Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Money Saving Tips

Everywhere you look, there are things that you can re-use in order to save money (and lets face it the environment) I was just going through several of my old magazines and found all these great ideas.
1. Plastic bags that you get with your dry cleaner's, tie one end and it makes a perfect garbage bag.For that matter, all of those plastic bags you get at the stores, those are perfect for the small cans that you tend to keep in your bathroom and den. I use them for when I am throwing out food that smells but don't want to put them in my half empty kitchen garbage can.
2. Used coffee grounds are great as a fridge deodorizer leave them right in the filter and then it become great fertilizer.
3. Old Toothbrushes can be used and a mini scrub brushes for those tiny out of reach places.
4. While you are in the bathroom, old loofas are great to scrub the tub.

Al this stuff is already in your house, what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Big Picture

Simple question. What do you want. Do you want that morning latte, do you want HBO so you can watch Entourage? Do you want a new pair of Lucky Jeans. None of these are necessary bad things to want. Do you need them? No. But that doesn't make them wrong. And there's no reason not to have them as long as you no you can afford them without going into the credit card black hole debt. It's give and take. What do you need to give up so you can have more.

What do you want more? Starbucks 2 times a week at $8.00 a week? A $120 pair of jeans? $15.00 a month for HBO. Every person will have a different answer and everyone will have a different justification for their choice. $120 pair of jeans will last longer than 15 weeks of coffee. Having HBO will save money on movie rentals and movies. Starbucks is a cheap treat that is perfect for getting ready for a hard work day.

All reasons are perfectly acceptable and I don't believe that being frugal means depriving you of things that make your life more enjoyable. It's all about the big picture and what will bring you happiness in the long haul.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Credit History - yearly check up.

No better time to check you credit history than at the beginning of the year. All three credit bureaus will send you a free copy of your history once a year. If you do it at the beginning of every year, you will never have to remember when you last did. Yearly reports ensure that if there is a problem it hasn't existed for a long time so it will be easier to correct. It also helps to avoid any surprises when you are applying for a loan. As mentioned, there are three companies that keep tabs on your credit, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. All three companies may have different information and all three companies report to different creditors. That means you need to request all three reports and study all of them for blips. Easier than going to all three individually, check out Create a password and they will take you to all three credit companies. Be prepared, for security purposes, they are going to ask you a couple questions that they hope you will be able to answer. Multiple choice questions ranging from a street you lived on 10 years ago to the range of your monthly car payment. If you don't know the answers, you won't have immediate access to your report. They allow you to review your report online, download it for future reference and print it for your files.

If you don't want to do this online, call each bureau and and answer a few questions and they will mail it to you.
P. O. Box 9595, Allen, TX 75013-9595 Tel: 888-397-3742
P. O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 Tel: 800-685-1111
Trans Union
P. O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022 Tel: 800-888-4213

Whatever you do, DON'T pay for your reports. You are entitled to a free report from every company 1. once a year, 2. if you were turned down for credit or 3. if you have had your identy stolen.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Always Ask! Can't save money if you don't Ask.

I learned a very important lesson this week. Well actually I always knew the lesson but I was reminded this week and that reminder saved me $450. One of the sensor lights went off on my Mini today. My heart sank when I looked it up in the manual and realized it was my brake pads.

Brake pads are expensive and gone are the days where I use to do it myself. I lived in SE Michigan, everyone knew how to change brake pads in the BIG 3 Territory. But to make it an even more bitter pill to swallow, I had brought my car in for a check up just 1000 miles ago just before my warranty ended. I had hoped that the service would catch anything then and the dealership would have to pay.

I called the dealership and told them that 1. my light went off, 2. why didn't they catch this when my warranty was expiring and 3. is there anything that can be done. After a very logical explanation from the manager on why he couldn't change pads before the sensor light went off, he followed up with the magic words, "As an act of good will, we will take care of this for you". Sigh as the $450 magically disappeared from my credit card statement.

If I didn't ask, I wouldn't have gotten it. This applies to possible late charges from credit cards, late fees from bills, bounce checks any thing that may or may not be your fault. If you
don't ask, you won't find out if they can waive the fee.

The easiest way to save money is to ask if you have to pay for it.

Asking may be a bit awkward but to save $450, I'll always ask.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Credit Card Rewards

Okay this tip is not for the weak at heart. I have credit cards. I use credit cards. I pay off my credit cards. I have no problem with using credit cards and therefore I will seek out deals with credit cards. However, if you are someone who sees a low credit card balance and thinks it’s disposable income you need to not read any further.

I would rather use my credit card to buy gas, groceries and other day to day expenses instead of keeping cash on hand or using my debit card. Then when the bill comes in, I pay it off so I don’t accure interest. Since, I’m paying it off, I searched for a card that offers awards rewards that I want instead of a low interest credit card. Check out Index Credit Cards a site that keeps updated information on all credit card offers . Decide if you want cash back, points, miles or all of the above and find the card for you.

I use a card that gets me free miles. I keep track of my balance online and when it reaches a certain amount I stop using it. I have it set up to email me just before payment is due to remind me to go online and pay it by wiring money from my checking account to my credit card. Is that easy. And you can have extra cash in your pocket or you can horde the points for that HDTV you want.

Again who knows why you pick the cards you do.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Ok, maybe it's Fall Cleaning but still. I was looking in the usual spot for cleaners and I found them. A gaggle under the kitchen sink. A gross in the bathroom closet. All filled with chemicals and all costing $4 - $8 on bottle. Talk about an expensive waste of space.

Meet Vinegar. Vinegar is your friend. I'm sure you might have heard about the power of Vinegar. Do you doubt it's potency? Well I'm here to tell you, don't doubt. Run, do not walk to the stores throw down your $1.00 for a 32 oz bottle of white distilled vinegar and with the money you saved buy a spray bottle or two.

As a Window cleaner, use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Keep a spray bottle of this around.

For an all purpose cleaner use equal amounts of vinegar and water. This is perfect for counter tops, surfaces and as an every day cleaner. There goes your second spray bottle.

Just remember the stronger or harder the stain the stronger ratio of white vinegar you want to use. Poor it directly into the toilet to get rid of rings. Or add 1/2 cup to your laundry as a fabric softener. Possibilities seem endless don't they? Check out Vinegar Tips for a growing list of uses and stop throwing your money away on chemical laden wallet, emptying cleaning supplies.

Who keeps cleaning supplies out in the open anyways.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grocery Shopping for Deals

Grocery Shopping, I know you hate to do it, so you make it quick. Just run in and run out grabbing the things that you need for the next few days. If you go at all. You would be surprise how many
people skip the grocery store and order take out every night. But grocery shopping is a necessary evil especially if you are trying to save money. And you can't buy your Mr. Clean from Domino's. Taking the time to plan your visit will save you money every month. And yes you will notice the savings. If you are like me, you have 2-4 different grocery chains within a few miles from one another. And each one every week has specials for you to take advantage of. I'm not telling you to go to every store every week and I'm not telling you to buy something you wouldn't normally buy. But if boneless chicken breasts are on sale for $1.99 / pound why would you just buy enough for one meal? Priced normally at $5.99 and up, buying several pounds of chicken and freezing it for future meals adds up to huge savings. Only use Tide to do laundry. Well guess what, when it goes on sale by two or (gasp) even three and you have enough to last you until the next time it goes on sale. Only use Gillette razors - well you get what I'm talking about. It's called the art of stock piling. And it saves people $$$$ every time you shop. Every week, grocery stores send you their weekly specials in the mail and more than likely every week, you throw them out, without looking at them. Well glance at them next time you are eating your shrimp fried rice. Find out which store has the most items of your favorite items on sale, MAKE A LIST, and spend some time visiting the aisles of your grocery stores, stocking up on your favorite items. Look at that insert, Cereal is only $2.00! There are pages of sale items every week from stores begging for you to visit them. Note, If you don't get the sale circulars in the mail you can always go on-line and view the weekly sales from the store's website. Most even have the ability to create a shopping list on line so you can print a ready to go list.

Also, in order to ta
ke advantage of most sales, you have to join their club. DO IT! It's harmless. If you don't want to carry a card every where you go or if you are prone to losing them, several stores can look you up by phone number. And if you are still paranoid more than likely, the cashier or the customer next to you in line can offer you one to scan - especially since they are getting the credit for your purchases which adds up to bigger savings (for another post, don't want to confuse you).

I admit, I feel funny when I have four boxes of Cocoa Puffs in my cart and on my shelfs but I can't live without my chocolate fix. And if I can have it and save money at the same time, I'm CucKoo for them (sorry, had to throw that in)