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Ways to Save Money with Low Waste Living

Ways to Save Money with 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!


Saving Money When You Are Single

Well it’s Valentine’s Day and while thousands of couples will be heading out for a night on the town, there are also thousands of singles out there who currently find their facebook relationship status set to single. For some people, a single Valentine’s Day makes for a sad and lonely evening, for other’s it means saving money by not having to go out. While money in the bank might not make up for the loneliness this Valentine’s Day it’s better to look further down the road and realize that saving now, while you’re single, is one of the easiest times to save money.

For some people learning to budget and save money is something that many of us have to learn on our own by trial and error. It is a rare teenager who graduates high school and goes to college who already understands finances and how to manage them.

That being said, it is very important for a single person to learn to budget and save before they get married or even get a ‘real’ job. While learning all of this in college may be difficult, mastering these skills can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars in the long run.

Budgeting

This is a word that most people cringe when they hear it. For many it carries with it a negative connotation, indicating a restriction of fun and less money to play with. While learning to budget does sometimes mean limiting the ‘fun’ factor at the beginning, it will earn you skills that can help you build the foundation that financial independence is built on.

Budgeting is merely a way to manage your finances so that you don’t have to worry about whether or not you have enough. When you’re starting out, it can be difficult to learn the control that it takes to not blow your budget on a spending spree, but over time, you will begin to understand how to properly manage your finances.

Saving

The key to a successful budget is saving. When you are single, it is tempting to spend all your extra money on the fun things you could be doing right now. But when your car breaks, or you suddenly find yourself needing to search for new housing arrangements, not having money in the bank means your choices in these situations are severely limited.

When saving, you want to set aside the same amount of money each month, working to slowly build up and then maintain a savings account that holds enough to support you in your current living situation for a 3-6 month period of time. This emergency fund should be the first thing you focus on as you learn to budget and save.

Playing

While living on a budget, specifically a small one can be tough, it is important that you leave some money each month for you to play with or, if you prefer, put some money toward a larger luxury item or trip that you really want. Whether you just want to be able to go to a movie once a month or you want to save for your dream vacation getaway, make sure you are spending some of your money on what YOU want to spend it on.

Understanding the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’ is vital when developing your budget. ‘Needs’ include things like food, clothing, shelter, and basic utilities like electricity, water and a full emergency fund, while your ‘wants’ may be that designer shirt you’ve had your eye on, or the latest piece of mobile technology. Learn the difference between the two and only spend money on the ‘wants’ when you have all your ‘needs’ covered.

Learn how to manage your money now, before you need to merge your finances with another person. Being financially responsible is a skill like any other, and for some it may come easy, while the rest of us will spend our entire lives learning how to do it. Either way, get started, and you won’t be sorry.

Saving Big on the Small Stuff

When it comes to saving money, it may seem like the only surefire way is to put huge amounts of money in the bank in the hopes of great interest and great rewards. While this is certainly an effective method, it is not the only way, and consistent small additions to your savings account can also help you along your way.

If you have a goal to save towards, saving becomes a lot easier, and you can keep that goal in mind as you make your daily decisions. If for example, your family is saving for a big trip, you can think of the expenses for that trip and then start making smarter financial decisions to help you work towards your new and clear goal.

Stop Eating Out

One great first step in this money saving technique is to eat out one less time a week than you usually would. Then, calculate how much you would have spent on your meal out, and put that money in to your trip savings account. This is a simple saving method, and you won’t miss the money because you would have been spending it otherwise.

Make it Automatic

Another great way to save money simply is to set up automatic savings with your bank, this means setting up a dollar amount that you want automatically transferred from your checking account to your savings each month. This will save you the hassle of transferring the money yourself each month, and will prevent you from spending that money before you have a chance to spend it.

Save Your Change

A third great tip is to count your pennies, literally. Make an effort to pay for certain purchases with cash, then take the extra change and put that into savings, this method will help you to save small amounts of money that will quickly add up to bigger savings.

Fight Impulsive Spending

Another useful tip is to make and keep a savings goal to save the same amount that you spend on small impulsive purchases. This means that each time you buy a drink at the gas station, a movie ticket, or a trip to the zoo; you should put the same amount of money into your savings account. This method will help you to think more carefully about your small purchases, and will also ensure that your savings account balance continues to grow.

Make and Keep Short Term Goals

By making small and attainable short term goals to lead up to your long term goals, you will find yourself more able to succeed, and your progress will be much easier to track. As you meet these smaller goals, you will be able to see yourself approaching the long term goals you have set for yourself.

Strive for efficiency, buy what you need and the occasional well thought out splurge; don’t make small daily splurges without accounting for them and saving money accordingly.

With all of these small saving strategies, you will be able to meet your saving goals much more simply, and after you build a habit, you won’t even need to think about it anymore. Start today, and you will be on your way to your next financial goal.

The Poor Man’s Son of Baconator

In our post yesterday we talked about the Ghetto Big Mac video that has been circulating throughout the web. In the video a couple of guys take advantage of free upgrades to make their $1 double cheeseburger more like a Big Mac.
As our team here started thinking about it we realized there have to be some additional menu items that could be cracked which will allow you to save a buck or two each time you go to your favorite fast food restaurant.

For our experiment we decided to target Wendy’s since McDonalds has already been done. One of our favorite menu items at Wendy’s is the Baconator, which can be a little too much to eat on a regular basis so we set our sites on the smaller version which Wendy’s calls “The Son of Baconator.”

Our local Wendy’s charges $3.29 for just the Son of Baconator Sandwhich so the goal was to be able to build a comparable burger for at least a buck or two cheaper. To consider it a success we’d need to have at least two meat patties, two pieces of cheese, and some bacon. The son of baconator has 4 strips of bacon but we decided 2 would be enough.

There were several ways to go about building our Budget Baconator but we decided to start with the double stack. The double stack is Wendy’s version of the McDonalds double cheeseburger and even though it recently saw a price hike from $99 to $1.79 we still felt that it was the best candidate for this project. Here is the breakdown of what we did next.

  • 1 Double Stack (Two patties and two pieces of cheese)
  • 1 Upgrade to Premium Bun- (FREE) Many people don’t know that you can upgrade to most buns for free at Wendy’s with the exception of their specialty buns such as the Pretzel bun. By upgrading to the premium bun, you not only get more bun but you also have a richer feeling burger and it also gets us one step closer to our Son of Baconator goal because it’s the same bun.
  • 2 Strips Bacon- $0.60 Even though the Son of Baconator has 4 strips of bacon we decided to just go with 2 because we’re going for a budget version here, as long as there’s some bacon you’ll still get that taste. To add 2 strips of it only cost sixty cents so things were looking good.

So in the end, with our upgrades to the Double Stack, we were able to create a burger that was almost identical to the Son of Baconator but a whopping $0.90 cents cheaper. Now that might not sounds like a ton, but as we mentioned in our previous post, if you’re the kind of guy or gal that goes out to eat every work day, it adds up. If you were to save ninety cents a day for a full work year, you’d be saving over $200.00!

We hope you had as much fun reading about this as we had researching it and putting it together. If you have any menu hacks of your own, be sure to let us know.

3 Unique Tips that Could Save You Money

There’s so much more to saving money than simply transferring money from your paycheck into a saving’s bond or into your bank account. There are ways you can save money with every day things you may not ever think about. The following are just three ideas to get the ball rolling, extend each of these thoughts to everything you spend money on to see where you can make important financial changes that will help you keep the money you earn.

Share and Borrow Your Media

One, borrow your entertainment rather than purchase it. If you are connected to a lot of people, set up a mutually beneficial borrowing relationship. Some people have to have every movie that comes out. It’s buried somewhere in their DNA, and there’s nothing their spouse can do or say to stop them from doing that.

The only problem with this kind of thinking is that they buy a movie and never take it out of the shrink wrap. Or they do and then only watch it once. It’s probably the same in your home. You only pull it out once every year and a half, meaning it’s taking up more space than it’s getting its money’s worth.

Now that’s not to say you need to go watch them, it just might be a good indication that you don’t need to buy movies or other entertainment quite as much as you think you do, especially when you have the shrink wrap movie collection friend. When you want to watch a movie, don’t rent it, don’t pay-per-view it, and don’t pay for an account on the internet to stream it. Borrow it instead from the friend.

Access Free Music, Legally

The same holds true for media like music. Though you may not want to borrow an actual friend’s CD, you can set up a free account on Pandora, Grooveshark, or Spotify to stream music for free all day, every day. Just as long as you have an internet connection, you have access to every song ever made. Why do you need to buy your entertainment with an option like this?

Hire Students, Save Money

Two, choose a local school over an experienced professional. Dental and vet schools, for instance, are looking for real people and pets to get some real world experience with. Near the end of their educations, students are finally allowed to do some basic procedures on live people and pets. Dentists can do cleanings, deep cleanings, and some basic oral work. Vets can take a shot at performing the work of a professional.

Since they are still learning, the bill is much cheaper than it would be to visit a professional’s office. And quality wise, you are still in good hands. A dentist or vet generally supervises the procedures to ensure everything goes correctly, and they can even jump in if the going got rough.

Visiting a student may be a bit more painful/awkward, or take a bit longer than a professional, but this has potential to get your care at a much cheaper price.

Avoid Stupid Citations

Three, don’t text someone that is driving. If you know someone is driving and you hold a conversation with them anyway, you could be held liable if the driver got in an accident.

A New Jersey appeals court recently ruled that these people could be held liable should the driver cause a collision. The rule officially looks for “reason to think the recipient is driving or will read the text while driving.”*

So not only is the person making the choice to check the text message liable, but now the one egging them on to doing it is too, as they think “the text sender has a responsibility to the public much like a passenger in the car would.” So to avoid potentially becoming liable to an injury in a court case and possibly influencing an accident, protect the lives of your friends and the account balance in your bank by simply not texting those you know are driving.

The first option taught you how to borrow things for free rather than pay money at the theater or rental store for them. Friends are often more than happy to lend movies and media to you, just as long as you prove yourself able to return them.

Cheaper, quality services are abundant out there. Find the schools that are teaching their students how to perform their future responsibilities for a significantly reduced price (sometimes $10 for an oral cleaning). You don’t have to pay the high costs of healthcare when you have ready and able students that can perform the most basic of tasks.
Finally, avoid situations that would make you liable to pay something. Park smart to avoid a ticket. Drive the speed limit to avoid being pulled over. Promote safety amongst your friends so you are never held liable for the choices of another.

These are all fundamental ways to save money that can be applied to a variety of situations. Apply them to your own life and watch your money worries begin to reduce as you save more of what you earn every month. Just be sure you don’t spend that extra money because you suddenly feel free. You’ll never progress when you fall to that temptation.

Successfully Saving for Raising Children

Are you thinking about having kids? If you know that you want to start having kids, you should be sure that you are financially prepared for children. It is important that you take time to assess how much children are going to cost and understand what financial commitment a child will bring. As you consider the cost of raising a child, you will have a much better understanding of when you are going to be in a financial position that will enable you to be able to provide for your child.

Children Aren’t Cheap

It has been estimated that a child now costs $234,900 to raise for 17 years. This includes the cost of food, shelter, and other necessities. This means that annually, children cost right around $13,000. Depending on the child’s age, the cost of the child will fluctuate. The most expensive part of raising a child is paying for housing and the second most expensive part of raising a child is paying for child care.

So, if you have decided that you want to start having children, saving money to ensure you are able to provide for your children properly throughout the time that you are raising them will be beneficial. If you want to start saving money now, to ensure you have money for children, there are some simple ways that you can adjust your spending habits to ensure you are able to provide properly for your children.

Start With a Budget

First, you will want to set out a budget for yourself. Setting a budget can be a nerve wracking process if you are not used to living within a budget. To start the process, you will want to figure out how much money you need for your necessities. Figuring this out can be difficult, because it means that you have to take the time to determine what is a necessity and what is not a necessity. Often times, people get comfortable paying pills that they do not necessarily need to be paying. You may want to live without cable for a few months or try to go without stopping for a soda on a daily basis.

When you start to assess where you are spending money, you may find that you are able to find a few areas that you can minimize your spending in.

By minimizing your spending in these areas you will be able to start saving money that you can then use when you are raising your child. After you figure out how you are going to save money, you will want to know how to allocate the money that you save. If you have some existing debts such as credit card balances or short term loans, it will be best to allocate your extra funds to paying down those debts before the baby gets here.

The budget that you create for yourself will help guide you when you are spending money. Knowing when and where to spend money can be just as tricky as learning how to save your money. There are many people that do not give thought to where they are spending their money when it comes to things that they need. Although you may need gas, it is important that learn how to budget your gas and your money for your gas. By doing this, you can be sure that you are not spending an excessive amount of money on your gas throughout the month.

You Can Eat For Cheap

Food is another great example of an area that may provide you with the opportunity to save money. Many people do not realize how much money they waste when it comes to the food that they are purchasing throughout any given month. It is important to understand how you are going to start mitigating the cost of your food. Often times the first step to saving money when it comes to your food is to stop eating out. Planning a menu and doing your grocery shopping on a consistent basis will help you save a lot of money when it comes to your food.

Start by creating a menu for a week. Include all of the meals and snacks that you would eat throughout the day and make sure that you plan for food that you know you are going to eat. Once you have your menu, you can then make a grocery shopping list to ensure you have all of the ingredients for the meals. Going to the grocery store once a week may feel like a lot, but it is a great way to shop for yourself and ensure that you eat everything you have purchased before going out and purchasing more.

Although it may be a little nerve wracking to think about the money that you will need to raise a child, if you plan well you can be sure that you are able to provide for your child throughout the seventeen years that he/she is in your home.

5 Things You Probably Spend Too Much On

The world is full of purchasing opportunities and everywhere you turn, there’s an ad telling you to purchase something else. The sad truth is that many people are spending far too much for some of the “traditional” expenses.

These are the top 5.

Number 5: Cars. Purchasing a car off the lot kills your investment. You overpay for a car that is going to lose half its value in the first five months. Purchase used cars that are a couple years old. You’ll usually get them at about 25 – 30,000 miles and get a much cheaper price for them. Don’t overpay on your car. By overpaying on your car now, you will have that much less equity later on down the road incase you ever need to utilize the equity in your vehicle via an auto title loan.

Number 4: Phones. How often is the public sucked into a new phone? Is it fair to say every 6 months or so? Apple releases new phones/software packages every August. Samsung releases new Galaxies every year too, not to mention every other phone competing on the market. Some people buy into this addiction and purchase a new phone within a year. It’s an expensive and unnecessary habit. Purchasing one smart phone and using it for two years will get you much of the same enjoyment of calling people and internet access as the one switching them out every six months. Why spend money on something you already have?

Number 3: College. Some think that college is worth any price. But is it really worth tens of thousands of dollars extra in debt if you can get the same education at a cheaper school? Much of the quality of your education comes down to your dedication. A BYU law student has the potential to get a very similar education and have just as successful of a career as a Harvard graduate. They just have to put in the work to make it happen, like the students at Harvard.

Carefully research your options before choosing a school. You’ll likely find a cheaper option out there for you that can give you similar opportunities.

Number 2: Clothes. Clothes are extremely overpriced. Shop at any of the chain stores in the mall and you’ll be paying the company approximately 500% of the cost it should. Clothing stores make a fortune off of consumers that need the newest brand clothing. Since fashion is an extremely popular subject, people are willing to pay for their fashion, even if the quality is no better than a shirt you would buy from Walmart.

Look for cheaper alternatives for clothing. Look to Kohl’s, and other more customer-minded stores that care more about providing deals, than making an unfathomable profit. Although they still can make a profit off of you, they aren’t going to overprice their clothing as much, meaning you spend less for new clothing.

If you need cheaper than that though, you can always look to the used stores. Some shops exist—such as Plato’s closet—that will buy lightly used clothing from people, clean it, and then turn it around for your perusal at extremely discounted prices. Like rich car fanatics, some people have the money to buy clothes, wear them for a year, and then dispose of them. And they end up in places like Plato’s for your consumption at a much cheaper price.

With so many options abound, don’t go to the mall. Don’t shop at the mainstream, popular stores. You’ll walk out with a much bigger bill for half of the product available elsewhere.

Number 1: Credit Cards. A continual open line of credit feels like having an increase of a couple thousand dollars in your salary. Instead of being limited by what you make every month, suddenly someone else wants to give you money too. And since that money doesn’t have to be paid off for another month, it’s easy to fall into the habit of imagining yourself being responsible with your money, next month. That mentality combined with neglecting the current balance can drive you into more debt than you would want to be in at the end of every month. Even spending $100 extra every month will amount to $12,000 of accidental purchases over a decade. Imagine what you could have been doing with that $12,000 instead of purchasing meaningless extras.
People spend far too much on credit cards because they’re not keeping track of what they can afford. Keep a close eye on your finances (daily) and don’t let balances slip your notice.

So beware when approaching a car dealer, phone salesman, college admissions, clothing retailers, and your bank account. If you watch each expense carefully, you can keep yourself from many of these traps.

Saving Money While You Are Young

When you are young, it can be hard to understand why you should be saving money. Putting money away now may mean that you do not get the instant gratification that would come from spending your money, but saving money is a great way to secure your future. Saving money now is a great way to invest in your future and ensure you are in a healthy financial place throughout your future. Learning how to save now has never been easier! With a variety of tools that are available, saving now may be much more painless than you thought it would be.

Save Consistently, It Adds Up.

First, you should understand that there are many ways that you might be able to find some small amount of money that you can save on a consistent basis. Every time that you decide to go for a soda, put that money away and drink water instead. The next time that you want to eat out decide to stay home and put your money away instead. It is important that you know how you are going to start saving small amount of money now to ensure you have something to put away. Building up your savings account does not require you to save an excessive amount of money. Just start with a small amount of money and then decide to consistently build on it.

Automate Your Savings

Second, you may not even have to go through the effort of putting money away yourself. There are a variety of saving tools that will allow you to put money away automatically. Finding a bank account that will automatically deduct a specific amount of money from your checking account on a consistent basis is a great way to start saving. You should be sure that you understand what tools you have available to you with your bank account. If you find that you do not have as many tools as you wish that you could have, start shopping around for a new bank account. You may be able to find a bank account that suits you better than your current account.

Make Interest Work For You

Third, when you first start saving it is reasonable to be putting your money into a low-interest savings account, but eventually you are going to want to move the money that you are saving into an investment account. Rather than simply earning a small amount of interest, you will find that your money will be able to grow through compound interest. The more money that you have in an investment account, the more it will be invested and the easier it will be to make money. As your money grows, you will earn capital and those earnings will automatically be reinvested to make even more money.

When you find that you are looking for a better place to invest your money, you should be sure that you look into a 401k retirement plan. These retirement accounts will ensure that you will be able to earn more money off of the money that you are making. As you are shopping around deciding where you are going to put your money, you should understand the importance of fully comprehending what is going to happen with your money. You do not want to take any risks with your money unless you fully understand the risk and you are willing to take on the risk.

While you are learning how to save, it is important to remember that anything that you save is going to be better than nothing. Some people don’t save money simply because they feel that they do not have enough money to start saving. You may feel ridiculous saving five dollars a month, but if that is all that you have, save it. Get into the habit of saving. When you are in the habit of saving with just a small amount of money, you will be able to translate that habit and ensure that you are going to be able to continue saving when you have more money. Establish positive spending habits now to ensure you are going to spend and save what is necessary.

Saving may require some self-discipline, but it will be well worth it in the long run. Do not be afraid to start adjusting your budget to find a way that you are going to be able to save your money on a consistent basis. It may take some time to adjust to saving, but it will be well worth the effort that you have to put in now.

Saving Money on Camping

Summer is here and that means that soon families all over the country will be heading out on family vacations. One of the many fun and exciting family activities for the summer time is camping. Camping with the family can be a rewarding experience for all to enjoy, but if approached in the wrong way can get pretty expensive. In this post we’ll cover some ways that you can save money on camping which will allow you to use that money that you would have spent on your family vacation to build up your family savings incase any unexpected expenses come up. These tips will also allow you to go camping without it costing as much as a stay in a four star hotel.

Many families use camping as a way to go on a family vacation because of its rewarding properties of bonding and experiencing the wilderness. Not to mention that camping is a far less expensive alternative to staying in a hotel, and with the often free activities that surround a camping family, entertainment costs for a family vacation are typically reduced to zero.

But with all of the positive aspects and cheap costs of camping, there are still ways for a family to save on costs while undertaking family camping trips this summer. One such way is to find discounted or completely free camping areas.

Look For Free Campgrounds

For generations past, paying for camping may seem a sin against nature and against the very activity of camping itself, but the realities of today’s wildernesses is that there is typically a fee associated with camping in a manicured and well groomed camping space. Campgrounds that have been built for the sole purpose of making money of campers have sprung up across the country and charged people and families a modest fee for their use.
These places of paid camping should not be discounted while making family camping plans, however. They provide a distinct service, and again, at a cheaper rate than a hotel, and can be used to great effect by those families who wish to use them.

Paid camping areas or camping companies, like KOA, offer families the opportunity to camp, save money on a hotel, and still stay close enough to big cities or other attractions so as to allow the family additional vacation areas without increased cost. A family can save more money on their vacation if they will use discounted promotions offered by KOA and other privately owned campgrounds to plan their vacations around.
But it is not only these privately owned interstate camp sites that charge a fee for camping, the federal government too asks campers to pay per night at their groomed camp sites. National forest will often be home to many kept up camp grounds and campsites that a family can enjoy while being in a federally protected wilderness.

These camp sites are often more rugged than the privately owned campgrounds discussed before, and will allow the family to experience the outdoors in a more traditional way. Another benefit of federally operated campgrounds, beyond being out in the wilderness, is that they are often offered at pennies on the dollar to other campgrounds and, again, especially hotels.

While it is true that even paid for camping sites are far less expensive to stay at per night than a hotel for a family, at about a quarter of the cost in most cases, there are still ways for a family to camp for absolutely free. Completely free campsites can be found in most wilderness areas, it just may take a little hunting before one can find them.

Go to The Backcountry

In addition to free pull up camping spots that are scattered across the wildernesses and forestlands of the country, there are also many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of camp sites that can be accessed through hiking and backpacking. Backpacking into a campsite will often take more camping skill than simply camping out of a car, as all that is required for camping while backpacking must be carried in and out on one’s back.
But the benefits of backpacking into a campsite include typically totally free camping and an even greater experience with the outdoors. Beyond looking for discounts on chain camping areas, finding free pull in camping, and taking a hike to free campsites, there are a few additional ways a family can save on their summer camping trips.

Save on Camping Gear

One such way is to save on camping gear. Ask any father who takes his family camping and they will tell you that camping gear is essential and not cheap.
But a family, even an over-exuberant father, can save money on their camping gear by simply shopping intelligently. For example, it may be difficult to pass over the sleeping bag rated to fifty below, but the reality is that it will seldom dip below freezing in the summer in most camping areas so the less expensive thirty above sleeping bag should do just fine.

By saving on family camping, a family can take meaningful and enjoyable camping trips this summer. As they do so, they will be able to save money on vacation costs while still having quality family time with each other.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

When you know that you are going to need to start saving money but you are already on a tight budget, it may feel overwhelming to figure out where you can scrimp and save. Taking the time that you need to learn how to properly save money is important.

Start With a Goal You Can Achieve

First, you should be sure that you have a plan for yourself. You should have a goal that you want to meet and it is important that you can be sure your goal is realistic. Working toward a goal that is unrealistic can be frustrating and very unproductive in the long run.

While you are working on setting your goal, you want to be sure that your goal is quantifiable. You should be able to track your progress and it is important that you understand how you are going to reward yourself and take time to track the progress that you actually make. When you know that you are making progress toward your goal, it may be more motivation to keep on working.

Think About Big Purchases.

Second, you should understand the importance and the impact of the big purchases that you have to make. The big purchases that you make like a car, boat, home or even your tuition can cost you a lot of money over a long period of time. It is important that you plan these purchases well and that you take your time to save up for those purchases. This will take some thought and planning, but will be well worth your time.

Stop Eating Out… As Much

Third, rather than eating out at restaurants, take the time to prepare food at home. Eating food at home and doing your own grocery shopping is a great way to save money when you are on a tight budget. When you eat out on a consistent basis, you will find that you spend more money on food than you need to. Doing your own grocery shopping is a great way to save money and ensure that you are still getting the food that you need to be healthy.

When you are attempting to eat more at home, you will also want to stop purchasing snacks while you are out. Although a small charge may not seem like a big deal at the time, the small charges can easily accumulate over time. When you avoid purchasing any food product while on the go, you may find that you are able to drastically minimize the amount of money that you are spending.

Look Into Cheaper Transportation

Fourth, rather than driving your car everywhere you may want to find alternate forms of transportation. The cost of gas can be frustrating and you may be able to avoid it by simply taking public transportation or even riding a bike rather than driving your car. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your transportation to ensure that you are not spending a ridiculous amount of money when you fill up your car consistently.

Buy In Bulk, When it Makes Sense

Fifth, when you are looking to buy something that you know you use a lot, try to buy it in bulk. You can save a lot of money by making purchases in bulk and it is important that you understand how you are going to find those items that you are using on a consistent basis in bulk.

When In Doubt, Check it Out

Sixth, rather than buying books at full price you may want to stop by your local library and get a library card. Your library card will give you access to books and even movies that you can rent rather than purchase. Then, if you find a movie or a book that you know you want to purchase you can take the time to find a good price on that specific movie or book. Don’t be afraid to try online resources where you can find books and movies that are used for a great deal.

Shop Smart.

Finally, take the time that you need to look for coupons or good deals on activities that you participate in on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to talk with others about what they are doing to save money on activities that you participate in together. You may find some great resources simply by taking the time to talk to people around you and ask them what they are doing.

Saving money when you are on a tight budget can be difficult. Take the time that you need to create a plan for yourself and ensure that you are saving the money that you need to save.

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