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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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Losing Weight and Eating Healthy while on a Budget

Losing Weight and Eating Healthy while on a Budget

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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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Frugal Real Estate Tip: Budget Your Way to Owning Your First House

There is no quick means of making a decision to buy your first house. It is easy to fall in love with the house of your dreams that fits your personality and needs, but there is some work that needs to be done in order to make that dream into a reality. Buying real estate is not only a big decision; it is a life-changing decision that needs planning.

When you begin planning for your new home, it means establishing a budget and knowing where you stand financially. Creating a budget and understanding your finances will make it a lot easier for you to begin the process of taking that leap into buying real estate.

Track Your Debits

The first step to establishing your budget is gathering all your monthly bills. This means your credit card bills, rent, utilities, student loans, and household expenses – everything. Separate all your bills into these categories so you can easily identify the needs versus wants in your spending.

Buy a log book or accounting book to keep track of all your expenditures. At the top of the log write down your beginning balance for the month, this would usually mean your first paycheck. Then continue listing your expenditures. When you receive another paycheck, if you are paid twice per month, list that as a credit and continue tracking your expenditures as debits. Your balance at the end of the month will give you an idea of where you stand financially.

Assess Your Debits and Credits

Once you have a nice log of your debits and credits for an entire month, you can now begin assessing where your money is going. For example, are you spending too much on eating out or the movies? Are you buying too much new outfits or new technology gadgets? This can be identified as the areas considered “wants”, which you can decrease or eliminate and put that money into a savings.

As you will need a certain percentage of the cost of a new home as a down payment, it is important that build your savings by cutting back on your wants. If you have excessive credit card bills, then you want to take that extra money and pay down those credit cards before you start saving.

Build Your Savings

Once you have established your budget, any monies left over in your budgeting account should be placed in a savings account. These monies should not be used for any emergencies, but for your home purchase. You can establish another savings account as an emergency fund. The amount that you have saved will be reviewed when you begin the home buying process.

Check Your Credit Report

A lender will check your credit history and credit score, so before he or she does this, you should do this on your own. There are many free sites on the Internet that can provide you with this information free of charge. Knowing where you stand in the financial market will allow you to attack your monthly budget to make positive changes to your credit history. This will also ensure that you get the best interest rates on your home mortgage.

In order for you to qualify for a home mortgage, your credit history, as well as your income and what you owe will be reviewed to come up with your debt-income ratio. How much you have saved and your work history will also be analyzed. Be prepared when deciding upon buying real estate so that there are no hidden items that will hurt you qualifying for a home purchase.

Photo above is used 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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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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