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Money Coach

July 2012 - Posts

  • You gotta think big to go small

    Back in the 1950s, life was good again, and young couples were scooping up homes left and right, and settling down to raise some babies. The average home back then was about half the size of most of today's homes, and often came with only one bathroom. Kids shared rooms, and there was no such thing as separate living and family rooms, or "bonus" rooms.


    Today's average home is about 2,349 square feet. We have more room than we can use, and it's not because we necessarily need all that space. It's more about saying we have all that space. Pure and simple, it's keeping up with those snooty Joneses. 


    But in recent years, the economic downturn has caused thousands of homeowners to just throw up their hands and walk away from their homes, simply because they can no longer afford to pay for them.


    So what's the trend now? People have gotten much more savvy in this economy when it comes to saving money, and this includes housing. There's a growing trend toward building small houses – which can be built by do-it-yourselfers for about $20,000 and up. 


    Under around 800 square feet, these homes can be delivered completed, or you can put them together yourself. It's all about simplifying and getting down to the business of what really matters. But why go small? Obviously, it costs less to build, maintain and live in a smaller home. It's also more energy efficient.


    For some, thinking about getting rid of a lot of stuff is an overwhelming thought. But for those who go tiny in their housing, it's a necessity. It forces you to be more thoughtful and purposeful about the things you hang on to, as well as future purchases. You'll wind up saving a bundle just by cutting back on "stuff."


    So when you want to think big when it comes to savings, think small. Going smaller in your housing, and simplifying your life and your belongings could be just what your wallet needs.

    Posted Jul 26 2012, 03:19 PM by moneycoach with 1 comment(s)
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  • Save money when dining out

    According to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the average American family spent more than $2,500 on dining out in 2010. If you cut a mere 30 percent of that cost, you'd save more than $750. That's significant savings. How can you accomplish this?


    Stay home. But where's the fun in that? Everyone likes to dine out occasionally. There are some things you can do that will help to dramatically decrease the cost of eating out.


    • Check restaurant.com. They have gift certificates, as well as sales year-round, and you can find huge savings there. Bear in mind, however, that the certificates are for dine-in only.


    • Search online for coupons. You can find them at various sites all over the Web, including some that will save you 50 to 90 percent. 


    • Use "check in." If you've got a smartphone, you'll find that there are social networking apps that will give you free stuff and some fairly deep discounts for "checking in." Apps like Yelp, Foursquare, and SCVNGR are the most popular.


    • Call ahead and ask about special occasion deals. Restaurants will often give you a discount when you have a large party. Some even have birthday or anniversary clubs that you can sign up for. You can also go out to eat on your birthday. There are lots of restaurants that offer a free meal on your birthday. Check out eatfreeonyourbirthday.com.


    • Use social media. Follow your favorite restaurants on Twitter and friend them on Facebook. You'll be among the first to know about specials and discounted deals.

    Posted Jul 09 2012, 02:21 PM by moneycoach with no comments
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