in Search

Money Coach

January 2012 - Posts

  • Frugal living: It's the gravy on the mashed potatoes of life

    Frugal living isn't exactly a new concept, nor is it a new trend. Millions of people all over the country are getting back to the basics and living a more frugal life. What exactly is frugal living, and how does one actually, well, live frugally?


    For some, the term, living frugally simply means doing without. But this just isn't true. Frugal living isn't about deprivation – it's about living smarter so you can live the way you want to live. 


    Frugal living is all about smarter money management. Set your budget, know how much you've got in the bank, and you'll know what you can afford. More importantly, you'll know what you can't afford.


    Frugal living also means spending smarter, and stretching your dollar as far as possible. It means you work to get the best deals possible, using coupons, rebates, and shopping sales. But it's also about knowing when to say no – determining that now isn't the best time to purchase that particular object or deciding not to purchase it at all.


    There are five things you should remember about frugal living that are at the very heart of this concept:


    • Buy quality. Get the most out of your dollar, make it last and use it in a variety of ways.


    • Do your homework. Consult consumer opinion, read labels and test results yourself.


    • Remember that time equals money, and always ask yourself, "Is the money saved worth the time invested?"


    • Wait 24 hours before you purchase anything. By doing so, you may figure out a way to avoid spending the money but still meeting the need.


    • Learn to live below your salary, and not at your salary.


    Why should you want to live frugally, squeezing every penny you've got? Frugal living can lead to paying off all your debt, saving up enough money to pay for your child's education, a fat retirement account or traveling the world someday. 


    Frugal living is all about determining what you really want out of life, taking control, and making it happen. And if you save a few bucks along the way, well, that's just gravy.

    Posted Jan 26 2012, 10:31 AM by moneycoach with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Tips to help you save money while heating your home

    It's January – and that means, no matter where you are, cooler temperatures. How do you heat your home affordably? Here are some tips to help you save money while heating your home.


    • Get a programmable thermostat. This will help because traditional thermostats rely on human comfort and memory – which can cost you more money. A programmable thermostat will adjust, whether you are home or not.


    • Consider using different heating units to warm different areas of your home. This will allow you to heat only the areas of your home in use.


    • Turn your thermostat down at night. Night-time hours are the most expensive when it comes to heating your home. Use heavier blankets and turn that thermostat down to save money.


    • Space heaters can save you money. Use them in individual rooms to save money, either as a complement to your central system or as supplement in rooms that aren't used often. But be sure to follow manufacturers' safety instructions.


    • Run your ceiling fans in reverse to bring warm air down from the ceiling. 


    • Make sure your windows and doors are properly insulated.


    • If you haven't already, have your heating system serviced. A well-maintained system will run more efficiently. This should be done once a year.


    • Make sure there is sufficient insulation in your attic and that it is high quality insulation – R-30 value is recommended in areas that don't experience extreme cold – R-40 or R-50 is better for areas where temperatures are more extreme.


    • Open your curtains and let the sun help with heating your home. It doesn't cost you a dime and it helps chase away the winter blues.


    If all this doesn't help, consider replacing your heating and cooling system. If you have an older system, this could make a huge difference in your electric bill. Energy Star appliances are about 10 percent more efficient than others.

    Posted Jan 12 2012, 11:01 AM by moneycoach with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Re-gifting...Taboo or acceptable money-saver?

    Most of us at one time or another have received a gift we were less than enthused about. What if you can't return the gift? What then?


    One of the easiest and most effective ways to deal with a gift like this is to re-gift it – just get over the guilt, realize it will only collect dust and clutter up your home, and give it to someone who will really use and appreciate it. So…how do you re-gift without getting caught? 


    First of all, take a good, long look at the gift you received. Is it worth giving to someone else? Do you know anyone who would like to receive this item?


    Second, keep track of where your gift came from, so you don't re-gift that person what they originally gave you. You should also be sure that if there were "witnesses" to your receipt of the gift in the first place, they don't get the re-gift either. And if there is any personalization to the gift, make sure it's gone.


    Next, make sure you repackage or re-wrap the gift properly. The presentation of the gift is key – you don't want it to look like a hand-me-down. And speaking of hand-me-downs, don't give anyone a used gift, even if you've only used or worn it once. Make sure anything you re-gift is brand-spankin' new. 


    Don't wait to long to re-gift the item. The older it is, the more obvious it is that you have re-gifted. 


    And last, don't feel guilty. If you have an item that is brand new but you can't or won't use it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with passing it on to someone who can put it to good use. According to a survey by Money Management International, more than half of consumers surveyed feel that re-gifting is acceptable. 


    Emily Post even thinks it's okay, and there's a "National Re-gifting Day," celebrated each December 18. And eBay markets "National Re-gifting Week" each year as December 26-30.


    So dust off those gifts you don't have a use for and put them back into circulation with a great big bow on top. And smile while you're doing it, knowing that you saved money – and a little closet space.

    Posted Jan 05 2012, 10:25 AM by moneycoach with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web

This Blog

Syndication