My favorite penny-pinch

I am a toiletries miser.

I think we all have our strong points and weak points when it comes to saving and spending money. My weakest point is probably in spending money on food. I spend too much on going out to eat and I tend to spend too much when I go to the grocery store. However, one area where I am a successful cheapskate is in toiletries.

Advance purchasing can save you money

How much money do you think you could save if everything you need could be purchased on clearance or marked down or on sale?

Mrs. Stew recently walked in the door carrying several department store bags. I noticed because she does not usually come home from the store with her arms full unless she is coming home from the grocery store.

Hold the line on restaurant spending

Going out to eat is almost never a frugal decision no matter what eatery you choose – from fast food to all-you-can-eat to fine dining – you are always going to spend more than the actual value of the food that you consume. So why do we still eat out? For the service. A lot of people can cook food that tastes just as good as restaurant food (including Mrs. Stew), but we go out to eat so that we do not have to prepare the food and do the dishes.

With what items are you the most frugal?

I think we all have weak spots when it comes to spending money.

Mrs. Stew really, really likes bargains – she just cannot turn down a 30% off clearance item – even when the kids do not need that new shirt. Mrs. Stew is also a coffee lover, unfortunately, coffee aficionado is not a cheap hobby. Don’t get me wrong, overall, Mrs. Stew is a good money manager, but we all have an Achilles heel, don’t we?

High Yield Online Savings Account: Ally Bank Review – More Flexibility

Ally Bank
One of the best habits to do when making a budget spreadsheet is to create a monthly preauthorized deposit into a savings account. This cash can be used: to finance a purchase, for a vacation or as a basis for an emergency fund. So once you have determined the amount to be saved, you have to shop for the best high yield online savings account.

High Yield Rate: 1.39%

The very first thing we look at when thinking of a high yield online savings account is the annual rate. Ally Bank is offering a decent 1.39% (FDIC secured) interest rate.

Save money and protect yourself when you are on vacation

We often leave the house for days at a time and I have developed several habits that save us money and protect our belongings.

  • Turn down your hot water heater. Most homes in the United States have natural gas powered hot water heaters. When you are gone, obviously you do not use any of the hot water, but if your hot water heater regulator is set too high, the water will continually cool down and have to be reheated again. If you do not need the hot water, there is no reason to keep it hot. Do not turn your hot water heater off, but set it at a lower setting so that it only has to run once a day or once every two days. Just remember to turn it back on before you take your first shower when you return home . . . you could be in for a cold surprise!

Save $2,000 or more this year. Maybe.

papertowel

I do not normally like to steal other people’s ideas, but I thought I would offer some responses to a recent article that I saw in a magazine. No, not online, an actually paper-and-ink glossy magazine that someone gave my wife and she had it sitting around the house. I do a lot of personal finance reading and naturally a title like “Save $2,010 in 2010!” would catch my eye. The article appeared in the January 2010 issue of Woman’s Day.

Here are the suggestions from the article and my peanut-gallery comments:

10 Small Ways to Save Money That Make a Big Difference

small-money-saving

Image: alamosbasement

When it comes to saving, sometimes starting small feels almost like not starting at all. A bit here and a bit there tends to add up like drops in a bucket. The important thing to remember though when it comes to saving money is that those drops can eventually grow to a trickle, then to a stream, then a torrential current of cash.

Cash for Clunkers Redux: Cash for Appliances

appliances

I personally believe that Cash for Clunkers was a mistake . . . you might disagree¬† and you are welcome to your opinion – it’s a free country! (at the moment) If you do happen to believe that incentivizing consumer deficit spending through the use of government debt is a good idea, you will be happy to know that the next big thing is on the way this fall: Cash for Refrigerators. The government has set aside about $300 million for states to use to give out rebates to buyers of energy-efficient appliances like freezers, refrigerators, furnaces and central air conditioners.

Save Money through Your Network


network

I decided to share a few of my tricks to save money. Since my wife stays at home with our two kids, we must be careful with our spending and make sure we make savvy purchases.

We have lived together for the past 10 years. When we first started, we got all our furniture from friends and family. Absolutely nothing was new. While it was great 10 years ago, second hand furniture still has a maximum life expectancy! Recently, we had to buy a new bed for us (my mattress and my bed was 30 year old!) and another one for Amy (she just turned 2 so it was time for her to move up, into a real bed).

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