money saving tips

Making the Most of Your Income

Making the Most of Your Income

When managing your finances it is important to look at income and expenses alike. Often times we are burdened by the enormity of our expenses and can become saddened when we watch the expenses grow while our income remains the same. Although increasing your income is easier said than done, it is possible. All you need is a little diligence and creativity.

Turn Your Hobby into a Business

If you are someone who has a hobby as a crafter, there is no reason why you can’t make a little extra money. You do not need to go into mass production of what you create, but you do need to ramp up the quantity. Start by making a few extra items and showing them off to your friends, family, coworkers, church members, parents of your children’s friends, and anyone else you come in contact with. You do not need to be pushy, just proud to show off what you do. When you receive a compliment, mention that you do sell these items for a nominal fee.
In addition to exposing those around you, you can list your product on the internet. There are wonderful sites like ebay, Etsy, Craig’s List, and the like where you can post your products for free. All you need is an email address and a PayPal account. Pretty easy to get what you have out there to the world.

Make Money on Your Skills

Do you have skills that others can benefit from? If so, get the word out. Just like if you are attempting to sell a product, tell everyone about what you can offer. Post flyers, market yourself on Craig’s List, make some business cards and distribute them everywhere. You would be surprised as to what others are looking for to help them in life. People want someone who can organize, proofread, type, run errands, do yard work, go grocery shopping, help them move, or whatever else you can provide to others.

Reduce Your Expenses

Although reducing your expenses sounds easy, it can be a very painful experience. Reducing expenses means that you need to cut out some things in life and that may be something that you just don’t want to do. If you have cut out everything that you possibly can (cable, internet, magazine subscriptions, unused gym memberships, and the like), it may be time to look at changing some of your expenses. Really examine where your money is going and see if a change in who offers you your services can help. Look at your cell phone carrier and see if you can get a better deal from elsewhere. Examine your insurance policies and call around to see if you can get the coverage you need for a better price. Often times you can get better deals from other companies.

Income Increased – Now What…

Once you have additional income coming in and/or fewer expenses going out, you will need to determine what to do with what you have gained. Most people simply spend what they have saved instead of turning it into something useful. If you were meeting your financial needs before you increased your income, you should consider putting your money away for debt payoff or for an emergency fund. More money should not equal more spending, so be smart with your increased income. Although you should be smart with your money, don’t forget to take a little and reward yourself for all your hard work.
Most everyone gets to a point where they desire more money coming in and less going out. This can be achieved if you take the time to examine your situation and determine what you can do for yourself. Be creative and you will surly find yourself with at least a few extra dollars in your pocket.

Jerry Edgars is a financial consultant and often recommends getting car insurance from Kanetix Canada.

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Is the Low Cost of Fast Food Worth the Price?

Is the Low Cost of Fast Food Worth the Price?

The eternal debate over whether it’s cheaper to stay at home and prepare your own food versus going out to a restaurant does not appear to have lost any ground. In fact, the rise of online social networking usage among Americans has only managed to propagate the flames of discussion. Food and money are two of the most talked-about topics in the social media realm. People love to share their thoughts about the intersection of culinary and monetary topics.

General wisdom has always championed the art of saving money by staying home. The rationale behind this belief mostly applies to Western nations where free market philosophies and capitalism have taken root. It makes sense to think this way since it can be assumed that, as a business enterprise, a restaurant solely exists to make money by luring hungry people out of their homes. A family of four can stay home and enjoy a lovingly prepared pasta dinner instead of heading out to Luigi’s. In this case, Luigi has clearly not made any money from that family, but it doesn’t mean the family has not spent any money at all.

A tenet shared by many restaurateurs is that, in order to break even, a menu must price its meals items at least 300 percent higher than the cost of acquiring the recipe ingredients. That means that if a pasta dinner for four at Luigi’s is priced at $32, Chef Luigi must have spent less than $10 on ingredients if he stands to make any profit. We know that Chef Luigi buys bulk ingredients from distributors, therefore, he gets much better prices than a family shopping for groceries at a supermarket.

Surely a family can buy enough ingredients to prepare pasta for four under $32, thus tilting the scale of the argument in favor of staying home, but this doesn’t take into account several aspects of cooking at home. Just like Chef Luigi has overhead expenses to worry about, so does the family cooking at home. There are energy costs to consider, like driving to the grocery store and powering the electric or gas stove. Then there is the cost of maintaining the kitchen, which is basically tantamount to maintaining an adequate roof over the head of the family. Is it then really cheaper to stay at home and cook?

A large social media contingent likes to point out that major fast-food chains are able to keep some of their menu items on sale for less than one dollar, while there aren’t too many items that can be purchased at the supermarket for under a dollar. This contingent explains that mindset: Instead of staying home or going to Luigi’s, a family could save a lot by going to their local fast-food franchise. Unfortunately, fast foods are rarely healthy alternatives, however.

High food and energy prices tend to affect families more than established businesses like Luigi’s. Giant fast-food chains are more adept at doing business than Chef Luigi. But for all the corporate moxie that fast-food conglomerates practice, they can’t beat the cheerful experience of sitting down with family to enjoy a home-cooked dinner.

Start Saving for College!

Start Saving for College!

You cannot know what lies ahead. In ten years time you could have a thriving career in your intended field, you could be in a completely different discipline from the one in which you graduated, or you could find yourself unemployed for any number of reasons. If you are not careful, by the time it takes you to graduate college you can find yourself with piles of debt and no way to even start to pay it off. These are all reasons why it is absolutely essential to start saving now, while you are in college. There are a number of ways in which you can do this, what follows are a couple.

1. Open a Savings Account
Most banks offer you the chance to open a savings account. What this usually means is that a small portion of your account will be transferred and kept in savings so that you can start to build up a fortune of your own. You don’t have to devote chunks of your wages to savings if you start saving now, it can be as little as a dollar, and by the time you want to retire, you have saved up enough to do so without difficulty. We don’t know what the economic future of the country will be, but you do not want to get to the age when you would like to be retired, and find that you are unable to do so. If you start saving now, you will be glad that you did in years to come.

2. Be Frugal
At the best of times we should be watching what we spend, but in college it is even more important. You may think that those gold-plated sneakers are a good idea when you are buying them, but your bank account (and feet) will regret it later. Cut out any spending on anything non-necessary. That is not to say that you cannot treat yourself once in a while, but make sure that it is not every day or even every week. You can even cut back on spending for necessary items. Watch the amount of time that you eat out each week, and look for ways to save money when you are buying groceries.

If you start to save money now, you will be thankful for it later. It may seem like it can wait until you are older and have a career, but it will be less painful if you are prepared for the future and make wise money choices now. And even if you do win the lottery or come into an inheritance, you will be happy that you learned money-saving techniques when you needed them, so that you can reap the benefits when you don’t.

About the Author

Rachel is a writer for My Colleges and Careers can help you from saving for college to helping you find the right college to help you get the top careers.

March into Spring Cleaning and Save Money

March into Spring Cleaning and Save Money

Six Ways to Save Money Each WorkdayHave you ever taken the time to add up the regular purchases you make each workday? All those little items — your morning coffee, lunch from the caf or the trendy takeout around the corner, an afternoon trip to the nearest vending machine for a snack, a soda for your ride home add up fast. Imagine what you could save per day, week, month and year by simply eliminating these little daily luxuries. Wouldn’t it be more satisfying to put the money toward a vacation, new clothing, or something for your home? Here are several easy ways to save money every day, with very little sacrifice.

Pack a Lunch

Eating out for lunch every day can be unhealthy for your body as well as for your wallet. Healthy choices are often hard to come by at lunch for those who opt for quickness and convenience over health. You can save your hard-earned money by bringing your lunch from home. Pack dinner leftovers, make a fresh salad or healthy sandwich, or pack a selection of fruits, vegetables, yogurt and cheese. The savings will add up immediately.

Brew Your Own Coffee

Eliminate your morning coffee run altogether by brewing at home. Fill a large thermos and pack it in your workbag to keep you supplied during the day. If necessary, invest in some delicious whole-bean coffee from the grocery store. Your own delicious brew will cost less than buying from your local coffee shop every single day.

Eat Healthy Snacks

Pack a few healthy, protein-based snacks from home to avoid afternoon junk-food cravings. Bring a piece of fruit, whole-grain crackers, low-fat cheese slices, or nuts. These healthier options will curb your cravings for sugary or salty food, and they will keep you satisfied until dinner.

Get Creative With Groceries

If you are not in the habit of clipping coupons, start now. You can save substantially on groceries by using online coupons or checking out the weekly flyer at your local grocery store. Make a menu and a shopping list based on the week’s sale items. Many people start out small by clipping a few coupons here and there. It doesn’t take long for the satisfaction of saving money each week to take over. Before you know it, grocery shopping will become an interesting challenge rather than a mundane chore.

Cancel Subscriptions

Instead of spending money on daily, weekly or monthly newspaper and magazine subscriptions, get your information the modern way. Multiple newspapers are available online for free, and many other websites offer up-to-the-minute news information. Hit the local library to peruse those favorite publications that aren’t available for free online.

Track Expenses

Record all purchases you make, or save all your receipts, to total at the end of every day. You might be surprised at the grand total, or perhaps you will be proud of what you didn’t spend. Either way, when you consciously track every cent you spend, you become aware of your spending habits and can adjust them accordingly.

Leave Your Car at Home

Save money by walking, biking, or taking the bus or train to work. Maybe this won’t work every day of the week, but you could begin by trying it once or twice a week. The savings in gas will add up quickly.

You can save time, energy and money by implementing these few easy tips. Your wallet will enjoy the money saving

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.

10 Easy Money Saving Tips on Groceries!

10 Easy Money Saving Tips on Groceries!

Times are tough and many of us are doing all we can to tighten our belts and keep a close eye on our budgets; everything from spending less on entertainment to not traveling very far due to fuel prices Another major expense is the cost of food You’ve probably heard all over the news that the cost of food has been consistently rising for months straight; and besides hearing it, you’ve probably felt it in the bank account as well.

Although times are tough for many there are some important things you should know about shopping at the grocery store In this article I will share with you some things that I’ve learned since tightening our belts at our home.

1. Shop at the cheap stores.
The best prices overall are usually found at the discount stores Often times they are “Big Box” stores, however places like that can purchase their items at a lower cost, therefore pushing those savings on to you

2 Be Smart about Circulars/Advertisements and remember the coupons out there!
Not all items that are in circulars are necessarily on sale A good thing to know is that manufacturers pay to have their products in a circular because it boosts their sales up to 500% even if there is no price cut Keep your eyes open for that Sunday paper they are usually packed full of coupons to use for 30-90 days on average Even though saving 35 cent on one item may not seem like a lot, it adds up quickly if used on multiple items.

3 Avoid store take-outs
Watch out for the end of the isle bins, displays or recipe-related items and their placement…especially the middle shelf items Much of the time bargains are often on lower shelves!

4 Be color-blind
Stores and manufacturers often use colors to persuade the shopper to choose one brand over another Attempt to ignore colors and check out the individual unit prices so you can truly compare the items intelligently.

5 Slice, dice and chill it yourself!
Prepackaged items that are packaged in convenient independent ways are usually always overpriced!  I suggest purchasing the item in a bigger package or even in bulk and packaging it up yourself Sandwich bags are great for this or even the kitchen appliances you can purchase to remove the air from the plastic bags are great for freezing or simply vacuum packing things up to keep fresh! Chilled drinks are also priced higher.

6 Try store brands.
Much of the time store brands are exactly the same as the big brands, just hidden in other packaging Try the store brands, if you and your family enjoy them then you can save up to 50% on many items! How great is that?!

7 Limit your impulse buys.
Do you write out a shopping list? If not, start to do so and stick to the list If you’ve forgotten something on the list, allow yourself a certain dollar amount, say $10 so you can still get what you want/need, but won’t over extend yourself.

8 Ask for a deal!
Have you been practicing your negotiation skills?  A great, easy way to do that is asking a store to match the price or coupon of a competitor Let’s face it, there are stores that have everything from automotive parts to sewing supplies, if we don’t have to drive from store to store to get all the good deals, why do it? Advertising in the recent weeks have shown a major “big box” store stating that they will match other store’s prices Pick your favorite store and see if they too will match prices! It can’t hurt…only help, so try it.

9 Don’t leave your store membership card at home.
These little cards can save you big bucks at the checkout They are easy to store and more convenient than clipping coupons.

10 Watch the scanners.
Make sure you are watching the items that are being scanned Mistakes can be made by the person doing the scanning, or even the machine itself so keep an eye on both By doing so you can prevent any over charging that may accidentally occur.

By utilizing these great 10 tips you will be sure to have more money Enjoy your summer and if you really want to save money on fresh produce, my favorite recommendation is plant a garden! If it’s too late to do it this year, I would recommend doing so next year Not only is the food free, it’s more delicious than store bought produce Here’s to saving at the grocery store!

Lisa Harris Gore is an Award Winning Educator, Wellness Consultant and is a regular contributor for the health and nutrition website – one of the web’s top retailers of Cosamin ASU – a hip, joint, and sore muscle supplement for those ailing from joint and muscle pain.

High Street Money Saving Tips

High Street Money Saving Tips

Unfortunately, we are in a global recession and many of us are still feeling the heat of this. Whilst the economic downturn rages on, you may be surprised to learn that there are many things you can do to actually save on your monthly expenses without having to sacrifice the things that you love and enjoy doing.

For many people, hitting the high street is not just about buying new stuff; it’s about feeling good and being sociable. In this article we look at 3 ways in which you can save money yet continue to do the things you love!

1. Clothes shopping

It had to be number 1 didn’t it! Everybody loves splashing out on some new clothes, but unless you are something of a fashionista you probably don’t care too much for the very latest trends. This means you have a whole world about to open up in front of you in the form of charity shops and market stalls.

Buying second hand clothing is NOT the negative thing is may be perceived to be. In fact, it requires a more creative mindset. Think about it – instead of splashing out on the latest lines fed to you by the high street chains, why not take a more creative stance and shop around to create your own outfits? It’s not just clothing either; high quality apparel can be found in second hand stores.

2. Food shopping

If you have yet to go to your local food market, you are seriously missing out. Particularly if you want to buy fruit and vegetables; this is so much cheaper than retails stores and it’s often produced locally too!

Many times I have shopped at the market and spent less than £10 on a large back of fruit and vegetables. This would have cost me at least £20 in a supermarket!

3. Bills

It would be easy to suggest that you simply cut down on your energy usage but this is not always practical, especially if you have a family to care for. Instead consider how much you could save by switching suppliers.

The competitiveness of the energy industry means that providers are always trying to get you to switch to them, and they’re often more than happy to charge you LESS than what you currently pay – so take advantage of this!

Keep your eyes peeled for offers from mainstream energy suppliers and you will be pleasantly surprised at just how much you can save in the long term.

So there you have it – 3 great tips for saving money in this awful recession. Spend well, but have fun doing it!

If you find yourself struggling for short term money, find out how logbook loans can tide you over. Pay it back quickly however, as interest can mount up!

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