Tag: Save money

What Is the Purpose of a Sinking Fund?

Let’s imagine for a second that tomorrow your washer machine breaks. Laundry is piling up, and your anxiety is building wondering how you are going to get caught up.

How do you plan on paying for a new washer machine? Do you dip into your emergency savings, or pull out your credit card?

The truth is, these types of expenses can be detrimental to your budget. You need to have a system in place that will allow you to pay for certain planned expenses with cash, so you are not continually going into debt.

That’s where sinking funds come in handy.

Today, we are going to cover everything there is to know about sinking funds, which funds I include in my budget, and how to use them.

 

 

What Is the Purpose of a Sinking Fund?

A sinking fund is a set amount of money for a bill, or life event that you know is coming.  A specific amount of money is aside every paycheque/payday in an envelope, cash box, or savings account and when it comes time to pay for that bill or life event, you already have the money set aside, ready and waiting. No stressing.

Having the money set aside for large bills or life events takes all the stress and anxiety out of those things for me.

A sinking fund is just a plan with a purpose to set aside a little bit of money for an expense you know is coming.  Where an emergency fund is strictly for the little surprise’s life throws at you.

According to Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar site, the definition of a sinking fund is:

A sinking fund is merely a strategic way to save money by setting aside a little bit each month”.

And with researchers reporting that the average American saves just 3.8% of the income they bring home each month, we can confidently assume a lot of people aren’t aware of the magic of the sinking fund.

If a budget offers permission to spend, a sinking fund offers encouragement to spend—and to spend big”!

 

What Is a sinking fund used for?

So now that we have given a basic definition for what is a sinking fund, let’s talk about what sinking funds are used for.

In order to manage your money well, it’s really helpful to use individual savings accounts to make sure that you are savings for the things that you need to be.

what-is-the-purpose-of-a-sinking-fund

Creating sinking funds will help you to get out of debt and to stay out of debt as you instead save up for and purchase or pay for the things that you need.

As soon as you have a fully funded emergency fund of at least 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses, you should start setting up additional savings accounts for irregular or unanticipated (though not completely unexpected) expenses.

If your bank doesn’t allow you to easily set up multiple savings accounts, then I recommend setting up an account with another bank that does. Here’s some good recommendations from Nerdwallet.

 

Sinking fund v emergency fund

You might be asking, “How is a sinking fund different from your emergency fund?”

A sinking fund is designed to save for a specific expense. You know what you are saving for, how much you’ll put in it, and when you will need to use it.

An emergency fund is setting money aside for the unexpected. Your goal should be to have 3-6 months of expenses saved for all possible life emergencies.

Both of these saving strategies will make you feel more at ease when it comes time to needing the money, but they are created for very different reasons.

 

 

Which sinking funds should you have?

This isn’t a totally comprehensive list of every sinking fund you’ll ever need, that depends on your personal circumstances and what you need to be saving money for.

One person may need a podcast equipment sinking fund, someone else may have a kid’s birthday sinking fund.

You never know! So here are a few sinking funds that are pretty universal:

 

Car repair

Having a car means throwing a lot of money at a big metal box that just gets you from one place to another. Fun stuff, right? Wrong.

But if you plan to own a car in your lifetime, it’s something you need to plan for. Having a car means that you’ll inevitably have to pay some kind of repairs because they break.

You can use your car fund for things like your yearly sticker, your license renewal, speeding tickets, new floor mats, any repairs, pretty much anything that is involved with owning a car.

 

Pet costs

We never want to think about our pets getting sick or passive away. If I even for a second think about my dog passing, I feel like crying instantly, seriously.

But animals aren’t invincible, and we need to plan for their injuries and illnesses as well.

Having a pet gets pretty expensive, so this emergency money can go to anything including yearly check-ups, medicine, new collars, leashes, dog food, and maybe even your pet’s birthday!

 

Home repairs

If you own a home, you’ll have to fix something soon. It may be something small, like a light bulk, but it could be something huge like a brand-new roof. You never really know what’s going to happen when you own a home and it’s always smart to be prepared.

Home repairs add up really quickly and it happens in the blink of an eye. Having that money in the bank can really change the way you treat your home, and a lot of the time you’ll pick more frugal, intelligent fixes.

 

 

Technology

If you’re anything like me, you’ve dropped a phone (or three) and cracked a screen. I once had a laptop literally overheat and smoking at home while working. This is proof that some of the most expensive things we own can just break at a moment’s notice.

Putting a $/£500 phone or a $/£1,500 laptop on a credit card seems like a good idea at the time but it can take you months to pay it all back. This is why a technology sinking fund is very important.

This sinking fund could replace your laptop, phone, headphones, security cameras, etc.

 

Travel

Travel funds can really take two forms, one fun, and one not-so-fun. Of course, you can set up a sinking fund for a yearly family vacation to enjoy.

However, the real sinking fund you should set up is a funeral/sickness sinking fund. I know, this is really depressing and morbid.

sinking-fund

However, at any given time a family member could pass away or get really sick without you having any notice.

You may need to travel across the country (or even the world) to be able to be there for the funeral and be able to take care of your family.

Plane tickets are expensive and when it happens quickly you don’t have an opportunity to plan a cheaper ticket, so it’s really great to have a thousand or more dollars/pounds in the bank just to be prepared for these occurrences.

 

Christmas

Christmas always seems to be really far away, until it isn’t. Every year after Christmas I find myself saying “next year, I’m going to start saving for Christmas before summer! I’m going to be so prepared” but it never happens.

Christmas never changes. It always comes.

Starting a sinking fund for Christmas presents is a great way to save yourself a ton of money in interest, as well as keeping your Christmas costs lower because you don’t over purchase as often when you use cash.

 

Other categories

Then the list becomes more extensive if you are a college student like me where I might add funds like:

  • hobby fund
  • holiday/vacation fund
  • insurance – life, car, home
  • medical expenses, prescriptions etc
  • annual subscriptions (i.e., Amazon Prime, Disney+, gym membership etc)
  • taxes – property, self-employment
  • new clothes for you and the family
  • beauty – haircuts, waxing, nails, etc
  • charitable giving
  • big events – your wedding, your parents 50th anniversary, etc

Remember these are only suggestions. Just because I listed it does not mean you need to have it in your budget.

 

How much do I put in my sinking fund?

A good rule is to start planning six months out for an event, but if the item is a large dollar/pound amount consider nine months. This way you’re not trying to save for “everything” all at once.

As you look ahead at expenses, start giving them a dollar/pound amount and adding them into the tally. Since this is an ever-revolving account new money will flow in, and saved money will flow out. (i.e., birthday party expenses, braces, back to school clothes, school pictures, sports fees, summer camps, etc.).

A good tip is to go back through your previous bank/credit card statements and see what kind of one-off purchases there have been. Do you have enough of one type of purchase to necessitate its own category sinking fund?

 

Where should you keep your sinking fund?

Sinking funds can be kept anywhere as long as you can keep track of them.

Consider choosing a place where your money can be liquid and you can access it simply with ATM withdrawal, quick online transfer or by writing a cheque.

You may also want to keep your funds in an envelope set aside for a specific expense. The most important thing is that you know where it is and can access it when you need it.

If you decide to open a single bank account for all your sinking funds, you need to find means to separate the money for each expense when it’s time to spend.

You can keep a ledger, tracker or spreadsheet to keep track of the amount of money in each fund at every point.

sinking-fund

You may also want to keep your funds in multiple accounts. It can be very helpful if your bank offers you multiple savings accounts, especially when you prefer doing all your transactions online.

Ensure that you meet minimum balances for each account if there is one.

However, options that allow you to access your money anytime can only work for you if you are disciplined with your savings account.

If you are not good at managing your savings account or you find yourself constantly transferring money in and out of your account, then you should consider an account that you cannot dip into when you please.

 

Keeping track of your sinking funds

It’s very easy to become distracted and lose track of your sinking funds.

Keeping track of your sinking funds is very crucial because you won’t want to forget, use your car maintenance and repairs fund for your friend’s birthday, and then start wondering about what happened to the money when the main expense comes up.

To keep track of all the funds, if you like to use paper and pen, you can keep a log. If you prefer spreadsheets, you can also use a spreadsheet.

You can also keep track of your funds with your bank’s app if your bank offers multiple savings accounts.

There are several ways to keep track of your savings. Choose one that works best for you.

 

 

Should you set up a sinking fund when you have debts?

Setting up a sinking fund when you have debts depends on what the fund is for. Your high-interest debt is an emergency, and you need to make efforts to pay it off.

However, some expenses are so very essential that you will need to come up with money from anywhere to pay for them—for instance, a new set of tires that you would be needing soon.

For such expenses, it’s best to set aside money since it’s better to pay for them in cash rather than use a payday loan or credit card.

If it’s for an avoidable expense like a vacation or holiday, then No. In such cases, you need to focus more on your debts instead.

Taking a vacation/holiday shouldn’t be a priority for you if you have a high-interest debt.

 

 

What is the purpose of a sinking fund? –  final thought

Having a sinking fund is a vital part of your financial plan. It is as important as your emergency fund.

Setting up this particular fund will keep you from screwing up your monthly budget all the time and allow you to leave your emergency fund for real emergencies.

It might seem less urgent, but it is urgent.

You don’t have all the time you feel you have until that expense catches up with you.

The earlier you start saving for that major expense, the better.

 

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HONEY-EXTENSION

Honey Browser Extension Review

People visiting physical shops is becoming a thing of yesterday, with more and more shoppers purchasing their goods online, but how do you know you’re getting the best deal available?

Even when shopping at a specific shop online, it will often have coupon codes all year round, but finding that particular one that saves you the most can be a time-consuming task.

That’s where the Honey extension app comes in handy.

In this comprehensive Honey Browser Extension review, you will learn the following

  • What is the Honey extension app?
  • How do the Honey extension and Honey app work?
  • What are the main features of Honey browser extension?
  • Is Honey app legit?
  • Is Honey extension safe?
  • Does Honey extension work with Amazon?
  • Does Honey extension work on mobile?
  • The Pros and Cons

 

 

Honey Browser Extension Review

What is the Honey Extension App?

Honey is an extension for your browser or an app (only available for the US users at the moment), that searches online for the best deals for you.

What vouchers are available to you though Honey, will slightly differ, depending on where you live. But ultimately Honey will save you money while shopping. Honey does this by searching online for the best vouchers available for the site you are shopping on.

The honey extension app was developed in the US, and the extension and app are available for US users. UK users can only use the extension, as the app is not available as of yet.

If you are not familiar with web browser extensions, it’s small piece of software that adds on to your web browser for your laptop or desktop. This allows Honey to be active and searching vouchers while you shop (example of where the extension will be below):

Honey-extension

The honey extension app is compatible with over 40,000 shopping sites, and searches automatically.

Honey’s mission is that “We give everyone the tools it takes to find the best savings, perks, and all around value – making online shopping fair for everyone. Free and easy to use“.

Honey currently has over 17 million members, and have saved the members over $1 billion. They have also given members over $8 million in rewards (gift cards).

Honey currently supports shopping sites in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom with more to come.

 

How Does Honey Extension Work?

Living in the UK, I have only been able to use the browser extension and features available here, but I will mention all the functionality.

First things first you need to download the extension.

Then Sign-up to Honey – this is made easy as you can use your google or Facebook account, or enter your details (you can sign up below:).

Honey-signup

The extension is then added to your web browser and works with – Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge or Opera.

My experience is with Google Chrome and it works really well on this platform. You will notice a little icon appear on the web browser window.

If the H is grey it means Honey is not linked to that site, so no savings this time.

If it turns orange that means you are connected and you can click on the icon to show you vouchers, add to your drop list, price history and gold rewards. Or you can wait and the deals automatically pop up when you start to check out.

It is that easy.

Here’s a quick look at how the Honey browser extension works:

TOP TIP:

Honey is great for deals on BOOHOOMAN. I regularly use this website to shop, and have saved £40 since the beginning of September alone!

 

 

How does Honey App work?

So being in the UK, I need to refer to Honey to explain the difference between the browser extension and the app – as I can’t try the app.

They are designed to be different.

The browser basically works on the website you are shopping on and helps you get the best deal.

Honey-Store-vouchers

The app however, brings together millions of products from 1,000’s of sites, with their vouchers, allowing you to put them in one basket and actually buy through Honey in one purchase.

However, having a look through the reviews on Apple Apps store, it’s only rate 3.9 out of 5.

Most of the negative reviews come from the fact that the app works differently as the extension and it seems to be clunky.

So, there’s definitely room for improvement.

TOP TIP:

If you don’t see the Honey window popping up, check you pop-up or ad blockers in your browser settings.

 

 

What are the main features of the Honey extension?

Here are some main features that Honey browser extension to save you money.

1. Savings Finder – This applies discount vouchers as you checkout using the browser, or as you shop using the app.

2. Honey Gold – This is like cash back, so you earn while you spend. This goes into your account quarterly and can be used to purchase gift cards from several well-known stores. Such as Amazon, Spotify, Gap, Footlocker, ASOS, Tesco.

Honey-gold-info

You need 1000 gold points for a $10 gift card, or 1400 for £10 in the UK, due to the exchange rates.

3. Price History – exactly as it sounds and shows you the recent history for the item you are buying. This is a great tool to use for Christmas shopping to save money.

4. Droplist (US members only) – allows you to add the items you are interested in buying at the price you want, https://itsnotyour9to5.com/mone-saving-ideas-for-christmasand then notifies you if the price drops. It works on both the extension and app. Honey says they are working on rolling this out to other countries.

5. Amazon Best Price – Honey doesn’t get you discounts on Amazon, but will show you the best price from several sellers. This feature already exists in Amazon so for me it is not that important.

TOP TIP:

Earning gold can be a little slow, it’s a percentage of the purchase. However, if you invite 2 friends to Honey and they use it. You will also receive a $10/£10 gift card.

 

 

Is Honey Extension safe?

Honey extension is Free and secure. This is important to Honey and a big part of their business. They currently have +17M users, lots of high rated reviews.

The UK Trustpilot has Honey at 4.6, which is an excellent score.

Having read some of the negative reviews, I believe that the users who didn’t get discounts either had the location or pop-up setting wrong. I have never had any issues with the extension, and have almost come to expect a discount when shopping.

 

Is Honey App Legit?

Yes, Honey is completely legit!

They earn money from commission from the stores you purchase from and are keen to point out they don’t share your data.

In addition, just to give you even more confidence;

The tech company responsible for developing and running Honey is owned by Paypal (bought in 2019, their largest ever acquisition for $4B)

Being based in LA they sponsor the LA Clippers basketball team (they train at the Honey Training Centre), so they have a very public presence, which is also supported with the typical high level of US customer service.

 

Does Honey work on Amazon?

It certainly links and the H turns orange and shows the cheapest option, price data and gold amount you will receive. BUT it won’t get you discounts.

As I mentioned earlier, Amazon already has a feature to identify the cheapest price, therefore, I don’t see too much benefit using Honey browser on Amazon.

 

Does Honey Extension work on mobile?

The browser extension does not work on phones or tablets; therefore, you have to use a real computer. However, for those in the US, there is the app option, both Apple and Android.

TOP TIP:

Make sure you select the right country for your location, if not Honey will not find the offers for you, as you will be on a UK site, while the extension is searching for US codes!

 

 

Honey Extension App Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • It’s FREE while saving you real money.
  • Takes the hard work out of finding vouchers / coupon codes
  • Works with over 40,000 stores
  • Provides cashback through reward cards
  • Work automatically in the background
  • One checkout for multiple purchases on the Honey App
  • Price monitoring and price history tracking so you know the best time to buy

Cons:

  • Does not track how much you have saved over time
  • Limited in the region: Honey App is only available in the US. Honey Extension is only available in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada.
  • The extension only gets you the best deal for the site you are on.
  • The extension only works on desktop/laptop; therefore, you can’t use it on the go.
  • Honey app doesn’t work as well as the browser extension.

 

 

Honey Browser Extension Review –  Final thought

Honey is absolutely worth giving a try.

Honey claims to offer an average discount of 17.9% and an average yearly savings of $126/£95.

The discounts for me have been regular, and consistent, like welcome discounts, free shipping, or general discounts.

If you are in one of the countries that Honey extension app covers, my question is, why WOULDN’T you use this clever FREE extension to save you some money?

To put your mind at rest, Honey extension app is legit and safe, so you can enjoy saving money online hassle free.

>>> JOIN HONEY TO SAVE MONEY <<<<<

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Save Money Online board for for later!

HONEY-EXTENSION

 

 



frugal-family-activities

115 Frugal Fun Family Summer Activities

Summertime is just a few months away, meaning parents will be looking for some simple ideas for engaging family fun.

With so much of our time spent looking at screens without fully interacting with others in meaningful ways, it’s important to make family time a priority.

Statistics show that children benefit emotionally, academically, and even physically from the simple act of routine family dinners.

Creating space for fun family activities not only silences the “mom I’m bored” whines but helps your family bond and become closer.

Here is a list of 115 indoor and outdoor family activities you can try this summer:

 

 

115 Frugal Fun Family Summer Activities

This frugal summer activity list is divided up into outdoor and indoor activities. So, no matter the weather, you’ll find something fun to do!

 

Outdoor summer activities

  1. Water balloon or water gun fight – A great way to cool off on a really hot day.
  2. Zoo or petting zoo – Petting zoos tend to be less expensive than big zoos. Check to see if your zoo has a season or yearly pass. It will pay for itself after only a couple of visits.
  3. Stargaze – Head out to your backyard or other open outdoor space and see what constellations you can see.
  4. Bonfire – Don’t forget some tasty snacks to go with it!
  5. Climb trees – I used to love doing this as a kid!
  6. Fly a kite – When’s the last time you flew a kite? It’s a fun challenge. Just watch out for those trees!
  7. Chalk art – You’re never too old to create a design with sidewalk chalk.
  8. Visit a farmers’ market – Growers’ markets are the ideal place to get very fresh and affordable produce and other goodies.
  9. Attend fireworks – Many local communities host fireworks during the summer. Bring a blanket or some chairs. The dollar store sells glow bracelets that can add to the experience.
  10. Have a picnic – There’s something about the timeless act of having a picnic. You can make it as casual or fancy as you like. This picnic set has everything you need for a great time!
  11. Camp in your back garden – If you have a tent, camping in the backyard is an easy way to have a memorable experience. Kids in particular get a big kick out of it.
  12. Play frisbee or disc golf – Grab your family or some friends and enjoy a pick-up game of Frisbee.
  13. Go swimming – This is a summer must-do. If you don’t have a pool, find a friend or neighbour who does. Or check out open-swim hours at your local park or school.
  14. Go for a bike ride – Don’t forget your helmet!
  15. Outdoor concert – Many communities offer free outdoor concert series in the summer.
  16. Movie in the park – Many parks show projection movies for free during the warm weather months.
  17. Play tennis – Almost every high school has tennis courts that anyone can use.
  18. Yoga in the park – Check out your local parks to see if they offer free or cheap drop-in workout classes. I’ve seen yoga, tai chi, and cardio drumming offered.
  19. Go explore – It doesn’t have to be a 20 mile strenuous workout. Look for a way to walk through the woods somewhere in your area. It’s just so peaceful.
  20. Flashlight tag – Playing tag is kind of fun, but flashlight tag at night is an especially fun treat.
  21. Scavenger hunt – This could be done inside or out, and can be made appropriate for all ages. Here are some tips on creating a scavenger hunt.
  22. Geocaching – Geocaching is the ultimate treasure hunt. And it’s free!
  23. Host a BBQ – Invite some family or friends over for some tasty grilled food.
  24. Visit a county park – Many parks are completely free or have an affordable yearly pass.
  25. Try inter tubing – Tubing down in a lake is a relaxing and fun way to stay cool when it’s hot.
  26. Canoe or kayak – If you don’t have your own, it doesn’t cost very much to rent one for the day. Or see if any local kayak shops offer trial days where you can try one out for free.
  27. Local festivals – There’s probably a variety of street fairs, art fairs, or food festivals in your area. It can be a completely free outing f you don’t get suckered into buying anything.
  28. Work on your tan – Not a popular option with the dermatologists, but I think most people enjoy sporting a summer tan.
  29. Take your dog to a dog park – Your dog would probably love to meet some new dog friends!
  30. Host at card boot sale – Whether you’re drowning in clutter, or just want to make some extra cash, having a car boot sale can be a good way to streamline your belongings. Try getting a few families together and host a big one to draw bigger crowds.
  31. Go fishing – It’s so relaxing to be near water. If you catch something, you can have a free meal, or just throw them back like we do.
  32. Go to a lake – Visit a lake or river in your area. Swim, have a picnic, or just relax.
  33. Play football, tennis, capture the flag, etc. – Playing a game is a fabulous way to get some exercise whilst having fun.
  34. Visit a fruit farm – I loved going strawberry picking as a child. Depending on what fruit grows in your area, there are probably some fruit farms that let you pick your own.
  35. Walk or play in the rain – You’re never too old to splash in a puddle!
  36. Photo shoot – Hone your photography skills by taking photos of people or the beauty of nature.
  37. Wash the car – This is both productive and fun!
  38. Watch the sunrise – There’s something magical about being awake before everyone else and watching the sun come up.
  39. Watch the sunset – If you’re not an early riser, enjoy a lovely sunset instead.
  40. Breakfast on the grill – Shake up your grilling routing by cooking a weekend breakfast.
  41. Watermelon spitting contest – Or if that sounds nasty, try carving a watermelon into fun shapes.
  42. Make some tea – There’s just something extra special about sun tea.
  43. Look for shapes in clouds – Lay on a blanket and see what shapes you see in the clouds.
  44. Noodle war – Kids would love having a noodle fight with noodles (these are foam swords for us UK people!).
  45. Play with sparklers – The dollar store sells sparklers that are a festive way to spend a summer evening.
  46. Plant an herb garden – Herbs are an easy and rewarding way to start gardening.
  47. Visit botanical farm or arboretum – Many flower farms and arboretum are free to visit.
  48. Drive-in movie – If you can find a drive-in movie theatre, give it a try!
  49. Act tourist-y in your own town – Visit the local landmarks that you thought were just for tourists. You may find something you really enjoy.
  50. Watch a parade – There are probably quite a few parades going on in your area throughout the summer (more for US people).
  51. One day road trip – Pick somewhere fun that’s a couple hours away (or less) to go visit. You’ll have the road trip feel without the cost of a hotel stay.
  52. Feed the ducks – Any park with a pond most likely has some ducks swimming around. Bring them some bread or food. They love it!
  53. Tie-dye – Tie-dyeing your white shirts or socks (or whatever else you can think of) is a fun project. This tie-dye kit has everything you need.
  54. Skip stones – If you’re near a pond, river, or lake, find a smooth stone and work on your stone-skipping skills.
  55. Go camping – Camping is one of the most affordable ways to have a getaway!
  56. Night swim – Swimming at night is especially fun for all ages.
  57. Make a tire swing – Nothing says summer quite like a tire swing.
  58. Build a sandcastle – If you go to the bunch, you simply must build a sandcastle. You can make one in the sandbox as well.
  59. Pick wildflowers – Make a lovely bouquet for your home from wildflowers.
  60. Go rollerblading – Got some old roller blades lying around? Consider taking them out for a spin.
  61. Visit a car show – There are tons of free car shows throughout the summer.
  62. Flea market – Visit a flea market and see what treasures you come across.
  63. Train for a 5k – A 5k race is a great way to challenge yourself.
  64. Visit a splash pad – Many parks have a free splash pad area. Perfect on a hot day!
  65. Play lawn games – From darts to bean bag toss to croquet, lawn games have a wonderful nostalgic feel.
  66. State or county fair – As long as you don’t eat too many funnel cakes, a state fair should be a relatively affordable outing.
  67. Blow bubbles – Blowing bubbles is so relaxing!
  68. Clean out your garage – This might not be the most fun thing on the list, but boy will it be nice when it’s done.
  69. Cook over an open fire – Have that campout feel in your own backyard by cooking your dinner over a fire.
  70. Jump rope or play hopscotch – Get some exercise and feel like a kid again.
  71. If it’s raining, or you’re sick of being outside in the heat, try some of these cheap summer fun activities you can do inside.

 

Indoor summer fun activities

  1. Visit library – Libraries usually have a variety of activities for kids, plus books, magazines, newspapers, and movies for everyone. If you want a particular one, ask at the desk. They will probably order it for you.
  2. Window shop – Enjoy the cool air conditioning at the mall!
  3. Cheap matinee movie – Most theatres/cinema have special summer matinee pricing on certain days during the summer. Bring your own snacks to keep it affordable.
  4. Volunteer at an animal shelter – Places like animal shelters and ‘soup-kitchens’ are in need of help year-round.
  5. Visit local nature centre – Check to see if there’s a nature centre in your community.
  6. Make homemade popsicles/ice lolly’s – Make popsicles out of your favourite drink.
  7. Start a side hustle business – Summer is a great time to think of a way to earn extra money. Options range from babysitting, gardening, house-sitting, dog-walking, tutoring, and many more.
  8. Visit local free museum – Many communities have local history museums that are free to visit. Some major museums have free days as well.
  9. Have a dance party – Crank up your favourite playlist and dance around your living room.
  10. Spa night – Alone or with friends, a spa night at home is a relaxing way to spend a summer evening.
  11. Game night – Bust out those board games or a deck of cards and enjoy some friendly competition.
  12. Thrift shop – Look for some summer or fall clothing at your local thrift store. Check to see if they have sale days with extra discounts.
  13. Take a free workshop – Lowe’s and Home Depot offer free workshops where you can learn a new skill.
  14. Build an indoor fort – Kids love making a fort with blankets in their bedroom or the living room.
  15. Make homemade ice cream – Try making your own ice cream for an extra special treat. This ice cream maker  does all the work for you.
  16. Christmas in July – Have a Christmas in July evening or party. Put on some festive music or movies, and make some Christmas-y food.
  17. Movie night – A movie night at home is a very fun and relaxing way to spend a rainy evening. Don’t forget the snacks!
  18. Try out a new hobby – Summer is the perfect time to start a hobby you’ve been meaning to try.
  19. Clothing swap – Consider hosting a clothing swap. You can trade clothes or accessories with friends or family members, and all get ‘new’ stuff for free!
  20. Bake cookies – Or brownies, or cupcakes, or anything that sounds delicious.
  21. Try a new recipe – You don’t need an excuse to try a new recipe. But if you add it to your summer bucket list, you’ll be sure to do it.
  22. Go bowling – Many of us tend to forget how fun it is to go bowling. And some bowling alleys offer deep discounts to kids on summer afternoons.
  23. Make root beer floats – Grab a 2-liter of root beer and some vanilla ice cream, and enjoy a delicious root beer float.
  24. Paint your nails or toes – Preferably a bright summer colour.
  25. Turn a pair of jeans into jean shorts – It’s easier than it sounds!
  26. Read a summer-y book – Beach reads are an excellent way to get that summer-y feeling. You could create a summer reading challenge for yourself, and try to read as many books as possible.
  27. Colour or sketch – The dollar store sells a huge variety of colouring books and sketching notepads. You’ll feel like a kid again!
  28. Take a nap – Preferably in a hammock.
  29. Listen to a podcast – It’s the perfect way to learn more about something that you’re interested in.
  30. Organize your closet – This is more fun than it sounds. You’ll discover clothes you forgot you had, and enjoy knowing where everything is for a change.
  31. Lighthouse caretaker – Did you know that many lighthouses will let you stay there for free for a few days if you volunteer to take care of it? You can learn more about lighthouse accommodations here.
  32. Host a brunch – Brunch is an especially affordable way to entertain.
  33. Screen-free day – Don’t throw rocks at me for suggesting this, but I think we could all use a day without our technology screens. It might be the most memorable day we’ve had in a while.
  34. Play dress up or have a fashion show – If you’re organizing your closet, you’ll want to try on a bunch of outfits. Or let your kids play dress up and put on a fashion show.
  35. Puppet show – Your children would love to watch a puppet show, or put one on for you.
  36. Paint a room – You can completely change the look of a room with just a can or two of paint. And it’s totally a one-day project.
  37. Make potpourri – It’s a fun, easy project. Here are some simple instructions.
  38. Tea party – Ladies of all ages would enjoy a tea party. Whether or not to wear the fancy hat is up to you.
  39. Make jam – Here’s a super easy way to make homemade jam.
  40. Put together a puzzle – Kick it old school with a jigsaw puzzle.
  41. Make snow cones – Snow cones or Hawaiian ice is the perfect summer treat.
  42. Visit a friend or relative – If you’ve only seen each other on Facebook lately, go and visit your loved one in person.
  43. Look through photo albums – Looking through old photo albums is a great way to relive your fun memories.
  44. Binge watch a new show – Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime make it so simple to watch an entire season of your new favourite show.

 

115 Frugal and Fun Family Summer Activities – Final thought

Family time is always fun and never a chore. The important part is to look at it as family inspiration and not a to-do list.

Even if we don’t get to all of our wish list this summer, I hope this list reminds you to spend quality time together and try new things, whether you’re out adventuring or at home.

I’ve shared mine; I’d love to see yours! What will your family be up to this summer?

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Frugal Living board for later!

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Frugal

10 things frugal people never do!

Living a frugal lifestyle is something that doesn’t come naturally to most of us. Humans are natural consumers; we see something and we are inclined to want it.

As children, we would beg and plead our parents for a toy, only to play with it for a couple of hours and move on.

So being frugal isn’t in our nature, normally, but we can slowly retrain our brains to be more frugal.

Frugality is a complete lifestyle that is totally focused on just living below your means and prioritising things that make you happy instead of things that will make you look cool.

 

 

What is frugality?

In a nutshell, frugality is making smart money decisions. That can be as simple as skipping the Starbucks every day, or as extravagant as selling your house to live debt free in a tiny house you built.

If you’re there thinking that I’m going to tell you that the things frugal people don’t do are going to be painful, unattainable, and just ridiculous, you’re wrong.

Life is hard enough. Saving money shouldn’t be. 

It’s really not impossible. Here is a great place to start living frugally and saving money.

 

The benefits of frugal living

Check out some of these great benefits to frugal living:

  • save money for financial goals
  • stay out of debt
  • be in control of your finances (instead of letting them control you)
  • put money toward retirement
  • save for your kids’ college fund

Over the past year, I’ve learned a lot of about what it means to be super frugal.  Here are 10 things frugal people never do.

 

10 things frugal people never do

Skip budgeting

The first and most important step toward being more frugal is to have a plan for every penny with a budget. Frugal people will have a plan for their money and understand exactly what they want their money to do for them.

There are so many people who are in poor financial situations who just need to realise how much a simple budget could do to change the outlook on money.

Even just skipping your budget for a few months can put you back years into your overall financial plan. Budgeting is a holy grail for saving money and being more frugal.

A really good first step toward budgeting is to have a written budget (written as in, on paper) that you can use to organise your money.

Related post:

Would you like to know how to create a budget, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Keep up with the Joneses

How people choose to spend their money is none of my business. It took me some time, but I stopped caring (for the most part) of what others thought of my living space, my purchasing decisions, and my personal life choices.

There was a time that I cared so much of what clothes I wore in fear of being judged. Thinking back, I would always shop before an event or a vacation to avoid appearing to have the same look in pictures.

Shame on me for getting caught up with the endless task of impressing others in the social media world.

Thankfully, that time has passed.

Related posts:

Learn more about what a money mindset is below, and how to achieve one for a happier financial life:

 

 

Impulse buy (just because)

Impulse buys can be budget killers. And frugalists know it.

With so much choice around you it can be very tempting to buy. Something, anything. Just because.

Frugal folk have built up their emotional defences. They keep their financial goals in mind.

They know what they are aiming to do with their money and impulse buying isn’t it.

And they employ tactics to stop impulsive buying.

10-things-frugal-people-never-do

They will use the 30-day rule. They keep themselves focused on strengthening their money habits.

It is much easier to not buy impulsively if you do not put yourself in the position of being confronted with glorious and lovely things.

I choose not to go into some of the loveliest shops, precisely because they are so lovely. I’m frugal but I’m not made of stone.

And pretty things can be tempting, to even the most frugal of folk.

Related posts:

Would you like to know how to set SMART financial goals, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

Would you like to know about money habits? Then see our posts below:

 

 

Throw away leftovers

Frugal folk don’t just not throw out leftovers, their aim is to never have any food waste.

They make use of all leftovers and you can too. Leftovers make great lunches for the following day.

Alternatively, you can freeze individual leftover portions for another meal – perfect for busy nights!

When you throw out food you are throwing out your own money. You used your precious, hard earned money to buy that food.

Don’t waste it, eat it!

Did you know we waste up to 30% of the food we buy? I find that statistic so shocking!

If your grocery bill is $/£300 a month, you are effectively wasting $/£90 every month through food waste.

Don’t do it!

Top tip:

Supercooks is a website that helps you re-create recipes from leftovers.

Just list out the ingredients and let SuperCooks tell you what to cook! Never again will you have to stare at those leftovers in the fridge and wonder what to do with it.

 

 

Ignore their credit score

A really important part of understanding your money is knowing your credit score. Your credit score is something that can affect everything about your finances.

This number controls how much money people are willing to lend you for things like mortgages, and how high the interest rate will be for those loans.

People who are frugal really understand that your credit score is important and they work hard to keep it high so they can have lower interest rates and save money in the long run.

 

Carry credit card balances

Frugal people do not like to use credit cards as part of their everyday lifestyle. While some have the discipline to pay the cards off every month in full, others choose to stay far away from credit cards.

I think self-awareness plays a big role in a person’s success with credit cards.

If you know that you’re a spender who has been in debt for years, it’s probably a good time to cut up the cards and pay them off once and for all.

Related post:

Want help with paying credit card debt? Then see the post below:

 

 

Hang out with losers.

I love the Jim Rohn quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.

It’s true! At different times in my life, I’ve had to let go of toxic people because I realised, they were not encouraging me to live a better life or to be a better person.

loser

Budget-conscious people are careful who they hang out with. Because for some reason, when you’re frugal and your friends are spenders, they tend to be judgmental and condescending.

That’s why most frugal people hang out with like-minded friends

 

Buy bottled water

Never mind the impact to the environment of the masses of discarded water bottles.

Frugal folk are not prepared to pay for something they can easily get at home for (basically) free.

If you are a fan of drinking water every day (and why wouldn’t you when it’s great for your health!) then use a reusable water bottle.

It will keep your water much colder than a plastic bottle will.

It’s environmentally friendly and will save you money very quickly with regular use.

 

Pay for late fees

Bills have to be paid at some point so why delay and pay late fees? Is frugal folk’s way of thinking.

When you don’t have money to splash around the last thing you want to do is spend some of it on late fees because you didn’t get organized.

And even if you do have plenty of spare cash why would you want to waste any of it?

Frugal folk have all their bills automated; insurances, utility bills, mortgage or rent. Even annual payments can be automated.

Tie this in with never having an overdraft and your finances will be in great shape.

 

They don’t eat out often

Frugal living gurus also know that eating out is a great way to waste their money. Sure, they like to treat themselves and eat out every once in a while, but it’s certainly not a normal occurrence in their lives.

When you can make an equally delicious meal at home for a fraction of the cost of going out to eat, it just makes sense to stay in more often, don’t you think?

This is where meal planning can help you save money – by planning your meals in advance, this way on nights that you’re busy, you can still whip up a quick homemade dinner because you were prepared for it.

 

 

10 things frugal people never do – Final thought

I hope that this blog post has taught you that being frugal doesn’t mean you have to entirely deprive yourself of everything you love in life.

It’s about making choices to value things that truly matter to you instead of trying to keep up with the joneses and strangers on the internet.

here are many other things frugal people don’t do, what are some things that you would add to my list?

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Frugal Living board for later!

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SAVE-MONEY

15 things to quit buying to save money!

Do you waste money buying things you don’t need? I do! In this article, I will show you 10 things to quit buying to save money.

Advertisements and tv commercials continuously bombard us with stupid things to waste money on.

With our hectic schedules, we are not always aware of the many ways that we are throwing money down the toilet.

If you want to be smart with your money and learn how to spend less and save more, you’ll need to figure out what you are wasting your money on.

Now let’s talk about where your money actually is going and some the changes you can make right now to stop wasting money on things you just don’t need.

Here’s my list of 15 things you should stop buying right now to save money:

 

 

15 things to quit buying to save money

Sky/Cable TV

When I was first learning how to live on a budget, Sky TV was one of the first expenses I cut.

The truth is, most of the time with Sky you’re paying for a bunch of channels you don’t watch. Streaming means you’re more likely to use what you pay for every month.

For example, we have:

Altogether, I pay about £25 for these channels compared to the £75 I used to pay for Sky. That’s a massive saving if £600 per year!

If you haven’t made the switch from Sky/cable to streaming yet, that’s 600 reasons to give it a shot.

Related post:

Would you like to cut back your expenses, to save money? but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Gym membership

I have been guilty of this, having a gym membership I never used.

The money would be coming out my bank account every month, while I’m trying to convince myself I would start to use it.

You need to get rid of it – ASAP

If you haven’t been using it regularly and consistently for months on end you are not going to do it now.

According to This Is Money, Brits waste a collective £25billion a month each year on subscriptions they don’t use or want, and a massive 12% of that is on gym memberships alone!

That’s a whole lot of money!

If you don’t use your gym membership, look at alternative ways of exercise instead. I have invested in resistant bands and an exercise bike. I prefer this way, and there are plenty of workout tutorials on YouTube to follow.

If your finances are tight, then this one has to go!

 

Branded food/drinks

People love brands names, but in my opinion, the majority of the time, you are paying just for the name!

I have ditched name products and shop at Aldi and sometimes Lidl majority of time. There are alternative items of food/drink, are just as good if not better in some cases.

15-things-to-quit-to-save-money

The money you save week in week out is massive!

The Same goes with clothes, I use to buy brand and designer all the time. Not anymore, there are cheaper alternatives out there, such as Boohoo, Primark and ASOS where you can look smart for cheaper.

As long as I look good and feel comfortable in my clothes and shoes, that’s all that matters to me, not what branded name I’m wearing.

Top tip:

See my post on cutting back grocery spending:

 

 

Bottled water

We tend to not notice how expensive and how much it adds up when we are constantly buying bottled water.

A lot of us are also brought up believing that tap water is less healthy and more poisonous because of the smell of chlorine but there is a simple solution to changing that.

if you put a jug of water covered in fridge the chlorine taste will disappear, you just need to make sure that you replace it every 24 hours because there wouldn’t be enough chlorine to prevent bacteria growing if you keep it in the fridge for longer without changing it.

I used to love sparkling water and it had to be a particular brand because of the bubbles, it cost £1 per litre plus the average bottle of water is about 80p.

If you drink about 5lts a day on average as a household and each bottle cost 50p that means you will spend £2.50 a day on water. That is £17.50 a week, £70 a month and a whopping £840 a year.

 

Eating out

Eating out is a nice treat for every now and again, but when you get into the habit of dining out because you can’t be bother to cook, it becomes and expense game.

After a long day a work, when you’re tired, it’s just the easier option. I’ve done it before, we’ve all done it at one point of time. The thought of cooking after a stressful day is a chore, but there are ways around this.

Batch cooking food is a great way to give yourself a break from the kitchen. For example, you could cook a batch of meals at the weekend and then freeze them. Each day you will then have a meal prepared without having to cook from scratch.

I do this with my workout meals for the week, it saves me a lot of time.

For a family of four, just by eating out a few times a month, you are talking about a few hundred pounds/dollars per month, if not more.

Top tip:

Supercooks is a website that helps you re-create recipes from leftovers.

Just list out the ingredients and let SuperCooks tell you what to cook! Never again will you have to stare at those leftovers in the fridge and wonder what to do with it.

 

 

Branded fizzy drinks

I know fizzy drinks aren’t the healthiest and I’ll admit to drinking more of them than I probably should. However, I don’t drink alcohol anymore, so it’s nice having something I really like to sip on of an evening.

I know plenty of people that will only drink one of the other of the leading brands of fizzy drink, especially cola, but with the introduction of the sugar tax and supermarket offers seeming to be less frequent we found we were paying between £1.50 and £2.00 a bottle.

Giving up fizzy drinks completely would, of course, have been the most frugal thing to do – but we found this ended up making it a sort of forbidden fruit and we’d end up popping to the corner shop and getting some even though the prices were crazy expensive just because we were craving.

So as a money-saving compromise we decided to try and find an alternative that was reasonably palatable. I’ll be honest, nothing does taste quite as good as the branded ones but we have got used the cheaper version and the savings are worth it.

Our favourite is Aldi’s own brand Lemonade and Orangeade. At around 40p a bottle it’s about a 3rd of the price of the real thing.

 

Pre-packed/ prepped fruit and vegetables

It comes as no surprise that convenience cost more money. supermarkets charge you to cut your products for you. Prime example:  FRUIT; you buy a whole pineapple (800g and peeled yourself) and it will cost you £1, you buy pre-packed chopped pineapple and for the equivalent size you will pay £4 meaning you are being charged £3 for conveniences. This premium expense goes across most pre-packed products.

vegetables

Solution: Buy food that is fresh and whole and pay yourself the premium and chop it up yourself. This goes for microwave meals and grated cheese as well.

Savings: Using the pineapple theory as an example, if you a super pineapple fan and you buy it twice a week which is equivalent to buying one big one. That is £4 a week, £16 a month, £192 a year

Just to add up the total savings just from the three items above before we continue, we have saved a grand total of £1542/ $2000.

 

 

Brand named medication/drugs

From allergy pills to pain relief and everything in between, the brand-named versions of over-the-counter medication/drugs are sometimes up to four times more expensive than their generic counterparts. That’s insanity!

When looking for tablets and medicines, check the active ingredients on the side of the box to help you find a cheaper alternative to the expensive branded versions.

medication

You can even go one step further and check the PL Code, which is a unique number given to each drug on the market.

Sometimes the exact same tablets made by the exact same manufacturers are packaged in different boxes and sold at very different prices.

Find out more from the Money Saving Expert.

 

Items just because they on sale

In the past, the sale section used to be my weakness. I would buy items just because they were on sale. I thought the deals were too good to pass up. Even if I didn’t really need the item, I convinced myself to buy it by saying “I might use/wear this someday”.

Now when I think about my previous spending habits, that logic seems kind of silly. Today I stopped buying items just because they are on sale. Instead, I only buy items if I need them or I have the money available in my budget to purchase them.

 

Starbucks/fancy coffee

Oh, who doesn’t love a fancy coffee? But seriously, if you’re a bit of a coffee addict and find yourself popping into your favourite coffee shop on your way to work every day, think about how much the cost of those coffees is adding up over a month!

Cutting down the coffees so it’s an occasional treat rather than an everyday thing can make huge savings.

You don’t have to give up coffee of course – invest in a good thermos or travel mug and bring your own with you.

 

Takeaways

This one is hard; I’m a total sucker for a takeaway! Especially when you’ve had a hard day and you just don’t have the energy to cook. The option of someone else cooking your food and bringing it to your door is just so tempting!

They are expensive though, so trying to reduce the number of takeaways you buy can really save money on your budget.

A great idea is to make sure you include some really easy meal options when you go shopping, so that when you’re feeling exhausted you still have something super easy you can just throw in the oven.

 

Impulse purchases

As a former shopaholic, I know all about making impulse purchases. That rush of excitement when something catches your eye and the instant feeling of gratification when you’re about to make a purchase.

But after the purchase has been made, those happy feelings seem to disappear as quickly as they came. Soon they’re replaced by feelings of guilt or frustration regarding the impulse buy.

One of the ways I’ve been able to improve my spending habits is by asking myself the following questions before making a purchase:

  • Why am I here?
    Am I here because I’m bored? Is it because I’m sad or feeling lonely? Did I have a bad day?
  • How will I pay for it?
    Can I afford to pay for this using cash today? Do I need to put it on credit?
  • What if I wait?
    Do I really need this? Will I still want this a month from now? Does this purchase align with my spending goals and values?
  • What else can I do with this money?
    Is this the best way to spend this money? Can I use it for something else? Can I put it into my savings or towards paying off debt?

 

Impulse items near the checkout

The checkout lane at the grocery store is a danger zone, my friend. The aisles are filled with crap that you don’t need but is oh-so-tempting, am I right?

There are two ways to avoid falling into the impulse buy trap when checking out.

One, commit to developing serious tunnel vision when it’s time to pay. Or two, take advantage of your grocery store’s pick-up service.

Most of the time pick-up is free when you have a minimum dollar amount on your order. Letting someone else shop for you means you don’t have to worry about spending on impulse.

 

Uber-ing everywhere

You may think that getting around isn’t too expensive, but if you do it enough times, it can be. It might be like a reflex for you at this point, but if where you’re going isn’t too far, try to resist the impulse of using that all too familiar app.

 

Gadgets

Nowadays, the gadgets we own have become a status symbol; if you don’t own the latest iPhone, then that’s just sad. Here’s the truth: that kind of thinking is not only shallow, but laughably immature. As early as now, you should have the mindset that your material possessions are good for as long as they serve their purpose.

 

15 things to quit to save money – Final thought

Making small changes to your shopping habits is one of the best money saving ideas out there.

These might only be small purchases and a few pounds here and there, but it makes a difference and it all adds up pretty quickly.

Just by cutting out these unnecessary purchases, you could save thousands in a year. I don’t know about you, but I’d say that’s worth giving up my daily Starbucks for.

What are your money saving tips? I would love to hear them.

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Save Money board for later!

save-money

 

 

 

 

 

 



one-income

How to live on one income? Simple Guide

Today I will be talking about how to live on one income in a two income world.

It is hard to overcome the emotions and the feelings of living with less money.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. It is easy to thrive when living on one income.

Life is about happiness – not money. Money doesn’t equal happiness.

It doesn’t matter the reason you may have choose or been forced into living on one income.

That isn’t what we are going to discuss today. Life happens.

Living on one income in a two income world may have been what you wanted, or it was thrown upon you. Regardless, you can survive and thrive in your current situation.

So, in the end, you don’t need more money in your life. Just to be purposeful with what money you have.

You can live on one income!

You may be still wondering, so… how do people survive on a single income? We are going to cover that and give you specific ways to living on one income.

Plus, you can find plenty of tips to make it more enjoyable and find success!

 

 

How to live on one income?

Today, we are going to layout the exact information you need to be successful with living on one income.

You will find the process harder at the beginning, but over time it will become easier and easier.

Whether you want to stay at home parent, a health issue, a forced layoff, or a personal choice, you are going to find tips for living on one income.

 

Make a budget

All of my posts seem to start with “you need a budget”, but without one, your finances will never improve.

If you’ve been avoiding doing a budget because you think a budget is restrictive, I’m going to tell you that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

A budget is freedom and what you will most likely find from doing one is that you’re going to feel like you got a big, fat raise!

I’ll never forget the first time I did a budget. We had so many leaks in our finances. What I mean by that is that we were making too much money to be as broke as we were.

But the problem was we had no idea where the money was going.

how-to-live-on-one-income

When you first start budgeting, it’s not only a good idea but absolutely necessary to track your spending.

This will give you a clearer picture of where your money is actually going.  A great place to start would be to begin writing everything that you spend, down.

After a month, you will begin to see a clear picture. Your bank statements are another excellent resource for finding out where your money went.

When I put everything down on paper, I found money that we didn’t know we had and where the leaks were in our budget.

You’ll be amazed that when you begin to give every dollar/pound a name, you’ll most likely have more money to work with.

Related post:

Would you like to know how to create a budget, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Check your habits and track your spending

Always track your spending and be aware of their money routes. If you will not track your spending, your budgeting will not be as efficient as it should be.

Before budgeting for your next month, when you track your last month’s spending, it becomes easy to create a budget and make any changes you need for your next month.

You might agree with me that every purchase we make seems to be very important to us. We are living in a materialistic culture, where much of the attention is given to owning things, even if we don’t need it.

I think you will agree with me on this one that If you want to achieve financial freedom, you have to track your spending and figure out the unnecessary purchases.

It will be easy to figure out your budget when you know, exactly where your money is coming and where it is going. There are a lot of apps to track your expenses but you can do it old school way also.

Take your pen and paper, and start writing down your expenses. This is the best habit you can develop to stay debt-free.

Related post:

Would you like advice on cutting down your monthly expenses, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Decide your debt payment

There’re two schools of thought on a debt payment approach.

Whichever option you choose, you start by making minimum payment for all debts.

Then you pick one debt to attack at a time.

In choosing which debt to attack first, you have two options: you either pay down the debt with a high interest rate (the debt avalanche method) or attack the smallest debt, regardless of interest rate (the debt snowball method).

The Debt Avalanche Method

Choosing the debt with the highest interest rate. 

This debt payment method will save you more money than the debt snowball method, since you repay the debt with a high interest rate first.

If saving money on interest rates motivates you, go with this method and work your way down from the high interest rate debts.

The Debt Snowball Method

Choosing the smallest debt regardless of interest rates. 

This debt payment method plays on our psychology than a monetary gain.

If you have, say, 5 credit cards debts, paying off the smallest debt gives you a sense of victory and achievement early into your debt paying journey.

It may cost you more money than the debt avalanche method, but encouragement from an early win inspires you to continue attacking the remaining debts.

 

 

Set specific financial goals

Having financial goals is great because it keeps you motivated to work towards something you actually want to achieve.

Financial goals are very subjective and not one size fits all. One person’s financial goal might be to become a millionaire by 50, and another person’s goal might be to get out of debt by 30.

It all depends on you and your specific circumstances.

Once you know what your goals are related to your finances, you can start coming up with a plan.

goals

If you are someone who has a lot of debt and wants to pay it off before you turn 30, look at how much you owe. Then, calculate how much you would have to pay every month until you reach 30 to pay it all off.

Sometimes, you may find that you can’t reach those goals in the exact time-frame you set out for yourself.

And that’s ok. In that case, set smaller goals which will ultimately get you to your bigger goals and to where you want to be with your finances.

Related post:

Want help setting goals? See my post for setting SMART financial goals:

 

 

Have an emergency fund

Take some of the stress out of life by building up a solid emergency fund for rainy days.

It’s not a case of if you’ll need that money someday, it’s when.

Boilers break, cars need repairing, jobs don’t work out and unexpected bills can land on your doorstep at any moment. If you’re not financially prepared for these situations, then you can end up resorting to credit cards or loans to help you out. That’s how you end up in serious debt, and it makes an already stressful situation much, much worse.

Work on building up a rainy-day fund that’s enough to cover 3-6 months (or more if you can!) worth of bills and living expenses should you not be able to work for any reason.

Related post:

Would you like to know how to create a emergency fund, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Pay your bills on time

I cannot stress the importance of making sure you pay your bills on time. I know there are situations that occur that are sometimes out of our control but being financially savvy and creating good money habits is about avoiding debt and financial trouble.

There are legitimate reasons why you may not be able to pay your bills on time but there are also reasons that just boil down to not making the correct money decisions.

Your bills should come before anything else. That’s why I always recommend paying your bills as soon as you’ve been paid. That way all the important stuff is out of the way and you don’t have to worry about keeping your money back to pay off your bills.

Aligning all your bill payment dates is another really handy tip to ensure that your bills are all getting paid on time. Make sure all your bills have the same payment date or are very close together rather than being spread out across the month.

 

Negotiate your bills

Unfortunately, you can’t cut them completely but chances are you can lower them. Most people miss this one because they think bills are bills and there’s nothing you can do about them, but that is the farthest thing from the truth.

Start by calling around to make sure you have the best deal. 

reduce-your-expenses

You can also cut your heating bill by 3% for every degree you move your thermostat.

Many companies offer a discount if you sign up for autopay. Make sure to ask because sometimes they only apply the discount if you ask for it.

We also cut our internet bill in half by asking about their current promotions. This alone saved us £360 this year. Once you start adding up all savings you found on bills, you’ll find several hundred pounds/dollars in savings

 

Know the difference between want and need

Another important habit to have is the ability to know the difference between a want and a need. Making a poor purchase on a want will give you temporary satisfaction, while buying something that you need will be enjoyed long after and won’t be a straining burden on your finances.

When you’re weighing a purchase, you need to take a look at whether it will add more value to your life, or if it will be a setback in your long-term goals.

That’s not to say that you should never buy something that brings pleasure, but you should always consider what value it adds to your life.

Related post:

Would you like to know how to complete a no spend month to save money? Then see the post below:

 

 

Save save save

This might sound strange but it’s so important to save if you can.

For a long time, we didn’t save any money, partly because we felt that we weren’t in a financial position to be able to do so but also because we just weren’t used to it.

Saving actually felt like a punishment.

In order to save money, you have to have a positive attitude towards it.

You must habitually, purposefully do it otherwise you won’t do it at all. Believe me, I’ve been there.

In the past, the only time I have successfully managed to save was when there was something that I really wanted and my goal was to reach it.

Like the time we needed a bigger house or the time we needed a second car.

Set yourself saving goals, long term ones as well as short term goals. This will make it so much easier for you to save up your money.

 

 

Have a positive money mindset

A money mindset is the attitude you have towards your financial situation.

If you have a negative mindset and continuously think this is the best you can do and it won’t get any better, then that’s where you’re going to be stuck.

If you always focus on what’s wrong, it’ll be impossible to stay motivated. By changing to a positive money mindset, you’ll start making better choices about your finances.

People who are never broke know that money always comes back to them. Just keep thinking to yourself or saying there’s more where that came from.

Related post:

Would like to learn more about how implementing a money mindset can help you achieve financial freedom and live a happier life? Then the post below:

 

 

Put side-hustle money to one side

I made the decision that any side hustle money was to be put in a separate pot.  I’m not what motivated me to do this in the first place but it worked wonders.

Seeing my side-hustle income grow independently made me realise how hard I hard been working to achieve it.  It also inspired me to make more.

When the figure didn’t grow much over one month, it would give me a kick up the bottom to find more ways of producing income.

Related posts:

Interested in earning some extra cash through a side hustle? Then see the posts below:

 

 

How to live on one income – Final thought

If you want to live off of one income then you need to work out a plan together. If you aren’t on the same page then it will be hard to manage your finances.

Plan out a budget together and discuss what goals you want to accomplish financially and how you will do that.

I hope these steps were helpful. Living on less is completely achievable with a little bit of work and a lot of consistency!

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Debt board for later!

one-income



Quickest Way To Pay Off Debt!

Today I will be talking you through the quickest way to pay off debt.

Britain is in the midst of a debt crisis. The average UK citizen now owes a whopping £8,000 in debt – and that’s not even including their mortgage payments!

There are millions of people out there who can’t make ends meet, pay off debt and living payday to payday. They worry that a debt-free future will forever remain an impossible dream.

Here’s another shocking statistic: The Financial Conduct Authority reports that 4.1 million UK adults are in financial difficulty.

This means that they are struggling to pay domestic bills and manage their credit repayments.

 

 

Are you swamped in debt?

Are you one of those people sitting on a pile of debt and looking for the fastest way to pay it off?

Depending on the amount of debt, paying off debt can take years.

This might sound frustrating, but think about how long it took to accumulate debt.

Whether it’s a student loan, credit card debts, personal loans, car loans, or a combination of all, we have accrued debt over a long period of time.

quickest-way-to-pay-off-debt

So, make peace with the existing debt and the time it’ll take to pay off – it’s what it is – and most of all, give yourself a pat that you’re looking into ways to pay off debt and take action.

It’s the burying our head in the sand that makes us miserable, depressed and stressed. 

The moment you decide to take action and tackle debt (as you are now!), you reclaim a control of your finance.

You no longer let your debt situation bring you down.

By the time you finish this post and implement the suggestions outlined, you’ll feel more optimistic about paying off debt with an actual plan to make debt go away in the shortest time possible.

 

Quickest way to pay off debt

Here’s the first thing you need to do to pay off debt quickly.

 

Know all your debt

If you have paid little attention to each debt or avoid knowing exactly how much your total debt is, now is time to get up close and personal with all your debt.

We want to know everything about the existing debt, e.g., the type of debt, the amount, interest rate, the minimum payment and the payment due date.

I suggest you dedicate a notebook for this and write down everything.

Related post:

Would you like to learn more about advice on how to pay off debt, but don’t know where to start? Then see our posts below:

 

 

Take one snap shot of debts

Expanding on the above, devote a page of your chosen notebook to list all your debts in details.

Write them down with details: the type of debt (credit cards or store cards), the amount owed, interest rate, the minimum payment and due date.

Now you have a full picture of how many debts you have and the total amount of debt.

This one-page summary tells you exactly where you stand right now.

 

Decide your debt payment method

There’re two schools of thought on a debt payment approach.

Whichever option you choose, you start by making minimum payment for all debts.

Then you pick one debt to attack at a time.

In choosing which debt to attack first, you have two options: you either pay down the debt with a high interest rate (the debt avalanche method) or attack the smallest debt, regardless of interest rate (the debt snowball method).

The Debt Avalanche Method

Choosing the debt with the highest interest rate. 

This debt payment method will save you more money than the debt snowball method, since you repay the debt with a high interest rate first.

If saving money on interest rates motivates you, go with this method and work your way down from the high interest rate debts.

The Debt Snowball Method

Choosing the smallest debt regardless of interest rates. 

This debt payment method plays on our psychology than a monetary gain.

If you have, say, 5 credit cards debts, paying off the smallest debt gives you a sense of victory and achievement early into your debt paying journey.

It may cost you more money than the debt avalanche method, but encouragement from an early win inspires you to continue attacking the remaining debts.

 

 

Pick one that suits you

Know your psychological tendency and pick the method that will serve you better in eliminating overall debt.

If you’re an emotional spender, for example, the debt snowball method will highly likely work out better for you.

quickest-way-to-pay-off-debt

Remember, there’s no right or wrong.

The one you choose is the right one for you.

Once you’ve chosen the right method, consult your one-page summary above and pick your first debt to attack.

Related post:

Would you like learn more about bad money management? Then see out post below:

 

 

 Automate your payments

Having made a list of all debts, decided the right debt payment method and picked the first debt to attack, set up an automate minimum payment for all debts, so you never miss payment and incur fees.

It also frees up your mental energy for other important things with one less decision to make.

And it stops you from dwelling on debt until it’s time to review it.

 

Throw all the money into one debt

Having set up a minimum payment for all debts, it’s time to laser focus on the one debt you have picked to attack.

Throw every spare money into paying down the debt.

Whether you receive unexpected money, a bonus from work or an extra income from side hustles, the spare money goes to this one debt until it’s paid off.

And do this relentlessly until you pay off all debts.

 

Be realistic with debt payment

Yes, throw all spare money into paying down debt and be reckless, but make sure you take care of your needs first.

Planning to eat ramen every day until you pay off debt, for example, will backfire your debt pay off plan.

Not only will it make you unhealthy and miserable, you’ll most likely give up.

It’s better to have a realistic goal and see it through than beaten by an unattainable goal, back to the square one and feel bad about it.

Related post:

Would like to learn more about how implementing a money mindset can help you achieve financial freedom and live a happier life? Then the post below:

 

 

Enjoy detoxing from spending

Debt paying off journey is an opportunity to detox ourselves from spending.

Buying quality stuff to enjoy a comfortable life is one thing, attaching so much meaning to material possessions is a whole different story.

By putting a lid on mindless and emotional spending, we regain control of ourselves and our life, focusing on what’s really important to us.

Related post:

Would you like advice on cutting down your monthly expenses, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Read good finance books

Learning is always good, but reading finance books during your debt pay journey is even better.

Good finance books will inspire you to keep up with paying off debt and help you understand why you do what you do.

Besides, we all can benefit from learning the magic of compound interest that enables us to live a financially independent life.

 

Be aware of friends and family

Keep financially savvy friends close – those who are on the same journey as you – and stay away from friends who encourage you to spend money.

Peer pressure is one of the most meaningless things, but difficult to let go.

Make it easier for you by hanging out with the right people so you can maintain your debt pay off commitment.

 

Keep 10% for yourself

This important principle in building personal wealth is based on pay for yourself first budget.

You might think saving is the last thing you want to do when you’re buried deep under debt, but saving for yourself makes you feel secure about unforeseeable events in the future.

Saving also boosts your spirits as, by saving, you know your life isn’t just about being a slave to debt but learning discipline, figuring what’s truly matter in life and preparing for your future.

 

Ditch your credit cards

If you’ve accrued debt from various credit cards spending, it’s time to reset your money habits and eliminate temptation of spending.

You can definitely undo bad money habits.

Start by leaving the monsters at home!

Do not carry credit cards. Don’t go online shopping. Don’t get tempted by bargains/sales.

credit-card

Do not rationalise your spending with:

It’s only $/£5

Oh, it’s buy 1 get 1 free – I’ll need it 6 months later…

If not buying today doesn’t inconvenience you, you probably don’t need it.

Racking up more debt will seriously hamper our progress.

Learn to live without credit cards by practising cash only challenges regularly.

I can tell you from my experience that it’s not only beneficial to our bank balance, but it’s also fun.

Related posts:

Want to learn more about paying off credit card debt? Then see out post below:

 

 

Add a side-hustle

Increase Your Earning Power, hustlers are everywhere, you can be one too.

Start hustling while keeping your day job.

Not only will it make you money, you’ll also discover your new passion or/and talent.

You’ll be more conscious about the way you spend time, learn tons of stuff, increase your skillsets, become a more valuable/high skilled employee, have a better chance of promotion and pay increase or, who knows, go on becoming the next millionaire!

Most of all, you haven’t got time to check out what’s the next shiny thing to buy!

Related posts:

Interested in earning some extra cash through a side hustle? Then see the posts below:

 

 

Quickest way to pay off debt – Final Thoughts

If you follow the suggestions outlined in this post and take immediate action, trust me, money worries will go away as you take control of your finance.

Look at your one-page summary, think about your motivational factor as mentioned, set up an automate payment for all debts, choose your first debt to attack, throw all the spare money into it and repeat the process until debt becomes history.

With a solid debt pay off plan in place, you’ll start enjoying a money stress free life even if you have debt.

Debt no longer brings your spirits down because you’ve taken the control of it.

You start shifting your attention to things that bring you joy and start living.

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Debt board for later!

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pin1

Improve your finances – Simple Guide!

Today I will be talking about how you can improve your finances.

Have you ever looked at your finances and wondered what you could to do to improve them? Even if you are in a great financial position, I am sure there is something you may want to change.

If you’re struggling to handle your money and stressed about paying the bills, good financial management can seem out of reach. But your finances can improve with a bit of ongoing effort and diligence.

Just like improving your tennis swing or your piano playing, you can develop smart money practices with some practice each day too.

Your financial situation won’t change overnight, but you’ll find yourself more knowledgeable about finances and better at money management over time.

Here’s some tips on how to improve your finances.

 

 

Improve your finances

Make a budget

All of my posts seem to start with “you need a budget”, but without one, your finances will never improve.

If you’ve been avoiding doing a budget because you think a budget is restrictive, I’m going to tell you that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

A budget is freedom and what you will most likely find from doing one is that you’re going to feel like you got a big, fat raise!

I’ll never forget the first time I did a budget. We had so many leaks in our finances. What I mean by that is that we were making too much money to be as broke as we were.

But the problem was we had no idea where the money was going.

When you first start budgeting, it’s not only a good idea but absolutely necessary to track your spending.

This will give you a clearer picture of where your money is actually going.  A great place to start would be to begin writing everything that you spend, down.

After a month, you will begin to see a clear picture. Your bank statements are another excellent resource for finding out where your money went.

When I put everything down on paper, I found money that we didn’t know we had and where the leaks were in our budget.

You’ll be amazed that when you begin to give every dollar/pound a name, you’ll most likely have more money to work with.

Related post:

Would you like to know how to create a budget, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Set specific financial goals

Having financial goals is great because it keeps you motivated to work towards something you actually want to achieve.

Financial goals are very subjective and not one size fits all. One person’s financial goal might be to become a millionaire by 50, and another person’s goal might be to get out of debt by 30.

It all depends on you and your specific circumstances.

Once you know what your goals are related to your finances, you can start coming up with a plan.

improve-your-finances

If you are someone who has a lot of debt and wants to pay it off before you turn 30, look at how much you owe. Then, calculate how much you would have to pay every month until you reach 30 to pay it all off.

Sometimes, you may find that you can’t reach those goals in the exact time-frame you set out for yourself.

And that’s ok. In that case, set smaller goals which will ultimately get you to your bigger goals and to where you want to be with your finances.

Related post:

Want help setting goals? See my post for setting SMART financial goals:

 

 

Check your habits and track your spending

Always track your spending and always be aware of your money routes. If you will not track your spending, your budgeting will not be as efficient as it should be. Before budgeting for your next month, when you track your last month’s spending, it becomes easy to create a budget and make any changes you need for your next month.

You might agree with me that every purchase we make seems to be very important to us. We are living in a materialistic culture, where much of the attention is given to owning things, even if we don’t need it.

I think you will agree with me on this one that If you want to achieve financial freedom, you have to track your spending and figure out the unnecessary purchases.

It will be easy to figure out your budget when you know, exactly where your money is coming and where it is going. There are a lot of apps to track your expenses but you can do it old school way also. Take your pen and paper, and start writing down your expenses.

Tracking your spending for even just a month will give you a far clearer picture of where your money is going and what you need to work on in your budgeting plan.

You can use an app if you prefer that method.

I’ve listed a few awesome money trackers below for both UK and US readers:

These are all completely free to sign up to, so take advantage of the software and have a go at tracking your spending and finances for the month.

This is one of the best habits you can develop to improve your finances.

Related post:

Would you like advice on cutting down your monthly expenses, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Make a list of all your debts

Start with your smallest debt, such as a store credit card, and move to your largest, like your mortgage.

Make a note of which debts can be paid off within months, and which could be paid off in a few years. The small debts with the highest percentage fees are the debts that you will want to focus on the most, so you can cross them off of your list and get closer to living debt free.

improve-your-finances

Look for debts that you could possibly consolidate to give you one lower monthly payment instead of several different debts to pay off.

Consolidating your bills to pay off multiple debts with a single monthly payment could help you lower your overall monthly bills and reach your savings goals more quickly.

I would highly recommend the debt snowball method, this is what I used. More info on this can be found below.

Related posts:

Would you like to learn more about advice on how to pay off debt, but don’t know where to start? Then see our posts below:

 

 

Have an emergency fund

Life is full of uncertainties and it’s on us to be prepared for anything that life might throw at us. Do you have a plan in place for the unforeseen circumstances that may arise in future?

How long can you feed your family if you suddenly happen to lose your job?

How much are you prepared if a shutdown were to occur in the company you’re working for?

Well, that’s not me being pessimistic. But everyone wants to have themselves and their family secured at any cost which is why having an emergency fund should be one of your topmost priorities.

Related post:

Would you like to know how to create a emergency fund, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Do a no-spend challenge

No spend challenges can be a great thing to do, no matter where you are in your finances.

A no-spend challenge can be done a few ways. You could choose to not spend in problem areas or impose a total shopping ban by not spending money on anything outside of necessities.

You can do them for a weekend, week, or one month. They’re challenging but effective to do. I’ve done them in the past, journaling in the process, and have always finished them with a new sense of how I spend money.

They can be a good way to get clear on your values and how you want to prioritise your spending.

Related post:

Would you like to know how to complete a no spend challenge? then see our post below:

 

 

Avoid new debt

Don’t get a new loan to pay off your current debt. In addition to paying loan-origination fees, it’s important to note that while your personal loan interest rate could be lower than your credit card rates, you will be locked into a set monthly payment for a specific amount of time, which could be higher than the minimum payments on your credit cards.

This means you could save money in interest, but your monthly payments may be higher, which could reduce your monthly cash flow.

Also, avoid signing up for low-interest credit cards that guarantee cashback. While you may get a little bit of cashback each month, you have to spend money in order to make money.

These cards aren’t worth it in the long run. Instead, pay with cash to avoid racking up credit card debt.

The best new debt to avoid is on a mortgage. Save as much money as you can for a down payment so when you take out a mortgage, the monthly payment will be lower.

Also, you will likely be able to qualify for a lower interest rate on a mortgage if you put down a larger sum of money upfront.

 

Have a positive money mindset

A money mindset is the attitude you have towards your financial situation.

If you have a negative mindset and continuously think this is the best you can do and it won’t get any better, then that’s where you’re going to be stuck.

If you always focus on what’s wrong, it’ll be impossible to stay motivated. By changing to a positive money mindset, you’ll start making better choices about your finances.

People who are never broke know that money always comes back to them. Just keep thinking to yourself or saying there’s more where that came from.

Related post:

Would like to learn more about how implementing a money mindset can help you achieve financial freedom and live a happier life? Then the post below:

 

 

Save save save

This might sound strange but it’s so important to save. If you truly want to achieve financial freedom, then saving must become normal to you.

For a long time, we didn’t save any money, partly because we felt that we weren’t in a financial position to be able to do so but also because we just weren’t used to it.

Saving actually felt like a punishment.

In order to save money, you have to have a positive attitude towards it.

habits-of-debt-free-people

You must habitually, purposefully do it otherwise you won’t do it at all. Believe me, I’ve been there.

In the past, the only time I have successfully managed to save was when there was something that I really wanted and my goal was to reach it.

Like the time we needed a bigger house or the time we needed a second car.

Set yourself saving goals, long term ones as well as short term goals. This will make it so much easier for you to save up your money.

 

 

Look to increase your income

There are a lot of ways you can increase your income these days.

Many people choose to take on second jobs on their own time, such as freelancing or working in direct sales. Or just a part-time side hustle.

personal-finance-hacks

You can also pick up a night job if you typically only work during the day. If your current place of employment could use some more help, talk to your boss about working overtime to get some more hours in.

Another way to increase your monthly cash flow is to consider getting a roommate, or getting on a family plan for your cell phone. You may even consider downsizing your living space if you are paying for a room that you don’t use.

Related posts:

Interested in earning some extra cash through a side hustle? Then see the posts below:

 

 

Check your credit card statements for accuracy

It’s worth looking over your credit card statements each month before you pay the bill. Your credit card company can send you a hard copy of your bill in the mail, or you can get immediate access to it online nowadays.

Check if your credit cards are being used fraudulently or you’re being charged extra fees. In the past, I’ve found mistakes such as being overcharged at a restaurant and being charged for a service I thought was cancelled.

 

Pay your bills on time

Pay your bills before they come due. You’ll avoid unnecessary late charges, which would give you more stress and more to pay.

Set reminders on your physical or electronic calendar so you know when bills are due. Then pay your bills online with a few clicks of the mouse or set up automatic payments so you don’t have to rely on a reminder at all.

Just ensure that you have enough funds in your account on your scheduled payment dates. You can also ask your credit card companies to change your due dates to align better with when you have funds in your accounts.

 

 

Improve your finances – Final thought

When you’re looking for ways to improve your finances, this is quite a list, but when you implement all or even some of these suggestions, you can’t help but see an improvement, not only in your finance, but also life in general.

What are some steps that you have taken to improve your finances?  Leave me a comment below and let me know what they are.

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Finance board for later!

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heating

Reduce Heating Bill – Simple Guide!

Today I will be talking about how to reduce your heating bill.

While I love and appreciate the warmth of our home during these cold months, I do not love the bill!

As the temperatures plummet, heating costs keep rising.

It can get so expensive to heat a house. There are simple ways to save money on your heating bill, and with just a little effort you can make a difference!

Since heating bills are often a large financial burden for every household, anything that can be done to reduce them is surely worthwhile

Here are some easy ways to cut heating costs and save you some cash.

 

 

Reduce heating bill

Change provider

Some energy providers are more expensive than others. By shopping around, you can save yourself quite a bit! The same applies to fixed tariffs, which offer protection against energy-price fluctuations.

It’s definitely worth a few phone calls to bring together a few quotes, and then ask your existing provider if they can lower their rate. If they can’t, then it may be time to jump ship.

 

Pay via direct debit

If you’re paying for your heating via cash or cheque, then the chances are that you’re paying over the odds. Talk to your provider about switching to direct debit, and ask how much you could save.

Some providers will also offer an additional discount to customers who choose to opt out of paper bills and do everything via the internet instead.

 

Double glazing

To reduce heating costs, you could replace older double-glazed windows with newer and more efficient designs, particularly if the seal around the window has broken.

A double-glazed window comprises of two glass panels, and sandwiched between them is a layer of inert gas, typically argon.

This arrangement drastically limits the window’s ability to conduct heat out of the building. So, upgrading to double (or triple) glazed windows can make a significant dent in your energy expenditure.

 

Insulation

Since heat rises through any property, the loft is where most of us concentrate our insulation efforts. By laying thick foam sheets across the floor there, it’s possible to save hundreds of pounds each year.

Homes built after the 1920s come with two sets of walls, between which is a gap cavity. By filling this space with foam, it’s possible to considerably limit the transmission of heat from the interior to the exterior (and vice versa).

 

Ditch electric heating

Of all the different sorts of heating available, electricity is the least efficient. And if you’re using a portable electric heater, this inefficiency is going to be even more glaring.

Get rid of any such devices in favour of efficient fixed radiators.

 

Seal out any draughts

Cold breezes from outside the house can be a bit chilly, not only that but they’ll place a strain on your heating bills too.

It’s important to track them down and seal them before they’ve had a chance to do so. You can get specialised devices that do this job – you simply scan them across the edges of your doors and windows, and they beep when the temperature drops.

Draughts beneath doors can be sealed up temporarily with a long draught-excluder, and permanently by adjusting (or replacing) the door in question.

Related posts:

Want to learn about how living a frugal lifestyle can save you thousands per year? Read more about frugal living in the posts below:

 

 

Keep your boiler filter clean

Regularly changing your boiler filter is important to keep the boiler running efficiently. You can get inexpensive ones if you make sure to change them once a month.

However, if you want to change them a little less often, spring for a better filter. It is so easy to forget to change these filters but doing so really helps the furnace run efficiently.

Little habits now help to prevent larger more expensive problems in the future.

 

Wrap up warm

When we say wrap up warm, we’re not suggesting that you turn off your heating and sit around a freezing interior in winter coats and blankets.

reduce-heating-bills

But a minor adjustment can make an appreciable difference over the course of a year. Put on a jumper and lower the thermostat to below 20°C.

Those few degrees each winter will add up to hundreds of pounds over the years.

 

Install door guards

Another way heat seeps out is through gaps under doors. Door guards are an inexpensive and simple way to stop the heat from escaping and keep cold air out.

This is one of my favourite ways on how to save on heating bill. The selection has come a long way from years past.

Many of these blend right into the door frame so it is hardly noticeable at all. Plus, they are very simple to put on. Anyone can use weather stripping.

 

Replace your boiler

A significant portion of the energy used in your home will go through your boiler. If it hasn’t been replaced in decades, then it’s likely to be hideously inefficient.

You can help matters by getting an entirely new boiler installed. It will take a decade or more to break even on a decent boiler, and thus this is a long-term means of saving money on heating.

Families first moving into a home might consider it; for pensioners and those looking to move on within a few years, other energy-saving measures might be more appropriate.

 

 

Close your curtains

When the warm air in your home is allowed to circulate across the cold glass of your windows, it’ll get much colder.

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You can limit this circulation by drawing your curtains at night-time. If your windows face the sun, then drawing the curtains will allow sunlight to heat the interior.

The heavier the curtains, the better they’ll be at insulating.

 

Close off unused rooms

This one’s pretty simple: Keep doors closed to any rooms that aren’t being used. This prevents cold air from going through the rest of the house.

Plus, it keeps the heat contained in a smaller area, so your heater won’t have to work as hard to warm up the entire house.

 

Monitor your energy usage

It’s easy to lose track of how much you’re spending on energy, especially if you’re busy with other things.

By investing in an energy monitor, you’ll be able to see exactly what times of day your home is using the most energy.

This information will allow you to make the tiny changes that add up over long stretches of time!

Other solutions could include upgrading your heating controls, adding thermostatic valves in each room – or simply turn your thermostat down by one degree.

It all helps!

 

 

Reduce heating bill – Final thought

Heating your home doesn’t have to be an expensive effort. With the right tricks like these, you’ll be comfortable all winter while not breaking the bank.

Try some of these and see how much lower your heating bill gets!

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Save Money board for later!

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Frugal Habits – Simple Guide!

Today I will be talking about frugal habits.

There’s a big movement towards frugality afoot these days. The wisest families are paying attention to what’s going on in the world.

The rest of the folks are blithely going on as they always have, wondering why on earth they keep spending more money each week at the store.

If you are just beginning to move towards a thriftier lifestyle, you might be looking at the big picture.

You could be asking yourself things like; how can I save money on my car? or how can I pay less for that new laptop?

These are all fine things to do – paying less is great, but shopping for a bargain is actually not the key to a frugal lifestyle.

 

 

It’s all about the little habits.

Living a life of thrift and frugality is all about the little habits. It’s about your mindset.

Saving money on enormous expenditures is great, but it is the small daily actions that add up and change your life.

Truly frugal people absolutely LOVE saving money. Embrace these daily habits and make them your own.

You’ll soon see an incredible difference in the way you look at pretty much everything.

Here are 10 frugal habits.

 

Frugal Habits

Frugal people are cost conscious when they shop

Frugal people work hard at spending their money consciously. This includes techniques such as:

  • Know the prices of things they buy regularly, whether by memorisation or by keeping a list
  • Keeping an eye out for sales on things they use regularly or know they will need in the near future
  • Being willing to buy an item used instead of new if it makes sense

Frugal people work to stay cost conscious by thinking carefully before they buy. For instance, if they need a household item such as a ladder, could they find one on Fb market or Gumtree for cheaper than they would by purchasing new?

Can they wait until an item is on sale before they buy it? Can they borrow the item from a friend or relative if it’s something they’ll only need to use once?

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Being cost conscious means thinking carefully before laying down your cash for something, whether it’s a necessity or not.

It involves learning to almost subconsciously ask yourself before every purchase whether or not there is a way you can get the item or experience you are about to spend money on for less.

When it comes to groceries, this might mean menu planning around the sales or using coupons. It might mean buying generic as opposed to buying name brand.

When it comes to entertainment costs such as eating out it might mean only buying the happy hour specials, sharing a meal or finding a 2-for-1 dinner coupon.

Being cost conscious when it comes to vacationing might mean staying at a cheaper hotel or an Airbnb residence that costs less.

It might mean foregoing expensive attractions and taking advantage of the natural scenery at your vacation destination instead.

Cost conscious people work to spend money smarter instead of just for the sake of saving.

 

 

They tell themselves no often

People who are successful at being frugal have learned the art of discipline. In other words, they’ve learned how to tell themselves no.

In today’s instant gratification society that can be a tough habit to pin down. Many people have become used to following their desires up with instant purchases.

Online shopping conveniences means you don’t have that extra time to get in the car and drive to the store as you are considering purchasing that new TV you want. You just add the TV to your online shopping cart, check out and it’s on its way.

The same goes for restaurant meals. Most chain restaurants will deliver your favourite meal on their menu with one quick phone call.

The lack of work needed to buy stuff and spend money these days has lulled many people into a lack of discipline when it comes to spending.

Frugal people work hard to exercise and practice that discipline, though. They take the time to think about their purchases and whether or not those purchases are the best use of their money.

They consider whether the purchase will bring them closer to their financial goals or take them further away from those goals. They think about how much value a purchase will bring to their life: Will the purchase provide lasting value or happiness, or will the joy from the purchase be short lived?

Using Visualisation to Stay Disciplined

Telling yourself no about a lot of purchases can be difficult. One of the tools we use to help us stay on track and avoid unnecessary purchases is the tool of visualisation.

For example, the main car you drive is twelve years old. Sometimes you get so sick and tired of driving that thing. Sometimes it’s tough when loved ones get new cars.

However, when you take the time to envision how you would feel if we were burdened with a huge car payment (the average car payment these days is a whopping £402 a month), it suddenly becomes much easier to avoid buying a newer car.

You focus on the fact that our car is in really good shape for its age. It runs well, has minimal rust and was a top-of-the-line model in its day. You might have bought it used for £/$8,000 and paid cash.

You would need to get used to the wonderful feeling of not having a car payment, and using visualisation to help us stay away from taking on another one really helps us avoid those times when you get drawn into wanting shiny stuff.

Telling yourself no about purchases that don’t truly bring value to your life might not be easy at first, but over time it will become a habit you’ll likely learn to embrace if you are willing to practice it.

They will sacrifice quality – when it makes sense

Some people confuse being frugal with being cheap. The truth is there is a major difference between the two.

Cheap people sacrifice quality at every turn. Frugal people know when to sacrifice quality and know when it’s better to spend more.

For instance, many frugal people – although they stick to a budget – won’t sacrifice quality when it comes to gift giving. They also won’t sacrifice quality when it comes to a purchase, they’ll use long-term.

If the purchase is a household item such as a table for instance, they may buy a quality product knowing they’ll keep that table for a good twenty years.

In our family one of the ways, we’ve learned to know when to sacrifice quality and when not to is in terms of eating out. We used to eat out a lot.

Now when we eat out, we’re willing to go to a higher quality restaurant, but we only do it two or three times a year.

On the other hand, we won’t spend a lot of money on things such as school supplies. We buy the cheap notebooks and the budget folders knowing they’ll serve the kids just as well as the expensive stuff.

Sacrificing quality when purchasing a product that you’ll use for a long time or use a lot will probably just end up costing you more money in the long run.

However, sacrificing quality on an item that is for short-term use or that just doesn’t need to be a quality item is often worth the savings.

Learning the difference might take some trial and error on your part, but with a little experimentation you can learn what items are worth buying for less and what items are worth spending more on.

 

They value their money down to the penny

Frugal people understand that every penny counts. My husband and I got into tens of thousands of dollars of debt with an It’s only (5, 10, 20, 50 or any random number that fit the purchase) dollars/pounds attitude.

There were no huge purchases or vacations – It was that revelation that made us understand that every penny really does count when it comes to living a life where we’re spending our money on what is most important to us.

Today we routinely work to save pennies (as long as it doesn’t take too much time or effort) on nearly everything we buy in order to free up money for meeting our goals of debt freedom.

We also routinely put extra pennies and pounds into our savings and toward our mortgage.

Sometimes it feels pointless to add an extra few quid to a loan payment or savings deposit, but after nearly five years of understanding the value of a penny, we’ve learned that those extra little bits of cash can really add up.

As an example, let’s say you take out a $/£200,000 mortgage on a thirty-year note with a four percent interest rate.

If you pay an additional $/£1 per day on that mortgage note as an additional principal payment, you’ll shave 1 year and 8 months off of your mortgage, paying it off in 28 years and 4 months instead of thirty years.

While that may not seem like a lot of time when you are looking at a thirty-year mortgage, you’ll be glad when you get to year 28 and you’ve only got four months to pay instead of two more full years.

Start taking your spare coins and dollars/pounds and saving them for a financial goal such as saving for a vacation or using them to put toward early debt payoff. I’ll bet you’ll save more than you thought you would.

Related posts:

Learn more about what a money mindset is below, and how to achieve one:

 

 

They save their money consistently – and Save First

Having a consistent savings plan is highly important to many frugal people. They believe firmly in developing a habit of saving money.

For many frugal gurus, this usually means having an automatic transfer made into their savings account each and every payday. In other words, treat your savings just as you would any other bill.

Another part of saving money that is important to frugal people is paying themselves first. That means they put money into savings (and leave it there) before they pay anything else – including their rent or mortgage.

By learning to develop a habit of paying yourself first and paying yourself every payday without fail, you get used to learning to live on your post-savings income.

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This is set it and forget attitude will help you spend less and grow your savings almost effortlessly, and before you know it, you’ll have a nice-sized pile of cash with which to cover emergencies or pay cash for an important purchase.

Your employer may be able to help you save first by putting a percentage of your pay into a separate savings account, or your bank may be able to help you by scheduling an automatic transfer each week or month from checking to savings.

Another way you might follow the frugal people and make saving easier is to open a savings account at a different bank, such as:

Some banks offer high interest savings accounts that can pay 1% and sometimes even more – a much higher savings account interest rate than you’ll find at most other financial institutions.

By having your savings account at a separate bank from your checking account, you’ll be less likely to dip into it than you would if it was at the same bank you have your checking account at.

 

 

They work to make things last by repairing before buying

Frugal people are great at working to make things last as long as they can before they spend the money to replace them. As you saw in the story I mentioned earlier, back in the days of the Great Depression that meant placing cardboard inserts in shoes to prolong their use.

You don’t have to go that far to be considered frugal, but learning to repair things or make due even if they’re not perfect will help you save money.

For example: You could have a garage that is heated by a big propane gas heater. A part goes in it. You call the local repair shop to get an estimate for our make and model of heater, they quoted you a price of nearly $/£250.

Replacing the large heater would cost almost $/£1,000.

If you did a little online research you could find the part for $/£47 at a shop about 25 miles from your house.

You find a YouTube video that showed it could be done pretty easily. So, you decide to try and do the repair yourself.

You complete the repair and save a lot of money on the process.

Many times, things break and can be repaired, or don’t necessarily need to be repaired.

It’s tough to go against the grain sometimes: many other families don’t. But frugal people don’t let appearance dictate how they spend; instead, they live with imperfect stuff for the sake of reaching their financial goals.

 

They take advantage of community resources

In many communities, there is a plethora of community resources that make for free entertainment or help in other ways.

Frugal people keep abreast of these resources and how they can utilise them in order to save money. Here is a short list of some of the free resource’s communities share with their citizens.

The library

Your local public library likely has a large selection of books you can read (either for education or entertainment purposes), movies you can rent or social events you can attend. Taking advantage of these resources can save bundles of cash.

Local entertainment

Many cities and towns show free movies, put on free concerts or other free shows and put together other free events in the name of unity and fun. The best part about many of these events is that they are FREE.

Check out your local community paper or city website to see what types of free entertainment your city offers.

Free or cheap housing maintenance items

Many cities and counties offer freebies or items at terrific cost savings to help you maintain your home.  In my county, they regularly send out coupons for large discounts at the recycling centre.

They also have occasional days where you can bring in recyclable items such as electronics or hazardous materials for free (If you want to take a bit of extra time, however, you can actually earn money and get paid to recycle computers or other types of electronics).

In addition, every spring our county offers residents the chance to buy a wide variety of trees at a deeply discounted price. Everything from fruit trees to maples, oaks and more are available to help landscape yards and provide self-sufficient food supplies at a very affordable price.

Local newspapers and city and county websites are great resources for being able to find free or cheap solutions for caring for your house and yard.

Check out the many community resources in your area that can help you save money.

 

They keep long term money goals in mind

Another habit of frugal people is that they keep their long-term money goals at the forefront of their mind. Staying aware of long-term money goals means less temptation to spend.

It’s well known that keeping on track with long-term money goals can be tough. It can be difficult to avoid frivolous spending when you’ve still got to save another $/£150,000 to pay off your mortgage or another /£$400,000 in order to reach your early retirement goal.

One way frugal people help stay aware of their long-term goals is to use visualisation. Some people create a poster board that represents their financial dreams and goals.

Other people keep a list in their wallet of what they’ll do when they reach debt freedom or financial independence.

And still other people use mentors and accountability partners to help keep them strong when they’re tempted to spend on something that isn’t in line with their goals.

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Have you taken some time to figure out what your long-term money goals are? What money milestones would bring serious peace and joy to your life?

Would you like to be mortgage free? Pay cash for your kid’s college/university education? Save enough money that you could live off of the interest it earns?

If you haven’t done so already, make a list of your short, medium and long-term financial goals and how you can modify your budget to reach them.

For example, you could increase your extra income by cutting expenses and then open an investment account.

Investing your money may help it grow faster, which means you can reach your goals faster. Then make sure to use one of the ways mentioned above to help keep yourself focused on staying the course and achieving your goals.

Related post:

Would you like to know how to set SMART financial goals, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

They seek out frugal fun

Fun doesn’t have to be costly, and frugal people are often geniuses at finding free or frugal fun. Here are some ideas for fun activities that won’t break your budget.

  • Spend the day at the beach
  • Plan a hiking, biking or walking excursion
  • Call some loved ones and plan a picnic or BBQ
  • Have a weekly or monthly game night at your house
  • See an outdoor concert, movie or other event
  • Go ice skating at a local park that has an ice rink
  • Go camping, fishing or both!

The possibilities for free and inexpensive fun are everywhere. Sit down with loved ones and make a list of things you can do for fun that don’t cost a lot (or anything) and use the list to plan your weekly entertainment schedule.

 

They consistently practice self-development

In Tom Corley’s book, Rich Habits, he outlines many of the habits that rich people share. While not all frugal people are rich, most rich people are frugal.

One of the other habits of frugal people is that they are continually practicing self-development in order to excel both personally and professionally.

Many people who are good with money read non-fiction nearly every day, exercise every day, practice self-education on topics that are important to them and practice living a life of integrity.

In other words, they consistently practice improving themselves.

Are any of the habits listed above habits that you do practice or could practice on a regular basis? And more importantly, are the habits worth it?

 

 

Is being frugal worth it?

I suppose the answer to that question depends on the individual person, but in order to help you answer that question for yourself, you should probably ask yourself a few other questions, such as:

Am I currently spending in a way that is hindering me from living the life I want to live?

Do I have unmet financial goals that could change my life if I reached them?

Would I be unhappy if I was in the same money situation five years from now that I’m in today?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, adopting the habits of frugal people in order to find more money to save and invest toward your goals can help you go from financially so-so to financially great.

What are your frugal habits? I would love to hear them.

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Frugal Living board for later!

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