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ARE YOU TRYING TO SAVE MONEY?

You've come to the right place. Here you'll find more than 101 ways to save every day -- money-saving tips that could put 1000's of dollars in your pocket.

Stretchin A DollarFinding it hard to make that dollar stretch?
You're not alone. Many of us are feeling the pinch of inflation. With higher gas prices and housing costs reaching into the stratosphere, it's becoming harder and harder to save. We need help on how to save money.



Squeeze MoneyWondering how you can squeeze more money out of your paycheck?
There's no doubt about it. The price of everything is going up.  In addition, we are constantly being bombarded with enticing ads that tempt us to buy all sorts of things we don't need robbing us of the ability to save. We need to be more careful of how and where we spend our money. Start with saving money basics.


Nest EggWorried you won't have enough money to retire?

In order to start saving all the money that you'll need for retirement, you need to take 3 steps to set you on the road to saving money big time. If you can't manage these 3 steps, you will forever be playing catch-up.




THIS WEEK'S SAVING GRACE

Think Small to Save Big

If you don't have 6 - 12 months worth of monthly living expenses in savings, and if you have nothing saved for retirement, then you're going to have to start saving BIG to catch up which usually means thinking SMALL. Following are the five budget items where the most savings can be achieved.

1.  Housing.  Putting a roof over your head is, for most people, the most expensive budgetary item you have. In some places, rent can be 70% of your take-home pay, while the cost of owning a home can easily eat up 50%.  If you're renting, location is a factor of how much you pay. The closer in to a metropolitan hub, the more you'll pay. The newer a building, the more you'll pay. The larger the unit, the more you'll pay. In order to save the most money, it's obvious that a smaller unit in an older building farther out from city center will reap the most savings, hundreds of dollars a month in fact. That's thousands of dollars a year.
     If you own your own home, moving isn't necessarily an option, but there are still things you can do to save. If the interest rate you're paying is 1% or more than the current low interest rate, you could save a$100 or more each month by refinancing. If you're already paying a low interest rate, you might want to think about renting a bedroom out which could bring in a few hundred dollars each month. Rents in many areas are too high for young people just starting their careers. A room to rent  in a private home helps them and helps you. And you're kids really don't need a room of their own.

2. Automobiles.  If you're leasing or buying a car, you're already going in the hole every month. A car is a depreciating asset. Corporations can deduct depreciation; individuals can't. So it makes no sense to make payments on  something whose value goes down every month. Most people buying a car owe more than the car is worth. Leasing one is like renting an apartment. There is nothing to recover once the lease expires. 
    Getting rid of a car altogether would be the ideal solution, but for most, it would be impractical. The next best thing is to think small. Unless you have a large family, most people can make do with a small car. It is simply a means of taking you from one place to another. It does not need to make a statement, unless that statement is, "Look how much money I'm saving!"  Paying cash for a car would also be the ideal situation, but that isn't always practical either.  
     SMALL is really the only answer to saving money on automobiles. There are at least 10 new vehicles that can be bought for less than $12000. Leasing any of them would also be relatively inexpensive. The overall cost of operation for any of them is pretty inexpensive since they are all fuel efficient and cheap to insure.  A small car can save you thousands of dollars a year compared to all-wheel-drive SUV's or cross-overs or mini-vans or most other more expensive cars.

3. Entertainment.  A trip to the movie theater for a family of four with popcorn and soft drinks can approach $100 in some markets.  That's a luxury for families that aren't even on a budget. And anyone paying for a gazillion channels on cable television makes about as much sense as burning dollar bills to start a campfire. Instead, ditch cable TV altogether in favor of a roof-top antenna or a simple $20 digital antenna, depending on your physical location in relationship to transmitter towers.  (Find out here what kind of antenna you need.)
    With a half-way decent Internet connection (no, you don't need gigabyte service) and an Amazon Firestick ($39) or a Roku Streaming Stick or Player ($50), you're almost set to be entertained by more TV or movies than you could watch in a lifetime. A subscription to Netflix Streaming Video for $7.99/month and/or Amazon Prime for $99/year completes the entertainment package that will save more than a hundred dollars a month.

4.  Insurance.  If you're like so many of us, dealing with insurance is something best left for another day. Consequently, years go by and all we do is continue paying the premium that the insurance company bills us for without every questioning how much we're paying. This is a BIG mistake.  No insurance agent is going to call you and tell you that he's found a way to lower your insurance premium. After all, he gets paid on commission, and the higher your insurance premium, the more he gets paid. Even if you have a bad driving record, it pays to shop for your insurance if you haven't done so in some time. Savings could be dramatic. Tickets and/or accidents may have dropped off your driving record, yet you may still be paying for them. Lower cost plans may have come out that you qualify for but have never been offered. There are probably a dozen or more reasons to shop your insurance even if it's only to keep your insurance agent honest.

5.  Groceries.  There are literally hundreds of way to cut your grocery bill by 25% or more. If you're spending $400/month on groceries, that's a savings of $100/month.  Look first to where you're shopping. If Costco or Sam's Club (BIG-box stores) are part of your grocery shopping routine, you can probably save 25% just by dropping your membership in them and opting to do all your shopping at a much SMALLer supermarket.
     And supermarkets are not all the same. Some are much more expensive than others. Whole Foods is the Saks Fifith Avenue of grocers while Kroger may be considered the J.C. Penney's of grocers. From a budgetary standpoint, Heintz Catsup is the same no matter where you buy it, but why would you pay 1-1/2 times the price for it? Also, organic produce isn't proving to be all that safe while you spend 50% more for it.  Let's face it. Baby boomers that are now predicted to live lives well into their 90's, didn't even know what organic meant when they were growing up. Some studies have even linked the current craze of cleanliness with a childs lack of ability to fend off disease because their bodies have not been able to develop immunities that good old fashioned dirt in all its forms provided for previous generations.
     Lastly, consider exactly what you're buying. Bottled water is not only a waste of money, all that plastic simply isn't good for our planet. Popcorn is a much healthier (and much cheaper) snack than chips. Chicken and turkey are a much better meat choice than beef. If you find yourself tossing a lot of fresh veggies because they didn't get used, maybe frozen or canned would be a better choice. Bread is another budget breaker with name brands costing more than $3/loaf. Store brands that are just as good can be had for half that amount. In fact, store brands of most any item are significantly cheaper than name brands.

Now, take these savings and put them to work for you. Online savings accounts typically pay a higher interest than your local bank. Start an IRA or put the money into your company's 401k plan. Whatever you do, don't spend it.

 Happy Savings,

The Saving Lady

   

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