How to Save Money Tip Day 5: Cheap and Simple Ways to Pamper Yourself

How to Save Money Tip Day 5: Cheap and Simple Ways to Pamper Yourself

Spending time and money on yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. Really the key is finding things that you enjoy and find relaxing.

Some ideas for pampering yourself include:

  • Beauty rituals at home (for example, facials, body scrubs just to name a couple examples). This website provides some recipes http://www.sheknows.com/beauty-and-style/articles/1023399/20-diy-beauty-recipes-for-at-home-pampering
  • Pedicure and manicure
  • Bubble bath (try setting the mood with candles, relaxing music, aromatherapy)
  • Hair cut or dye your hair
  • Cup of tea or coffee
  • Reading a book or magazine (Can’t afford these treats, check out your local library)
  • Listen to music
  • Watch a movie
  • Play a quiet sport such as golf or tennis
  • Play a favorite video game
  • Catch up on a favorite tv show
  • Some creative pursuit such as scrapbooking, card-making, quilting or knitting, painting, jewelry making or anything else you love doing
  • Window shop at the mall
  • Go for a walk
  • Walk through the grass, watch the clouds, enjoy some time in nature
  • Photography (take some pictures of nature)
  • Meditate
  • Write in a journal or diary

I am thinking about lots of ideas that involve spending time alone and relaxing. Recharging your own batteries will allow you to be more present in your other roles!

How to Save Money Tip Day 4: Cheap Ways to Entertain Family or Friends

How to Save Money Tip Day 4: Cheap Ways to Entertain Family or Friends

Having your friends or family over doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are lots of fun activities that you can do that that are inexpensive. Cheap is often seen as a negative word but I think we need to change our perception. I think we should look at frugal ways to entertain both at home and elsewhere.

Involve your kids in planning fun activities such as games like tag, hide and go seek, jump rope etc, artistic ideas like drawing with chalk. Kids can help make inexpensive decorations for parties or holiday celebrations.

Be honest with your friends and family- tell them expectations need to change and that you value their friendship but that your pocketbook needs help. They might also feel the same way but find talking about it difficult.

Cheap doesn’t mean less fun.

Alternatives to expensive nights or activities include:

  • Potlucks
  • Cooking parties (freezer meals, cookie swaps, etc)
  • Clothing swaps (trade no longer worn clothing with your friends)
  • Day trips to a local beach
  • Beach party- bon fire, roasting marshmallows
  • Movie and popcorn at home
  • Picnics
  • BBQ’s
  • Pool parties
  • Board or card games
  • Wine and cheese parties (everyone contributes food and a bottle of wine)
  • International food nights (everyone brings a different dish)
  • Coffee date
  • Manicure or facials at home
  • Video games
  • Etc.

Remember to think outside the box for different and unique ideas. After all it isn’t about the amount of money being spent but rather time spent together and all the fun experiences we share.

Financial Management Tip Day 4: Categorize Your Spending

Financial Management Tip Day 4: Categorize Your Spending

Yesterday’s tip was on the importance of tracking your spending and today’s financial management tip is to take the information/numbers you gathered from yesterday’s tip and now you must categorize your spending. This take’s it beyond a mix of numbers and rather organizes them so that you can begin to see the bigger picture of where your money is going on a daily and monthly basis.

Now there are a few different ways to do this- you can write right beside your notes in your spending journal especially if you only spending money from one category in each shopping trip. For example, do you have a shopping trip that you spend money on groceries, toiletries, kids, and clothing all on 1 receipt?

If you are extremely visual, you could also use different color highlighters or markers to show each different category.

So the first question you are going to ask is…..What are the categories? I believe there isn’t a one fits all system for categories of spending. I like to have more categories because I make them very specific.

Also no miscellaneous category!

So let’s look at yesterday sample

Sample (7 days): Sally recorded the in’s and out’s of her money for 1 week….let’s examine it more closely

Date / Amount / Store / What you bought

June 9th/ +$450.00 /pay cheque (IN)

June 9th/ -$55.50 / monthly cell phone bill (OUT- UTILITIES)

June 9th/ -$3.40 /local coffee shop /coffee and brownie (OUT- EITHER ENTERTAINMENT OR EATING OUT)

June 9th/ -$24.80/grocery store/ milk, eggs, bread, bananas, apples, cream cheese (OUT- GROCERIES/FOOD)

June 9th/ -$7.90/drug store/magazine (OUT- LEISURE-MAGAZINE)

June 10th/ -$40.00/gas station/gas (TRANSPORTATION- GAS)

June 10th/ -$6.75/pizza/pizza for lunch (OUT- EITHER ENTERTAINMENT OR EATING OUT)

June 10th/-$75.00/vet bill for Fluffy (OUT- PETS)

June 10th/-$17.90/grocery store/ fried chicken for supper (OUT- GROCERIES/FOOD OR ENTERTAINMENT/EATING OUT)

June 11th/-$21.49/walmart/kitty litter, birthday card, new shirt (OUT- PETS, GIFTS, CLOTHING)

June 11th/-$5.40/coffee shop/coffee and a treat (OUT- EITHER ENTERTAINMENT OR EATING OUT)

June 11th/-$9.80/book store/new book (OUT- LEISURE/HOBBY)

June 12th/-$30.00/walmart/new toy for Johnny (OUT- KIDS)

June 12th/-$7.80/sandwich shop for lunch (OUT- EITHER ENTERTAINMENT OR EATING OUT)

June 12th/-$15.40/grocery store/supper (ground beef, spaghetti sauce, spaghetti, garlic bread) (OUT- GROCERIES/FOOD)

June 13th/ -$80.50/car maintenance (oil change) (OUT- TRANSPORTATION- MAINTENANCE)

June 13th/ -$120.00/ costco/ toilet paper, laundry soap, steak, salad mix, box of oranges, multivitamins, box of cereal (OUT- GROCERIES/FOOD, HOUSEHOLD, TOILETRIES, MEDICAL)

June 13th/ -$33.50/movie theater/ movie tickets and concession treats (OUT- EITHER ENTERTAINMENT OR EATING OUT)

June 14th/ -$8.80/chinese food for lunch (OUT- EITHER ENTERTAINMENT OR EATING OUT)

June 14th/-$56.70/clothing store/new shift and pants (OUT- CLOTHING)

June 14th/-$20.30/drug store/conditioner, shampoo, body wash, nail polish (OUT- TOILETRIES)

June 15th/-$11.30/drug store/prescription (OUT-MEDICAL)

June 15th/-$6.45/coffee and donut (OUT- EITHER ENTERTAINMENT OR EATING OUT)

June 15th/-$78.90/ car insurance (OUT- TRANSPORTATION-INSURANCE)

Today we will look at examining where Sally’s money went in a 7 day span.

  • Is she in the red or the black? RED Sally overspent by -$287.59
  • Did she under or over spend? Over spent
  • What hasn’t Sally paid this month? Just to name a few items missing but what about rent, heat, lights, house or apartment insurance, debt repayments, television/internet/home phone, savings just to name a few missing aspects that Sally hasn’t paid
  • Where has Sally’s money gone- what did she spend money on? Sally spent considerable money on her wants this month including toiletries, clothing, entertainment/eating out
  • What were Sally’s needs vs. wants? Needs: Food/Groceries, Vet Bills -preventive or curative for Fluffy, insurance on her vehicle, regular and preventable maintenance on her vehicle, a basic cell phone package so Johnny can reach her   Wants: Magazine, books, entertainment/eating out, non basic toiletries such as nail polish, clothing
  • What patterns do you see? Sally likes to shop. Sally doesn’t meal plan- supper seems spur of the moment. Maybe Sally doesn’t like to cook. Sally could bring her lunch with her rather than eating out all the time. Sally might go with the crowd from work for lunch and coffee (could she go but not spend money)
  • How could Sally save money? Sally could meal plan- shop the sales, have a specific grocery list, coupon. Sally needs a more concrete plan for her money- what is essential? Sally could brown-bag her lunch (a plan for lunches)

Financial Management Tip Day 3: Do you know what you are currently spending?

Financial Management Tip Day 3: What are you currently spending?

Have you considered your current spending and spending habits?

Start today and track every dollar and cent that you receive and spend (in and out).

How do you develop a financial plan if you have no data to work with? How do you figure what to change without information?

Look at bank and credit card statements for any track-able spending.

Keep your receipts so if you need to look back you can!

Usable/easy to implement advice: Where do you start?

  • Be specific
  • Be honest (lying will only hurt you)
  • Include enough information (dates, exact amounts, store, what you spent money on)
  • Start with 1 month of information and expand it out to 2-3 months to get an average since your spending is probably not identical every month.
  • Do not use the word miscellaneous- name it
  • When completed, you need to examine the information you gathered and look for patterns in your spending. Ask key questions like….
  • Who did you spend money on? *Did you spend extra money on the kids or pets this month?
  • Why did you spend money? *Boredom or a reward
  • When did you spend money? *On a lunch break, after work, weekends
  • What was your mood? *Happy, sad, mad, fearful, bored
  • What was going on in your life at that time? *Did you receive a job promotion or bonus? Did you lose your job? Marital fighting
  • Did you need or want the item?
  • Was it useful/used/consumed?
  • Did you have another item that could of worked at home?

Sample (7 days): Sally recorded the in’s and out’s of her money for 1 week….let’s examine it more closely

Date / Amount / Store / What you bought

June 9th/ +$450.00 /pay cheque

June 9th/ -$55.50 / monthly cell phone bill

June 9th/ -$3.40 /local coffee shop /coffee and brownie

June 9th/ -$24.80/grocery store/ milk, eggs, bread, bananas, apples, cream cheese

June 9th/ -$7.90/drug store/magazine

June 10th/ -$40.00/gas station/gas

June 10th/ -$6.75/pizza/pizza for lunch

June 10th/-$75.00/vet bill for Fluffy

June 10th/-$17.90/grocery store/ fried chicken for supper

June 11th/-$21.49/walmart/kitty litter, birthday card, new shirt

June 11th/-$5.40/coffee shop/coffee and a treat

June 11th/-$9.80/book store/new book

June 12th/-$30.00/walmart/new toy for Johnny

June 12th/-$7.80/sandwich shop for lunch

June 12th/-$15.40/grocery store/supper (ground beef, spaghetti sauce, spaghetti, garlic bread)

June 13th/ -$80.50/car maintenance (oil change)

June 13th/ -$120.00/ costco/ toilet paper, laundry soap, steak, salad mix, box of oranges, multivitamins, box of cereal

June 13th/ -$33.50/movie theater/ movie tickets and concession treats

June 14th/ -$8.80/chinese food for lunch

June 14th/-$56.70/clothing store/new shift and pants

June 14th/-$20.30/drug store/conditioner, shampoo, body wash, nail polish

June 15th/-$11.30/drug store/prescription

June 15th/-$6.45/coffee and donut

June 15th/-$78.90/ car insurance

Tomorrow we will look at examining where Sally’s money went in a 7 day span.

  • Is she in the red or the black?
  • Did she under or over spend?
  • What hasn’t Sally paid this month?
  • Where has Sally’s money gone- what did she spend money on?
  • What were Sally’s needs vs. wants?
  • What patterns do you see?
  • How could Sally save money?

How to Save Money Tip Day 3: Simple and Inexpensive Ideas for having Fun

How to Save Money Tip Day 3: Simple and Inexpensive Ways to Have Fun this Summer

Having fun doesn’t have to be expensive, it is more about having the experience.

Look for low-cost or free events, activities, and programs in your own community.

Listen to the radio or check out your community’s website for ideas.

Some suggestions for fun activities include:

  • check out charities that can benefit from your time and energy (for ex. charity walks)
  • train for a marathon
  • fun days for children
  • a fair, exhibition, or circus
  • heritage days or sites
  • a local park (play catch, frisbee, picnic lunch)
  • nature trails (bike or walk)
  • museums
  • just to name a few

Sometimes the real key is to think outside the box and look for different alternatives you can enjoy….

Financial Management Tip Day 2: Why is it Important to pay your bills on time?

Financial Management Tip Day 2: The importance of paying your bills on time

Simplify your bill paying and never pay a bill late again. Why is it important to pay your bills on time? Late bill payments will cost you –interest and late charges that quickly add up. Not to mention your credit rating and credit score are greatly affected by late payments on your bills and debt.

First off, get organized (find all your bills and keep them in one place). If you still write checks for your bills, gather all needed supplies (checks, stamps, envelopes, check book, etc) and keep them all together in one place.

Designate a day for paying bills (for ex. maybe 2 times a month after bi-weekly pay cheques -the 15th and at the end of the month or even once a week on Saturday or Sunday).

If you are married, make sure both people know where the bills are, the amount due and due dates, the account logins and passwords, in case of an emergency. It is also useful for making sure both people have some control over the money and understand where the money is going.

I developed a simple Excel spreadsheet to track our bills. Its very simple and easy to do. I put three months on one page.

3 columns (1. due date, 2. amount due, and 3. paid/date and amount). The rows list all our bills and account numbers (power, cell phones, rent, insurance etc.)

Anytime we get a bill either electronically or in paper, we take out our sheet and update it with the due date and amount due.

Once a week either on Saturday or Sunday, we go and pay our bills.

Try to implement a new system for paying bills but remember keep it simple, easy and quick so you can keep up with this habit and say good-bye to late charges.

How to Save Money Tip Day 2: Bring Lunch to Work and Save More than $2000 a year

How to Save Money Tip Day 2: Bring Lunch to Work and You Could Save More than $2000 a Year

I am not suggesting that you can never eat out but rather look at the money you can save if you brown-bag your lunch even 1 day a week.

How much do you spend on average for a lunch out? $5-20 a day. Let’s say you spend $10 a day on lunch, that is $50.00 a week or $200.00 a month or $2400.00 a year.

Instead you brown bag your lunch 1 day a week so now you spend $40.00 a week, $160.00 a month, or $1920.00 a year. That is considerable savings- what could you use that money for? That would make some nice payments on your existing debt, extra mortgage payments, save for a vacation, help fund an emergency fund, extra money for retirement savings or saving for your child’s education.

What if you choose to make this shift 2 or 3 days a week? Every day we make money choices, sometimes we need to weigh out the costs vs the benefits. We can make better choices if we change our behaviors.

How much would it cost you to make your own lunch? It does cost some money and also time to plan and make your lunch but the savings is still considerable.

Tips for Making your Lunch Quick and Easy:

Consider leftovers from last night’s supper or low-cost meal options like soup, sandwiches and wraps, salads, just to name a few. Try cheese, deli meat, and crackers for a light lunch.

Make your lunch the night before so it’s quick and easy to grab and go.

Buy big bags of snacks and divide them up into individual size portions *often cheaper.

Make extra portions of meals such as chili, spaghetti sauce, casseroles, and lasagna which can all be frozen in advance. Defrost and reheat at work for a quick lunch.

Cut up vegetables and fruit when you get home from the grocery store so its easy to grab when running late. Add some dip or salad dressing.

Freeze a water bottle or grapes to help keep other foods cold until lunch time.

Invest in a thermos for hot and cold foods and an insulated bag.