Time to Get Your Finances In Order

I’ll admit, I am not the one to give financial advice because I still struggle with staying on budget as well as paying down debt.  As hubby says “You will never be a Rockefeller” which is why I was a perfect fit for social work and non-profits.I am always looking for tips on how to get better at this because:

Managing your money is the key to success!

So, if you’re looking to try and get your finances in order, stop spending, and start saving, here are some top tips are for you to try….

 

1. Create a Spreadsheet 

Do you know how much you owe?  If you have debt, do you now how much your interest rate is on each one? To easily organize your finances, a spreadsheet is a great way to see your income and your expenses.  You can create one in Google Drive so you can stay on top of it.   I have a list including interest charges so when there is extra money, I can pay down on the highest interest rate first.

2. Set Up Savings 

I know this sounds crazy if you have debt BUT you need to start saving for an emergency.  It can be as little as $10 a paycheck or $25 a month.  Check with your bank too for some of those instant kind of saving programs.  Bank of America takes the change from your ATM transactions, rounds up and the money is put in your savings account.  Those pennies add up quickly.  It all helps!

3. Organize Direct Debits 

I used to advocate direct debits but when my income varies, it is better for me to have repeated reminders set up. I have reminders set up on each of my credit cards when payments are due – 14 days out and 1 week out.  This ensures I avoid any late payment fees and any (further) damage to your credit score.

4. Refrain From Impulse Purchases 

Yup, we are all guilty of it.  Sometimes it is easier said than done.  Be sure to have some room in your budget for treats – large or small so you can occasionally splurge!

5. Make A List – Stick To It How many times have you gone to the store and your list is home?  The end result, you buy more than what you need and usually forget what you originally went to the store for.  I have started putting my grocer list on my phone.  When was the last time you left home without your phone?  Whether shopping for Christmas, clothing or groceries – always stick to the list!

6. Set Budgets for Events 

Everyone’s salary is different so why not set a budget for Birthdays so you don’t feel pressured to match what everyone else is spending.

7. Emergency Fund 

This goes back to #2 when we set up a savings account.  What happens why you have a surprise expense – car repair, etc?  Tempted to pull out the credit card. DON’T!!!  Use your savings account or emergency account.  By saving a little each money, you are ready for those unexpected events.

8. Don’t Be Drawn In By Offers 

Sales.  How often are you drawn in by the offers non things you may not really need.  If you need it, great.  If you don’t, why buy it.  I mean do you really need the  half price Ben & Jerry’s ice cream?

9. Make a Packed Lunch 

Taking lunch to work is so much cheaper than a daily visit to the local sandwich shop.  Think of the money and time you will save.  Have an hour for lunch?  Imagine being able to enjoy a full hour of leisurely eating your lunch and catching up with friends instead of waiting to order food and then gulping it down.  Bringing your lunch to work is better all around as well as far healthier for you.

10. Cut the Coffee 

Yes, I went there.  When I was commuting to work, I would do a WAWA stop on the way to and from work.  That came to at least $5 or more a day or $25 per week or over $1,300 per year.  I’m now hooked on Starbucks unsweet green tea and thankfully, I don’t commute or it would be about $1,000 a year on ice tea.  What could you use a $1000 on?

 11. Use Your Legs 

If you live in the city or your commute is to an area where there is good public transportation, this is a great way to save money.  Growing up in NJ, there really is not a very good public transportation system unless you are headed to NY to work. In addition to saving money, you can also burn some extra calories by walking to and from the stops.

12. Seek Out Deals 

Yes, I have gotten lazy when it comes to looking for the best deals.  Whether it is car insurance, phone service or our cable bill – I haven’t shopped around for the best deal in ages.  When I did call Comcast to re-negotiate our bill, I was able to save about $50 per month which is $600 to apply to paying down credit card debt.

13. Sell And Buy Online

I used to do this all of the time – selling on eBay was a regular thing.  It has gone by the wayside but it may be time to revive this old habit.  When it comes to shopping online, I am always looking for the best deal using apps like Ebates and others.

What is YOUR best tips for getting your finances under control?  Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Simple Money Saving Tips for Families

3393c2a0e337453fa47f6298bf868a79Leaving my part time job and a guaranteed paycheck was scary.  Yes, I have a growing Thirty One business BUT FEAR was starting to knock on the door.  Reducing credit card debt and school loan debt has been a big focus for me BUT I have to be honest, I may not have worked at it as hard as I could.  Yup!  Me being accountable.  The new year kicked off new attempts to truly bring this debt down while at the same time giving up my part time job.  Seems impossible right?

So, I went looking for ways to save some money on our monthly expenses.  While it’s rare eliminating a single expense will give you control over your finances, you can usually save a lot of money by combining savings from several different directions.

1. Organize your grocery shopping

Be more organized when you go grocery shopping, you actually can save money. Of course have a list of what you need to buy, and coupons (I’m still working on this one).  Shop early in the week to avoid the stress of over crowded stores.

2. Eliminate one service each year that you can do without

I have to admit the first thing we cut was the cable bill.  Yup, we went from what seemed like 1000 channels to maybe about 300 although the cable company said there were only 143.  By doing this, we saved about $65 per month.  Next step is canceling the land line telephone service for an additional $30 per month. I am also doing this with my businesses to make sure I’m not spending money on tools or subscription services I’m no longer using.

3. Never buy “off the shelf”

Now, I don’t mean all of the time BUT when you are buying something fairly costly, do your homework first.   Surf the web for the lowest price, or upcoming sales.  Is it something you can buy second hand. Thrift stores and Facebook yard sales are great places for this.  You don’t want to do this for small purchases but maybe set a threshold of say, $50 and above.

4. Participate in – and use – your rewards programs

Admit it!  You have tons of reward cards, right?  How many of them do you actually use?  Sign up for them where ever possible, and keep tabs of your points. I love Ebates because the notification pops up about a rebate when I am shopping online at a store which offers it.  I have rewards plan with Verizon Wireless which gives me discounts on a variety of things from restaurants to gift certificates.

5. Sell what you no longer need

Instead of throwing away items you no longer use, try selling them first to make some additional money. Then put the money towards a bill.  We are not allowed to have yard sales at our condo complex so I have tried this on Facebook and Ebay.  This is something which requires a little bit of your time or to be organized.  Both of which I am working on right now.  When items don’t sell, donate them to a local non-profit and be sure to get a receipt for tax purposes.

6. Buy clothing in thrift or discount stores

I have been a fan of thrift stores for years, since before Belinda was born.  Thrift stores don’t have a huge selection, but you can often come across the perfect item from time to time, sometimes barely used. This is great especially for buying kid’s clothing. They outgrow clothes so fast, thrift stores allow you to buy good quality clothes for low prices.  If thrift stores aren’t your thing, then take a look at discount stores like T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s.

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Thirty One’s Soft Utility Tote is perfect for these kinds of trips.  It can be a large purse and then expands to carry all of your treasures home.

7. Never buy new what you can get second hand

You sell what ever you no longer use, others are doing the same all the time. Be sure to look into garage sales and estate sales in your area – you’ll be surprised at the stuff people are looking to unload.  Best of all, all prices are fully negotiable! Take advantage where ever and when ever you can.

8. Buy when everyone else is selling

Retail sales usually fall off in January, so nearly everything goes on sale. Wouldn’t it be better to do the bulk of your buying in January rather than November and December.  This also has a seasonal application, too.  Buy your winter clothing in late winter or early spring, when winter items go on clearance.

What ways has your family found to save money?

 

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