Friday, March 7, 2008

Practical Money Saving Tips

Here are some simple ideas that will save you a good chunk of change over the long run:

  1. Think twice about your coffee or tea habits. If you purchase this from your local coffee shop daily, why not bring it from home? Use a thermos and bring your daily dose with you to work. It will cost significantly less! Same goes for that snack you might buy with your coffee or tea.

  2. Do you really need all those "Frills"? By frills I mean extras. For example, do you pay extra for call waiting or call display? Do you really need 200+ TV stations? Why do you have more than one cell phone in your home? Think about it...everyone did just fine 20 years ago without all this stuff! Go over this and think...Do I really need this or is it just a "Want" or something "Cool". Separating this can save you a lot of money.

  3. Pay your credit card weekly! Don't wait an entire month as you will likely not save the money you may have set aside 3 weeks earlier. As you charge items on your credit card, pay it off ASAP! I personally pay mine within 2 days of every purchase so I know my balance is always 0!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Make a budget and stick to it!

If you want to save money, I truly believe you MUST have a budget. Without a budget to stick to, you can easily spend more money than you think. You don't need to be an accountant to put a budget together either! Just make it simple. Gather all your expenses and enter each one into a spreadsheet. Subtract them from your Revenue and make necessary changes to fit you. I include all my known expenses, which is anything that stays the same month over month. This includes my cable, Internet, insurance, etc. For other things such as gas or food, I make an educated guess, based on previous history and buffer in a few extra dollars to be safe.

Another thing I would try to avoid is using Interact or Debit cards to pay for your purchases. If my food allowance for a week was $100, it's much easier to keep track of this if I keep the cash on hand so I know what is left each time I go to the grocery store. If I use Debit, I find it a lot easier to lose track and over spend!

Put a budget together ASAP and I'll bet it will be much easier to manage your money. Good Luck.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A few tips and tricks to save money

  1. Get a voltage regulator. If you have a lot of AC power based electronics, use a voltage regulator to even out the amount of peak power you use at any time.

  2. Buy Used Furniture. Check out used furniture if you are in school or have your first place. This will save you a tonne up front and allow you to have the cash flow for the important bills.

  3. Take care of your health. That's right, take care of your health! Make sure you go for regular check ups, etc. This way if a problem is discovered it can be taken care of sooner rather than later, costing a lot less money.

  4. Ease up on the take out. Cook at home a little more often! It's healthier and much more cost efficient.

  5. Buy fresh fruits and veggies from your local farmers market. This will support your local growers and cost less than buying at the grocery store! Farm fresh produce is much tastier too!

Friday, February 22, 2008

5 Tips To Put Money In Your Pocket

There are many different ways you can keep a few extra dollars in your pocket without changing your lifestyle in any way. I've managed to save a few thousand dollars over the years with the following tips:

  1. Turn things off when you are done using them. This includes computers, TV's, lights, video game consoles, etc. There is a lot of wasted $$$ because of people not doing this! This will not only save you money, but it will help the environment too!

  2. Review and streamline your expenses. Everyone has at least one thing they don't need. Cancel that subscription to the "Abs O Steele" magazine that you don't read anymore or the membership you don't use for the book club. If you do use a book club, try the library instead.

  3. Don't buy all brand name products. I.e. When you go grocery shopping, why not buy the no name ketchup or pickles, rather than Heinz or Bicks? Most of these products all taste the same or very similar. You may even like the no name product better. Give it a try.

  4. Walk or bike rather than drive. If it's possible, walk to the store or work or take your bike. Leave the car at home. You will again save money and the environment.

  5. When you are going away for a long period of time, lower your thermostat so you don't use as much heat. There is no need to keep your house at 72 degrees when you aren't around. Even better, buy a programmable thermostat and have it done automatically for you

If you implement these tips you will start to see the savings very quickly.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Clean Out The Closet

Why not clean out the closet? Better yet, the house and the garage! Gather up all the items you no longer use or require and plan a yard sale. You could also go the route I prefer and sell it online using sites like eBay and Amazon. According to eBay, the average household has $1500 worth of stuff to sell! That's a fair chunk of change to leave lying around don't you think? Last year, we moved and put the items aside that we would like to get rid of. So far we have sold about $500 worth online and we still have stuff to sell.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Before You Purchase, Consider This

Before I go and buy anything I like to understand what I consider the true cost to be. Let's say I want to buy a Big Screen TV. This is definitely a want item, not a need. If the cost of the TV is $1000 and I make $20/hr it will take me 50hrs of work before I can buy this TV. I've excluded taxes from my pay, which will mean it will take longer to have $1000 net, but you get the picture. Now I ask myself the question, is the TV worth 50hrs of my life??? If I'm awake for 15hrs a day, the other 9 is sleeping, this represents over 3 days of my life! Ponder this the next time you go to make a purchase.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Save Money / Save Energy / Save The Environment Part 1

Saving energy around your home is easier than you think; often without spending a cent! Here are some proven tips that will start saving you money immediately. That's money you can spend on something else, and you'll also be doing a lot of good for the environment.

  1. In the cold season (s), reduce your home a few degrees at night or when you are away. In the warm season (s), increase you Air Conditioner a few degrees.
  2. Close blinds, shades and drapes during the hottest part of the day in the summer and open southfacing blinds on sunny winter days!
  3. Clean or replace the air filter on your furnace every month. This will improve the furnace efficiency.
  4. If you feel a bit cool, rather than turning up the thermostat, put on a sweater.
  5. Use area rugs on cold floors or wear slippers. If your feet are cold, your body will feel cold.
  6. Plant a tree! Plant leafy (deciduous) trees on the sunny side of your house. During the summer they provide shade. In the winter they will shed their leaves to let the warm sunshine through. They may also provide an energy-saving windbreak.
  7. Turn off unnecessary lights in the house.
  8. Take a shower rather than a bath. Showers save a lot of hot water. A typical bath uses approximately 75 litres of hot water, while a 5-minute shower with an efficient showerhead will use about half of that.
  9. Use the vacation setting or turn off the water heater when you are out of town.
  10. Don't let your freezer (s) build up more than 6 mm of frost. Defrost regularly to keep freezers working their best.

Do you want to save on gas and the enviroment too? If so, here's a very interesting alternative to gas that you can implement on your current vehicle.

More energy saving tips to come...

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Tips To Pay Off Your Mortgage Fast - Part 2

Continued from Part 1. Here are some more tips that will help you to pay off your mortgage fast.

  1. Round up your payments! That's right, you can save a good chunk of money by rounding up a few dollars. I had a mortgage payment of $710.88 which I rounded to $725. The extra $14.12 per payment is now going directly to the principal. This will save you a few thousand bucks if you start this early on!
  2. Keep your payments the same if mortgage rates fall. If you are accustomed to paying $700 bi-weekly and you new mortgage rate lowers your payments to $675, keep paying the $700. Once again, the extra $25 each payment will go directly to the principal saving you a bunch in interest.
  3. Increase your payment if your income increases. If you receive a raise each year, I would suggest increasing your mortgage payment by that amount, unless you require the money elsewhere. This will have the same affect as the above scenarios. This year I received a raise that was equivalent to just over $2000. I divided this by 26 (this is the # of payments I make per year as I pay bi-weekly) and increased each payment by $79.18. This will shave a chunk off my payments over the course of my mortgage long run.

Stay tuned for more tips in the coming days as I will be posting part 3.

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