Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A new site I think you should check out is www.ourutahlife.com . The site is dedicated to living a fantastic life while on a budget. There are are tons of tips on how to have a lot of fun without breaking the bank. Not to mention tips and tricks on frugal living, better finances and fun great things to do in Utah. So whether you live in Utah or just vacation there you can learn more about great restaurants and activities to do all throughout the state.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cut your Bills Every Month!!

Bills, bills, bills and more bills. Sadly we are stuck paying them each month, but the experience can get better if you find ways to cut them. This past week I have saved us $70 per month on expenses and this is how.

1. I recently had a birthday and thought it would be a good idea to get my auto insurance shopped. A few hours later my local insurance provider called me back and said he could get me a new policy for $50 dollars less a month. This agent is actually a broker and has the rights to sell policies from a lot of different companies and so he is always keeping me updated with ways I can save.

2. Two weeks ago my cell phone company notified me telling me that my messaging plan now made it so that all calls mobile to mobile would be free. So I looked at my bill having only one number I call on a consistent basis that was not a mobile phone I figured I could do without the extra minutes I was paying for. Saving $20 a month. 

Now the plan is to put that money to work making more money. Contributing to our retirement plan and also our other investment pots. Slowly but surely we are seeing a rise in those areas and it is getting exciting. In addition to finding a few ways to save this month our side incomes have risen as well making September one of our better months this year. 

What are some a few things you have found you can live without that are not saving you money? I know a lot of people have been dumping their Netflix account due to the recent price changes. My wife and I still have not canceled but I think about it everyday. We love the Instant streaming but the choices are limited, we also love the DVDs but they are not worth the extra cost of having two different subscriptions.  For the same price we could update our cable and get almost everything we would miss by canceling. Remember that anything that has a monthly payment can probably be cut to some degree.   

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Keep from splurging after the 9 to 5 grind

No matter how much you love your job we all have days where we need a break. Too often we justify over spending on things we do not need in hopes to help relieve our stress from work. Finding productive frugal things to do after work can really help.

 Things to avoid.

1. Picking up dinner on the way home. It's all to easy to stop and grab something on the way home rather then cooking a cheaper healthier meal. My wife is great when it comes to this, after a long day at work she somehow still has the energy to make us a fabulous meal. It saves us a lot of money and tastes incredible. One tip she has is making a menu for the whole week, plan easier meals or leftovers on the days you know you will be tempted the most to go out for dinner.

2. Do not go shopping right after work. Giving into the notion that you deserve something is easy after a day full of meetings and a proposal that was turned down. Head home and do something you really love to cheer you up, then head to the store.

Things to do.

1. Go for a walk or workout, exercising relieves stress and burns calories. It's also free and a great way to spend the evening. It also pumps you up and gives you energy to make those hours productive rather then just watching the TV until the end of the night.

2. Work in the yard or finish up that project you started but never finished last summer.

3. Start a small business, making a few extra dollars doing something you have always wanted to try is not only fun but you may end up loving the entrepreneurship experience.

4. Join a club or volunteer at a local service project. People who volunteer are happier and less stressed. So do some research and join an organization that you believe in and make a difference.

5. Meditate, take a few minutes to sit and meditate forget about the things going on at work and shift your focus to something else.

6. Set a budget for how much you are willing spend after work. Keep it low and let your hard earned dollars accumulate. 

Most importantly be aware that poor spending habits can be formed when we are feeling sad or stressed avoid the temptation to spend during those times. What do you after work to relieve stress and unwind that is cheap or free?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cheap Books!

Reading is by far one of my favorite activities. It stimulates the imagination and teaches me a lot, it's relaxing and if done correctly can be very cheap. Here are a few ways you can turn this great past time into a frugal one.

Library: Utilize your local library by checking books out. They will often let you request books they do not have in stock and will get them new or from another library. If you are a audio book fan the library is the best way to get the book. Also the library is a great way to check out movies for free.

Paper Back Swap: Is a website where book trading takes place. It's an awesome way to share books for free. Also look in your local classified adds to find local Paper Back Swaps. I like the one that my University I work at hosts.

Amazon: Amazon is an awesome resource when looking for cheap books. You can buy new or used and at incredible prices. It's also a great recourse for selling books you are no longer using. If done correctly you can purchase books at practically no cost, by reading and then reselling on Amazon. If you do not have the space for book shelves go for the ebook option. Whenever I get a book for my Ipad it's much cheaper then if buying new from Amazon. However buying used is still the best gig.

Local used book stores: If you do not mind hunting for a while to find what you want Used book stores are extremely cheap and often fun. Spend an afternoon browsing through books.

Mega Stores: I do not really suggest using this method, there books are usually highly over priced however patience and a little bit of the coupon mentality can help. Waiting for large sales can often lead to great deals, just do not get sucked into purchasing a rewards system. If you work close to one maybe you should just use your lunch break reading a favorite book off the shelf during your break.

Share: Last but not least share books with friends, family, and co-workers. My siblings are really good at this and it gives us some to chat about which is always fun. I also have a cousin I love to share books with, every time I find a great one I want to pass it on to him.

Reading is typically a cheap past time and it's one of the best ways to learn. So happy reading!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

Getting as much use as possible out of consumer goods is a great way to save. The motto "Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" is something we can all do better. It's also a great thing to ask yourself before making a new purchase. Is there some way I could fix what I used to use to do this task? Is the item truly worn out or am I just frustrated trying to keep up with the Jones's Can I get by with what I have? Do I really need this item or is this an impulse buy? So below is a list of a few ways we can put this mentality to practical use!

Clothing: Clothes go through a life cycle that can be better utilized. First off we have our "Nice Clothes" that we wear when we are out and about. Either to work or other settings where we really want to look nice. My clothes almost always start in this category excluding some T-shirts or sporting wear that could never fit into this category. As they begin to wear out and fade I move them into my "Work" pile. Which I use when working around the house on projects. I don't mind if they get paint on them or if holes start to wear through. As items get too worn out to wear they can be used as rags for cleaning or changing the oil in the car. At which point I usually toss them.

Tools: Tools for me fall under the do without category. Only purchase tools you will use on a regular basis. Do not purchase a tile saw for one small tile job. Rent one for just a few bucks a day or borrow one from a friend or neighbor. This is one I actually struggle with, I am always tempted to buy because I think I will use it more than I really do.

Electronics: Anyone that knows me knows that I love electronics. However I have found great ways to make things do. My current laptop is almost 7 years old now. Every time apple releases a new Macbook I start frothing from the mouth. But in reality I use my laptop for a few small things. Writing papers, surfing the web, and watching movies. All of which my old Powerbook G4 can handle. Also it's always tempting to jump at the new flat screen TV. However our thrift store TV gets the job done. Try to make do with what you have rather then purchasing the newest hottest electronic.

I hope you can use this advice to better serve your needs and fulfil your true wants! Purchasing things we want is just fine, however waisting our money isn't. What is something you do to use the Motto "Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without'?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Save money while taking time off from your regular routine.

Taking time off can be a costly affair. However having time to relax and enjoy doing a few things you love is well worth it. Interestingly enough a few of my favorite things to do with time off is make more money, work on things around the house that build value or spend time in nature. All of which can be done for very little. I had a week break between semesters of school and it has been very productive. I worked a little extra at one of my part time jobs banking some extra cash. In addition to that over the past few days I have been working outside in the yard. It's been great soak up some sun and when the backyard fence is done it will add value to the home. So far the cost of materials? $0.

Now let me explain, the lot for our house used to be 4 acres. A developer separated the lot into 4 different lots. Rendering the old fence line useless. So after talking with my neighbor I was able to start digging up the old fence and move it onto my property. A day later and about 20 blisters I am about 40% done with the project. I have also been searching classified ads for used fencing that I can use to close off the last section of the yard. I hope to do it all for under a few hundred dollars. However the added value of the fence should more than compensate. One could argue that I could have spent more time at work and just paid to get it done. I have two responses one I don't get paid enough for that to actually work for me very often and two I love working in the yard so it's a win win situation.

What do you like to do when you have time off? Does your family have a Weekend business that provides extra income?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Never Buy A DVD Again:

Spending money on entertainment can get costly, especially when it comes to movies. Purchasing DVDs and going to the Theater is getting extremely expensive. It's been over two years since I purchased a movie  and I haven't missed it at all. There are several ways to watch and view movies (legally) that can really save you money.

1. Netflix: I have been subscribed to Netflix for over two years now and I love it. The "Instant Que." provides thousands of movie and TV series that can be watched instantly. Not only have I been able to watch past seasons of some of my favorite shows but I have found many shows I would have never tried. Remember how big of a pain it was going to Blockbuster and trying to rent an entire season of a show. You would spend the next day watching the entire series so you didn't have to pay the late fee. In addition to the "Instant Que." if you really want a special movie for friday night put it into your mailing Que. on Wednesday and you are ready on friday. 

Cost= Around 2 movie Tickets a month $15.99

2. Hulu: Is a perfect for watching your current favorite TV shows. Typically you have to wait until the next day, and you do have to watch commercials but at least you can do it at your own convenience. Hulu also has a decent selection of feature films to watch as well. 

Cost= Free, however they do offer their premium version "Hulu Plus" that offers more titles for just $7.99

combine this with Netflix and you can probably cancel your Dish Network or Direct TV subscriptions

3. Redbox: Is a great way to get a new release movie without having to fork out four or five dollars. With Thousands of locations you shouldn't have to go more than a mile or two to find a Kiosk. 

Cost= $1, Watch the movie and return within twenty four hours for just $1 dollar a day. Remember to reserve the movie online to make sure someone else doesn't get it first. 

4. Discount Theaters: Rather than spending $9 a person at the multiplex theatre, let those close to must see movies hit the discount theaters and see them there. You can still get the big screen experience without the big price. (Note many discount theaters are not asa good of quality, however the sacrifice isn't always that big of a deal)

Cost= $1 to $3

5. iTunes: Apple has done it again by providing a massive amount of movies and television series in the apple store. Now not exactly the most cost effective way to watch movies but it is extremely convenient. It also eliminates space needed to store your movies on shelves or special racks. Having them at your fingertips on your computer is amazing. Remember to back them up on a external Hard drive as well to ensure you do not lose any important data. 

Cost=Rentals from $1 to $3.99. Movie Purchase competitive to store prices. 

Most of these ideas are well known but underutilized. Save yourself some cash and put them to work.