discounts. The free samples will come in handy, and you will not have to spend a single cent on these items. By searching and asking around, you will be able to find different places where you can be given different kinds of samples. The best place that you can go to is online. Once you have subscribed to various listservs and emails (if you don’t want your email full of junk, open an account just for this), all the items will be sent to you through your mail. To keep getting the deals, you’ll have to renew the subscription.

3. Go Green!
Use energy-saving equipment. These include solar panels and energy-saving bulbs. When using a panel, you won’t have to make any electricity payments. This is because you will be getting your energy from the sun! Just.make sure that it has been installed in a place where it can be fully exposed to the sun.

4. Medicinal Cures

When buying medication, you will notice that the brand-name items are more expensive than the generic brands. If you are really trying as much as you can to use less cash every day, you should really purchase the generic medicine. They are effective, and so long as you follow the instructions carefully, you will be able to heal all the same.

5. Bonus Tip
To really be frugal, invest the cash you have saved on a lucrative project, some promising stocks or at least a good savings account. This way, you will be making more cash at the end of the day. After you’ve worked hard enough, you can finally reap the rewards!

Taylor Levine writes about frugality, travels extensively and frequents Homeownersinsurance.org.


3 Easy Ways to Get Frugal

3 Easy Ways to Get Frugal

There are a lot of things that one works hard to accomplish. No matter what your goals are, they’ll only be achieved if you are committed to seeing results. A great example is being frugal. The chances of saving a lot of money are only high if you are committed, confident and creative. All you have to do is to carefully think about a plan, then decide what you should and should not do when it comes to spending. From here on out, it’s only a matter of sticking to it!

Read these tips to guide you in your plans

1. Bills

Pay all your bills on time. By doing so, you will not have to pay extra charges. You should also do away with all unnecessary expenses. This way, you will have enough cash to have all the payments made on the day they are due and less bills to pay in the first place.

2. Budget

You have to come up with a budget. Make sure that you list everything that you cannot do without. You should then calculate the amount of cash that you are supposed to use in one month or week. Once you have it all down, you have strictly follow the budget. Only if you are true to the plan will you save any money.

3. Spend Less

Live below your income. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to spend a little more than you make each month, thinking you can pay it off later. Once you commit to this new method, you’ll be in a great position to actually save cash at the end of each month. Keep in mind, though, that if this is your only or primary method of getting frugal, you won’t see results right away. However, if you’re patient, you’ll see results after only a couple of months.

Through frugality, you will be in a good position to meet any financial goal. Maybe you need to put away more for retirement or college. Maybe you want to go on a trip down the road. Regardless, the best thing about frugality is that it’s a lifestyle choice. Like any healthy lifestyle choice, you’ll get used to your new, positive results.  This is perfect, because if you decide to splurge on a big trip someday, you’ll have the skills to save up for another trip after you’ve returned! Never stop being frugal – you’ll  be happy you listened to that little voice inside your head.


5 Money Saving Tips for Buying Groceries

5 Money Saving Tips for Buying Groceries

Saving money is important, but it takes more than just tucking away a portion of your paycheck to really be successful at it. Cutting corners to reduce your monthly bills, as well as other measures, such as spending less at the grocery store, are equally important. Here are some tips and hints to help you keep costs down when you head out to do your food shopping.

Use Coupons
You don’t have to be an extreme couponing master to take advantage of the money saving opportunities found in coupons, which can really make a significant difference in the total amount you spend at the grocery store. Your first, and often best, resource for coupons is still the Sunday edition of your local newspaper, but don’t forget to look into rewards programs and bonus shopping cards that might be offered by your favorite stores, and also check online for printable coupons. Great places to look are on manufacturer’s websites, and websites devoted to any favorite brands you might have, as well as your market’s website if they happen to have one. Another strategy for obtaining coupons is signing up for newsletters at these various websites, as they often feature money saving offers. If you’re concerned about the extra amount of email generated by this technique, you can create a separate folder just for this purpose and direct the mail straight into it, or, you can also create an entirely separate account specifically for them.

Purchase produce that’s in-season
If you’re craving a tomato in your salad in the middle of January, be prepared to pay substantially more for it than you would in the summer months. When you buy produce that’s been shipped in from wherever in the world it happens to be the proper growing season, not only are you paying more than you should, but you’re also taking part in a practice that’s damaging to the environment.

Plan your meals
We all know that it’s important to use a list when we go grocery shopping, and also to not shop when we’re hungry. Another effective way to avoid over spending is to create a weekly meal plan. Try sitting down at some point over the weekend, and working out a weeks worth of menus. You can then create a shopping list of necessary ingredients from the menu plan, fill in the blanks with other household items you might need, and you’re done!

Take full advantage of your freezer
Learn to “feed the freezer” at the same time you feed your family. Simply prepare more than you’ll need for each meal and freeze the extra portions for easy and quick meal options in the coming weeks. If you try this technique and find that you enjoy having the extra meals at hand, and if you have enough space, try Googling “once a month cooking” for a whole range of tips and tricks on how to prepare food in advance and stock your freezer to save money and time all month long.

Get gardening
It may seem like a foreign concept right now in the cold months of the year, but, spring really is right around the corner and there’s no time like the present to start planning a vegetable garden. Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge available online and in your local library if you’re a novice gardener, and make it your goal to enjoy fresh, delicious produce all summer long for a tiny fraction of what you would pay at the grocery store, or even at the farmer’s market, not to mention the satisfaction of knowing you grew it in your own soil with your own hands.

Keep these tips in mind to help you become more experienced at saving money on your grocery bill.


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