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...

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...

Frugal Hack: Save Money at the Supermarket

Food is usually one of the major components of a household budget. It also happens to be an expense you can control if you know how. By employing a couple of tips that help you to find the real bargains in the supermarket, it is possible to stretch the food budget and have a little left over at the end of the month. You’ve noticed that some brands are less expensive than others. It makes sense to buy those cheaper brands, right? Not necessarily. Check the net weight posted on the packaging. A lower priced brand could contain less food than the more expensive brands. You pay less, but you also get less; that’s not the way to make the most of your food budget. When shopping, look below eye level as you walk down the aisles. The products that the supermarket manager wants to move are placed so consumers don’t have to look up or down in order to notice them. By looking at the lower shelves, you are likely to find brands that have as much product as the pricier items and are offered for a lower price per unit. The bottom line is that consumers must know what they are getting for their money. If the lower price does not offer the same quantity as the competition, it is not worth your time. When the product provides more food at a lower cost, then you’ve found a way to save money and stretch your...

Think You Can’t Save Money? Think Again!

A simple, quick tip to help yourself start saving money when you don’t know where to start.

Brown Bag it to a Cool Half Million!

One great way to save money is by bringing your lunch to work. Over the course of a career, you might be surprised how much this can help you save! But it can’t really be that much, can it? After all, take-out lunches are pretty cheap. Well, that’s true, they are, but let’s just do the math for fun. The price of a take-out lunch varies wildly depending on what city you’re in and what type of food you’re buying. But let’s say an average amount is $8. A brown-bag lunch of a sandwich, yogurt, and fruit (hey, this lunch-bringing has the side benefit of also being healthy!) can be assembled for $2 or $3. We’ll assume that bringing your lunch saves about $5 per day. $5 per day is $25 per week. A little more than $100 per month. Not a bad start, but how do we get to half a million from there? The Long Term Plan Let’s take this to the next level. This is extra money, so we’re going to sock it away for the future, and do this regularly. Your $100 a month is now $1,200 per year. Now, let’s assume a relatively young person has about 40 years to work before retirement. Let’s say you sock away that $1,200 in a jar underneath your bed. When you retire, that jar would have $48,000 in it. Not too shabby, but there’s a reason we don’t keep our money in jars under beds, and it’s not just to keep burglars from getting ideas. The Miracle of Compound Interest When you put your money in the bank, you’re actually loaning it to them, and they pay you for the privilege. That’s called interest. The interest gets added back into your account, which the bank is still borrowing, by the way, and so they pay interest on that. That’s called compound interest, and it makes...