Small Business, Work at Home & Blogging Info,
LITTLE WAYS TO SAVE MONEY
With the price of everything going up and salaries are definitely not matching the upswing, we're probably all looking to save money in ways that we'll hardly notice. No one likes big changes that make you feel like you've dropped out of society with major changes like completely dropping cable TV or getting rid of your car and riding a bike 6 miles to work. We want the changes to be miniscule and hardly noticeable, so I've included little changes that you can make that all-together, will make a big change in your monthly budget if you implement all of them or at least, as many as you can.
Here are some ways that I actually used to save money recently or found on the internet and included it here:
CABLE TV: I decreased my cable TV from ATT's Uverse 450 package down to the 250 package. Who can really watch 450 channels, anyway? A TV glut, which I was. That saved $40/mo and I've just learned to love other programming if my "favorites" where now gone. Boo hoo. I'm crying all the way to the bank and then smile when I get there!
PHONE: I had a hard-wired phone at my wife's shop (that we own) and it was costing about $40/mo with Cox cable. I "added a line" to our ATT Family Plan for $15 (plus tax) and still saved around $20. We had a used 3G phone that we no longer were using and just added it for the cost of $0 to our plan. Now if we had to purchase a new phone as well, it would only have worked out better after that phone was paid off, which would have been the cheapest flip-phone style that cost $19/mo right now until it's paid off and then the savings would have started. ATT sent me a free chip for the old phone and it works great. No data plan, no texting.
INSURANCE: Yeah, you're insurance that you currently have is a big-name brand and you love them, but they don't love you. Get quotes from other companies that are trust-worthy and see if you can make a difference on your house, cars, business etc. An independent agent will get you the best prices because they'll tailor each need to the cheapest insurance. You can save $600 to $1,000 per year just by spending less than 3 hours time on this.
BUYING A CAR: If you are in the market for a car, think about buying one with zero financing charges. Usually in September the dealers are starting to get nervous that they haven't sold all of that years models and make room for the next years models, so they start slashing prices and offering zero interest. This saves A LOT of money, especially on the $40,000 plus vehicles. I always buy a Toyota, to make sure the paint isn't going to peel off in 5 years like American cars or need lots of repairs. I first started with Corolla's and moved on to Camry's. You can easily drive these for 10 - 12 years with very little mechanical problems. Just change the oil, tires and breaks. Do the math with free online calculators that can figure the interest on the car you have in mind to buy. Plug in the interest rate, the amount your actually going to finance (after down payment) and how many months to pay it off and it will tell you the finance charge your going to be paying. Many times, it's cheaper to buy a brand new car at zero financing than a 2 year old car at 3 - 5% interest. Check it out first.
INTEREST ON YOUR HOME: Not everyone can do this, but if you can possibly make extra payments on your home, do it. It doesn't have to be every month like clockwork (although I recommend this), but pay whatever, whenever you have it. Interest on a home is the biggest rip-off ever! Look at your closing papers and they'll tell you how much you will really end up paying after 30 years. It's ridiculous! Not to brag, but I paid off our home in 8 years. It feels good for us to actually 'own' our home and not the bank and we saved 10's of thousands of dollars in interest.
COUPONS: Yeah, nobody likes cutting coupons out of the newspaper or looking online for coupons and coupon codes (my coupon article here), but, truth be told, you can save hundreds to a thousand dollars a year. It's better than the hassle of another part-time job, eh?
PAYDAY LOANS: These are for suckers. I worked as a manager of one of these places and it sickened me. Especially the people who just kept it 'rolling over' to the next month and just came in to pay that months interest. Geez! Talk about the poor getting poorer! It was stupid. Avoid payday loans by saving $25 a month in an emergency fund. This isn't for birthdays or a new pair of shoes you just have to have, emergency only, like an injury or a car break down.
VACATIONS: Don't take one! Suck it up and quit being a baby! If you are having trouble making ends meet, you don't 'reward yourself' with a vacation. Many of my friends take vacations on their credit cards and are always in dire need for more money. That's because the 'fun' came first and then they had to worry about the payments later. I consider this insanity. If I'm not floating in extra money, I don't reward myself with a vacation. I even know people that get their EIC (Earned Income Credit) check every February and go on vacations they can't afford and then when one of their cars break down, they don't have $500 to fix it, they end up borrowing against the next years EIC windfall and it's pre-spent before they even get it. Insane? You bet! Take time off in the local area instead of going away or to expensive theme parks. Have a picnic, go swimming, ride some go-carts, but don't spend $2,000 'living it up' on a vacation. Good greif!
BIRTHDAY/CHRISTMAS PRESENTS: Yeah, your kid wants the newest Xbox crap. So what? I got a basketball and 2 shirts for Christmas before. I even got a jar of dry roasted peanuts (about $3.00). Didn't even think about it the next day. Buy what you can afford without going too far on the gifts. Hand-make something if you can. Some of the best gifts I still get are what my mom handmakes for me and they are the ones I remember 6 months later. Pillows with pictures of my kids on them, neck pillows, corn-filled neck warmers you put in the microwave, Christmas decorations of wood from yard sales. These have been the most precious things to me and I can't even remember hardly a thing anyone else even gave me.
401K: This is a great way to save money, especially if your employer matches. Even when your fully vested and you leave, you can put it into a self-directed IRA, which I have now. My employer matched very little, but it added up, tax free. Now I move and change stocks all the time to make sure I'm getting the maximum return on my money and it's super good so far a year after I quit the rat-race and started working from home.
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