Thursday, November 11, 2010

Money Tips

I was reading my free issue of Woman's Day and came across a pretty good article about money. Some of these tips seemed kind of obvious to me but I have recently learned that not everything is obvious to everyone. So here are the main ideas:
  • Money you don't see, you don't miss - Anytime you can get your bank or employer to automatically deposit money into a savings or investment account is great. You won't have the chance to spend that money and you'll never miss it. For example, I have a certain percentage of every paycheck deposited into my 401K. If I had to deposit 5% of every paycheck to that account on my own, I would never do it because I'd rather have the money! But having my employer deduct that automatically, I never think about that small amount of money, and I love seeing my quarterly statements for that account increase.
  • Eat from your pantry once or twice a month - Use websites like Supercook to find recipes using ingredients you already have on hand. I love to use this website to find substitutes for ingredients in recipes that might allow me to use up things in my pantry rather than buying some "new" ingredient for a recipe. There are tons of substitution websites out there, that's just one I like.
  • Stack discounts - For example, Rite Aid will let you stack a manufacturer's coupon, a Rite Aid coupon, a $5/$25 purchase coupon, and a gift card. It could potentially allow you to just pay pennies out of pocket. Combine credit card rewards, sales prices, a 20% off entire order coupon, and 15% discount for opening a credit card at Belk to stock up on cheap clothes. If you can find mail-in rebates for things you are purchasing anyway that you can stack with a coupon, this makes it even better! For example, at Super Doubles last week I bought some DampRid which we've never used before but may need sometime. It was $3.99. I used a $1.00 coupon which doubled, so I paid $1.99. The mail-in rebate for that product is going to pay me $2.00 back. So technically I made $0.01 from that purchase. That's the first example I could think of - you can use rebates to make more money than that usually!!
  • Lower your expectations - So many people think they need the latest clothes or gadgets, so they spend more than they can afford. One way to counter this want for new things is to make use of the stuff you already own. Watch the DVDs that have been sitting around gathering dust for the last ten years. Read books you've bought but never read. Treat your own home like a shopping mall!
  • Negotiate - Pretty much everything is negotiable. You are worth hundreds of dollars to companies. So if your cable bill is killing your bank account but you just can't give it up, call your company. Explain that you've been a loyal customer who has paid on time (unless this is a lie...) and that you would like a discount. We did this about a year ago with our cable company and they cut down our bill by over $50 per month! That's $600 a year, people!
  • Set a monthly budget - I know some people do this but a lot of people don't. Set aside money for your groceries, separate money for entertainment, eating out, clothes, gas, etc. It will help you see where you are overspending.
  • Remember to ask yourself whether you need it or want it - If I see black dress shoes on sale for $15, sure that's a great price. But I have three other pairs of black dress shoes in my closet. So do I need those shoes? No. They're certainly not necessary, so I should save the $15 by not buying them.

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