Tag: Save Money

Retire early – Mid course corrections – Save money now

We were actually thinking of writing this post for a retirement blog that we also run,(you can find it here), but then we thought that the idea of saving money fits well with this blog. The idea is to reduce expenses by doing a lot of your own maintenance and renovations around your home. If you can save even more money, you can retire early, take a trip or buy a new car. The main message is that you have far more flexibility about the decisions you can make. Retire early – mid course corrections is all about what changes you can make in your lifestyle to spend less and save for the future, whatever it is.

If you do retire early, life is going to throw curve balls at you which will or should cause you to re-evaluate what you need to do to keep your retirement as pleasant as possible. You may need to have money for unexpected expenses later in life which will cause these mid course corrections.

Retire early – Mid course corrections

This is a lost of mid course corrections that many people can consider. If you have others that make sense to add, let us know by leaving a comment. Pick and choose those that make sense for your family and your personal situation. Here is the list that we have so far along with the percentage of people who indicated they were interested in this area:

  • Make healthier food and exercise choices to save money later: 91%
  • Cut back on daily expenses: 90%
  • Reduce everyday leisure: 82%
  • Limit or cut back on donations to charities: 77%
  • Volunteer more and give monetary donations less: 75%
  • Work part-time in retirement: 75%
  • Downsize to a smaller home: 75%
  • Reduce or eliminate financial support to children: 70%
  • Purchase long-term care insurance: 68%
  • Move to a less expensive area: 67%
  • Postpone taking Social Security: 64% (though 60% said they’d “take Social Security as early as they can” — puzzling)
  • Develop a hobby into an income source: 62%
  • Reduce financial support to parents or in-laws: 59%
  • Take a housemate or become a housemate: 28%
  • Rent a room or part of my home on a short-term basis: 27%
  • Turn my car into a source of income: 24%

Start a Business

Whether it is renting out part of your home through AirBNB, VRBO or using your car to run an Urber business, there are many ways to earn a little extra income. Some people will start hobbies that they can turn into a small business.

Many will work online from home on various blogs like this one to earn extra income. It can be very emotional and difficult, but cutting support to your kids or to your parents, might be a big change or mid course direction to make.

Cutting back on daily expenses covers all sorts of areas. This could mean doing your own repairs and renovations as well as limiting or decreasing your entertainment expenses.

Notice that throughout this post that we do not say stop these areas. Instead we use words like reduce, cutting back and doing things that will help you spend less money and live more carefully.

Make a personal list that can help you achieve your own objectives for saving money and perhaps retire early as well. It will be worth it in the long run.


The do’s and don’ts of Shopping at a Wholesale Price Club

wholesale price clubShould you pay the membership at one of the wholesale price club like Costco, Sams club or BJ’s? It really depends on your shopping habits, how much you will purchase and whether you can find better prices elsewhere. Consumers who have time to do some comparison shopping will often find better prices for various items at other stores when they are on sale or on special. Buying those items at other stores will save you money. The return policies at price clubs is extraordinary. Service is top notch and prices on average are very competitive. But should you join wholesale price clubs to save money?

The do’s and don’ts of shopping at a wholesale price club

Each family will have different needs however the following can be considered general guidelines which may or may not apply when making a decision to purchase items at a wholesale price club:

  • Buying in bulk means you need to have storage areas
  • Can you use all of the bulk items within a reasonable period of time
  • Can you use items before the expiry date
  • Purchases of goods on sale or on special at other stores may save you money
  • Do you return many items, it is easier at wholesale price clubs
  • Large families can generally benefit more
  • Will the rewards pay for the membership fee

If you can answer yes to many of these questions, then belonging to one of the wholesale price club might be the right answer for you. If you answer no to many of the questions, you may want to say the membership fee and shop elsewhere. If you take advantage of specials at the competition, you can definitely save money compared to shopping at Costco. These are price leader deals that are offered to get you into a store where the store hopes you will spend money on other items at a higher price.


Money Saving Habits that Cost You

Money Saving Habits that Cost YouThis web site has an objective of identifying ways to save money and helping consumers to make the hard-earned dollars stretch further. But sometimes we lose sight of the fact that we are actually spending money to save money. We develop money-saving habits that cost you more than you save. It is important to really look at how much you will save before you spend money on something or take an action. For example, driving halfway across town to save a few dollars with a coupon you have just does not make sense.

Money Saving Habits that Cost You

One of our favorites is buying something just because it is on sale when we really do not need the item. It is clearly nice to have, but we would save a lot more if we just did not make the purchase in the first place.

Opening a store credit card to save 10 or 20% sounds great at the time, particularly if it is a large expense. If you cannot pay for the item when the credit card comes in and pay 19% or even up to 29% on some cards, you are going to lose your savings and then some very soon.

Buying extended warranties is another item we think you should avoid. Instead, use a credit card that doubles the warranty on your items purchased with it. You will save a great deal this way.

Buy in bulk when you can use all of the merchandise or groceries before they spoil, otherwise, you are just wasting money and losing any savings you might have received initially.

Savings accounts are a great way to set aside money for emergencies, however, you are losing money if you’re not collecting interest on your savings. Look for other opportunities that pay more and still protect your money.

Buying cheap often saves money initially. Cheap items wear out more quickly and replacing them just adds to your cost.

Free shipping is great and convenient. Compare the final price on everything before you make the purchase decision. Shipping is always built into the price one way or another.

If you have other ideas about Money Saving Habits that Cost You, please leave your comments and we will add them to this post.

Money Saving: Buying the cheapest of everything

Buying the cheapest of everythingBuying the cheapest of everything can save you a great deal of money in the short term, but not always in the long term. There is usually a reason that something is cheap. That usually means it is not made well and will not last long! No problem if you do not need it to last long. But if a particular item lasts several years or receives a lot of wear and tear, you may want to spend a little more money and get a better quality product. Often there are sales of various goods for a variety of reasons.

Consumers can save a great deal of money. The mantra that our family follows is that we never pay full price for anything we purchase. We always look for sales. If something is not on sale, we either negotiate or wait until the item goes on sale.

Buying the cheapest of everything

Following this approach of always waiting for a sale item usually means buying items at a lower price and saving ourselves quite a bit of money. We also watch for sales that save us even more money.

For example, several times, we have purchased something on sale during the week. We know we are already ahead; however, some stores will have additional sales on the weekends. They might have a tax-free holiday, and whether an item is at full price or on sale, you still save on the tax. All we do is return to the store with our receipt and ask them for a credit for the additional savings. All large department stores and chains usually honor this approach.

By following the sales and by staying alert for sales, you can really follow the Buying the cheapest of everything approach!


Money Saving: Buying in bulk

Buying in bulkConsumer buying in bulk can definitely save money if they purchase products that they will use. The problems start when you purchase items that are on sale when buying in bulk but you really don’t need all of that product. For example, the picture shows this consumer buying toilet paper. She is obviously getting a good deal and is stocking up on toilet paper. There is no question that she will use all of this product and save money at the same time. But what about other products that might not be used as quickly. For example, if you purchase 5 bottles of ketchup which have an expiry within one year? Will you use all of the ketchup within that time frame. If you do not and have to throw out some of the bottles, have you really saved any money?

Buying in Bulk When it Makes Senses

Items like toilet paper, paper towels, cans of fruit and vegetables, items you can freeze etc are usually good buys when you buy in bulk. Buying fresh vegetables in bulk makes no sense at all, nor does it make sense to buy fruit this way unless you can freeze some of the product for later use. We tend to purchase meat in bulk, separate it into reasonable portions, and then freeze it.

The same applies to bread and buns. Soap for dishwashing, soap for washing clothing, and similar products can also be purchased in bulk. Occasionally we will purchase some products in bulk that have an expiry date in a relatively short time frame. We tend to give away some of the product to other family members rather than see it spoil.

Before buying in bulk, ask yourself can I use all of this product prior to the expiry date. If I have to give some away or let it spoil will I still save money compared to purchasing the same thing at a regular price.


Money Saving: Driving out of the way to use a coupon

Driving out of the way to use a couponDriving out of the way to use a coupon would seem to be a silly thing to do for many people, yet everyone wants to save a dollar and they really do not appreciate just how expensive it is to drive and use your gasoline. It takes some effort to clip coupons. Also to sort them so that you can use them at the best times and when they are still valid. Consumers can save a great deal of money by using coupons, but when is the best time to drive somewhere to save money using a coupon? We came up with an easy approach to figuring this out.

Driving out of the way to use a coupon

Consider that your vehicle will use gasoline at the rate of an average of 30 miles per gallon. Some vehicles will get much more than 30 miles per gallon and some will be less, but let’s use this as an average. The average price of gasoline at the time of writing is $3.00 per gallon. Consumers can drive 15 miles and return for a total of 30 miles and a cost of $3.00 not including wear and tear on the vehicle.

If your coupons will save you at least $3.00, you are breaking even, and if you can save more than that you are ahead of the game. Driving 30 miles is not that far and saving money on larger items where you can save at least $3.00 or more means that it is worth it to take the drive and save a bit of money. Anything less than this and it is costing you money.

Grouping coupons is even better than just going for one coupon. Taking your full list of coupons to the grocery store for example is one way to save a lot of money and reduce your overall cost for gasoline as well. Focus on large discounts to really make a difference especially if you need to travel any significant distances.


Money Saving Ideas

Money Saving IdeasSome times the usual money saving ideas are really not the best way to save money. As with most things the details of how you save money, will determine if you actually save money or not. The following list of the typical ways of saving money actually does work as long as you make sure that you are really getting a deal. For example, buying something because it is on sale, can save you money, provided that you are going to use it and that you actually need the item you are purchasing.

If you buy something that is on sale and does not need it or worse never use it, then you really have not really saved any money. Over the next few weeks, we will be expanding on the list below, providing examples and explaining why this typical list of ways to save money can actually cost you a lot more than perhaps what you planned. Stay tuned for more posts, but in the meantime review the list following and assess if any of these apply to you!

Money Saving Ideas – List

  • Buying Something because it is on sale
  • Opening a store credit card to get a discount
  • Buying an extended warranty
  • Driving out of the way to use a coupon
  • Buying in bulk
  • Putting your savings into a savings account
  • Buying more online to qualify for free shipping
  • Buying the cheapest of everything
  • Spending more to obtain credit card rewards
  • Buying everything on Black Friday
  • Taking advantage of loyalty programs

If you know of other ideas or perhaps have a different take on our list, please let us know. We will be glad to include your ideas in a post or as a comment on one of the posts. We all want to have enough money to do all of the things we want to do in life. Making it last as long as possible is one way to do that. Also buying the items you actually will use is another way of maximizing your savings.

Save $ Now vs. Spend More Later

Save NowHave you ever found that you saved a lot of money in the short term, but ended up spending a lot more over the long term than what you planned? This is the subject of today’s post and we will illustrate a few guidelines you may want to consider before you make that decision to save a few dollars today vs. spend money now that will save you a lot over the long term.  An example is a good way to illustrate what we are really talking about.

With the cost of repairs and wages for appliance repairs these days being so high, would you pay $100 to $200 to have an old appliance repaired vs. go out and purchase a new one. The right answer depends on what the cost of a new appliance would cost you.  If a new fridge for example would cost you $2000, you might consider spending money on repairs particularly if the current one is less than 10 years old. On the other hand if your current fridge is 25 years old and a new fridge to replace it is around $1000, well a consumer might decide that the best course of action is to buy the new fridge rather than put money into the old fridge.

Save Now – Our Save Money List

We have compiled a list of 10 things people do were they try to save money now only to find they spend a lot more later!

Delaying Regular Check-Ups With the Doctor, Dentist or Optician

For many people who have health plans this is not even something they think about, but for literally millions of people without plans it is something they think about every day. Fro example, should I go to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned or not? What about cavities that are forming which could lead to root canals! A root canal can really cost a lot of money! Not going to the doctor can mean a serious illness or even your life if whatever you have is life threatening such as cancer. Saving a few hundred dollars now by not going to the doctor or dentist could be catastrophic for you later on in life!

Signing up for Store Credit Cards Offering Discounts, but Paying the Minimum

Obtaining the discounts can be a great way to save money, however if you do not pay the card off each month you could be paying 19% or even more in interest. It is amazing how quickly this interest is eats up any potential discount saving you might have received. This is why the stores do this. They know that the vast majority of people will not pay their credit cards on time and they make a lot of money this way. Take the discount, but pay the balance on the card on the due date or don’t sign up for the card!

Doing Your Own Taxes vs. a professionally prepared return

No one wants to pay more taxes than they need to. For many people who have a simple return, there probably is nothing wrong with doing your own taxes. However as soon as it gets complicated such as real estate sales or investment trades, hiring a professional to do your taxes could save you a lot more than the cost of the professional. In fact this is a good measure. do your own taxes first, then take the raw data to the professional and see what he or she comes up with. At the very least you will have confirmation you are doing it right. You may even save a great deal more money in reduced taxes.

Building an Emergency Fund and a Retirement Plan

Many people do not even have an emergency fund let alone a retirement fund. It is so important to have both so that you and your family have something to rely on in a sudden emergency as well as in retirement. It just makes so much sense! We often recommend to people to set 10% aside out of their paycheck for retirement. Invest it wisely and conservatively and save this 10% from every pay check. Take another 5% and put that into an emergency fund. Don’t touch either of these unless you really need to and you will be surprised at how fast they grow!

Buy Cheap Products to Save Money

How many times have your purchased some cheap thing only to use it once and have to throw it out! While we do not recommend buying the most expensive item, always buy quality or don’t buy it. It will cost more initially, but then you will have the item for many years. this applies to clothes, electronics, appliances and on and on.

Pay the Parking Meter and avoid a Parking Ticket

How many times have you received a parking ticket because you did not put money in the parking meter or not enough in the parking meter? A ticket for a parking infraction can cost a lot more than the couple of dollars required to feed the meter!

Buy one Get one Free Deals and Other Sales

These are great deals if you need the item that is being offered. How many times do you take advantage of these buy one get one free deals and then end up throwing the second one out?  Give some thought to whether you will use the products before you make the purchase. Same thing applies to big discount sales where you pick up multiple items, only to not use those items.

Driving Long distances to by cheap Gas or Other Bargains

Did you know that for a car that gets 30 miles to the gallon at current prices that every mile costs you 12 cents! Doesn’t sound like much, however if you drive 10 miles to get a deal and then have to return, that is 20 miles or $2.40 just for the gas, not to mention the wear and tear on your car. Add to that cost the price of a coffee perhaps or other things that you buy and did not need and it can be expensive.

Delaying Routine Car Maintenance

This is potentially a big one. Sure you may avoid spending a couple hundred dollars by not having your car checked for worn brakes and oil changes, but what happens when your brakes give out in a high speed stop? A big accident,  and maybe loss of your car and possibly your life. Routine car maintenance can mean the difference between spending thousands of dollars to have it replaced due to an accident, or towed or to have additional work completed because you did not take care of the routine things.

Buying too much food; Then Throwing most of it Away

There are lots of deal were you can buy large quantities of food at cheap per unit prices. But it is only a deal if you use all of it. If you end up throwing a lot of this food out, you really end up spending more per unit than you might have paid for a smaller quantity. If you do buy in bulk, cook the food and freeze it. Or donate it to other members of the family. No sense in wasting good food.

Comments are welcome about your favorite money wasting experiences.

Happy Hour at Restaurants

Happy Hour at RestaurantsHappy hour at restaurants  is not really about home maintenance, but it is all about saving money so we thought that we would include this post on our blog. Many people are going on vacation in the spring and in the summer and although a vacation can be expensive, there are ways to control or decrease your costs.

One of those is to take advantage of Happy Hour offers at restaurants  when you go out for dinner. This approach may not appeal to everyone, however if you are looking for an inexpensive meal and do not mind eating early, you can save a lot of money and still have a nice time out with the family and friends. Prices can be half price for drinks or food or even for both at some locations. These deals can really make a huge difference in the cost of eating out.

Happy Hour at Restaurants – Times

Many restaurants experience a slow period from about 4 pm until 6:30 pm in the afternoons. After 6:30, more people will typically show up for dinner and have their evening meal. Many restaurants have decided to offer happy hour during this slow period in order to fill their restaurant and generate additional revenue as well during a period that typically would not make much money for the restaurant.

Every Body Wins

Customers get better deals on booze, which are often half price and also on smaller meals that are discounted or also at half price. Sometimes you must eat in the bar area, however there is nothing wrong with that since there is more going on in the bar area anyway. sometimes drinks will be at the regular price and appetizers will be half price or vice versa.

The restaurant makes money in a period that would otherwise be slow and they can keep their staff working longer as well so the staff makes more money and they make more tips. So really it is a good deal for all concerned.

In addition, patrons may be willing to try a restaurant during happy hour, find out that the enjoyed the menu and the ambiance of the restaurant. Returning patrons end up driving the overall business activity up and increasing revenues.

Not All Restaurants Offer Happy Hour

Every city has them, but not all restaurants offer happy hour every day or even at all. You have to look for them and watch for them. We will often go up to a receptionist in an area were there are a lot of restaurants and ask if they have a happy hour. If they do, great if not, we try some other place and they learn that customers are looking for deals and maybe they will get the idea to also offer a happy hour.

Some places have one specific day, such as wing Tuesdays, or even during football games. Once place we went to had beer on half price as long as there was a football game playing on TV. Great way to watch the game at a great location. Another location we visit has draft beer for $2 and pizza at the regular price on Mondays only. This is an excellent example of enticing your customers to try your pizza while having a beer and then those same customers may return on other days since they enjoyed the food so much.

Save Some Money

Check them out and save some money. You and your significant other can go out more often with the money you save. That always goes over well ! It is an evening out with no meals to cook and no dishes to wash which has many other advantages. We always enjoy going to happy hour and trying new restaurants. It helps us decide if we want to try their main courses at some future point.

There have been several locations that we would never go back to based on the poor food offered during happy hour. Or sometimes even the service we received from the staff. This is a great way to check these places out. You have to be careful when you order because not all items on the menu are included as part of the happy hour prices.

Save Money – Split Meals at Restaurants

Save Money - Split Meals at RestaurantsWe really enjoy watching the biggest loser. This past week we also learned that we already do some of the things that they discussed on the biggest loser which helps us control our weight and also save money – Split Meals at Restaurants! Portion control is one way to manage your weight and we have taken this to restaurants that we go to by splitting meals and reducing the amount of food we actually eat when we go out. This step also helps us to save money as well when we go out. It is an inspirational show, we actually learn a few things about diet and about how to manage our food intake.

Split Meals at Restaurants – Portion control!

Portion control is really the biggest thing to help you control your weight, lose weight, and manage your diet.  Eating less also has a side benefit. You spend less money buying food and preparing food!  It is the old adage, energy in must be less than the energy you burn if you are going to lose weight. So one way to manage this is to control the size of the portions you are eating and also save money.

If you are at home, use a small plate. I know for myself if I use a large plate, I have a tendency to fill it up, while I do the same thing with a small plate, there is only so much food I can put on the plate. BY the time you have finished the food on the small plate you are starting to feel full and if you can wait 5 minutes, you will definitely feel full. Sure you might go back for a second helping, but again you are using a small plate and it will only hold a small amount of food. Sure you are tricking your mind and your stomach, but if it works why not use every trick you can to lose weight.

When you are out of the home dining in a restaurant, it is a bit more difficult, so we have another suggestion that will also help to save some money as well.

Split Meals at Restaurants – when dining out!

As we travel around the country, one thing we notice is that the size of the meals served at restaurants is huge. Portion sizes at restaurants have gotten out of hand. Many restaurants and I guess their patrons as well feel that they must serve large portions to attract their guests.

We have found that for many meals if we split the meal it is more than enough for each of us and we save money at the same time. The restaurants for the most part are ok with this, and sometimes will even split the meal for us, serving it on two separate plates. Sometimes they will bring us a second plate and let us split the meal ourselves. Either way, we eat less and we save money. What a deal! Many of our meals cost us half of what it will cost other people! Some would call us stingy, but I am more concerned about weight and on top of that I get the side benefit of spending less.

There are some places that want to charge a fee for splitting the meal. We just do not go back to them and we tell people as well. They end up losing business as a result. So when you go out to eat split your meals.

Portion Control and Buffets

Buffets are really difficult. You cannot split meals here and you cannot save any money as well, so unless it is a really good deal, it is best not to go to them. If you have a problem controlling how much you eat, it is probably best if you avoid going to a buffet. With all of the excellent food, it is usually best to just not go, because it is human nature to overeat when all of that food is just sitting there. Use the small plate approach and eat slowly, but we are pretty confident that you will still overeat in this situation.

Eat slow, Wait 20 Minutes So your  Stomach Feels Full!

This post is about saving money, however, it is also a message about controlling your weight so we talk about eating slowly which in the end will save you money as well. This is one of the best ways to manage the portion size and how much you eat. Apparently it takes a little time for your stomach to register that it is full and let your brain know that you have eaten enough. Some people say to wait 10 to 20 minutes and then decide if you are going back for second helpings.

Fast eaters tend to over-eat, so if you wait even 5 minutes before getting that second helping you may find that you have eaten enough. We find that discussing topics over the dinner table is a great way to slow down your eating and also get that full feeling. Let’s face it you cannot eat when you are talking, at least you should not, just for good manners. Talking slows you down and forces you to enjoy the food more and provides time for your stomach to register the fact that you are full. maybe you will realize that you are full and will avoid going for that second helping!

Use Every Trick in the Book

Aside from just deciding to not eat as much, we are suggesting that you use every trick you can to control how much you eat and save some money as well. If you use a couple of little tricks to manage your eating, so what. At least you are losing weight, or controlling your weight.

Bottom line, you need to deal with the long term reason regarding why you have overeaten. Using these tricks will help you get going. But to maintain your weight or lose weight you do have to deal with the reasons why you overeat.

There are probably a lot more that can be used as well. If you know some of these tricks to control the portion size, why not leave us a comment and let our readers know about it. Spam comments will be auto-deleted! Split Meals at Restaurants and save money, control weight, and have fun.

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