Archive for August 2009

9 Ways To Save Money NOW

  1. Obtain new auto/homeowner's/renter's/motorcycle/boat/etc. insurance quotes from at least three companies – HERE is a great way to get those quotes.
  2. Use coupons when shopping for groceries and use them when the products are on sale (I really like – it is FREE!)
  3. Before purchasing anything on-line, ALWAYS go to to see if a discount code is available.
  4. Dump the home phone (or try out the magicJack – costs around $20/year)
  5. Dump the cable
  6. Before purchasing anything – use a price comparison website to see where you can purchase that item for the cheapest price (like FRUCALL)
  7. Rent movies from RedBox – they are only $1/day (but you can get FREE rentals if you visit – see #3)
  8. Be flexible and use or to negotiate travel costs.
  9. Drink water from the water fountain instead of from a plastic bottle that costs $1 or more.

What other saving ideas can you share with us?

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SERIES: Strategies For Saving Money

Part Three  Establish Accountability

Find someone who is (1) winning with money, (2) not trying to sell you something, and (3) are available to help you and ask them to hold you accountable to your saving goal.  I have seen some people go to the extreme length of actually giving the money to the other individual to hold for them because they cannot trust themselves to keep their own hands off of it.

Accountability can also be created by your written spending plan that you prepare every month before the month begins (you do prepare one, right?).  This plan helps cement your goals in your mind and helps you connect the fact that if you spend money on unplanned items, you will literally be robbing yourself of your savings goals.

I am married – this means I have built-in accountability.  Jenn is a huge saver.  She keeps me (the spender) in control. Establish accountability – it works!

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SERIES: Stategies For Saving Money

Part Two  Create An Escrow Account For Known, Upcoming Expenses

For those unfamiliar with an escrow account, it is a savings account that is generally established by a mortgage company.  The mortage company totals the annual cost of property taxes and homeowner's insurance and divides it by the number of payments being made each year.  The mortgage company then pays for the taxes and insurance from this escrow (savings) account.  For example, if the property taxes are $1,200/year (sorry Chicago folks – this is how low they are in the South) and the insurance is $600, then the total amount needed each year is $1,800.  The mortgage company will collect $150 extra with each monthly payment to place into the escrow account.

An escrow account smooths out the cost over a year – instead of having to pay for it all in one month.  It tightens the monthly budget, but having a fully funded escrow account sure is AWESOME when vacation arrives and the money has already been saved to pay cash for it!  Those who have a mortgage with an escrow account will testify to the fact that they never worry about paying for the taxes and insurance – ask someone!

Take a moment to read THIS POST about how to calculate the amount you need to save each month for your known, upcoming expenses.

Take it from one who has lived it – if you do not plan for your known, upcoming expenses, your ability to save money will be tremendously hampered!

SERIES: Stategies For Saving Money

One of the largest issues I see during our one-on-one financial counseling meetings is the inability to save money. Saved money is essential to long-term sustainability.  Saved money relieves stress.  Saved money allows you to take a chance.  Saved money allows life to happen (job loss, disability, pay cut, injury, etc.).

But you already knew that part.  Yet, even though we KNOW how important it is to save money, most people fail to do so.  This series will focus on PROVEN techniques that have allowed many people to save money.

If you have negative savings (no money plus overdrafted accounts and debt), the goal is to bring you to zero.  If you are at zero, the goal is to get to at least $2,500.  If you have been able to save a substantial amount of money, it is my hope that you will participate in the discussion and share your own tips that have worked well for you!

Part One  Automatic Draft From Paycheck

Establish a savings account and have the money drafted from every single paycheck.  Whether it is $25 or $250 per pay period – just SAVE!  You KNOW that the car is going to break down.  You KNOW that the school is going to send home a surprise expense.

By establishing this draft, it allows the money to be "out-of-sight."  When money is out-of-sight, it can be out-of-mind.  This allows the account to grow without being robbed.

Now, I personally had a problem with this when I did not have a monthly budget.  I would ROB my own savings account about 2.1 microseconds after I was paid.  Only after I had a plan developed that Jenn and I agreed to did my savings account begin growing in a healthy manner.

How about you?  Do you have an automatic draft for your savings account set up from your pay check?

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How To Save Money On Groceries

I am a huge fan of learning from others and that is why I am sharing the following links today.  I want you to take the five minutes to learn from these individuals on how they are saving a TON of money on groceries using coupons.  I personally have been using the same methods and regularly save between 35% and 60% on my grocery bill – on stuff that I was going to buy anyway!  It takes thirty minutes or so to prepare a list, but it is worth it to save $30 – $50 on my grocery bill.  That is a great hourly wage!

  • The Saving Freak shares a recent success story HERE.  Read some of his strategies HERE and HERE.
  • Jenny at Southern Savers writes about it every single day.  She has swiftly become a must-use resource before visiting the grocery store – especially if you are in the South.  A great place to start is reading the FREE guides she has written HERE.

If you are paying retail price at the grocery store, you are wasting hard-earned money.

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