Even more ways to save money, and some I dont agree with.

Of course, everyone is always looking for a few ways to save a buck. And most everyone has their own secret little system to try to get the most for their dollar. Over at MoneyCentral, they have an article up that has 20 ways to save money “on a shoestring”…meaning anyone can do these things whether they have money or not. While I agree with most in theory, some, in my mind, are just not feasible. Let’s look at a few things on their list.

Step 1: Retrain your brain
Saving money is a state of mind. Before you can start, you have to renounce the spending — and stop believing you actually need all the stuff you’ve been spending money on. Just don’t. Spend, that is. Sure you want it, but that’s no excuse for buying it. The next time you want to buy something, take the $50 or $100 out of your wallet, and stash it somewhere. See? That’s called saving. You don’t end up with stuff; you end up with MONEY.

I agree 100% with this one. I spent college and the few years after it buying whatever the hell I felt like. Stereo equipment, fancy stuff for my car, expensive dinners out…anytime, anyplace, out came the credit card. And I ended up in a world of debt that I just recently climbed out of. No more. Now, we wait at least 24 hours before making the decision that we HAVE to have something..and you know what? A lot of times, we didnt really need it, we just wanted it at the time. It works wonders…see something you want, put it down, go home, sleep on it for a day or so. Then decide just how badly you need it.

Don’t even think about it. Direct deposit is a saver’s best friend because the money is whisked away into your IRA, 401(k) or money market account — and you don’t have to do a thing. Except drop by your payroll department and/or your bank and fill out the damn forms. Today.

Again, 100% Everytime we get paid, money automatically gets whisked away to the magical place called a money market account. Ours is over at ING where it sits until we move it into bigger investments or need it for a big purchase. Even if you can only send $10 every paycheck into a magical off-site bank, it will pay off in the long run.

Go veggie. If you can do three meatless days a week (without substituting pricey fish), you could save $25 a week, which equals $100 a month, which equals $1,200 a year! Beans: Ya gotta love “˜em.

Nope, sorry, not buying it. Sure, eating beans might save you some money, but you need to eat. This is important for your health, and skimping on food is NOT the place to save money. Being a vegetarian is fine, of course…but you need to eat. In my book, spending money on food is ok, there are always other places to save money.

Never spend a windfall. Take your income-tax refund, that holiday money from your folks, the $16.35 overpayment check from the telephone company and any other extras and save “˜em.

I agree with this one, but we make it a point to always take a SMALL amount of any windfall and do something nice for ourselves…whether it be a nice dinner out or a purchase we had wanted to make for some time. I am not saying spend all of it…but if you dont ever treat yourself when you can, I think it just makes you more worried and upset about money.

Haggle. You’d be amazed at who will drop their prices, fees and interest rates: airlines, hotels, credit card companies, computer/appliance/rug salespeople.

Sure, if you are at a flea market. I know some people have had success in random places involving “real” businesses, but good luck getting Target or Best Buy to haggle with you.

Don’t overpay your taxes. Sure you love to get a fat refund from the IRS every spring. The fact is, however, you’re effectively lending money to the government interest-free. Go through your tax return and see if you can plan your withholding so you get to Dec. 31 maybe getting a $100 refund. That way you can use your money NOW. (And bank the refund when you get it.)

If you need the money NOW, then sure, adjust your withholdings. But I actually make sure they take a LITTLE bit extra out each year…I view it as a small tiny savings account. I dont mind giving up a few bucks a month in my paycheck to get a little bonus money at the end of the year that I can use as I see fit.

Raise your insurance deductibles. Reassess the deductibles for various kinds of insurance. If you can raise them, your premiums drop.

No brainer…we carry $1000 deductibles on our car insurance, and a higher one (as per my previous post RIGHT HERE) on our health insurance. Saves us hundreds a year. In fact, I will be writing about our new car insurance company in the next week or so, which so far have been great and saved us a lot of money this year.

Never pay a pro. If you can fix the neighbor’s car, and she can paint the bathroom: do it.

I disagree…Pay a pro. That way you dont have to do it again. And besides, is your neighbor really going to come paint your bathroom? Didnt think so..I help people with their cars because I want to, not because I need them to paint my bathroom.

No pet pampering. Does your dog need those pricey snacks? Does your cat need acupuncture? We didn’t think so.

Maybe not acupuncture, but please dont feed your pet scraps to save money..they need to eat well too. However, they do NOT need designer sweaters and diamond covered booties.

There were a few other pointers that they had up over there and you should check them out if you want…but remember, its not always the BEST way to do things just because its the cheapest. You have to manage where and how you spend your money, versus always looking for the cheapest way to do things. That being said, go save some money!

Read the rest of what they had to say over at:20 ways to save on a shoestring – MSN Money


Saving Some Money On Your Car.

I just read an interesting little tiny article over at the Motley Fool about different ways to save money on your car. Not on buying a car, but rather on maintenance and the like. Here are their notes, and my thoughts follow:

* Minimize your speeding, and follow parking rules. Tickets are costly, and if you end up getting your insurance premiums increased, you’ll suffer a double financial whammy. (Speeding also consumes more gas.)
* Be insurance-smart. Shop around and make sure you’re paying as little as possible for your desired level of coverage. Progressive and Berkshire Hathaway’s GEICO unit are good places to start looking. Also look into discounts for alarms, short commutes, or safety features.
* Spend some time comparing local gas stations and use the ones that offer the lowest prices. Take advantage of special deals that offer you a few cents off your gasoline on certain days. If your car doesn’t need premium gas, don’t use it. Check out GasPriceWatch, which can help you find low prices. You can also save gas by keeping your RPMs at lower levels. (Below 3,000 is a good target.)
* Spend some time finding a good and honest mechanic. Ask friends for referrals. Using a mechanic who inflates his rates — or worse, recommends unnecessary work — will cost you.
* Keep tires properly inflated, and rotate them on schedule.
* Take public transportation when you can. Or walk, when that’s practical. Or carpool.
* Follow your car’s recommended maintenance plan. Skipping oil changes and the like might save you a few dollars now, but it could cost you many more later.
* Before you rent a car, verify with your insurance agent whether your policy covers rental cars. If it does, you can say “no thanks” when the car rental agent asks whether you want to buy insurance coverage.
* Look into getting new tires at a discount store, such as Costco. The prices are often lower than elsewhere.

While these are all good points, my main thought on saving money on your car actually involves what KIND of car you drive. If you want to save some real money, never buy more car than you can afford. Sure, a new BMW looks nice in your driveway and impresses your friends..but that $600+ per month car payment sure does not help your financial situation if you make $35,000 per year. Also, big cars and trucks use WAY more gasoline, costing you upwards of hundreds of dollars a month in extra costs just on gas alone. And, expensive cars are more expensive to maintain and insure.

Do yourself a favor. Buy what you can afford, or even better, buy used. Your wallet and your retirement fund will thank you.

Source:Motley Fool


Another USB 2GB Flash Drive – $7.95- Backup your data!

This morning, over at Buy.com, they have another 2GB flash drive for sale that is only $7.95 after rebate and after you use Google Checkout for $20 off a $50 purchase.

I cannot recommend these enough….as I mentioned in a previous post, we use these to store all of our important docs so we have them with us, and we have one stored in our safe. That way we have access to account #’s, insurance info and the like in case of an emergency. Living in earthquake country, we even have one in our “bug out” bags in case we have to abandon our house in a hurry! If you are not using one yet, you should think about it.


Before buying that gift card for Christmas….

Now, everyone loves getting a gift card as a gift….you can go and pick up what YOU want instead of getting some weird “thing” that A. you dont even know what it is and B. you now have something else to return. Sure, its easier for the person buying the gift to get a gift card; it doesnt take as much effort or thought. But still, it makes a great gift and I love getting them. But before you start picking up a bunch of cards for people on your gift list, you might want to check out this handy dandy guide to gift cards and their policies on fees, expiration dates, and shipping policies.

Over at MSN MoneyCentral, they compare 48 different gift cards, from companies like Target, Wal-Mart, Sears and Costo. Also, below the list, they have a video that you can watch that says that buying gift cards COULD be like throwing away your money.

If you are thinking of buying gift cards this holiday season, I highly suggest you check out the comparison chart!

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My favorite post for the month of December-how we paid off debt.

I figure at the beginning of the month I will post my favorite post from the previous month, and November’s is my post about the system we used to pay off our debt and how it can help you get those debts paid off quicker without much further damage to your wallet:
How we paid our debt and saved money at the same time – it can be done!

Hope it helps!

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