For most of us, our smart phones are only a money drain. We pay at least $40 per month, on a family plan, or up to hundreds per month for unlimited plans, to get our calls and internet wherever we are. We can use those phones, though, to save us money. Here are my favorite free money saving apps.
The end of the year is approaching and with it an excellent time to analyze your financial house and see what changes you’d like to make for the upcoming year. For some this might mean examining their spending for ways to save money. With a few tips you can be on the road to saving money and improving your financial health.
Finance “experts” often tell you to cut down on expenses at home, but they rarely have any useful advice on how to do it. Rather than give you the usual advice, today I am giving you specific steps you can follow to save money in the home for a long-term, big win.
I recently moved out of an apartment and into a condo. For a single guy like me, that means one thing: More parties at my place! My condo is the unofficial pregame and party headquarters for half a dozen of my closest friends. I love entertaining, and now that I don’t have to worry about a landlord, it’s easier than ever. But it’s also costlier than ever.
While saving on food is often a big priority, you can save money at the liquor store too. I hate spending money at the liquor store, so I came up with a few tricks to save cash while still making sure everyone has a good time and doesn’t think of me as stingy.
I can admit that I have been guilty of the occasional impulse buy. Impulse spending can add up fast, and usually leads to clutter that you don’t want, so it is important to know how to do it the right way.
The following is a guest post by Wayne at Young Family Finance. He writes to educate young families on the financial challenges of life, like paying your bills on time or choosing between daycare or stay at home parenting.
If you are thinking about getting married soon, chances are that you are trying to save money on your wedding. Weddings can be an expensive event to host, especially if you are getting married at a young age. If the bride’s parents are not paying for the wedding (and even if they are), you probably want to try and save every penny that you can. But where should you compromise and where to splurge? You may want to save money, but I doubt very few people are comfortable with sacrificing quality.
This post is by Melissa at Mom’s Plans and is part of a Yakezie blog swap based on the topic, “What is your best go green method to save money?” You can read my post on the same topic at Melissa’s blog.
When I graduated from graduate school, I was $20,000 in student loan debt and newly married. My job paid less than double the balance on my student loans, so money was very tight. My husband and I read The Tightwad Gazette and implemented many strategies to save money, most of which also turned out to be good for the environment. Yet, in a few years, we both became busy with work and school and children, and many of these frugal, green ways of living evaporated from our lives.
However, within the last year, I have discovered that I am both dairy and soy intolerant, and two of my three children are also dairy intolerant. There is very little processed food that I can now eat, and many restaurants are off limits because of their copious use of soy additives.
As a result, I have been spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen, resurrecting lost arts such as bread making. I have been unable to find ANY store bought bread that is free of both dairy and soy and doesn’t cost more than $3 a loaf. (I know I can buy specialty bread for $5 plus a loaf, but I really can’t justify the expense!) The more we continue to try to cut corners and prepare healthy foods, the more I realize how “green” it is to cooking the majority of our meals at home.
Take our two loaves of bread that we make weekly:
Because I make it so often, I bulk buy the flour in 25 pound bags and yeast in a 2 pound container at Costco. I do not know exactly how many loaves of bread we can make from those ingredients. Perhaps 40 loaves or more? The only waste we have is two wrappers, one for the flour and one for the yeast. If we bought 40 loaves of bread, that would be 40 bread wrappers that end up in a landfill.
However, the real difference comes in avoiding processed food. Our use of items that come in cans has decreased dramatically. Frozen meals with their cardboard packages and plastic trays and plastic covers are off limits because all of them contain soy.
I don’t know that I would have chosen this lifestyle just to avoid waste and become more frugal, but now that I have to eat this way, I am glad that we have made the change. Not only are we more environmentally friendly, we are also eating healthier, which, in the long run should also save us money on health bills and insurance. True, it does take a great deal of time to make the majority of my family’s food from scratch, but I consider it a hobby, and the taste of the food is infinitely better than frozen meals.
Photo from D’Arcy Norman.
Welcome to the newest installment of the Yakezie interview series. Today, we have questions answered by Jason at Live Real Now. Jason has been making major strides cutting his debt and has chronicled the journey at his site.
How did you get started in personal finance blogging? What was your inspiration?
In April 2009, my wife and I were on the verge of bankruptcy. We weren’t behind on anything, but we were in over our heads. While researching bankruptcy attorneys, I discovered Dave Ramsey and decided to give that a shot, first. For the next 6 months, I wouldn’t shut up about money and decided I should share my journey with the world and stop annoying my friends and family with it.
What changed in your financial life after you were married and had kids that was a surprise? If you could instill one financial value in your children, what would it be and why?
I was shocked by how much nickel and dime crap there was to pay for with our house. Everything from getting the sewer main snaked to replacing the screen in the window to buying gas for the snowblower to having to own a snowblower. It all costs money and adds up, but nobody ever thinks about that before they get a house. The one financial value I am trying to drill into my kids is a pure loathing for debt, specifically interest payments. Kids, don’t carry debt. If you can’t control yourself, don’t get credit cards!
On your site, you mentioned that you are trying to change your lifestyle. You are trying to get in shape and downsize your stuff. Have those efforts made a financial impact in your life? If you could start those efforts again today, what would you do differently?
I managed to cut my finances down pretty severely before I picked up my other projects, so I don’t think weight loss or downsizing has had much of an impact financially. The one thing I would do differently is to remind myself not to cheat. I can’t cheat just a little. Guaranteed, if I eat one cookie, there will be 3 more following it. I need to follow a strict set of rules, or I will definitely fail.
What is the biggest personal finance lesson you learned the hard way?
This one’s tough. I’ve always had a compulsion to learn every possible lesson the hard way. The biggest? Get your husband/wife/partner/lover/
Outside of blogging, what has been the biggest change you made to your financial life that made a difference? (i.e. making more money, frugal changes, budgeting, investing)
Credit. Rather the shunning of. Over the past 27 months, we’ve paid down $40,000 of debt. We couldn’t have done that if we were still charging our lives away. This spring, we got surprise with a $4000 bill for my son’s vision therapy and managed to pay it off without paying a cent of interest on it. That would have been impossible with our old spending habits. Our money is doing what we want it to do now, instead of demanding it be spent on garbage like a new TV we didn’t need and couldn’t afford 3 years ago.