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  • Why Budget Your Money?

    Some people have asked me why I write this blog.  Let me just give you a couple of reasons.  Our economy today isn’t great.  People are losing their jobs, their homes, and their cars every single day and most people don’t know where to turn or what to do.

    One main reason I write this blog is to try to help people plan for the future.  The economy may get better, but it may get worse.  If you use some of the tools I’ve introduced in some of my previous blogs you will certainly be more prepared if tomorrow you lost your job.  As I’ve said before, it’s your money, so keep it!  Put your money to work for you, not the electric company, water department or anyone else.  Keep all that you can of it and later on down the road you’ll be glad you did.

    Another reason I write this column is so that people will know they are not alone.  I have lived from paycheck to paycheck, not knowing if my kids would eat the next day.  I have been laid off from a job before and it was probably one of the worst things that could have happened.  I have been so far in debt that I didn’t think I would ever see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I did.  I do live a comfortable life now, but just a few years ago, I was hanging by a thread and had nothing but hope and my big girl panties to pull me through.

    budget

    I learned a lot of the things I talk about in this column the hard way (getting slapped around by creditors) and I truly hope that the things I share with you will somehow help you, even if it’s just a little bit.  Saving money does take work and dedication, but I believe it is worth every second of time you spend working towards a better lifestyle for you and your family.  If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t spend my time writing about saving money.

    So please, let me know if there is anything in particular you want me to talk about, if there is anything you have a question about, or if you just want to tell me how you’re doing.

  • Buying Generic Can Save You Money!

    Hello all of my frugal friends!  I went grocery shopping today and when I was putting away my groceries, I realized a lot of the brands I bought of a lot of products weren’t really “brands” at all.  They were generic products.  So I thought I would share that with you today.

    When we grocery shop, it is very easy to become brand loyal for some of the products that we use.  It might a product that your parents bought when you were a child and you’ve always bought it, or it can just be something that you tried once that you liked and have continued to buy no matter what the price.

    With the cost of groceries continuing to rise, you might want to reconsider the products you buy and the brands that you buy.

    I was brought up on Kraft barbeque sauce so I’ve always bought it.  I never even considered the price of it.  I just got it because that’s what was always in my house as a child.  Well, when I first began my mission of saving money because I had to, I tried the store brand.  Believe it or not, I could not tell a difference in the Kraft sauce or the generic brand.  They both tasted the same, but the good news is, I saved almost a dollar on the generic brand.  I started doing this with a lot of the brands I was buying.

    generic food products

    Then I started reading the labels on the generic brands and I found out that when I bought the store brand of an item, not only do they contain the same ingredients they offered a money back guarantee.  Seriously!  Even some of the name brand products you purchase don’t offer that.  So, I started trying more and more of the store brands of items because I knew if it didn’t stand up to the standards I expected out of my food then I could simply get my money back (there are guidelines to follow so make sure to read their return policies before you purchase the item).  I could try the product and not lose any money if I wasn’t happy.  What a deal!

    If you don’t do it now, you should try to substitute some generic items for the brand you usually buy.  If you go and buy $50 worth of groceries and you can save $1 on 30 of those items, you’ve just easily saved yourself $30.  That’s a great deal!  Give it a try and let me know how you fare on your next shopping trip.  I love to hear about people saving money!

  • Save Money By Cooking at Home!

    Hello all of my frugal friends!  I wanted to stop by today to tell how cooking at home can help save you and your family a lot of money.  I’ve included some great ideas as well as a couple of the cookbooks that I use to help with my cooking needs.

    We all know that cooking at home can be difficult when you have two people who work outside the home.  However, it is important to remember that cooking at home can not only save you money, you are more than likely to eat a healthier meal.

    There are things you can do to help make it easier for you to cook at home.  Some of the things I do might give you some ideas.  When I make some of our favorite dishes at home, one being baked spaghetti, I always make enough for two meals.  We will eat one meal for dinner and I will freeze the other meal.  Both of us will take the leftovers for lunch the next day so we are not only getting two dinners out of the meal, we are getting two lunches also.  When we get ready to have it again, we just pull it out of the freezer when we get home from work and pop it in the oven.

    Cooking

     

    We also utilize our crock pot a lot.  I can throw in all of the dry ingredients the night before and in the morning before I leave for work, I add the meat or whatever else is necessary to make the meal complete and turn the crock pot on low and when we come in at night we can put in some bread or whatever we want with the meal (depends on what you are cooking) and it’s ready in generally less than 20 minutes.  There are a ton of crock pot recipes online or cookbooks you can purchase from Amazon that will give you great ideas for cooking easy at home for you and your family.

    Let’s face it, eating out is faster for us and there is no effort on our part other than to show up, but it can blow our grocery budget out of the water.  Learning to cook at home with ease will benefit your finances for a long time to come.  Make eating out a special occasion for you and your family and everyone will benefit.  And to make eating at home better for my family; if I cook my husband does the dishes.  But, if he cooks, I do the dishes.  So, pull in some recruits that can help with clean up once you all finished eating.  It won’t seem like such a daunting task if you know that you have some help.

    These are two of my favorite cookbooks that you might want to try.  One will give you great recipes for cooking in your slow cooker and the other is Rachel Ray with a great meal for every day and they only take 30 minutes to prepare.  Both are inexpensive, easy, and don’t take much time to prepare.  They should inspire you to cook at home more!

    Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats–A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners (A 30-Minute Meal Cookbook)

    Our Favorite Slow Cooker Beef & Chicken Cookbook: 2 cookbooks in one…chicken in one half, beef in the other (Our Favorite Recipes Collection)

    All of the recipes won’t work for every family, but I’m sure in both books you can find the recipes that are sure to become your family’s favorites!!

    Let me know how things work out for you and if you notice a difference in your savings once you begin cooking at home more.  I always love a good money saving story!

     

     

  • Save Money by Comparing Prices!

    Hey frugal folks!  I just wanted to take a minute today and make sure you are doing all that you can to help save you and your family money.  One of the biggest things that I’ve noticed out there are sales that really are not sales at all.  The advertisements are simply written up to be a good sale.  Here is what I mean.

    I go through the weekly sales papers for the grocery stores in my area and compare prices.  At one store they have, say, Jello Pudding Snack Packs, a four pack at 10 for $10.  Sounds like a great deal…until you get to the next sale paper and they have theirs on sale for $.88.  Hmmmm, do you get the 10 for $10 at this point?  Of course not; you’ll save the $1.20.

    savings

    I know you are thinking that $1.20 isn’t really a lot of money, but look at the big picture.  If you save $1.20 on 30 of the items that you buy at the store that day what have you saved?  Yep, a whole $36; you could pay your water bill with that amount of money.

    I know it can be time consuming, but it is important when trying to save that almighty dollar to check every single avenue open to you.  Take the time to compare the prices and I know you will see a difference in your savings plan each month!

    Until next time, continue to live simple and frugal!

  • Declutter and Make Money!

    Clutter

     We all have stuff that just seems to build up in our homes and before we know it, it seems to have taken over.  Below is one way to help you get rid of some of that stuff by trashing it, donating it or selling it.

    Get three boxes and label one “Trash,” one “Donation,” and one “Garage Sale.”  Pick one day and one room each week.  Go through the chosen room and see what items you have in that room that you don’t need/use/want anymore.  When you find an item like that, get rid of it.  Either put it in the trash box, donation box or garage sale box.  After you have gone through every room in your house, including the garage and any outbuildings you might have, throw away the trash, take your donation items to wherever you choose and start pricing things for your yard sale.

    Not only have you gotten some really good cleaning out of the way, but you have also started getting things ready for your future yard sale.  Getting rid of your clutter can also help others get items cheaper at your garage sale or from what you have donated.