Tag Archives: money saving tips

How to Save Money during the Year to Go On Your Dream Vacation

How to Save Money during the Year to Go On Your Dream Vacation

For too many people, going on a dream vacation can feel like an unattainable goal. While it would be amazing to travel to exotic destinations like Thailand, Australia, Singapore or Jamaica, many of us think that we would never be able to save up enough money to travel to these places comfortably, even if we were able to score last minute vacation packages. After all, most of us have mortgages, tuition payments and other assorted bills to worry about.

How to Save Money during the Year to Go On Your Dream Vacation

Night shot of Marina Bay during our Singapore trip – December of last year.

Thankfully, this line of reasoning is completely wrong. You can go on that dream vacation, but it will require giving yourself a year’s time to plan and save accordingly. Here are some tips on how to save money during the year to go on your dream vacation.

Determine How Much You’ll Need – The first step is to sit down and calculate exactly how much money you’ll need to enjoy your vacation comfortably. While you want to create a figure that you can logically save up in a year’s time, don’t budget too much. After all, you want to have enough funds to truly enjoy your dream vacation.

Create a Plan – Once you’ve determined how much you’ll need, you simply need to create a plan determining how much and how often you’ll put money into your vacation savings. This is as simple as dividing your total amount by 12, the number of months in a year, or 52, the number of weeks. It’s a good idea to create a savings account for your vacation money. This way, you won’t be tempted to dip into it.

Stick To Your Plan – The most important aspect of saving for a dream vacation is really sticking to your plan. It will be tempting to dip into your vacation savings for little purchases throughout the year, especially around the holidays. However, sticking to your vacation savings plan will be something that you thank yourself for once the time for your dream vacation comes.

Get the whole family involved in this year of vacation saving. This is a great way to teach your kids about the benefits and rewards that come with diligently saving money. If you create a year-long plan and stick to it, you’ll thank yourself when it comes time to fly away to the destination that you’ve always dreamed of visiting.

 

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Kitting Out a New Home on a Budget

Kitting Out a New Home on a Budget

Kitting Out a New Home on a BudgetStarting off in a new home isn’t cheap. Apart from the initial cost of deposits and agency or mortgage fees, you’ll have to stump up the funds to kit out your pad. The good news is, there are lots of money-saving tactics that you can employ in order to keep your spending down.

Shop around

When you’re on the hunt for kitchen appliances and other items, make sure you shop around for both larger white goods and smaller appliances like toasters, kettles and grills. There are lots of deals available online, and by taking a little time and using price comparison sites to review a number of options, you stand a better chance of bagging a bargain.

Go second-hand

Also, it can pay off to opt for second-hand products. These can also be found online auction and ad sites, as well as in charity shops and car boot sales. OK, so these items may not last as long or look as pretty as brand new versions, but they can save you a tidy sum. Of course, before you hand over any money for these items, you’ll need to make sure they work properly.

Free living

You might even be able to get some items for free. There are a growing number of reuse websites in cyberspace where people advertise products ranging from white goods to sofas that they no longer want. As long as you can pick the objects up, they could be yours for nothing.

Comb the sales

Timing is also key. If you stock up on products for your property during sale seasons, you can benefit from impressive value for money. This may mean being patient for a little while, but if big savings are on offer, it could be worth your while.

Kitting your new house or flat out on a budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise when it comes to style. Often, it is the inexpensive little extras that help to make living spaces look and feel warm and attractive. Something as simple – and cheap – as adding some new cushions to sofas or placing a fresh bunch of flowers in a vase can bring rooms to life and suddenly make it feel like home.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/familymwr/4929685747/

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How to Move Into a House without Breaking the Bank

Moving into a New House in Tight Budget

How to Move Into a House without Breaking the Bank

Moving can be a costly endeavor, even if you try to do most of the moving yourself. After all, there are so many details to be tended to, many of which cost something. For instance, the process of turning off utilities at the old place usually incurs a fee, as does turning on utilities at the new one. With this in mind, it helps to know what while there are some financial aspects of moving that just can’t be helped (you need lights, right?!), there are some other ways you can mitigate the cost of moving so that it doesn’t break the bank (not even your personal piggy bank). Consider some tips to take you in the right direction:

Pack yourself

Yes, it would save a ton of time to have a moving company come and pack for you, but they often add on this service for an arm and a leg. Avoid this by having over a few close family members and friends for a packing party. For the prices of a few pizzas and a bottle or two of wine, you can solicit some help to get your stuff into boxes without paying the high cost for a moving company to do it.  However, if you are going to use one longdistancemovingcompanies.co is a cheap mover.

Move at an off-peak time of year

Peak moving season is during the summer, when many people try to relocate without the hassle of school and during work vacations. Avoid this by moving in the middle of the year. Rates to move may be much lower at this point of the year.

Transport your vehicle

This applies for those who own cars or any types of vehicles.  This may seem like an unnecessary cost, but sometimes, time is money and there are many other things that you can do to get your move running more efficiency than driving your vehicle to the new destination. Instead, this is one area where you can get a great deal and take this off of your to-do list. Ask about a first-time transport discount if this is your first time transporting a vehicle; many companies will give you a break, even if they don’t have an existing program. Moreover, you can often get a great deal on packaging auto transport with other moving services to avoid paying too much more out of pocket for your vehicle to be moved.  Contact a1autotransport.com for all your car shipping needs.

Do the house prep yourself

Oftentimes, when moving into a new place, the landlord or former owners will go to great lengths to have it cleaned for you. However, this often comes at a cost. Instead, opt to do a lot of the work yourself. Forgo the added charge to cut the lawn, clean the cupboards and replace the floor-mats and take the do-it-yourself approach. Have the local neighbor’s kid clean the front-yard and backyard for a fraction of the cost and clean the house from top to bottom, room by room when you move in. You may be surprised by how these small cuts to your moving budget can save you money significantly when you move into a new home.

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Losing Weight and Eating Healthy while on a Budget

Losing Weight and Eating Healthy while on a Budget

Photo Credit

Anyone who wants to lose weight or lose the belly fat must perfectly understand that to achieve that goal, diet and exercise should go together. Not just one, but both. But given our modern trying times, another key factor comes into the picture: budget. And honestly, it plays a very big role in your goal plan, especially if one adopts frugal living as a lifestyle.

While researching diet plans and weight loss techniques over the internet, I have found numerous articles that encourage dieters to eat high-protein meat like turkey, red meat, or salmon. Consume healthy unsaturated or monosaturated fat that can be found in avocado, olive oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, and the list goes on. Eat green vegetables like lettuce, celery, cauliflower and the list goes on. And every time I go to the supermarket, the prices for these diet foods are very expensive. Yikes!

As for the exercises, the famous action plan for dieters is to hit the gym. Most gyms require membership fees that do hurt the budget too.

So what do frugal livers do?

Start with the Right Mind

I think it starts with the mind. Why do you want to lose weight or your belly fat? Determine what motivates you, and create a mantra for it. Say it to yourself over and over again. While trying not to eat your favorite unhealthy food, say that mantra. When you get tired and your knees already hurt from too much exercise, say that mantra. If your motivation is weak, chances are you’ll be ditching your goals sooner than later.

Every body is Unique, Your Body is Unique

Listen to your body. Which time of the day do you feel most hungry? In spite of all the diet and exercise, why am I not losing pounds? How do I stop myself from grabbing another cup of rice, or ordering another round of drinks? And why do I eat less but gain weight and fat so fast? When you determine the answers to the questions above, then likely you’ll adjust your eating habits, self-control, and again, motivation.

Eating the Right Food

Now here comes the food part. Yummy, but in dieting, the word is sacrifice. Though it requires a lot of sacrifice, it does not have to be sad or deprived. Studies show that skinny people enjoy their food and do not gain weight easily because they savor it and chew it properly, before grabbing another. So try to enjoy your food on the table, and not devour it. And make sure to eat the right food. Right. Food. Set out a diet plan that is budget-friendly.

Eat oatmeal or whole wheat bread for snacks.

Eat less rice, hence you can save money.

Drink lots of water, it is cheap.

Eat a lot, and I mean a lot of fruits and vegetables. Eating a lot of it does not harm the weighing scale, even so, is more healthy and beneficial for your weigh loss goal. Fruits can be expensive, so try buying them in the market where the price is still within supplier price. Apples, mangoes, banana, are good options for breakfast or dinner. Then you can eat rice on your lunch. Or whatever makes you comfortable. I can not stress enough the importance of fruits in a diet plan, because it is highly recommended. I think it is one of diet techniques that is mostly ignored or overlooked. Fruits help flush the fat from your body, make you less hungry often, and do not make you feel bloated.

Avoid oily food, you don’t want to add more fat in your body.

Ditch the soda and other high sugar-content juices. Drink green tea, or hot water with lemon.

Here comes the hard part. Ditch the junk food and fast food. They contain a lot of salt, preservatives, and monosodium glutamate. When salt content enters the body, it retains water in the body which in effect, can make body look bulgy. They contain a lot of carbs too.

Exercise: Move a Lot

After knowing your diet plan, choose where you can exercise. You can jog in parks that do not collect entrance fees. You can do yoga in your home. You can lift weights using improvised tools such as a water bottle that contains sand, it becomes heavy. Other improvised workout routines can be the following:

At your home, try to do planking, push-up, and sit-up for 30 minutes everyday.

If you have stairs at your home, use it as a workout source. Climb first stairstep with left foot, then right foot. Step down using left foot, then right foot. Repeat for 5 times.

This is yet the best cardio exercise for me: jumprope. I swear I lost few pounds pounds after jumping ropes for 30 minutes everyday for 2 weeks. It is not just cardio, but also an overall workout routine that enhances muscle flexibility and mind-arm coordination. It works a lot of part of your body: arms, legs, knees, stomach, and thigh.

But if you have no time for exercise, go aggressively with your diet plan and try to move a lot. If your work involves sitting whole day, try to stand and have a short walk every 20 minutes. You can maybe go to the restroom, the kitchen, or talk to your friends. After work, if you live nearby, you can just walk the distance. Or if you commute, try to walk to the farthest jeepney or bus stop. At home, you can wash laundry standing up. Cook food. Watch the TV while doing something productive like cleaning. The key thing is try to move a lot.

Take it One Day at a Time

There are no shortcuts.  And it takes a significant amount of work. Nothing that is worth having comes easy. Just like any goals in life, shedding a few pounds and fat in the body needs discipline, work, and honestly some sacrifices. But enjoy your journey and don’t be too hard to yourself. Make it a lifestyle and not just a one-time or weeklong phase. Just like in the practice of frugal living, spend wisely. So choose your food wisely. Choose your motivations wisely. And you’ll just wake up one day and realize you have conquered yourself, and the reward is you lose some pounds and fat. Success!

 

About the Guest Author

This guest post is written by Cathy Tejano, a technical writer, blogger and a vegetarian-wannabe. She blogs at Lens and Pens.

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Top 8 Effective Ways to Encourage Your Child to Save Money

Top 8 Effective Ways to Encourage Your Child to Save Money

We are living in difficult financial times, so one of the most important lessons for your children to learn is how to put money aside for a rainy day or for unexpected situations that may be around the corner. It can be tough to get children motivated by saving money, so we’ve come up with some great ways to get them involved:

 

1. Start them young

Children live in the moment and find it really hard to hold onto their money once they’ve got it, so start them young! Teach them to drop coins into their piggy bank from when they are a toddler, and help them understand why it’s important to let those coins build up before spending.

2. Open a savings account

Take your child to the bank and open an account in their name – this will help them feel part of the process and understand the importance of saving for the future.

3. Reward their efforts

Let’s face it, saving is pretty boring when you’re 10 years old and would rather rush out and spend, spend, spend! Make sure you praise their efforts to save whenever you can, and encourage them to treat themselves sometimes too.

4. Goals and dreams

As your child gets older, talk to them about their dreams – do they want to travel the world, buy a house or train to be a doctor or a vet? What does that mean for their savings? Help them to see how much they will need to achieve their goals.

5. Talk about money matters

Children need to understand about money and realise that they can’t have everything they want or everything they see on TV. By talking about how much things cost and the true value involved in saving up for something special, you will help your child understand how finances work.

6. Set a good example

Remember that your child will learn by example, so create your own piggy bank and make it clear that you are saving up for a trip out, a new sofa or a better car. This will help show your child that saving is a part of normal daily life.

7. Match their savings

Of course in these tough financial times this won’t always be possible, but if you can, offer to match whatever your child manages to save and help them achieve their goals even faster. Or if you’re not in a position to put in money, why not ask friends and family to let your child do odd jobs to raise more cash?

8. Save as a family

In difficult times, families stick together. Help encourage your child to understand the value of saving money by doing it as a family. Whether you’re saving for a holiday, a trip to the cinema or a new pet, make sure you all talk about how close you are to your goal and celebrate when you get there. Your child will love being part of your world, and it will teach them valuable lessons about the importance of saving and being patient.

Encouraging your child to save money will teach them vital life skills such as patience and determination. Saving money will also increase their confidence and help them to stay focused on their goals. By teaching your child these skills you really will give them a fantastic start in life.

 

About the Guest Author

This post is written by Ealing Trading, who provide cash loans when you need them most.

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How to Live a Frugal Life as a Student

N.B.: When I was a student, I scrubbed floors and cleaned office furniture to free my parents from the burden of college tuition.  Though I worked as an assistant to our College Guidance Psychometrician, my daily tasks (aside from conducting exams and checking test papers) involve taking on menial jobs and running errands.  Looking back, I am quite proud of myself as I managed to graduate from college without debts and even helped my parents to minimize our expenses.

The daily allowance my parents gave me was only Php50 ($1.23).  It was quite small for a full-time working student with a big appetite.  But, I managed to squeeze it with the help of the little allowance I received as a working scholar.  I still can’t forget that I often brought rice from home to school to listen my lunch expenses.  And I only eat Chinese Ngohiong with it so that I would only spend around Php10 for my meal.

When I was a student, I can’t remember that I entered and ate in any fast food chains.  This is the very reason why I’m quite amazed these days watching students going in and out of fast food restaurants and other expensive diners.  Either they are really well off, or they just don’t give a damn about money.

Below is a guest post by my fellow blogger, Linda Forshaw, that teaches students these days on how to minimize their expenses and be more responsible in handling their parents’ money. - EOD

Living a frugal life is not about going without the things that you need; rather it is about living a life that avoids waste, extravagance, and unnecessary expenditure. As a student, money is likely to be tight, so there is never a better case for living a frugal life than while you are at college. Here are some top tips to help you do exactly that.

A budget is always the first place to start


When attempting to live a frugal life as a student (or in any other capacity for that matter), creating a budget should always be the very first thing you do. Include all income (from scholarships, student loans, part time work, and parental contributions) and all anticipated expenditure. Understanding how much you have to “play with,” is paramount to keeping on the financial straight and narrow.

Free is good but affordability is better


It goes without saying that free is always a good option. Whether it’s hooking up to free wifi to avoid data charges or joining your local freecycle group, you never know what you can pick up for free (and would otherwise have paid for). Cheaper (although not quite as attractive as completely free) is a close runner up. Adopting the mantra that every time you need something you will try and find it cheaper is a good plan. A good place to start is making full use of grocery coupons and visiting the store toward closing time to pick up any discounted food stuffs.

Sharing is sensible


There’s a lot of truth in the saying that “two can live as cheaply as one,” so imagine the savings that can be made from teaming up with more than one other person. As a student, most of your peers will be in the same boat financially speaking, so team up to help each other out. This could involve any number of things. You could each buy a textbook from a required reading list, start a supper club (whereby one of you cooks each night), or team up to benefit from bulk buy discounts, The possibilities to make savings are fairly endless.

Alternatives can be attractive


Always be on the lookout for cheaper alternatives. It can be as simple as when you fancy watching a movie, renting a DVD instead of forking out for an extravagant trip to the cinema. It could be that you really need a haircut. Could you wait until next week and bag yourself a cheaper appointment with a trainee hairdresser? This is all about seeking viable alternatives to the things you want or need. If you can’t wait for a better deal, remember to always ask for a student discount. Such discounts might not be widely advertised by a company, but they are often available.


Living frugally as a student doesn’t mean you won’t have any fun. You’ll probably have just as much fun as the other students in your class. The only real difference is that you’ll be getting a better deal.

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License.  Credit.

About the Guest Author

Linda Forshaw is a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. A contributor to Degree Jungle, she is a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media, and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay

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Frugal Home Ideas: Green and Self-Reliant Additions to Your Home That Save Money

N.B.: Have you been thinking how to save electricity and lessen the frequency of buying new bulbs every time they got damaged? Or, perhaps are you planning to cut off on energy cost by buying solar-powered appliances? If you have these thoughts then you may continue reading below.  The following guest post is from my fellow writer, Sam Peters.EOD

Elektrostandard LED light bulb

You may be cutting down on the weekend meals or trying to shop smarter, but you may be unaware of huge savings that can be made through green installations at your home. Apart from the potential savings offered by these installations, they’ll also make your home self-reliant.  Here are some of the options you can go for.

1. LED light bulbs

These are low-energy consuming lights that can last for up to 20 years. For brightness, they use 90 percent low watts per hour compared to incandescent lights. They lead to savings in light and bulb purchases as well as in energy. They’re an investment worth looking into, and the cost only averages around $20 per unit. They’re a top choice when it comes to green home installations. Custom LED lightning installations also available to consumers.

2. Energy-saving adapters

Many of you would be fond of using consumer electronics at your home; laptops, smartphones, tablets, video games etc. Did you know they account for a total of 13 percent energy consumed at homes? This was reported by CEA, and the cost of charging and running these devices goes up to $191 per year.

Energy saving adapters (AC/DC) are now being manufactured by companies such as Green Plug. They’re made to give the devices the exact amount of charge they require, and shut themselves down automatically once the required amount of power has been given to the specified device. They’ll lead to money savings if you regularly charge devices and other electronic items.

3. Outdoor Solar motion sensor light

Apart from green installations inside the house, you could save some bucks by tweaking your home from the outside. The outdoor solar motion sensor lights provide you ‘free energy’ to use, They use the sun to charge themselves, and the charge goes on for up to 2 weeks.

They’re also brighter, and stay on during power outages as there’s no electricity involved. Therefore, you save in terms of electricity as well as home security.

4. Programmable thermostats

Thermostats have been around for a while, but advances have been made to make them more energy efficient, leading to savings. The thermostats are now being equipped with advanced sensors and algorithms, and they even allow for cloud computing.

These high tech thermostats can lead to a 30 percent decrease in average annual energy bill. An example of such as thermostat is Nest Learning Thermostat by Nest Labs.

A separate account can be maintained for spending on the listed and other green additions. Researching banks that offers the best interest rate on savings accounts would result in some options.

Apart from savings accounts, there’s also an option to go for current deposit account by comparing cd rates of different banks.

Photo used above is under Creative Commons License. Credit.

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10 Frugal Tips to Save Money in Shopping For Your Food Storage

N.B: Here’s another informational guest post submitted by our friends from FoodInsurance.com.EOD

While food storage is something you know you need, it isn’t always that easy. If you are on a budget, the cost of prepackaged foods can be insanely costly and it might be tough to imagine buying enough for 3 months, let alone a year. The trick is to save money wherever you can.

Shop Online

Internet stores frequently have better deals because they don’t have the overhead costs of a brick and mortar store, so check prices both online and off. Shopping online also eliminates a lot of impulse buys that might occur in a supermarket.

Buy in Bulk

Most times, you can save quite a bit of cash by simply purchasing more of an item. You can frequently get wholesale prices by purchasing a certain amount.

Get Free Shipping

If you are shopping online, you should never pay for shipping, particularly if you are buying in bulk. Don’t meet the minimum purchase limit? Find someone to split the order with you.

Use Coupons

This tip is so obvious; it almost doesn’t belong on this list. However, there are some tricks to using coupons that can save you even more, so find out if you can use coupons during sales or stack coupons (use more than one on a single purchase) to get products for free or very low prices.

Buy What You Eat

There’s not much point in purchasing something on sale if you’ll never eat it. Remember that food needs to be rotated out of storage as the expiration date nears, so if you don’t eat it, you’ll end up throwing it away and wasting money.

Get Food That Lasts

Opting for freeze dried food allows for up to 25 years of storage, so you don’t have to rotate it out very often at all. This eliminates the need to purchase food for storage on a regular basis and saves money.

Buy Whole Foods

Processed foods often cost more because of the processing. If you purchase staples like rice, oatmeal and grain, it will not only provide more nutrition, but offers some savings, as well.

Shop Sales

Most stores have specific times of year when they offer items for sale. These are usually on rotation, every 3-6 months. Buy a few extras next time products you need are on sale to add to the food storage.

Preserve Your Own Food

If there’s a deal to be had on fresh peaches, that can benefit your food storage, provided you know how to preserve it. Canning, freezing and drying are all methods of adding fresh foods to your storage. In season, you should be able to buy and preserve your own fruits and vegetables for less than the commercially tinned items.

Buy Ingredients, Not Meals

While full meals are handy to have on hand, you can save more if you get the individual ingredients and create your own meals later. You’ll also have more flexibility.

Food storage doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Work slowly and with a plan and you can get everything you need for less.

For more information on saving money with food storage, check out foodinsurance.com or connect with food insurance on Twitter and Facebook for more tips.

Photo used above is under Creative Commons License | Credit

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Frugal Real Estate Tips:How to Save & Make Money by Buying a House to Renovate

There are numerous homes which are currently on the market that need serious work done to them before they will be habitable. If you ever dreamt of owning a fixer-upper of a house, you are in luck, since these days there is no shortage of them out there. You will be pleased with the benefits you experience by owning a home that you plan on renovating.

One of these benefits is that you will almost certainly save money when you buy such a property. That is because the property value is based heavily on the appearance of the house, as well as if it is complete, or does not require repairs or replacement of anything large. Buying a fixer-upper home means that the money you put in will be an investment in the long run, because if you turn around and sell it you will you should be able to ask for a bit more than what you paid for the house.

Another benefit is that you can use it as a rental home, or just rent out an apartment (or more than one). For instance, putting in new floors, a beautiful deck, and other attractive features will make prospective renters more willing to pay higher rent than otherwise. Then, you can turn around and use this money for taxes and your mortgage payments. You may even be able to pocket a little extra money beyond your payments.

When you purchase a house that you will renovate, you have the additional benefit of being able to customize it, so that it truly can be your dream home. It is so much easier to customize it, if the house is unfinished or in need of repairs. If you are willing and able to put the time and effort in to this project, the rewards will be amazing.

It is easy for many people to become discouraged when thinking about the cost of supplies, tools, and appliances for the renovation. However, it often balances out or ends up still costing less than if you had purchased a house that was in move-in condition. Also, there are one time renovation loans that are offered by many lenders. Use your resourcefulness and savvy to acquire such a loan, and soon you will be on your way to having your own perfect home for yourself or as a rental. Contact Jensen and Company Real Estate for information and assistance with locating a home to renovate.

Photo above is used under creative commons license.  Credit.

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How to Celebrate a Frugal Birthday

N.B: Another way to save money if you are celebrating your birthday (that is not mentioned in the guest contribution below) is by celebrating it with someone who has the same birth date as you.  (In my case I will be celebrating my birthday with “soulmate” later this month.)  You can save money if you do it this way because you can split the expenses between the two celebrants.  The celebration will also become more meaningful and more memorable because you are celebrating it with someone who was also born on the date that you were born.  Double celebration!  (Advance Happy Birthday, Soulmate!) – EOD

Birthdays are often associated with a sense of having to spend money. There is birthday party planning that takes place, cakes and sweets and then the costly tradition of presents for the person celebrating their birthday.

What are some of the ways that you can cut down the expenses of birthdays and create a frugal celebration?

Use what you have on hand to create a birthday meal. If you follow proper food storage ideas, you can celebrate with a birthday dinner featuring your favorite dishes without having to make a trip to the supermarket. Keeping things on hand like sugar and sweets can help to make the special occasion just a bit sweeter.

In addition to making the dinner with food that is already on hand, you can choose to host a pot luck dinner. Inviting friends and family members to join in the celebration and bringing something that they also made at-home can be a great way to make the special occasion even more special without causing people to spend money on the presents.

Skip the store-bought presents. Skipping the store bought presents can help you to celebrate the birthday without breaking the bank. Rather than traditional presents and cards, consider making presents at-home. Presents that are made are more heartfelt and they are more likely to create memories that the person is going to look back on fondly.

If you are going to celebrate the birthday outside of the home, there are some things that you can do to reduce the celebration expense. Check local restaurants and entertainment venues. There are many places that offer free foods and services on your birthday, just make sure you have identification with you to prove that it’s indeed your birthday.

Checking the local community pages or online classified advertisements, you can find free and cheap events that are happening in the city or town. Planning the birthday around one of these events can be a great way to reduce the cost of the party and help to explore something new in your own backyard.

For children’s birthday parties, there is often the expectation to spend more money. Having a simple birthday party at-home and inviting only family or friends to celebrate the occasion can be a great way to tone down expenses. For presents (from the child’s godmothers or godfathers), you may consider asking books as gifts (it doesn’t matter if it’s brand new or 2nd hand). Books can last for a very long period of time and are good souvenirs the child can keep.

You don’t need to splurge money during birthdays. The most important thing is you celebrate it with meaning and with the people that matter the most to you.

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License | Credit

About the Guest Author

This is a guest contribution from our friends from DailyBread.com.  You may follow them in Twitter.

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Frugal Living Tip: Saving Money by Buying and Storing Bulk Foods

This is a follow-up article for Frugal Living Tip: How to Save Money by Buying Coffee in Bulk.  If you are interested to become one of our guest contributors, kindly check the note on the right side bar.

Often times, with the busy lives that many people live now, not much thought is put into grocery shopping. Most people will make a quick run to the grocery store on their way home from work for that night’s dinner, or worse yet, will pick up high-fat take-out food. Without realizing it, all this one-stop meal pickups can add up to a large amount of money being spent on food.

Plan Ahead

Even if you can take some time and write down all the essentials that you and your family need, you can save money. Once you have this list, you can purchase food in bulk to eliminate those frequent trips to the grocery store or drive-thru establishments. By planning ahead, you will also never have to worry about what is for dinner, or if you have enough meals for the weekend. You will also be prepared in the event of an unexpected emergency.

Convenience of Buying in Bulk

You can buy mostly any item in bulk. If you buy frozen chicken or fish, many stores that sell in bulk will have each piece of meat individually sealed so it will last longer in your freezer. You can purchase frozen fruit and vegetables to always have a healthy snack or side dish. Even cereals and commonly used items, such as seasonings and oil, have a long shelf-life and are great items to buy in bulk. You will be amazed at how little you need to travel to the grocery store.

Storing Bulk Food

There are some foods that you may buy in bulk that have to be re-packaged. You can simply use plastic bags with a tight seal to preserve the freshness of your food if you have to split it into smaller portions. You also want to store your food in a dry, cool place to preserve its shelf-life. If you are buying bulk food for emergency use as well, ensure that you rotate your food supply so you will always have a fresh supply of food.

Saving Money

Buying food in bulk will allow you to make fewer trips to the grocery store or nearest convenience store, thereby saving on fare or gas. Also, if you stop at convenience stores, you are more likely to pay double the price you would pay if you bought the items in bulk ahead of time. By buying in bulk, you can also cook meals ahead of time, saving money from dining out too often.

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License. Credit.

About the Guest Contributor

This is a guest contribution from our friends from Food Insurance.  You may connect with them in Facebook.

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Frugal Living Tip: How to Save Money by Buying Coffee in Bulk

Note:  Here is another guest post from our friends from DailyBread.com on how to save money by buying coffee in bulk.

Photo: Jeff Kubina. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

The price of coffee has escalated over the last decade or so, and this is bad news for coffee lovers, especially those who like good quality coffee. Many find they have to choose between reducing their consumption, and going for a cheaper and poorer quality brand. However there is another option and that is to buy it in bulk.

Bulk coffee buying is more commonly done by cafes and restaurants, but there is no reason why it should not be done by individuals as well. It is obviously much cheaper than buying in small quantities from your local store. In fact you are likely to pay a mark-up of anything up to 300% for the convenience of buying near your home.

One way of buying coffee in bulk is by using the wholesale merchants who normally sell to restaurants. They offer excellent deals for buying in large quantities, and they are not concerned as to whether you are an individual or a business. The more you buy the bigger discounts you get.

Wholesale coffee is more likely to be available as coffee beans rather than ground coffee. You can find just about any brand you choose, including organic coffee beans which are more expensive. The two basic types of coffee which can be purchased wholesale are Robusta and Arabica, Arabica being more expensive as it is harder to grow. The majority of companies use a blend of the two in their products, but if you prefer the Arabica flavor, as many people do, you should ensure the product you buy contains more Arabica than Robusta.

The easiest way of buying coffee at wholesale prices is via the Internet. This way you can have access to the widest selection, and shop around for the best prices. The main drawback to buying on the Internet is the shipping costs, so you should take care to check locations, and ensure that the distributor you choose is as near to you as possible. If you are not comfortable with Internet shopping, you can obtain coffee in bulk quantities at big box stores such as Costco, though the choice will not be nearly as wide as on the Internet. Some of the big office supply stores also stock coffee in bulk, for supplying to workplaces.

An alternative way of buying coffee in bulk is through joining a coffee program――nowadays these are usually online. The best way to save money is to join a plan by which you have a specified amount of coffee shipped to you each month. Check the terms of the plan carefully, as different companies set different minimum amounts.

Whichever way you buy your bulk coffee, you need to store it carefully. Most people advise storing it in the freezer, but others argue that this spoils the flavor. If you store it at room temperature, ensure you use a completely airtight seal and make absolutely certain that all moisture is excluded. Labeling your stocks with quantity, date, and the amount you paid will help you keep check on how much you are saving by bulk buying.

It is not difficult to save money by bulk buying coffee, but if you are a home user, be careful not to go overboard. Avoid buying more than you can use, and remember that it is difficult to get a good flavor with a home coffee maker.

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How Much I Save from Metro Gaisano’s 1-Day Crazy Sale

My grocery shopping early this morning was greeted by mobs of shoppers in Gaisano Metro. I have no idea that they were having a 1-Day Crazy Sale. I had a moment of doubts if I will go in or not as I really hate doing grocery with lots of people bumping on me and the never ending lines in the counters – really a mood changer.

For me, grocery shopping is like a therapeutic routine task. I really, really feel good when I’m looking, choosing, and buying the items in my list, and, if I only have a source of never ending cash, I will do grocery shopping the whole day until my feet hurt (LOL!). That’s how much I love it MINUS the mobs of shoppers and long lines, of course.

Eighteen Pesos

That’s the amount that I managed to save after buying two items that were on sale. I had sale discounts for the canned goods and the vegetable oil. (Tip: Be sure to check the expiration date before buying any on sale items.)

I can’t help but chuckled at how petty it is but when I give it a second thought, Php18 ($ .44) is never a petty amount. If in a year, Metro Gaisano will have a grocery sale 24 times (and let’s just say I keep on saving Php18 from every sale) then I will have a total annual savings of Php432 ($10.8). That can already pay two and a half months of water bills. Just imagine two months of not worrying how to pay for water. (Note to foreign readers: Cost of living here in the Philippines is very low compared to cost of living in Western or European countries.)

Avoiding Processed and Sugary Foods

When I entered the grocery section leading to where I get my bothane gas, the items below were screaming “BUY ME! I’m On Sale! Buy ME!” As usual before I could think, I already have 2 bundles in my cart but before I can push my cart to the bothane gas section, I quickly returned them and never look back.

I have high sugar level and I know fully well that I’m a potential candidate for diabetes. My Lola (grandmother) and Tiyo (uncle) are both diabetics. My uncle got his leg amputated, and then eventually died. My Lola is still currently suffering from it. This blogger, on the other hand, is trying her best to lessen her sugar intake and she surprisingly manages to enjoy eating half-cooked ampalaya (bitter melon) every breakfast.

Oops, before I’ll end this post, here’s a photo of the busy counters. That’s just the right-end corner; the busiest were those ones in the main aisle.

How much or what have you saved from your grocery shopping this weekend? Share them by commenting below. (:

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Guest Post: 5 Ways to Save Money by Having a Food Storage Plan

Food storage plans aren’t just for emergencies. They’re also a great way to save money on foods you buy regularly. Every increasing food prices create challenges for households living on a frugal budget. Home food storage allows you to use resources you already have to stretch out your funds during hard financial times. With the right planning, you can have enough food to feed your entire family for weeks, even months if you’re ever in a crisis. Here are five tips for using your food storage plan to save money.

1) Buy only what you’ll eat

When buying foods for your food storage, you should remember that it is always better when you can enjoy it. In an emergency situation, many people believe that “beggars can’t be choosy.” But, if your storage consists of foods you and your family actually eat, you can ensure that your emergency situation is as stress-free as possible. If no one in your family likes peas, why store them? There are many other vegetables that you can buy that have long shelf lives and the flavors you’ll all enjoy.

2) Buy Sale Items to Store

Everyone enjoys eating expensive foods sometimes. But, food storage doesn’t have to be expensive. You can add to your storage supply by adding foods you catch on sale at your local supermarket. This helps you to save money, while providing the stability you’ll need in an emergency or during a financial crisis. If your favorite tuna goes on sale, instead of buying the usual 4 cans that week, buy 12 cans. That way, you can still enjoy the 4 you’re used to eating weekly, while adding 8 to your food storage. This also ensures that your storage contains the type of tuna you like most.

3) Use Coupon Strategies

One of the best ways to stockpile your food on a budget is to have a couponing strategy. When you find coupons online or in your local newspaper or magazines for foods you usually buy, clip them. If possible, buy the maximum amount allowed for that particular coupon. By clipping coupons for your storage plan, you ensure that you save yourself a little extra cash so that you don’t have to sacrifice when it comes to buying foods you need now. Remember, every penny counts when you’re on a frugal budget.

4) Grow Your Own Foods

Growing foods is an aged-old way of saving money on groceries. You can grow a small indoor herbal garden or a larger outdoor garden. Either way, as long as you grow foods that you actually eat, you’ll save money. With indoor herbal gardens, you can grow your own thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro and many other herbs you use to add flavor to your foods. Outdoor gardens are great for growing all kinds of fruits and vegetables including potatoes, tomatoes, corn, watermelons, strawberries, cherries, grapes, lettuce, cabbage and greens. You name it, you can grow it. And, if you have a large yard, plant yourself some fruit trees to grow your own lemons, apples, oranges, avocados, peaches and plums. You’d be amazed how much money you can save by growing your own vegetables and fruits.

5) Invest in Freeze Dried Foods

If you grow your own fresh vegetables and fruits, you can easily can them to preserve their freshness for long periods of time. A great way to preserve them for years is to dehydrate of freeze dry foods. The entire process is fairly easy and inexpensive. When you’re ready to use them, all you have to do is add a little water to rehydrate them. Their flavors will be preserved, allowing them to taste the same way they did before you dehydrated them.

If you don’t have a garden of your own, another good idea for saving money with preserved food is to buy freeze dried foods. A freeze dried food item can have a shelf life that can last for many years in some cases. This is not only good for emergencies; it allows you to enjoy the foods you enjoy most for longer periods of time. In today’s economic times, saving money on food costs is very important to families living on a tight budget.

Photo used Under Creative Common License | Credit

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Top 6 Money Saving Tips You Should Try

This is a guest post by Rick Murphy, a finance expert writer.

If you are frantically looking for money saving ideas on Google and reading this article intently, this means finally realization has dawn on you and you are planning to create a strong savings plan. No matter why you like to save, for an emergency requirement or for a lavish holiday or for debt help, a strong saving certainly will help you restore your peace of mind and make you feel relieved. If you are looking for some easy ways of cutting your cost, the following points can help you out. Save more and ensure your financial freedom in the best possible way.

Save on grocery

You can save a lot, provided you start planning your meals for a week, beforehand. Start shopping in bulk and store stuffs in order to avoid wastage.  Most of the grocery stores distribute weekly fliers, which clearly show the sale items and special items for the week. You can arrange for your family meal quite easily with least cost, by taking advantage of these discounted goods. Be methodical and disciplined and save thousands on your yearly grocery expenses.

Beauty schools

If you are passionate about latest hairstyles and invest a lot to get your hair trimmed and stylized from a fancy salon and grooming services, then bills must burning a hole in your pocket. In order to reduce these unnecessary expenses, discard those expensive salons and start going to a beauty school.  Beauty schools generally charge much lower rates for their services and offer quality service to the customers. Only the experienced students about to finish their degree course are allowed to serve the customers. These kids provide services like a professional but charge almost half of a professional’s fees.

Save the spare changes

In most cases, people just ignore the value of spared changes and keep them here and there casually. However, if you are a little organized and save those changes in a change jar, it can add value to your savings. Wait for at least six months and once the jar is filled, trade the coins in for cash. Make sure you save these amounts for a secure future.

Clothes

Instead of wasting money on buying clothes from shopping mall or branded store, start visiting the consignment stores near to your locality. Consignment stores usually contain used clothes. Thanks to the consignment shops you can now wear clothes of  renowned designers and at the same time save up to 80 percent on your clothing budget.

Beverages

As soon as you get away with the addiction of drinking coffee or soda, you will be able to save both your health and money. Rather consider buying water filter, which is worth paying for.

Utility bills

If you use a thermostat, make sure you buy a programmable thermostat, which has the flexibility of regulating the temperature of your home time to time. By switching it on and off at the specific time, you can minimize the expense that you incur by leaving the thermostat on all day. Using this system will help you save more on your utility bills and energy bills.

Keep the aforementioned points in mind and save more to secure a better financial future.

About the Guest Author

Rick Murphy is a contributory writer associated with debtconsolidationcare.com. He holds his expertise in the Debt industry and has made significant contributions through his various articles.

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