Sooo... lately I've been obsessed with a few financial blogs. I swear it's like a guilty pleasure. Two of my absolute favorites are Making Sense of Cents and Champagne Life on a Beer Budget. Both of these lovely ladies have inspired me (even more!) to take an interest in personal finance.
I'm nowhere near a financial guru by any means. But hey, I've listened to alot of Dave Ramsey in my day, I live within my means, and feel like I have a frugal approach to spending that can hopefully help some of you lovelies out there.
Without further adieu...
Real Life - Real $$ Tips
Cell Phone Plans
In the day of the smart phone, cell phone bills can be outrageous. I, for one, actually do not have a smart phone. My phone is added onto my boyfriends plan and costs only $10/month for call/text. I realize 99% of the genXer's out there couldn't live without a smart phone, but I haven't given in yet ;) Even if you have a smart phone, there are ways to save. Check & see if your employer offers a discount. Combine your plan with your family, boyfriend, or best friend. (Only if you can trust the other person/people to pay) Buy phones on Amazon instead of at the store if you are not eligible for an upgrade.
Groceries can really add up each month, especially if you find yourself absentmindedly tossing things into your cart. First things first, make a list and stick to it! Try to shop the outside perimiter of the store. Not only will you save money, you will eat healthier by avoiding the prepackaged foods. Also, buy meat in bulk & freeze. I buy chicken once a month in a bulk package, then I break down & freeze in individual baggies. Something else that really helps me - going to the actual grocery, not Target. There will be alot less temptation to stray from your list, trust me! Also, take advantage of any free store discount cards. My grocery - Kroger - has a Kroger Plus card that gives me extra savings. It also accumulates 'points' that discount gas. I save anywhere up to 40 cents a gallon this way.
Ok, this is where you guys are going to hate me. Shop at consignment stores. No, not all the time. But take advantage of discount or consignment stores. This could be anywhere from Goodwill to TJ Maxx. Also, shop your closet. Ask yourself before each purchase, Do I need this? Or just want it? Most of the time it's a want. Going shopping online? Look for discount codes on Facebook or other blogs, alot of retailers offer them. Spend more money on classic versitale pieces and less money on trendy options. At the same time, don't completely deprive yourself. Case in point - yes, I shop at consignment stores, but recently I allowed myself to splurge on a pair of sunglasses. As in other areas of life, depriving usually means to overindulging.
Are you paying for a gym membership that rarely (if at all!) gets used? I'm sure you're not alone. Even if you do use your membership, alot of times they are expensive. I used to pay $65/month to belong to the YMCA. I used the machines & free weights. I rarely did classes or swam. So guess what? I cancelled it. Now, I workout from home. I run outside, I bodyrock, I do various exercises I find for FREE on youtube. Yes, it takes some self motivation to make yourself workout at home, but it's so worth it.
As alot of you know, I have a lab named Kobe. He is my baby :) But even though I would literally do anything for Kobe & I want the best possible care for him, that doesn't mean I need to overpay. I found a vet in town that has a normal operating office, but during the evening, he sets up 'pet clinics' at a local pet store. At thsi clinic, you can get discounted services like annual shots, nail trims, exams, etc. Check in your city to see if you have a trustworthy pet clinic :)
Library? Uh, yes LIBRARY! No I'm not 85. Libraries get the shaft! We have an excellent library nearby, & I love going to check out books. Not only can I check out just about any real book that I want, I can even 'check out' digital books on my kindle on my libraries website. Libraries let you borrow movies, magazines, you name it. While all of my friends were buying 50 Shades of Grey & Hunger Games, I read all 6 books on my Kindle for FREE! Yes, I was on a little waiting list, but I still finished the books sooner than alot of my friends, plus I saved big time. Your tax dollars are funding your local library, so you might as well take advantage!
Other Small Tips
Other things we consider 'small' can really make a financial impact if you are trying to save more $$.
That daily $4 coffee? $4/day x 7 days/week = $28/week. $28/week x 52 weeks = $1,456 per year! Brew at home the majority of the time instead.
-Wash your car at home.
-Pay off high interest debt.
-Take a flask (at your own risk) when going out. That way you can order a regular drink instead of an alcoholic drink.
-Try coloring your own hair... I color my own when I'm brunette, and I visit the salon when I'm blonde.
-Paint your own nails instead of always getting a manicure/pedicure.
-Have a fun night in instead of a fun night out.
-It's ok to turn down that Scentsy, Thirtyone, Pampered Chef, etc. party where you always feel like you have to buy something.
Yes, coupons are good. However, they can be a double-edged sword. Only take advantage of coupons/groupons for things you would buy anyway. It's not saving money if you are buying something you don't need or won't use.
What other $$ tips can you share?? Hope these come in handy!
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