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Ways to Save Money with Low Waste Living

low waste living

Not only are there major health and environmental benefits to living a more low-waste lifestyle, but there are monetary benefits to take advantage of as well.

Taking care of our planet is important for many reasons. For example, air pollution has been linked to increases in cases of asthma. Even prenatal exposure to air pollution can increase the child’s risk of developing childhood wheezing and asthma.

Likewise, the benefits of recycling and lowering our wastes are great. It can help our environment, our health, conserve our natural resources, and provide more economic security.

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But one major benefit to recycling and living a more low waste lifestyle is that it’s also a way to save money in the long run. Instead of buying single-use items once or twice a month, replace these costs with higher quality products that can last you a number of years. And if you need help paying for these higher qualify single-purchase items, you can always take out a Check City Personal Loan to get you started on your low waste journey.

There are everyday expenses that you can reduce or eliminate entirely just by using a few low-waste living tips.

What is Recycling?

In 2017, the US generated over 260 million tons of waste. We recycled about 67 million tons and composted about 27 million tons.

In waste management, there are 2 types of waste disposal—the conventional method, recycling, and composting.

Recycling is a method of waste disposal that takes waste and makes it into other things. Instead of throwing things away, they are used to create new products. Recycling allows materials to continue to have use rather than piling up in landfills.

What is Composting?

Composting is the process used to turn organic waste, like food scraps, into usable compost, which can then be used as fertilizer. Composting gathers organic waste together and lets it decompose until it creates a soil conditioner (fertilizer) that is very rich in nutrients. You can then use this for soil as fertilizer to help plants grow better.

Composting is a great thing to do at home for your garden, flower bed, or herb garden. It is just another way you can help your household become more self-sufficient and help your plants and flowers grow more abundantly.

What is Greenwashing?

If you want to do your part to help the environment and your local community thrive then you’ll want to be aware of greenwashing.

Greenwashing is an advertising method meant to make products look organic or ecofriendly when in reality they aren’t. If a product or company’s ecofriendly claims are really true then they’ll usually tell you all about it—providing evidence, certificates, and details.

If their claims are vague or unspecific, then most likely they are greenwashing their product in the hopes it will help it sell better. When making purchases do your research and don’t be duped by false or shady advertising.

What is Low Waste Living?

Being environmentally minded comes in all kinds of ranges. You can strive to live the zero waste lifestyle or you can simply try and live a more low waste lifestyle. Either way can save you hundreds of dollars every year.

Low Waste Living is when you attempt to make less waste, be more self-sufficient, and buy products that are quality and long lasting rather than single use products you’ll have to buy over and over again.

All the Ways to Save Money Living Low Waste

You might think of low waste living as something crazy and intense people do or something you need to be really committed to in order to pull off. But there are actually plenty of really simple ways to make less waste and save yourself a ton of money along the way.

There are lots of frequent, recurring costs you could replace for a single purchase to you’re your monthly spending and use that money elsewhere. You just have to know what can be replaced.

1. Plastic Water Bottles

Save $100.00

Filtered water is just better, and many of us don’t live in areas with great tap water. But we need to drink lots of water every day and the cost of water bottles can really get out of hand. Instead you can buy a water filter pitcher, a really nice water filtration dispenser, or a really nice stainless steel faucet water filter so you don’t have to spend so much money on water bottles ever again.

2. Shop in Bulk

Save up to 83%

You can save a lot of money when you buy in bulk. Find the local stores near you that sell in bulk like Sam’s Club, Costco, and whole food stores where you can get basic foods from barrels.

The key with buying in bulk is that you save big on the price per unit and you buy amounts that can stock up your home and last a lot longer, which saves you gas money and time spent at the store. Some experts estimate that you can save up to 83% on your grocery bill by buying in bulk.

3. Make Homemade Cleaning Products

Save $600

We want to keep our homes clean and sanitized but the products we need to do so can get really expensive. Instead, you can just make your own homemade cleaning products with these simple homemade cleaning product recipes. You can also buy your favorite squirt bottles to reuse over and over again as well.

4. Reusable Grocery Bags

Save 10 cents per bag

Plastic bags are still free at most grocery stores but this might not always be the case. Many states have already begun banning single-use plastic bags at grocery and retail stores or created minimum 10 cent charges if you want to use plastic bags.

Save yourself the hassle by getting your own awesome reusable grocery shopping bags now that you can keep in your car and use at the grocery store instead of plastic bags.

You can also buy some tote bags to use when you make retail purchases at other stores, so that you can avoid the hassle of plastic bags there as well.

Getting your own shopping bags is also helpful because they won’t rip at the bottom and spill your items everywhere, they won’t squish your items together in small plastic bags, and they can even keep your food cold on the trip home. You can even get specific produce bags with some online shopping.

5. Reusable Straws

Using reusable straws instead of single-use plastic straws can be one of the easiest, and funnest ways to go green. Reusable straws come in all kinds of shapes and colors, and can even come in compact containers that fit on your keychain.

6. Bring Your Own Water Bottle

Water bottles also come in all kinds of creative shapes, sizes, and colors. They can also come with unique functionalities. Instead of using the flimsy paper and plastic cups at restaurants you can use your own bottle instead! This will also keep your drink cold or hot longer and be more comfortable to hold in your hand or travel with you when you leave.

7. Install a Bidet

Save up to $120

The average American spends up to $120 each year on toilet paper alone. While you can’t really get rid of this cost, you can reduce the need by installing a bidet in your bathroom. You’ll save on toilet paper and actually be a cleaner and more hygienic person as well.

8. Start a Compost Bin

A compost bin can be a great way to put all your organic waste to better use. Your compost bin just needs 3 ingredients to function:

  1. Browns: like dead leaves, branches, twigs
  2. Greens: like grass, vegetable scraps, fruit scraps, coffee grounds
  3. Water

When you make your own compost you won’t need to spend money on chemical fertilizers and your garden will grow fuller and healthier. So a compost bin can save you money on gardening supplies and on groceries depending on what you decide to grow!

9. Plant a Garden

Save up to $600

Planting your own garden can both save and make you money. By planting your own herbs, vegetables, legumes, and even fruits you can save up to $600 on food costs each year. You could also make extra money each year by selling the produce from your garden at your local farmers market, or to your friends and neighbors.

10. Raise Chickens

Save up to $400

You can take your little farm one step further by getting a few farm animals of your own. Chickens are a good example for beginners and they can save you on the cost of eggs each year. You could even make money selling chicks to other households that would like to start raising their own chickens as well.

11. Make Your Own Clothes

Save up to $1,800

New clothes can be so expensive and with the rise of fast fashion many clothing brands don’t even provide quality clothes anymore. But you can take your wardrobe into your own hands by learning how to sew your own clothes!

12. Replace Paper Towels with Dish Rags

Save over $200

Paper towels can be nice and convenient but they might also be taking up more of your budget than you realize. Instead of spending extra money each month on the convenience of paper towels, buy a couple of kitchen towels for cleaning and wiping your hands.

13. Replace Paper Napkins with Cloth Napkins

Save over $200

You can also replace the paper napkins in your house with cloth napkins instead! Now your set table will look nicer and your family and guests will feel pampered and fancy when they come over for dinner.

14. Use handkerchiefs instead of tissues

Save up to $100

For instance, a pack of 4 flat box Kleenex costs about $6 while a pack of 6 basic handkerchiefs can cost $5.00 and last you for years to come. Meanwhile, tissue boxes only last a little while before you need to purchase them all over again.

So instead of buying box after box of tissues every year, just get yourself some nice handkerchiefs instead!

Replacing frequent costs with a single purchase is always the better choice. And handkerchiefs are going to be nicer on your nose, not chaff and dry out your nose the way paper tissues do. They’re also more useful because you can use them as a cloth too! If you need to wipe away some perspiration or wipe your hands throughout the day or anything.

15. Make Foods from Scratch

Save up to $4,109

Learn to make homemade things from scratch instead of instant and boxed foods. For example, two homemade pizza can cost as little as $3.25, while 2 pizzas from a pizza place can easily cost you over $20.

You can also learn to do your own canning and make preservatives. There are many things you can make yourself for less than half the cost it takes to buy it from the store. Here’s a short list of some other things you could learn to make from scratch instead of buying it in stores:

  • chicken or vegetable stock
  • peanut butter
  • macaroni and cheese
  • granola
  • baby food
  • spaghetti sauce
  • lunch meat
  • pizza
  • bread
16. Eat More Like a Vegetarian/Vegan

Save up to $700

You don’t have to commit to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle to take advantage of vegetarian and vegan meals. These meals can be tasty, full of nutrients, and cheaper than recipes that use lots of meats and dairy products.

17. Recycle

Make some spare change!

Get recycling bins for your home and start recycling! You can actually make money recycling certain items at your local recycling facility.

18. Don’t Waste Freezer Foods

You can create a lot of waste and waste a lot of food by not utilizing your freezer enough. Make foods last longer by storing them correctly in the freezer. You can even create a food expiration calendar for your fridge to help you keep track when you need to eat certain foods.

food storage expiration date calendars

There are also a surprising number of things you can make with overripe foods, like banana bread. So always check before you toss things whether you can give it a second life somehow.

19. Buy Used Instead of New

Not only does buying used items help recycle things and maintain the environment, but buying used can also save you a lot of money as well! If you need new furniture, you can find great deals on beautiful pieces at antique shops and on the Facebook Marketplace.

20. Support Local Farmers

By shopping at the local farmer’s market for food items instead of big chain grocery stores, you can support your local farmers, reduce consumption, and save money on cheaper and fresher produce.

21. Don’t Waste on Basic Bills

Save up to $2,060

Overdoing it on utilities can put a strain on the environment and your wallet. So take measures to reduce the use of your utilities like heating, cooling, electricity, and water.

For example, you could save your AC by opening windows to keep things cool instead. You could also make some homemade dry shampoo so you don’t have to wash your hair so frequently and conserve water that way. This will also help your shampoo last longer for when you do wash your hair. You could also put less use on your drier by hanging things up to dry instead.

22. Find a Local Tailor

Sometimes we get rid of clothes when they could be fixed! Find a local tailor and have them fix up your old clothes, pants, shoes, or even hats so you don’t have to replace them as often. You’ll also be supporting local businesses which is always a good thing.

23. Replace Plastic Loofahs

Save up to $120

Instead of rebuying plastic loofas over and over again throughout the course of your life find a more permanent solution. You can find bath brushes in all kinds of shapes and brush types and they’ll actually help exfoliate and clean you better than a loofah anyway.

24. Rechargeable Batteries

Save up to $20

Not many things still use batteries but our need for batteries is far from over. But instead of rebuying batteries every time they die, just buy a pack of rechargeable batteries that you can use for life! That way you won’t be throwing away harmful batteries all the time, and you won’t have to buy them all the time either.

25. Make Reusable Gift Bags

Save up to $240

We spend so much on wrapping paper each year for birthdays and holidays. It’s fun to give gifts and being able to open the gift is one of the best parts! But you can keep the surprise while getting rid of wrapping paper costs by crafting together some reusable gift bags or clothes of your own.

26. Ditch Sponges for Brushes

Save up to $40

Sponges are important for helping you wash dishes, but they can get gross and need replacing really fast. Ditch the cost of sponges all together by buying dish brushes instead.

27. Use Public Transit, Walk, or Bike

Save up to $2,000

The average American spends over $2,000 a year on gas. That’s a lot of money that could be going to other parts of your budget. By taking the bus, using a bike, or walking you can greatly reduce this cost and reduce your emissions.

How To Live a Low Waste Lifestyle

The above list doesn’t list all the things you can do to cut down on waste and costs, but just with the tips above you can potentially save up to $13,000 a year by becoming more self-sufficient and replacing single-use purchases with single-purchase items you only have to buy once.

What will you do with all this extra money? You could put it all into a savings account, a checking account, use it to help reach your savings goals, or pay off credit cards, or start an emergency fund. Start saving money today and make your future brighter and more waste free.

These are a lot of really helpful ideas, but most of them boil down to a few key tactics to living a more low waste lifestyle.

  1. Make things from scratch
  2. Be self-sufficient
  3. Support local businesses
  4. Choose quality over anything else

Now all you have to do is create your own master plan of attack for living the low-waste way and watch how much your budget grows with all those savings!

 

written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

How Much Do Dentists Make?

dentist salary

When picking a profession many people wonder about annual salary, because earning potential might impact which career path you choose.

By knowing how much you can earn in each field, you can better know what jobs best fit your desired lifestyle and have the ability to support yourself and your loved ones. Meanwhile, if you’re in between jobs and need some financial help, feel free to check out Check City’s Payday Loans to help get you through the job hunt.

The Different Kinds of Dental Professions

Dentistry is a great profession to go into if you want great hours along with great pay. There are also many different kinds of dentists so you have many choices within the field of dentistry as well.

All dentists need to have a professional degree, which usually involves going to dental school, though some dental professions require even more schooling. As we go down this list of dentist professions, their amount of required education increases.

Dental Assistant

Dental assistants are like the RNs of the dentistry world. They help out the dentist, perform routine cleanings, take x-rays, keep records, and schedule appointments.

General Dentist

A general dentist is the person you see for your regular annual dental checkup. They primarily focus on preventative care by teaching you how to take good care of your teeth so problems don’t occur in the first place. They’ll perform cleanings, X-rays, fillings, and other basic dental care.

Pediatric Dentist

A pediatric dentist is just like a general dentist except they specialize in treating children. Children come with their own kind of teeth and their own struggles when it comes to doctors, so pediatric dentists are helpful in that they focus on managing children, teaching them in ways they’ll understand, making the experience at the dentist less scary, and caring for their young mouths as they grow from baby teeth to adult teeth.

Orthodontist

If you have braces then you know that orthodontists are the ones you go to for this kind of care. But they don’t just handle braces. They also handle a lot of other issues connected to a misaligned mouth or jaw.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the surgeons of the mouth. They focus less on teeth and more on the tissues around the mouth—like gums, cheeks, lips, palates, tongue, and other facial tissues. These are obviously going to be more invasive treatments, so oral and maxillofacial surgeons continue school for a while after completing dental school. Though they focus more on the tissues related to the mouth they do also deal with tooth extractions.

Periodontist

Periodontists are all about your gums. They specialize in taking care of gum-specific problems and treatments. Some examples of the issues that can occur with gums are inflammation, pain, and gum diseases. If you have an issue with your gums specifically, then you might need to see a periodontist.

Prosthodontist

Prosthodontists are the people you go to when you need a tooth replacement. They take care of what’s called oral prosthetics, like false teeth. They are also the doctors you see in advertisements about getting extreme smile makeovers.

Endodontist

Endodontists specialize on the inside of teeth. The inside of your tooth is actually full of soft, sensitive tissue and can suffer its own kinds of damages and ailments that need to be treated by a professional. These are also the dentists that perform root canals.

How Much Do Dentists Make a Year?

infographic dentist salary

In 2018, dentists made an overall median salary of $156,240 per year and $75.12 per hour.

The lowest earning 10% of dentists earned less than $72,840 a year and the highest 10% earned more than $208,000 a year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) general dentists make an average of $151,850 a year. According to PayScale, pediatric dentists make an average $178,141 a year, orthodontists make $181,705, oral and maxillofacial surgeons make $243,806, periodontists make $173,939,
prosthodontists make $169,853, endodontists make $201,080, and dental assistants make $34,095.

How Much Do Dentists Make a Month?

monthly income

In 2018, dentists made an average of $13,020 per month

Sometimes it helps to break down yearly salaries into monthly income, especially if you’re currently living month to month. According to the same figures above, general dentists make an average of $12,654 every month, pediatric dentists make $14,845, orthodontist make $15,142, oral and maxillofacial surgeons make $20,317, periodontists make $14,494, prosthodontists make $14,154, endodontists make $16,756, and dental assistants make $2,841 a month.

The BLS found in their most recent population survey that the average full-time worker makes about $3,744 per month or $936 per week. Meanwhile, the average dentist is making around $13,020 per month, putting dentists’ salaries far above the national average.

Dentist Earnings by Location

how much dentists make by location

Some of the highest employment rates for dentists come from California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Illinois.

The pay that dentists can expect can also vary depending on state. Some of the top paying states for dentists are Delaware, Alaska, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and New Hampshire.

Dentists do best in less dense areas because they are more likely to have less competition and therefore more pay and flexibility.

How much do dentists make in California?

California is actually the state with the highest employment level in the U.S. California also ranks in the top 5 for states with the highest number of jobs and locations for dentists. The mean annual wage for dentists working in California is $151,490 per year and $72.83 per hour. Overall, California is a great place to be for a dentist.

How much do dentists make in Texas?

Texas is also a high ranking state in terms of employment level and availability. They offer a mean wage of $185,680 per year and $89.27 per hour, so New York actually beats California when it comes to salary.

How much do dentists make in New York?

New York is also a top contender for the state with the highest dentist employment levels. They feature an annual mean wage of $164,520 and $79.10 per hour. Overall, Texas might beat both California and New York where annual salary is concerned, but you have to consider where you’d like to settle down as well.

How to Become a Dentist

Now that you’ve seen the many benefits of becoming a dentist, you might wonder where to start on your journey to becoming one!

Step 1: Get a bachelor’s degree

It’s most helpful for you to major in a pre-dentistry major if your school provides something like that, or in a science major in order to have the upper hand later in dental school.

Step 2: Take the Dental Admission Test

In a way, dentists have to take their own version of the MCAT, just like aspiring doctors do. It’s called the Dental Acceptance Test and it is administered by the American Dental Association. The test takes 5 hours, and the current average score is 19 out of 30 points.

Step 3: Get a doctorate

Make sure that whatever doctorate you go for will be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. This way you won’t have any problems getting your license to practice dentistry afterward.

Step 4: Get licensed

To get your dental license you have to take another test. The National Board Dental Examinations are administered by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examination

 

The perks to being a dentist are endless. Along with a great salary and job outlook, you can transform the lives of your patience and alleviate their fears along with their pains.

 

Sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Dentists.”

 

written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

Career Guide | How Much Do Nurses Make?

nurses pay

The nursing profession has been around for a very long time. Today there are over 100 different nursing specialties.

So the field not only offers a lucrative salary but a chance to specialize in what you are most passionate about as well. This article will take a closer look at the salary aspect of the Nursing profession.

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Everyone at some point has to figure out what to do with their life and what job to take. We all want a job that will make us happy, foster our passions, and provide for ourselves. If your passion includes helping people then the nursing profession may be the perfect career for you.

There are many reasons for becoming a registered nurse (RN) is a great career choice. For one thing, the registered nurse profession currently has an expected growth rate of 15%, which is much faster than the average job’s growth rate. So if you’re wondering if your job outlook as a future nurse is good or not, have no fear, the demand for nurses is only going to get higher.

A career as a registered nurse is a great option not only because of the future outlook, job security, and demand look good. It also only requires a bachelor’s degree, and the average salary for registered nurses is $71,730 a year! Not only that but the nursing profession has a vast array of subfields and specialties you can go into as well. No matter your temperament or passion you can bet that the nursing profession has a niche for you.

What Determines Pay?

nurses salary

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics RNs tend to make an average of $34.48 an hour. When calculating for annual salary, the lowest 10% was around $50,800 a year, the median annual salary was $71,730 a year, and the highest 10% was up to $106,530 a year.

Like all jobs, how much an RN makes is also going to depend on certain factors unique to that field. The variables that affect the salary of a registered nurse are:

What state you work in

Different states all have different average RN salaries. For example, RNs in Alabama have an average annual salary of $57,890, but RNs in California have an average annual salary of $102,700. Just keep in mind that these numbers often vary due to things like cost of living. Nurses may make more in California each year than nurses in Alabama, but the cost of living between these two states may differ greatly as well.

Level of education

There are 4 different levels of education that you can seek in the nursing field. All of which will require studies in nursing, physiology, anatomy, and nutrition. The higher your education level, the higher your starting salary at a job is going to be.

  1. Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) takes 2-3 years.
  2. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) takes 4 years.
  3. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) takes 2 years.
  4. Doctorate in Nursing (DNP) takes 4 to 6 years.
Experience or how long you’ve been working as a nurse

The more experience you have working as a nurse the more your salary is likely to increase compared to nurses who are newer or haven’t worked as RNs for as long. The fact that experience and time spent in the job factors into salary is helpful because it means employers will recognize you for your experience and compensate you more for your time spent in the field.

But if you are new to the field and still only making that starting salary, you may need some help here and there to stay on track financially. If you find yourself needing some help during the month, you can use the Check City Payday Loan.

What Do Nurses Do?

What everyday tasks a nurse does will potentially depend on whether they are specializing in a specific field or not. But below are a couple of common RN duties to give you a feel for the kind of work that would be required of you on a daily basis:

  • Administer medications and treatments
  • Assist in examinations
  • Instruct patients on how to care for themselves after leaving a medical facility
  • Observe patients
  • Operate medical equipment
  • Perform tests
  • Record patient medical histories
  • Record symptoms
  • Supervise the Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
RN Hours:

Some patients are going to need around-the-clock care, so there will always need to be some RNs on duty. RNs usually take the 24 hours in shifts so that there are always nurses available in the day and night. This means that as an RN you may end up working nights, weekends, holidays, or be on call.

If you are interested in the work that RNs do but want to work more regular business hours, then there are some options available. There are places of work where RNs are needed but they only operate during normal business hours. Places like offices and schools will only require a regular work shift.

Nurse Related Jobs and Specialties

There are many nurse related jobs that are also worth considering if you are interested in this type of vocation. This is one of the perks of the nursing career. It has the potential to lead to other jobs, and it connects you to the medical career world in general.

There are also many different specialties within the nursing field. As you become a registered nurse you may find that a specific area of work interests you above the others, and if you want you can pursue that specific area of practice.

The following charts are just a few examples showing the range of salaries for some common nursing specialties. But there are over 100 different nursing specialties available in the medical field right now. Below we will continue to go over some of these other kinds of nurse specialties. For more information about different nursing specialties and what they do you can visit RegisteredNursing.org.

nursing specialties

Nurses hold some of the most important jobs in order to make a hospital function properly. They literally fill hundreds of rolls and perform a countless array of duties. If you are looking for a job that will allow you to live comfortably while letting you pursue your individual passions in the medical arena, then becoming a registered nurse is the ideal path for you.


Sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Registered Nurses.”

Nurse Salary Guide. “Nurse Salary by State 2020.”

Registered Nursing. “Nursing Careers & Specialties for RNs.”

Check City Blog. “What Do Nurses Do?”

Nurse.org Career Guide Series. “Registered Nurse.”

Nursing Community. “The 20 Best Nursing Career Specialties.”

 

written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

Grocery IQ: the Best Grocery Shopping App on the Market

thursday
Saving money at the grocery store is an art form for many people.

How much you save is directly related to how much time you spend writing a list and searching for deals. You can bet that the people who waste the most money shopping for food are the ones who go to the store without a plan and browse the aisles aimlessly.

But not everyone who wants to save money on groceries also wants to spend hours clipping coupons each week. Thankfully, there’s an grocery app for that: Grocery IQ.

Technology Meets Extreme Couponing

Thanks to TLC’s reality TV show Extreme Couponing, hoarding coupons has experienced a surge in popularity. The biggest takeaway from this show is that some people go way overboard, but they also save a lot of money.

Not all coupons are found in the Sunday edition of the newspaper anymore. The website Coupons.com provides you with thousands of coupon options—all you need is a computer.

Now you can take all those deals to the store with you, with the Coupons.com mobile app, Grocery iQ. While you’re browsing the isles for a good deal on ketchup, simply look for coupons on your phone.

The Best Features in the Grocery Shopping App: Grocery iQ

Grocery iQ is more than a grocery app. It’s also a tool to build your grocery list and help you shop smart.
For example, you can create custom grocery lists and revisit them anytime, so you never forget an item again. All past items you’ve checked out are compiled in your history, and you can create favorites so making a list is extremely quick.

Another handy feature is Aisles, which allows you to group favorite products by category into “aisles.” When you’re crafting your list, just browse through items in your aisles.

Adding a new item to your aisles and lists is as easy as pointing your camera a taking a picture of its barcode. This way you can actually keep tabs on prices for the stores you frequently visit.

Access to Coupons

The main benefit of Grocery iQ is its access to thousands of coupons through Coupons.com. When you’re at the grocery store, it’s easy to look up a coupon for a specific item using this app. You can have the coupon added to your store loyalty card, or have the checkout line attendant scan a code directly from your phone. The Grocery iQ grocery app also sends you recommended coupons based on your purchase history.

Perhaps the best part is you have access to coupons, lists, and price comparisons, all in one place.

A Word of Caution

While all of this sounds great, some might say that this grocery apps makes saving money a little too easy. As with all sales, discounts, and coupons, there is a temptation to make purchases for things you don’t actually need. You’re not really saving money if you buy unnecessary stuff, just because you have a coupon.

A good rule of thumb is to only use coupons for things you would have bought anyway. Using a grocery shopping app at the grocery store can be extremely effective, mostly because we all have to buy food. So start with the food you already love, and find coupons for those items.

Where Technology Saves You Money!

The internet is a great place to make money as well as organize your money. Learn more about how technology can save you money by checking back with our weekly installment, Tech Thursday, only on the Check City blog.

What I Learned About Saving From Extreme Cheapskates

save money

Today’s post is from Adam. He recently got sucked into the hit reality series called Extreme Cheapskates on TLC. Here are some of the things he’s learned from the show.

The reality TV show on TLC, Extreme Cheapskates, is meant to be entertainment. Most of the antics of the people portrayed on the show inspire revulsion rather than a desire to become more frugal. For example, one woman picks a cake out of the trash and serves it to her guests. Another woman cooks up roadkill for dinner.

These examples are why this show is first and foremost entertainment. Basically like all of reality TV. However, once I got past the icky stuff, I was able to pick out a few valuable lessons on saving money.

Save Through Adventurous Eating

eating out

Jeff Yeager is a self-proclaimed extreme cheapskate who appears regularly on the show, and he provides much of the most helpful advice. In one episode he serves up boiled fish heads to his guests. It’s pretty funny to see the looks of disgust on a teenager’s face as Jeff eats the fish’s eyeballs.

So this is an “extreme” example of adventurous eating. However, considering all the bizarre things people eat all over the world, opening your mind to new flavors and textures could be a fun way to save money.

If you’re constantly on the lookout for deals at the grocery store, it’s a good idea to broaden your horizons to food you might not have tried before. It doesn’t have to be fish heads, but it might be chopped liver or an item from the international aisle.

Save by Conserving Water

water

California is currently going through an extreme drought, and so for residents of that state water conservation may soon become a necessity. When it comes down to it, it’s possible to drastically reduce your household’s water use, and the people on Extreme Cheapskates prove it.

One simple way of saving water, as portrayed in the show, is to take a “navy shower.” This is when you only leave the water on to rinse yourself. While you lather your hair with shampoo and clean yourself with soap, the water stays off until it’s time to wash yourself down.

In Extreme Cheapskates, a woman forces her boyfriend to take these “navy showers” in a pretty demeaning way. She puts a baby monitor in the bathroom so she can bark at him if she thinks he’s using too much water. It’s hard to imagine a grown man putting up with that, but it appears he does.

Despite the brash personalities of the characters in the show, taking a “navy shower” is a pretty reasonable and effective way to conserve water. It might take some getting used to, but if it’s good enough for the navy, then it’s probably good enough for the rest of us.

My conclusion after watching a few episodes was that while I probably don’t fit the description of an “Extreme Cheapskate,” there are a few good ideas for saving money. These people have obviously taken it to the next level, sometimes to the point of lunacy. But if I really wanted to, I could follow their lead and find some great ways to cut my own spending.


Resolving to Save More in 2014

We’re seventeen days into the New Year and while some people have already broken their New Year’s resolution, some people are still trying to figure out how they want to improve themselves in 2014. Whether you want to be smarter, more active, of more compassionate, you can set goals at this time to improve yourself, and come to appreciate your capacities even more than you otherwise do. One of the best resolutions you can make this winter is a resolution to save more money.

Having a buffer of savings is extremely helpful for everyone. This can come in handy when emergency strikes, you find something you just have to have, or to build interest and increase your funds for the future. By saving money regularly, you will be able to count on having something to fall back on if you ever find yourself out of work.

Saving More in 2014

As you begin saving this year, you may feel like there isn’t much you can do about it. But, in reality, there are many ways to save money each year, and by taking advantage of opportunities to save, you will find yourself much more financially secure, and more able to care for yourself, and anyone who is depending on you.

One of the best things you can do to help yourself save more effectively is to set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account. This will allow you to make deposits into your savings account without having to lift a finger. And, by doing this, you will be able to maximize your savings, while minimizing the possibility to forget to save.

Loose Change Adds Up

Another important saving option is as simple as merely saving the change from purchases you make. By saving these small amounts, you will find yourself adding money to your savings account quickly without noticing a lack in your other account. Change will start small, but as you consistently save, you will see it adding up to what can be significant amount.

Invest For the Future

Another great saving tool is investment. Whether you take out a CD, which has low risk but low rewards, or invest in a more substantial and risky endeavor, by investing, you will be able to make your savings work for you. Especially in riskier investments, you should make sure to only put out an amount you feel relatively comfortable losing.

Also, as you look to invest, it is a good idea to consult with a financial professional so you can put your money to the best possible use. By consulting carefully, you will be able to make informed financial decisions that will affect your financial health positively and help you to become even more successful, by expanding your portfolio and increasing your buffer.

So, this New Year, think about making your financial security your resolution. Through this simple step, you will be able to increase your security and provide yourself with a buffer of protection for both emergencies and any time you want to splurge. Take this step this year, and you will find your financial state much more secure.

5 Secrets to Stop Living Pay Check to Pay Check

Wouldn’t it be nice to stop living with an uncertain financial future? Wouldn’t it be great to not only have enough for what you need, but to be able to put aside a bit extra every month for a rainy day? With your current situation though, you may not be able to see a way to get out of this financial deficit so you can save for a rainy day.

Amazingly, people with less money and more financial responsibility have found ways to reach their goal of not living from pay check to pay check. Here are some secrets that could help you do likewise. Make each a habit and encourage savings at every corner.

First, create a weekly meal plan that uses the same ingredients for a variety of meals. The thing that tends to increase your shopping expenses is purchasing different ingredients for every meal you plan.

For example, Monday night is pasta night; Tuesday is Mexican; Wednesday is soup; Thursday is Hot Dogs; and Friday is Steak night. Your shopping list tends to build up because each meal requires a different set of ingredients, which costs a lot more than buying just fewer ingredients in bulk would.

There are websites, like supercook.com, that will help you determine what variety of meals only take a set amount of ingredients, e.g. chicken, noodles, bread, cheese, lettuce, tomato, etc. Choose a meal you want to cook that week, type in the names of these ingredients into that website, and see what other meal options you can try out. Then go to the store with that same list and purchase in bulk for the week. This can often save you quite a bit of money in the long run, while increasing your home menu.

Second, determine to save $1 every two weeks. Surely one dollar isn’t that hard to put aside. You can often willingly forgo a more expensive brand name item for generic if it means you get to put $1 to your future.

Habits are created with simple, persistent effort. One measly buck every paycheck is a great start. After a year, you’ll have created such a deep habit that it will seem unnatural to not save. You may even lift your sights to $2 per paycheck (and in fact, you should strive to shoot for more if you want this savings to grow). For now though, concentrate on what you can manage, and save $1 every pay check until you’re ready to increase that expense.

Third, change your spending attitude. If you live from pay check to pay check because you throw money around at your leisure, then you have the financial opportunities to quit that lifestyle. Go back through your bank statements over the past three months and identify what was (1) needed, and (2) frivolous.

Keep the needed expenses in place, but make a goal to cut the amount of money you use frivolously. Frivolous expenses are a necessary part of life, but it should be limited to an affordable amount. Make a goal for how much you want available for discretion and then track your spending every day throughout the month. When you have a goal and then track your progress, you are far less likely to spend as frivolously as you did before. Save the surplus money for another day.

Fourth, work together with your spouse. If you’re married, then work through your finances together as a couple. No one person should think they have full control of the money. This creates inequality, and that inequality often ends up in relationship trouble, or over/unexpected spending on either side of the equation.

Approach your finances as equals. It’s not about what’s “yours” it’s about what’s “ours.” Plan and address your current spending habits like the frivolous spender would. Identify your needs. Find places you can improve on your discretionary money and start saving today.

Fifth, save everything you can and find ways to make more money to save. Any extra money you find in your budget should be saved. Reduce spending on unnecessary luxuries like cable TV, or air conditioners set expensively low at 68 degrees.

Any old items that you want to get rid of can be sold. Take the money from that sale and put it away. Find ways to sell your skills or hobbies outside of work to get a few extra bucks to put away.

Living from pay check to pay check can make you feel imprisoned. Shed those shackles and be free from the pain of financial worry every month by applying these five secrets to your life.

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