Eating In: One Way to Set Aside Money for Investments

One of the main objections people have to building an investment portfolio is that it takes every penny they have to get by. Most of us waste more money than we realize especially when it comes to eating out and entertainment expenses. Try this strategy for a month and see how much money you can save in a thirty-day period. If you tend to each out three or four times each week, add up the amount you spend on those meals last month. This can usually be done by looking back at your credit card statement. Calculate an average cost that you pay for each meal out. Next, limit eating out to one night per week. Choose a place that you enjoy, but one that also happens to offer meals at moderate prices. For all those other nights, prepare your meals at home using whatever is in the pantry. This may mean getting a little creative, but since that food is already paid for, why not put it to good use? Each night that you eat in, put the equivalent of an average meal out into a glass jar. Include what you would’ve left as a tip! At the end of the month, empty the jar and total the contents. Place the money in an interest bearing savings account and you’ll quickly accumulate the funds needed to participate in a bond issue, buy a few shares of stock, or secure a low risk investment that will serve as part of the foundation for your financial...

Using Credit Cards with Cash Back Bonuses

Credit cards are excellent tools, assuming that you are responsible in how they are used. Providers who offer cash back bonuses on qualified purchases can save you a lot of money each month! The money you save can easily go into the vacation fund, pad your savings a bit, or even feed that household contingency fund that you just started. The strategy calls for knowing what types of purchases will result in some sort of cash back bonus. Some providers cover a lot of day to day purchase, like groceries and gasoline. Many will also reward bonuses on purchasing like clothing or school supplies. When that is the case, use the card every time you fill up, go to the supermarket, or need new school clothing for the kids. Even if each of the bonuses is no more than one or two percent of each transaction, the bonuses will add up over time. Keep in mind that it is important to avoid interests charges on the card. All charges made to earn cash back bonuses should be settled during the same billing period. Try getting into the habit of logging in to your credit card account every payday and remitting a payment equal to the current balance. This will allow you to still enjoy the cash back bonuses while also getting to use the card for...

What is a Household Contingency Fund?

You’ve heard of companies having contingency funds. These are simply resources that are set aside to manage the cost of unanticipated financial emergencies. Why not take this idea and apply it to the operation of your household?

Frugal Hack: Save Energy This Winter with Weather Stripping

With cold weather on the way, you are dreading the idea of high heating bills. Rather than fretting about the situation, why not take some steps that will help to reduce the amount of energy needed to keep the home at a comfortable temperature? One of the easiest do it yourself ways to accomplish the task is to apply weather stripping to your windows. Windows are easily one of the most common problem areas when it comes to controlling the temperature within the home. Sashes that are a little loose in the frames allow for tiny leaks of air from outside. By using the weather stripping to block those leaks, it’s possible to reduce your winter heating bill by as much as a third of the average cost. Best of all, you don’t need to be an expert to apply the stripping. Following a set of simple instructions will allow even a novice to do the job in very little time. Think of what you can do with that the money you save in home heating costs over the winter months. Those extra funds can be used to increase your savings, allow you to purchase some additional insurance, and maybe even pad the vacation fund a little. Head over to the local home supply store and pick up a good grade of weather stripping today. A little effort this weekend will easily pay dividends in the form of lower heating bills in the months to...

Frugal Hack: Buy a Refurbished Laptop

Your laptop has broken down at the worst possible time. Unfortunately, the cost of repairs is more than the device is worth. Buying a new one is out of the question if you are to stay on track financially. A solution: consider the purchase of a refurbished system! Refurbished laptops are not simply used laptops that have been cleaned up a little. These devices have been restored to original factory standards. This means all replacement parts are the same brand and model as was used in the original production effort. In addition, the refurbished hard drive is wiped clean and equipped with a fresh load of an operating system that is still being supported by the original manufacturer. For the best possible results, take the time to look at the ratings for the make and model you are considering. If those original ratings weren’t all that good, find another brand or model with the features you want. When the laptop design was flawed in the first place, you can’t expect the refurbished device to be any better. Don’t forget that refurbished laptops are often available for less than half the cost of a new system. In most cases, you can even secure a limited warranty that will remain in effect a reasonable period of time. This means you can get back to enjoying the convenience of a laptop and still meet all the financial goals you’ve set for the rest of the...

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