Finances Tips

Read these 61 Finances Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Family tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How can we save money?

Energy Bills, Thermostat

Invest in a programmable thermostat. Studies show that
the average household can save over $250 a year with
this one piece of technology.

   
How can my family save money on clothes?

Money Savings-Family Clothing

Shop local consignment, re-sale and thrift stores on
a regular basis. Brand name good quality clothing
can be bought for a fraction of the original cost. I
shop these stores at least once a month, sometimes
more, to look for newly shelved merchandise.

   
How can we save money?

Credit Cards

Pay more than the minimum amount due each month. Paying
just $10 more a month than the minimum will greatly
reduce your payoff time and save drastically on interest
charges.

   
How can we save money?

Stay Motivated

Stay motivated. List reasons you should save; read them when
you are tempted to stray from your plan.

   
How can my family save money on groceries?

Ethnic Grocery Stores

Shop for ethnic groceries at ethnic markets if possible.
The savings can be dramatic.

   
How can we save money on groceries?

Save Money On Onions

Buy a 3 pound bag of whole onions. Peel, then chop the
onions in a food processor. Freeze in half cup portions
in small plastic freezer bags.

   
How can we save money?

Energy Bills

Use draft guards or door sweeps at the bottom of
doors to block cold air.

   
How can my family save money on groceries?

Sunday Paper

Get your city's Sunday paper to take advantage of the
many grocery coupons included. The coupon savings
pay for the paper many times over.

   
How can a family save money?

Mattresses

Flip your mattresses every three months to save the
mattress life and save you money.

   
How can we save money?

Property Taxes

Find out if you are paying too much in property taxes.
Go to the tax assessor's office and ask for your
public assessment information. Look for obvious errors,
such as being charged for 5 bedrooms when you only have
4. Then compare your assessment and property tax to
that of other houses in your neighborhood with similar
square footage and lot sizes.

   
How can a family save money?

Watch The Register

Watch the cash register like a hawk. Make note of
sale items when you pick them up so you will know the
correct price when you get to the register. Also check
your receipts for any mistakes.

   
How can a family save money?

Store Sales

Check out different stores and pick about 6 that you really
like and visit them frequently. Checking items
frequently will let your learn the stores markdown
cycles and you can get items you want on sale.

   
How can we save money?

Energy Bills

Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees.
Water heater costs can account for up to 25 percent of
your household energy bill.

   
How can we save money?

Educate Yourself

Become your own financial guru. Educate yourself and
you will become much more savvy about investments and
retirement plans.

   
How can we save money?

Avoid Debt

Avoid debt. Pay cash for as many purchases as you can
and keep credit cards only for emergencies.

   
How can we save money?

Automatic Payment Systems

Use automatic payment systems whenever possible to
pay bills. This way bills are not late and you don't
pay late fees.

   
How can a family save money on video rentals?

Money Savings-Video Rentals

Check with your local video store manager to see if and
when they offer specials on video rentals. Most stores
offer special kids movie days and also other in store
specials.

   
How can my family save money on groceries?

Money Savings-Using Coupons

Involve your family and friends in a round-robin coupon
swap. Send the coupons you don't use to the next person
on the list and keep out the ones you don't use. Hundreds
of money saving coupons can be generated this way.

   
How can my family keep from spending more than the budget allows?

Grocery Shopping

Grocery shop only with cash, not checks or credit cards.
That way you will not be tempted to spend more than
you had planned.

   
How can a family save money?

Credit Cards

Make sure you know your card's limit and what your current
balance is. Many credit card companies will let you go
over your limit and then hit you with over the limit
fees of $25 or more. Buyer beware!

   
How can we save money on groceries?

Save Money On Cheese

Instead of buying shredded cheese, buy a block and shred
it yourself. You can save about $1 a pound by doing
this.

   
How can we save money?

Light Bulbs

Replace incandescent bulbs with compact flourescents.
They more expensive but cost about 1/4 to operate
and last 10 times longer.

   
How can my family make the most of the grocery money?

Saving Money

Buy fruits and vegetables in bags for the best value.
Pick the sacks that weigh the most and watch out for
bruised or spoiled items.

   
How can we save money on groceries?

Save Money On Lemons

Buy bagged lemons rather than individual ones. Lemons
will keep for weeks in the fridge.

   
How can we save money?

Real Estate

Choose a lower cost area in which to live. A little
research can save a lot of money.

   
How can my family save money for college?

Money Saving-Investing For College

Money can be invested for college by using a Dividend
Reinvestment Plan. Some companies offer entry into
the plan for as little as one share of stock. Dividends
from stock shares owned are reinvested in more shares
of stock. Consult a stock broker or visit an online
broker and get started saving for college today.

   
How can we save money?

Track Expenses

Understand that small purchases add up. Track expenses
to find easy savings.

   
How can a family save money?

Buy In Bulk

When your basic grocery items that you use most often
go on sale, buy in bulk to stock up.

   
How can we save money?

Credit Cards

Pay off credit cards with the highest interest rates
first, not the ones with the highest balances. The higher
interest rate costs you more money over time.

   
How can we save money?

Commit To Saving

Make a committment to start saving money. Tell yourself
I'm going to start saving today and then do it.

   
How can my family save money on groceries?

Grocery Store Sales

Find out what days your favorite grocery store starts
their weekly sales and what days they stock the most
new items to get the best deals on the freshest items.

   
How can we save money?

Energy Bills

Install heavy duty shades or thick drapes on interior
windows to cut down on heat loss.

   
How can we save money?

Simple Savings

Create a simple savings plan. Make cutbacks that bother
you least.

   
How can my family keep a record of the money spent?

Keep A Money Diary

Keep a money diary. Write down every single purchase
you make. You will see exactly where you money goes
and stop spending where you shouldn't.

   
How can a family save money?

Credit Cards

Scrutinize your bill each month. If you find something
questionable or unacceptable, write the card company a
letter immediately pointing out the billing error, specify
the problem and request it be credited to your account.
Keep a copy of the letter for yourself and mail the other
certified mail, return receipt requested to the
credit card company. Within 30 days they must reverse
the charge, fix the problem or tell you they will
investigate.

   
How can my family save money on batteries?

Buy Store Brands

Buy store brand alkaline batteries. Store brands
perform as well as the priciest brand names. When
you see the store brands on sale, stock up.

   
How can a family save money?

Credit Cards

Find the best card you can if you must have a credit
card. Look for cards with these features:
No annual fee.
25 day grace period.
Accepted in many places.
Low interest rate.

Go to
www.bankrate.com or
www.cardweb.com
to check on current credit card offers.

   
How can we save money on groceries?

Save Money On Carrots

Instead of buying shredded carrots, buy whole carrots
and peel and shred them yourself. You will save about
$2 per pound.

   
How can we save money on groceries?

Eat Cheap

Instead of planning your menu then going shopping,
first look at what's on sale and your Sunday coupons
and plan your meals around that.

   
How can a family save money?

Videos

The next time you want to rent a movie for the family,
visit your local library instead. Many popular titles
can be found at the library and you can check them out
usually for no charge.

   
How can a family save money?

Credit Cards

Read every piece of mail your credit card company sends
you. Especially the fine print. Check to see if they
have instated a rate change. If so, call them and see
if they will reinstate your old rate. If not, consider
switching cards. You do not have to accept the new
rate and paying off the balance at your current interest
level. But if you make any new charges, the rate will
instantly go to the higher one.

   
How can a family save money?

Coupon Traders

Search out other coupon shoppers on the Internet and
seek to trade coupons. Give coupons for items you do
not use for coupons that you do.

   
How can we save money?

Automobiles

Leasing a car works best for people who drive less than
15,000 miles per year and who keep the car for four
years or less.

   
How can we save money?

Real Estate

Buy a house that is just big enough for your family's
needs. A larger than needed house costs more to buy
and maintain.

   
How can we save money?

Set A Savings Goal

Set a savings goal. It is motivating to measure progress.

   
How can we save money?

High Tech Savings

Hold off on buying that new high tech gadget. Technology
gets better and cheaper as time goes on. Wait a little
while and save a lot of money.

   
How can a family save money?

Credit Card Balances

Always keep a running check on your credit card
balances. Losing track of where you stand with
your credit card is one of the quickest ways to get
into debt.

   
How can a family save money on buying videos?

Money Savings-Videos

Check your local video store for previewed movies that
are on sale. I have bought family videos for as little
as 3.99 from our local video store by buying previewed
tapes.

   
How can a family save money?

Money Savings-Freebies

Surf the web to find hundreds of legitimate free offers
for everything from food to clothing and more. Internet
freebies are a great way to save money for the whole
family.

   
How can my family keep from spending more than the budget allows?

Stop Impulse Spending

Don't carry extra cash. Impulse spending can be
cut drastically if you don't have extra cash on
hand.

   
How can my family go to the grocery store less often?

Saving Money

Grocery shop less often. See how long you can go
between shopping trips. Be creative with what you
have on hand.

   
How can we save money on groceries?

Save With Vegetables

Carrots and spinach are great buys and they are loaded
with vitamins. They are also fast and easy to prepare.

   
How can we save money?

Energy Bills

Turn your thermostat down to 62 degrees at night or if
you are out of the house for more than 4 hours.

   
How can we save money?

Buy Ahead

When items your family uses frequently are marked down buy
enough to last to the next sale, usually about 3 months
worth.

   
How can we save money?

Appliances

Buy appliances pre or post season to save up to 30
percent. Also check for discontinued models to save
even more.

   
How can we save money?

Energy Bills

For every degree you turn down the thermostat, you can
save 3 percent on your total monthly heating bill.

   
How can we save money?

Live Within Your Means

Do not try to live above your means. Keeping up with
the Joneses can leave you in debt.

   
How can I save money on buying baby clothes?

Baby Clothes

Tired of paying high dollar for baby clothes.
Go to garage sales, yard sales, etc. There you will
find an abundance of baby clothes, practically new.
Reason, the growth rate of a infant is rapid. They
grow out of the clothes before they are worn out.
You will pay substantially less for something you can
resell at your own garage sale. You almost get the
clothes for free.

   
How can we save money?

Visualize Your Results

Visualize the result of your savings plan. See what you
are saving for.

   
How can a family save money?

Credit Cards

Even though your credit card company may offer freebies
such as frequent flyer miles or cash rebates, they may
charge higher interest rates and annual fees. Make
sure the freebies are really free before you commit to
that card.

   
How do I set a budget?

Setting a Simple Budget

Times are tough and money is tight, so when every penny counts consider setting a simple budget to help your family get its finances in order. It may seem like a daunting task, but a basic budget is really quite easy to make, and it's one of the best tools you can use to keep control of your money. All you need is a list of your outgoing payments, an idea of how much you have coming in each month, and a plan for each of those dollars that hits your checking account.

First of all, determine exactly how much money you have coming in each month. Make sure to include all income including wages, child support, alimony, and any other money that you receive each month. Add all of these up, and this will let you know exactly how much you have to work with each month.

Next, make a list of everything that you spend money on. Include all household bills, money spent on gas and groceries, and any money spent on things such as fast food and clothing. Be honest, and record everything or your budget will not work. It might help to look at your bank statement to remind you of what payments are made regularly. Add these up to see how much money you are spending every month, and then subtract this figure from the income figure. Hopefully you will see a positive balance that indicates that you are living within your means!

If there is a negative balance, you need to either spend less or earn more. Determine if there are things that you can spend less on or eliminate altogether. You may have to eliminate spending on things that aren't absolute necessities, at least for a little while, until you can get to a point where you have more money coming in than going out. If you can't reduce your spending any further and are still short each month, you may have to consider taking on extra work to help make ends meet. Ultimately you should strive to place any excess money into a savings account so you can build up a safety net in case you lose your income.

Following these simple steps will help you get control of your finances, and help get you on the way to being financially fit!

   
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Guru Spotlight
Linda Handiak