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How to Save Money for a Car, House, College with Ease

Updated on June 14, 2013

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT "SAVING MONEY"

A major misconception about “saving” is that you need to “earn more” to be able to “save”. This isn’t necessarily the case. Prior to opening my own businesses I worked with failing businesses to help them restructure their company. This position required skill and knowledge in two main fields: 1. Creativity and 2. Finding the root of a problem quickly. Money was always a common problem; or should I say “lack of money”. The expenses going out were always greater than income being generated, which made “saving money” impossible. But once “financial drains” were located, money could begin being preserved. Even though I worked with businesses, the financial drain can extend past the business itself and into the owners personal life. Like the saying goes, “A penny saved is a penny earned”; and this saying couldn’t be more true. The more money you can conserve, the less money you must generate. With that in mind, here’s a great way to start saving.

SAVING MONEY 101

Before you can determine your real expenses, I highly suggest making an Excel Spreadsheet with ALL of your current expenses on it; house/rent payment, heat, water, gas, credit card(s), memberships, etc. The best way to do this is to print a few months bank statements. If your unsure of a cost that varies, such as heat, use your bank statements and average 3-4 months payments. Always overshoot by a few bucks. I like to do mine by date. For example, my Hummer payment is a little under $400 a month and it comes out of my checking account on the 12th. My home security system is $20 a month and comes out of my account on the 14th. When I am able to look at all of my outgoing payments I can see which weeks of the month require the largest amount of cash flow without having to guess.

Second, take a good look at your expenses and see if there is anything you can immediately cut. Here’s some possibilities:

Cable TV / Home Phone / Internet

Do you really NEED a home phone or is it only telemarketers and 2 friends calling? Can these 2 friends instead call your cell phone? Or, if you do not use a cell phone, would you be ok with getting a computer calling service instead? If you have cable television; what channels do you NEED? I use an antenna and I get about 25 channels, it costs me nothing. Yeah, it takes a little while to get used to not being able to watch “The First 48” but instead I learned to enjoy other shows on ION. I don’t have MTV or VH1 but after a year I figured out that my time is better spent without such (I’ll get into this more later). So can you “live” without 500 channels? And as far as your internet service; do you KNOW what you are paying for? I have learned that the average person over the age of 35 is likely paying for an internet service they DO NOT NEED. If you are NOT downloading movies and such, you can likely downgrade your internet speed and you’ll never know the difference. AND If the answer is “no, I want to keep my “package deal”, then determine if you have “leverage”. This is a tactic I use every few years if I am a long-term customer of my provider. I will call and state I am a long term customer and I would like to have a special/deal/promotion applied to my account. I will then mention my providers competitors offers. My provider doesn't want to lose my business so they will lower my rates. Even if I get a saving of $20 a month for 6 months, that’s $120 less I need to earn.

Now, if you are able to evaluate your financial situation and determine all you REALLY need is internet (which is all I have), then you can drop your bill to as low as $30 a month for a top-of-the-line service.

2. HOME OWNERS INSURANCE and CAR INSURANCE

Do not ever hesitate to call your company and see if there is a lower rate available. You may be surprised to find that there is!!! I have saved $70+ in the past year just by calling my companies, and also calling for quotes through competitors. By switching my business insurance I was able to save over $175 per term! This is a “consumers market” and every company wants your business. I simply brought my current policy into a competitor company and the following week I was saving money. As far as my car insurance, I enrolled in the Progressive Snapshot Program and got a $79 discount off each policy.

CHANGE YOUR GROCERY SHOPPING HABITS

You don’t need a wealth of time to do this. As a business owner and single mother, I have basically no “free time” to clip coupons and price comparison shop. BUT I have discovered that I can save by shopping at my local FoodMart (or Aldis or “discount grocery store”). I also save money by purchasing 1 or 2 “roasts” per week. For example, on Sunday night I will cook a ham, make some mashed potatoes and corn. I will then pre-bag the ham into individual servings for lunch meat and also place the ham, corn and potatoes into Tupperware containers for quick and easy meals. Whatever I don’t plan to consume in the next 3 days goes right into the freezer. In 3 days I make a new roast (turkey, beef, corned beef or chicken) then do the same. The cost of one roast is only a slight bit more than the cost of a single pack of lunch meat and it is not only far more filling but also tastier and lasts longer!

Also, when you do shop, take a quick second to compare products and prices. For example, while the Dollar Store may offer trash bags for only a dollar, they are likely either only 8, 12 or 16 pieces. Where as for $5 or $6 you can get double the quantity. In this case, it is far better to spend the extra few bucks and save long term.

I compare ounces in everything from cheese to sauces as well. Again, here you will find that the "on sale" cheese actually costs MORE than the larger not on sale cheese. Use the calculator on your phone or bring a calculator a divide the price by the number of ounces. For example:

An 8 ounce bag of cheese on sale for $2.99 versus a 24 ounce bag of cheese for $8.00:

$2.99 cost for 8 ounces = $0.38 per ounce

$8.00 cost for 24 ounces = $0.33 per ounce

By purchasing the 24 ounce bag you are saving $0.05 per ounce x 24 ounces = $1.20 savings! Although this may sound like a marginal amount...it's enough to get a free roll of paper towel or two!


Making a purchase online and picking up in-store. I wrote a whole article on how to use Mr. Rebates . This site has given me a fortune in cash back…with absolutely no “work” on my end. As an example, last week I was looking into purchasing a lawn mower. I saw that Walmart had them for about $200. Through Mr. Rebates, all I have to do is log into my account, search for Walmart, then click the link to earn 2% cash back. I can schedule my lawn mower for IN-STORE PICKUP, so I am not only saving time but also getting cash off. Hey, its “only $4” but $4 is a gallon of gas for my new lawn mower!

Another example of this is using the internet to buy gift cards you plan to spend. For example, I wrote about Saving at Home Depot. All you have to do is buy the gift cards (for less than facevalue) then spend them using Mr. Rebates!

PULL A CREDIT REPORT AND REVIEW BANK STATEMENTS

Surprisingly, this isn't something anyone else suggests. A review of my credit report and bank statement allowed me to find expenses I was able to cut right away. For example, my childrens father discovered he was paying for a program we enrolled in years ago as a secondary insurance company. At the time we enrolled we didn't realize that we genuinely did not need this program. Canceling that program was an additional $30-$40 monthly saved.

Additionally, I was paying for a card monthly that I hadn't been using. Canceling this card was only a few bucks savings, but when you add up the money saved on cheese, the money saved on insurance, the tv/ internet / phone saving and so on, this is now adding up to almost $100 A MONTH!

SELL UNWANTED ITEMS

You do not need to "ebay" items or have computer experience to get rid of unneeded items, plus it's essentially "free money"! I have sold everything from a bag full of old, used light-switch plate covers to my clothing and my kids clothing using craigslist and facebook groups. A simple photograph and quick writeup of what you want to get rid of can result in money tomorrow!

Also, I like to participate in my sub division garage sale. The last community sale brought in over $1,000 for me when I was just "dumping junk". And I have no complaints about sitting in the sun and sipping martinis on a gorgeous afternoon! Then, the icing on the cake was all my free space!!!

USE YOUR FREE TIME TO GENERATE MONEY

I am writing this article because I have something to say that is important, but this article also earns me money! So not only do I get to share my knowledge with you, but I get paid to do so!

Join sites like HubPages to earn extra income in your free time. Not only can you "vent" or express yourself, but each time someone views your article, you'll earn money. You may earn only a few dollars a month, or you may keep writing and earn double-digits or triple-digits per month. Either way, you have replaced watching mindless TV or "doing nothing" with something that stimulates your mind PLUS earns you income!!!

IF I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN TOO!

Author and Business Owner Tori Thompson
Author and Business Owner Tori Thompson | Source

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IN CLOSING....

"Saving" shouldn't be making yourself miserable. I see lots of articles that tell you to "give up your morning coffee" or "gym membership" or "drinking", but if the best part of your evening is hitting the gym for a 20 minute workout or having a martini while you watch the sun set, then why give it up? If your fav part of waking up is getting that delish coffee, then DO NOT give it up, instead use other ways to save.

NOTE: If you are able to downgrade your coffee by eliminating a $0.20 caramel and chocolate drizzle with whipped cream, then GO FOR IT! A savings of $0.20 per day is $73 PER YEAR!

If you can downgrade your vodka in your martini from Stoli to Smirnoff, then GO FOR IT. A $10 savings per month is $120 a year! If you can save $20 a month then that's $240 per year!

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