Please Help Keep This Site Online
Latest topics
» Great freebie deals!
Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:57 pm by princessdebra

» Dunhill Fragrance for Men
Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:57 pm by princessdebra

» To our guests ...
Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:47 pm by princessdebra

» Better then Ears Dog treat
Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:59 am by Andrea

» Money Saving Tips
Thu May 28, 2009 12:03 am by Diva Jennifer

» Mail Call ~ Tell us what you got!
Wed May 27, 2009 9:06 am by Diva Jennifer

» sample of Pull-ups
Wed May 20, 2009 9:09 am by Diva Jennifer

» Aveeno Nourish shampoo & conditioner sample
Wed May 20, 2009 9:08 am by Diva Jennifer

» sample of Zyrtec
Wed May 20, 2009 9:06 am by Diva Jennifer

Social bookmarking
Bookmark and share the address of Thrifty Divas on your social bookmarking website

Budget Trimming Tips

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Budget Trimming Tips

Post by Diva Cassie on Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:37 am

http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/moneyhappy/119952

There's plenty of advice out there to help slash your spending -- get rid of your car, throw out the television, grow your own vegetables, rent out the attic to a college student. But maybe you need a car to drive to work, have no time to garden, enjoy relaxing in front of the tube occasionally, and don't want to bump into an 18-year-old stranger in your bathrobe.

Here are eight ways to tweak your budget and save $500 by the year's end -- with minimum hassle, and without radically changing your lifestyle.

1. Cable TV: If you pay for premium cable services -- extra channels, HBO, etc. -- call your cable company and put your service on "vacation mode" between now and the end of the year. You'll still receive basic service, but save temporarily on the extras.

We did this recently because we were having work done in the basement/TV room. We eliminated the "preferred tier" for two months (we don't get the movie channels), saving $15.99/month. (Comcast charged $1.99 for the change, so the total savings was $30.)

2. Prescriptions: Only about one-third of prescription drug purchases are mostly or fully covered by insurance, according to a recent Consumer Reports survey, and prices can vary by as much as $100 for the same drug. Always ask your physician for a generic equivalent, which can cost up to 40 percent less, then shop around.

About a dozen states sponsor websites that help you compare prescription prices. Discount stores such as Wal-Mart and Target offer the most popular generic drugs, including antibiotics and medications for asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and high cholesterol, for as little as $4 a month.

I tested out comparison-shopping on the web and phone to save on a common antibiotic, Amoxicillin (250mg, 30 capsules), and it took about five minutes. First I searched New York State's drug comparison website for amoxicillin at local pharmacies in New Rochelle, which charged from $13.64 to $17.09. Then I called Wal-Mart in nearby White Plains, which charged just $4, and Costco, which offered the drug for $6.90 (no membership required). Savings from highest to lowest pharmacy: $13.09.

3. Cell phones: Take a look at your actual usage, and make sure your plan matches your behavior -- are you using all your minutes? Wasting money on extra services or old ringtones?

For example, I used to pay $40 for unlimited megabytes to check email on my phone. But I realized I wasn't actually checking email that way very often. I called and asked for the cost of my actual megabyte usage the previous month: $6. By paying for the bytes used (and eliminating text messaging altogether) I save $30 to $35 a month.

If you tend to go over your allotted minutes (at a cost of 40 to 45 cents a minute), register for free with a service called OverMyMinutes. It will alert you by text or email when you're at your limit.

4. Food: This one takes a little more effort, but with about an hour of planning, I typically cut my grocery bill by one-third. I start at my grocery store's online circular, creating five to seven dinner menus based on what's on sale and in season (click on the item and the site creates your shopping list for you).

Then I head over to CouponMom or MyGroceryDeals (both free, registration required). Click on your state and local grocery store, and the sites tell you specific bargains available that week so you can stock up. CouponMom also tells you whether a coupon is available and exactly where to find it (i.e., "Smart Source insert 10/5"). I just pull the coupon inserts out of my Sunday paper every week, date them, and throw them in a drawer. I only cut a coupon when CouponMom tells me where to find it; but you don't have to do this at all to save money.

In the store, I check the price of the sale/coupon item against the generic brand to make sure it's really a deal, and then use the store's loyalty card. Using this approach, I cut a recent grocery bill from $174 to $114 for a week's worth of groceries for a family of five. (I also do a monthly warehouse club run for low-cost staples like skim milk, which freezes pretty well.)

_________________
Careful or you'll end up in my novel.



I was going to conquer the world but I got distracted by something sparkly.
avatar
Diva Cassie
Admin
Admin

Number of posts : 1972
Diva Bling :
10 / 10010 / 100

Mood :
Registration date : 2008-04-16

View user profile http://thriftydivas.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Budget Trimming Tips

Post by Diva Cassie on Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:38 am

5. Drycleaning: "Wool, cashmere, silk, rayon, polyester, and spandex can all be laundered," says Lindsey Wieber, of The Laundress, a collection of specialty fabric care products. Manufacturers actually wash the fabric before they construct it into a garment, she explains, and add the "dry clean only" label to avoid liability issues. Wieber and co-founder Glen Whiting, both Cornell University graduates, work with one of their former professors (who has a doctorate in fiber science) to create new enzyme formulas that clean without damaging clothing.

Hand-wash or use a mesh bag in the washing machine (delicate cycle on cool). Lay wool and cashmere flat to dry; everything else, including cotton and linen, can be thrown in the dryer on a low-heat setting, then pressed. Hang up and air out suits immediately; use a lint-free cloth and a stain-removing product to eliminate perspiration or other stains on the inside lining, and spot clean exterior stains. Using this method, Wieber says, suits only need to be dry cleaned two to four times a season. (Savings in our household: About $30 a month.)

6. Utilities: You can get a basic programmable thermostat for as little as $23 at the hardware store, but can save as much as 25 percent on your energy bills by turning down the heat (or air conditioning) when you're away from home or asleep. For the average utility payer, that works out to about $250 a year, or $21 a month (so ideally, you roughly break even in November, and save $21 in December and thereafter).

In addition, water bills can be cut back 25 percent by replacing your old showerheads and faucets with low-flow aerating models. Look for 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) or less; Home Depot sells showerheads at 1.6 gpm for as low as $12. (Savings in our household after the initial investment: About $10/month.)

7. Taxes: The market's steep decline this year offers many investors the opportunity to save by harvesting tax losses before Dec. 31. An investor can sell downtrodden securities held in taxable accounts to offset either capital gains elsewhere or as much as $3,000 in ordinary income. (Meanwhile, additional losses can be carried forward to future years. See this IRS publication for details.)

A study of 185,000 households by Fidelity found that only 10 percent of taxpayers took advantage of the full $3,000 deduction allowed under the tax code. Most of the households surveyed would have gained $500 in additional tax savings. Consider this example from the study: An investor buys a stock for $30,000, and sells it for $27,000, taking a $3,000 loss. If the household had $100,000 in adjustable gross income, harvesting the loss would have cut their tax bill by $450 if the position was held more than a year and $750 if it was held short-term. Click here for more year-end tax tips.

_________________
Careful or you'll end up in my novel.



I was going to conquer the world but I got distracted by something sparkly.
avatar
Diva Cassie
Admin
Admin

Number of posts : 1972
Diva Bling :
10 / 10010 / 100

Mood :
Registration date : 2008-04-16

View user profile http://thriftydivas.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Budget Trimming Tips

Post by Diva Cassie on Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:38 am

8. Money rituals: In their book "The Power of Full Engagement," authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz suggest that change is a matter of adopting new rituals rather than demanding we be more disciplined. "Building rituals requires defining very precise behaviors and performing them at specific times," they write.

Save money by creating quirky rituals: Save all the $5 bills from your wallet at the end of the day. Bring your lunch to work every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until the end of the year. Boost your 401(k) contribution by 1 percent every time you get a raise. Comparison shop for your auto or homeowner's insurance the day after your birthday each year.

Small rituals become habits -- and take a lot less time and energy than watching every penny you spend.

_________________
Careful or you'll end up in my novel.



I was going to conquer the world but I got distracted by something sparkly.
avatar
Diva Cassie
Admin
Admin

Number of posts : 1972
Diva Bling :
10 / 10010 / 100

Mood :
Registration date : 2008-04-16

View user profile http://thriftydivas.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Budget Trimming Tips

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum