10 Creative Ways to Save Money

10 Creative Ways to Save Money

If you need to cut costs, you’ve probably already heard the usual advice about sewing, light bulbs and store-brand products.

Let’s take a look at some of the less conventional ways to save money:

Entertainment

1. Try listening to free radio dramas instead of watching movies. These productions have gained popularity in recent years. You can tune in a public radio show called “L.A. Theatre Works” or search the web for audio drama podcasts.

2. Every month, fill a small container with money for entertainment, recreation, and restaurant meals. This will make it easier to track these expenses and stop spending when you reach your limit.

Shopping

3. Friends and relatives can help you purchase things in bulk or make the most of “buy two, get one free” sales. You could share the products as well as the cost.

4. Use smartphone software to find local shops and eateries that offer senior, military or student discounts. You can download useful apps for free. A few examples include Military Cost Cutters, Senior Discounts Free, and The University Network.

Laundry

5. If your home doesn’t have a laundry room or the right plumbing, you can still save some quarters by purchasing a portable washing machine. It will connect to a faucet and drain into your sink or bathtub.

6. You might not need to buy and maintain a costly dryer. Think about using a drying rack in combination with a wood stove, electric fireplace, space heater or fan.

Appliances

7. Put thermometers in your freezer and refrigerator. If the refrigerator is colder than 37 F or freezer temperatures consistently stay below zero, adjust the controls to achieve a slightly warmer temperature.

8. Prepare for power outages to prevent food from spoiling. Always keep a bag of ice in the freezer. If the weather turns windy, temporarily set this appliance to a lower temperature.

Miscellaneous

9. Put plastic covers on unused electrical outlets. They’re not only useful for childproofing. Safety covers cut heating, cooling and pest control expenses by sealing rooms more thoroughly.

10. Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on a big, heavy vacuum cleaner. Use a basic corded stick vacuum in combination with a simple carpet sweeper. You can thoroughly clean rugs while saving money on bags and electricity.

We hope that these ideas will help you pay bills on time and feed the piggy bank. To learn more about saving cash, please explore our website and bookmark it.

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How to Get the Best Return on your Cash Holdings

How to Get the Best Return on your Cash Holdings

Experienced investors know the importance cash plays in a diversified portfolio.

In times of economic stability or growth when interest rates are high, the allure of cash is obvious. Put your money in a high-yielding savings or money market account and watch it grow at rates of 5%, 6%, or 7%.

But in low-interest markets, like the one we are currently experiencing, you may be wondering why you should keep cash on hand when it could be making you more money in other securities.

First, let’s look at why having cash savings as part of your investment strategy is important; then we’ll cover the best places to put your cash in a low-interest market.

Cash does several things for your portfolio:

• Reduces volatility – While securities like stocks, bonds, etc. fluctuate wildly based on market conditions, cash stays relatively stable. Of course, rising inflation and depreciation of dollar value occur, but these are slow processes and have less effect on your cash holdings than the volatile market.
• Provides liquidity – Having cash on hand available for quick investment in a sudden opportunity is a huge boon. If you have to wait to liquidate one asset before you can invest in another, you could miss out on a valuable opportunity.
• Protects against emergencies – Emergency funds just make good sense. Life happens. You need to have liquid assets, i.e. cash, available for immediate use when unforeseen events take place. Whether it’s the loss of a job, an injury or illness, or an accident – the only way to prepare for the unexpected is to have cash ready for whatever needs arise when things go badly. If not, you’ll end up pulling cash out of investments to cover your needs, and you risk losing way more than you would have gained by having that cash tied up in other types of investments.

Hopefully, you can see the importance of keeping cash as part of your portfolio. But where should you put it to get the best possible return?

In high-interest markets, you don’t have to look far to find a high-yielding savings or money market account. But that isn’t today’s market.

According to mybanktracker.com, the average APY (annual percentage yield) or interest rate as of today is 0.32%. With many well-known traditional banks coming it at around 0.01%.

It’s hard to fault investors who prefer to put their money in higher risk securities than accept these minimal returns. But if you’re willing to do a little work, it is possible to find higher returns.

You need to keep the cash available for the reasons listed above, but there is no reason you shouldn’t get the best possible interest rate, so the money is doing something for you as it sits there.

Online savings accounts or accounts offered through brokerage firms are currently yielding much higher interest rates than accounts in traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

Below is a list of the best rates available as of today and where you can find them:

• Goldman Sachs – 1.60%
• American Express – 1.55%
• Synchrony Bank – 1.55%
• Capital One 360 – 1.50%

I know these rates look shabby compared to the rates of the past, but compared to today’s average of 0.32% these are pretty high returns. The rates will go up eventually. The idea is to get the best you can now.

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Frugal Rules for Paying Off Debt

Frugal Rules for Paying Off Debt

The best way to keep your monthly finances under control is to find effective ways for paying off debt. The biggest problem with debt is that it has a way of growing without any additional spending. Eventually, you will reach the point where you cannot afford your monthly debt, and the financial obligations will continue to grow.

Paying off debt means:

  • No more interest payments pulling money out of your bank account
  • Owning items free and clear without making monthly payments
  • Being able to put more money into your savings account each month

If you want to pay off debt, you need to adopt responsible and frugal spending habits. Once these habits are part of your every day life, you will find it easier to get away from credit and live without debt.

Stop Using Credit Cards

Growing interest debt will cause your credit card balances to increase each month even if you do not use your cards. But when you stop using your cards, you slow the pace at which interest increases. You need to live within your means and avoid using credit cards. If you want to buy something you cannot initially afford, then save up for it and buy it in cash.

Cut Back On Expenses

Frugal living means buying only what you need and not what you want. As you go through your month, take a notebook with you and make a note of every purchase you make. At the end of the month, review your purchases and determine where you can cut back on expenses. For example, if you spend $20 per day on coffee in the morning and lunch at work, then you can cut down on nearly $600 per month in unnecessary spending by drinking coffee at home and bringing a lunch.

Start A Budget

A monthly budget will show you exactly where your money goes and help you to live within your means. You can create a simple spreadsheet program that lists all of your monthly bills and expenses, and compares them to your monthly income. Not only will you start paying your bills on time because your budget will help you keep track, but you can continue to find ways to reduce expenses.

Once you start using frugal rules to live, you will see your bank account grow and enjoy having extra cash each month. You can apply that extra cash towards paying down your credit cards and eliminating your debt. All it takes is a monthly budget and the determination to continually lower your expenses to get your debt under control.

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Ways to Pay Off Debt Without Sacrifices

Ways to Pay Off Debt Without Sacrifices

Paying off debt can seem like an insurmountable task, especially when your income is static and it seems your basic expenses consume everything you earn. The good news is an effort to pay off debt is a simple matter of mathematics. If you know what your financial burden is and you also know how your debts are contributing to your expenses, you can use that knowledge in your favor.

The key thing to remember is this: Any paid off debt instantly applies all its future interest directly to your bottom line. This is why it is vitally important to analyze your debts to see which has the highest rate and which is likeliest to save you the most in the shortest amount of time. Here are some things to consider.

Find Additional Income

Many people approach financial problems by trying to squeeze ever-larger expenses into a box labeled “income” that never grows. This is a losing proposition. Even if you manage your expenses meticulously, taxes and inflation will eventually defeat your static income strategy.

Your income must grow or you will be unable to overcome the inexorable advance of your expenses. There are numerous ways to make additional money even if you don’t decide to look for a new job. Find them, build more income and you’ll have the war chest you need to defeat your debts.

Analyze Your Taxes

Even if you need to hire an accountant to do it, you should take at least 3-4 weeks and do a deep dive analysis of your taxes. It is very likely you are overpaying on some level, especially if you routinely get a refund. If your additional income strategy develops into a side business, that will give you a considerable platform for deductions that may end up saving you more than you think.

The Grocery Store

If you take the time to look for them, there are voluminous ways to save a gigantic amount of money at the grocery store. All of these savings can be immediately plowed into a second payment every month or every two weeks against a monthly debt. One of the key products to watch for is detergent. Soap costs pennies a bottle to manufacture, and you’re probably paying eight dollars for it. While you’re at it, look for coupons and online deals at your local store, and you can probably pocket an extra three figures a month.

It is easy to take a cavalier attitude when it comes to money, especially when you’ve given up on ever balancing your own books. This is a mistake because it is one of the proximate causes of debt problems. Scratch to save every penny you can. That’s the key to getting out of the hole.

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