Effective Grocery Shopping

Ominous. Overwhelming. Big. Confusing. Any other words come to mind when that dreaded day comes that you have to make that trip to the store to stock up on food? Here are some simple tips to help make your next trip to the grocery store more effective and less stressful:

Shop weekly. If you try to shop once a month or every other week, you will ultimately buy food that spoils. Shopping weekly for specific items prevents that, as well as additional trips to the store for “forgotten” items.

Plan ahead. Decide on Saturday morning what your menu for the week will look like. Determine which ingredients you will need for that week, and hit the grocery store as early as possible to get the best deals on meat and other specials. If you prefer not to shop amongst the crowds, Sunday evenings are also a great time to shop, as there tend to be less people at the store.

Make a list. Using your planned menu, make a list of all ingredients you will need, and stick to it when wandering through the store. Don’t be tempted by “taste testers” or by your kids’ desires for extras. Lists make grocery shopping easier and much more effective than wandering around blindly.

Shop for Health. For healthier food choices, shop the perimeter of the store first. Fresh veggies, meats, dairy, and breads tend to be on the outer perimeters of all grocery stores. Once you have filled your cart with fresher ingredients (remember, your list is for a week), you can then hit the inner aisles for necessities such as pasta, rice, and even frozen pizza for your Friday night meal!

Check for coupons. Saturday and Sunday morning papers, as well as some Friday night papers, will carry coupons for your local market. If you are price-conscious, you will want to use the coupons for items that are cheaper than items you may normally buy to save money. Note the extra money you save, and use it for fun spending, like a night out to dinner or a special trip to your local ice cream store.

Bring your calculator. Especially if you are on a budget, using your calculator with each purchase will help ensure you stay within your budget. You will also avoid purchasing items you don’t need because you will know that you will not be able to afford them.

Eat before you go! Silly, it may seem, but you do not want to go to the grocery store hungry. A curbed appetite will keep you from buying things that sound good to you at the time, but are not really what you had in mind for that week.

Effective grocery shopping can be attained by implementing a few or all of the above items. The most important thing is to ensure that you plan in advance, and stick to your plan. You will save money, time, and spoiled food, as well as potentially learn to enjoy Saturday mornings (or Sunday evenings) at the grocery store.

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Stretching your Grocery Dollars

Shopping for groceries is an inevitable fact of our ever busy lives. We may imagine that we are saving time by dashing in, roaming the aisles and throwing whatever looks good into the cart. Most often, what we end up with is repetitive, nutritionally unbalanced meals and ballooning grocery bills. Maybe worse, we have frequent fast-food stops and pizza calls.

Brighten your meals and save time and money by planning ahead – an added bonus you may even save a few calories. Here are some more money saving tips:

  • Before you visit the grocery store each week, check out the Sunday circulars. Clip coupons while you watch television or get your children to lend a hand. Organization is the key to the coupon game, so invest in an accordion coupon file. Trust me, it’s infinitely easier than rifling through small slips of paper or finding yourself without the coupon you need when you get to the store.
  • Look through the food section of your local newspaper. You’ll get some great ideas about bargains to look for as well as what produce, seafood, etc. is in season. The circulars and the food section are two places to begin building a weekly menu, that isn’t boring, on a budget. It’s also a good idea to comb the Internet. There are a wealth of sites offering ideas for budget menus.
  • Consider joining a shopping club such as Sam’s or Costco. If you don’t have the storage space, but would like to benefit from the savings and convenience of buying in bulk share the bounty with a friend. You can each take a turn shopping from a list once a month or so.
  • Keep your receipts for a month or longer and notice the high, low and average prices on the items you buy most. When the price hits its low, buy a few so that you can skip it when it slides into the high range.
  • Experiment with 5 ingredient meals. There are a number of books, videos and web sites that help you make great meals with only a few ingredients, even on weeknights.
  • Check out sites on the internet for information on rebates, refunds, freebies and other savings. If you do take advantage of rebates, complete forms meticulously and keep copies of receipts, UPC, proof of purchase documentation and contact information for the vendor.
  • Include your local grocer’s weekly circular in your savings plan. When store sales are coupled with the savings cards now offered by many grocers you can save hundreds of dollars each year.
  • Pay attention to promotions. Some grocer’s offer rewards if you spend the target amount within a specified period. Rewards generally include a percentage off of your grocery bill at a later date or cash back.
  • Curb impulse buying. Grocers have developed their floor plans with your dollars in mind; the object, get as many as possible with proper product placement. Learn the layout of your store and make a beeline to your destination. Temptation is especially tough in the check out aisles. Fight the urge to succumb to these powerful marketing practices by making, and sticking to, a list.
  • Try not to shop when you are starved. It makes sense that you are more vulnerable to impulse buying when you are hungry.
  • Make a budget and take a calculator to the store.
  • Compare prices. Store brands are not necessarily least expensive. Take just a moment to scan the shelves for best prices on the items you buy. When comparison shopping, make sure to take note of per unit costs.
  • Look below eye level. Bargain priced items are often shelved below eye level and out of your immediate view.

Grocery shopping can take a big chunk out of your budget if you are not careful. With just a small investment of time you will realize savings that you can take to the bank.

 

 

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Stretch your Clothing Shopping Dollars

To stretch your clothing shopping dollars, you need to have a few tools before you head for the mall. Because believe it or not, a little shopping savvy can not only save you money, no one will ever know you didn’t pay top dollar.

Avoid the Mall
One of the first things you want to do to stretch your clothing shopping dollars is actually don’t head for the mall. Try outlets and online shops, discounters, and catalogs first. You can find most any sort of clothing you’re looking for at reduced prices if you just do a little looking. Plus, you won’t have to fight over parking spaces!

Update your Look
Also, rather than completely give your closet an overhaul at the beginning of each season, update your wardrobe with new extras. Add new ties to dress shirts you already own for an updated look. Or add a fashionable brooch to a still favorite blouse to bring it up to date.

Natural is the way to go
Look for natural fibers. Why? First of all, they tend to last longer. Secondly, they also stay in style longer. Linen and wool are two natural fibers that show up season after season.

Take note of Washing Instructions
And of course, check out the labels for washing instructions. Run from clothing that says dry clean only. The money you’ll save on dry cleaning bill will go a long way toward purchasing new clothes when you need them.

Check the Cut
Carefully check out the cut. Clothing that fits well looks expensive naturally. Also, classic cuts never go out of style. And you can always buy that steal on a classic-style dress or suit and have it tailored. You’ll still save money and have a garment you can wear season after season.

Avoid the Fashion Craze
Don’t fall for the latest designer fashion craze. Think of all the times something is hot one day and out of style the next. Spend your money on basics that you can be pretty assured will still be in style for seasons to come and that can easily be updated to fit new trends.

Buy Ahead
Buy a season ahead. Yes, now you have a reason to hit those after holidays sales. The prices are fabulous and you will be ready for next season. Styles aren’t likely to change a great deal, so you’ll still be fashionable.

Coordinate Clothing
Finally, buy separates that coordinate easily. That way you can mix and match to your heart’s content and still be in style—without ruining your clothing budget.

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Use Coupon Savvy to Save Big on Groceries

If you’re not using coupons to save money on your grocery bill, then you’re spending a lot more for your groceries than you have to. Use these simple tips to save big at the grocery store—without sacrificing quality.

Check your Sunday newspaper
The advertising circulars in your local Sunday paper are an excellent place to find coupons. You’ll find special coupons for drugstores and other stores too. And there’s no rule that says you can’t buy soda at the drugstore—especially if you have a buy one get one free coupon!

Take special notice of the expiration dates
Maybe you don’t need to stock up on tissue or juice right now. Many can be clipped and used at a later time.

Use a coupon organizer
This makes it simple to find and use your coupons to save money anytime you find yourself in a grocery store or drugstore.

Make a grocery list
Then match your coupons to what you need to purchase. And don’t buy anything that’s not on your list, whether you have a coupon or not. Impulse buying can add a lot of money to your grocery budget.

Look for online coupons
There are many sites that offer coupons on a regular basis and these coupons make it easy to save money. Some sites have newsletters and coupon specials, all you have to do is sign up for them.  It’s worth taking the time to do it. Often online coupons offer more savings than newspaper coupons do.

Don’t forget about rebates
A lot of supermarkets and grocery stores have rebate centers. And rebates are a great way to save money. In fact, they often provide more savings than coupons.

Shop on double discount days
This way you double your savings on grocery items. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to save money on your groceries by doing this. In fact, you may save so much money, that you can comfortably afford to go out to dinner—often!

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Saving Money at the Grocery Store

Smart shopping at the grocery store can help you save money. But smart shopping is more than just clipping coupons and buying things on sale. It requires having a shopping strategy. You see, grocery stores are professionally designed, and laid out to get you to spend as much money as possible. By learning some of their secrets and techniques, you can help keep money in your pocket.

To help you improve your saving money habits, here are some grocery store spending and saving tips and advice.

ON SALE ITEMS TO AVOID
The grocery store is professionally organized to get you to spend as much money as possible. Often, “on sale” items are displayed at the front of the store or at the end of isles. Don’t assume that these items are actually a bargain, since the manufacturers or distributors of those products are actually paying to display their products.

BUY ONLY WHAT YOU NEED AND CAN AFFORD
Before grocery shopping, write a list of the items you need. Then, when shopping, only buy those items. Avoid putting other things in your cart that catch your eye. Supermarkets want to take advantage of people buying things they did not intend to purchase, so be a smart shopper and use a shopping list.

Also, don’t buy more than what you can afford. You are probably better off using cash than a credit card, if using a credit card puts you into debt. If you only bring the money you intend to spend, then you can’t spend any more.

AVOID CONVENIENCE ITEMS
Don’t purchase items that are convenience items, such as prepared vegetables or pre-made sandwiches. These items are more costly, and you are better off buying your own ingredients and making them yourself.

BUY ITEMS IN BULK?
Buying items in bulk used to be cheaper. However, these days stores figured out that they could actually charge more, without consumers realizing it. The bigger box of cereal may actually be more expensive than the smaller box. Therefore, the best bet is to comparison shop and see if you are actually getting a better bargain.

CHECK THE ENTIRE SHELF
Grocery stores will often place the higher priced items at eye-level. Again, consumers choose more items to buy from eye level. So look at the top and bottom of the shelf for potential better bargains.
Also, often the healthier (and less expensive) items are more difficult to find. Packaged, prepared foods are more costly and generate bigger profits, so try to find the healthier items.

KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS
If after shopping you discover that the store or another store that has products you purchased advertised at a lower price, keep your receipt and go back to the store to ask for a discount.

TRACK PRICES
Keep track of the prices you are paying for items you often purchase. Then keep that list with you when you shop. That way, if something is “on sale” you will know if it is really a sale or not. If you find a good discount, then buy enough extras, if the item does not spoil.

HAPPINESS AND SHOPPING
Many people shop just to feel good. Shopping helps make you happy. However, to save money, you need to keep your emotions in check — always remember to stick to your budget and your shopping list.

DON’T SHOP ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
Don’t shop when you are hungry. People tend to buy more, and a larger amount of the things they don’t need when they are hungry, so always shop with a full stomach. Also, prepare to dress more warmly, since supermarkets are often cold, because the cold temperatures actually makes you hungry so you buy more!

BUY THE DEALS – AVOID THE REST
One shopping technique is to shop more often, and focus your shopping on the special deals given by the store. Then go visit other stores to buy their special promotions. Many stores rely on the fact that you will buy more than the specials, to make their money and maximize profits. However, you must remain disciplined and don’t be tricked into spending more than you plan when entering the store.

OTHER SUGGESTIONS
Try to buy generic, no name brands when possible. Especially for staples such as flour, salt, etc.

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Online Bill Paying Saves you Money

In the old days, paying your bills meant sitting down at the kitchen table with a hot cup of coffee, a calculator, a checkbook and a roll of stamps. If the post office did its job, the companies to which you owed money would receive your check two or three days later.

Today’s bill paying session is a little more high-tech, and it cuts the post office out of the loop. Even if there’s no other advantage, the fact that you save on postage–and there’s no possibility of a payment getting lost in the mail–is good enough for most people. Another advantage is the bookkeeping aspect–your bank’s online bill payment portal won’t let you make a payment if you don’t have money in the bank. The best portals will, however, allow you to schedule a payment for a later date.

Free Online Bill Paying
Many banks now offer online bill paying as a free value-add to account holders, although many other major creditors, such as utility companies or credit card companies, allow you to pay directly online. The reason banks have come to offer this service for free is simply because of the demographics. People who pay bills online are more loyal, and have more money. They’re also more likely to use other bank products, such as loans and credit cards, from which the bank derives revenue. That’s the first lesson–if your bank isn’t offering online bill pay for free, they’re not giving you the best deal.

Convenience
Using your bank’s online bill pay gives you the convenience of paying all your bills in a single online session. Some users still prefer to pay some bills directly at each site, despite the fact that it is less convenient, because by visiting the biller’s web site directly, the payer can gain access to detailed transaction reports. This can be especially useful if you’re cautious about the details–suppose you have a large phone bill, and want to review the individual call list. You have to visit the phone company’s site directly to get the detail, the bank site will only provide a summary. Also, if you’re paying close to the due date, paying directly at the biller site will get your account credited faster than paying at a bank’s online bill pay portal. Some forward-looking banks are trying to compete by offering account detail as well.

Security
There is also the question of security, although banks have been quick to address this concern. Virtually all online portals are password protected and use encrypted sessions, and some even use a hardware token, which makes it nearly impossible for an attacker to steal your account information. Beware however, of rogue emails claiming to be from a bank, requesting your account information. If you get such an email, call your bank directly to verify the email’s authenticity. Banks seldom send out such requests via email.

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Romance on a Budget

When thinking about a romantic evening, or planning a romantic outing with a partner, it’s not easy to see past the fact that flowers and restaurants cost money, and if you are on a tight budget then these can’t be the priority you would like them to be. What you need to keep in mind however is that romance isn’t about the environment, or the stuff, but rather it’s about the people, and the emotions. It’s about being together with someone you love.

The romance is in the time you are spending together and not necessarily in the money spent on that time. Sometimes it’s the gifts that cost the least that mean the most because those are the ones that required time to think about what the person you are buying for would really like.

One example of this would be with regard to flowers. Instead of buying roses which are really expensive at any time of year, and more especially on specific dates for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, purchase a miniature rose tree, or even some bulbs or seeds – depending on the time of year – that you can plant together and watch grow. Your gift tag could indicate that this gift will develop in the same way as your love – use the words to create the romance as well as the gift.

Instead of having a meal at a restaurant, why not have a picnic instead? Tell your partner to dress for an outdoors surprise, and turn up with the picnic in hand. It doesn’t have to be something elaborate, as this could prove to be as expensive as the restaurant meal. Take a trip to the grocery store and buy items that are easy to transport, and require little preparation. Choose things which are easy to eat with your fingers, and that you know your partner enjoys. Food which is best eaten cold, and creates little mess is also a good choice!

Transfer the items into storage boxes which will keep it fresh and safe from being squashed during the trip to the picnic location. If you are having canned drinks, pick these out of the chill cabinet. If you are taking a bottle of wine, secure this inside a bucket with some ice and place the bucket in a clean garbage bag so that the ice doesn’t melt over the car if it’s warm outside! Vacuum flasks of coffee are great for cold days. Choose a location which has something nice to look at – either a drive out to a nearby lake or river, or into a woodland area.

A trip to the movies is a nice way of spending a romantic evening, but again this can be expensive, so organize a movie night at home instead. Rent a  video/DVD that you both want to see, spread a blanket and some cushions on the floor, have a dish of warm microwave popcorn, and some tall glasses of iced soda standing by. The bonus is that instead of paying a high price to sit in uncomfortable seats, you can snuggle up together on the floor and watch the movie in real comfort.

Whatever you choose to do to put some romance into your relationship, always remember that it is the time you spend creating something romantic and special that you know your beloved will really enjoy that is more important than an expensive gift that is advertised everywhere but completely impersonal.

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Bringing Home Baby on a Budget

Having found out that you’re pregnant, you start reading books and magazines which are full of ideas and pictures of beautiful baby things that would create a dream nursery for any baby – unfortunately most of the time the pictures are without prices because adding up the cost of putting together the perfect nursery would be enough to send the blood pressure of most moms-to-be sky high. What you need to keep in mind is that the pictures are there to tempt you into spending as much money as they can get you to part with; they aren’t there to show you what the baby actually needs!

There are certain things you need to think about in order to create a good environment into which to bring your newborn baby.

A place to sleep

Baby is going to be sleeping (hopefully) quite a lot during the early weeks and so you need to decide where this will be. Will you have your baby sleeping in the same place during the day as it does at night? Or will you have a different arrangement for daytime naps? The baby will need adequate bedding so that it isn’t too hot or cold – it doesn’t however need all the bedding to co-ordinate however pretty this might look! Usually a newborn will sleep without a pillow so even this isn’t something you need to think about buying at first. To go with this, if you are going to leave the baby on its own whilst asleep, some form of audio baby monitor system is a good idea so that you can feel secure that the baby is still breathing!

Eating Equipment

Whether you are breast feeding or bottle feeding you will have certain equipment that you need to have in place ready for the baby coming home. Breast feeding moms will need to take this to the hospital ready to get started as soon as baby is born. None-food related eating equipment for breast feeding moms include breast pads to stop leaks, easy access nursing bras and some form of cover-up in case of public nursing. Bottle feeding moms will have a larger essential shopping list to ensure that they have enough bottles, a selection of teats until the find the one that works best with their baby, some formula which is like the one the baby starts on at the hospital for those first days at home (call the maternity hospital you will be staying and check what they use before you go into labor) and equipment for sterilizing the bottles/teats.

Bathing and Grooming

Diapers are your number one essential here. These are going to be a vital part of the early days when you could be changing diapers 8 or more times a day! They may seem like they come in large packs, but it’s surprising how fast those packs disappear. Somewhere to change the diaper is another priority. If you are happy to do this with a towel over your lap, that’s fine, otherwise you will need some kind of changing mat. Bathing the baby is another important consideration. If you have a tub which is low enough for you to be able to confidently hold the baby on one arm whilst bathing it with the other, then you’ll be fine – otherwise you need to get either a piece of equipment that will hold the baby securely in the family tub whilst you bath it, or purchase a baby bath – the baby won’t be using this for long however so if a friend has one you can have or borrow then that should be fine. Baby lotion and bath soap for a sensitive skin are two additional things you could have on hand for this section also.

Transportation

Getting the baby from A to B is one area where you will need to spend more than you would probably like if you are on a budget! If you intend to move the baby around in a car, then a car seat is a must, and it has to be one that conforms to current safety standards so if you buy one second hand from a thrift store, or small ads, make sure that it was bought new recently or it won’t be up to the current regulation standard. A stroller or baby carriage is only necessary if you intend walking anywhere with the baby – but if you can get one from a friend, then the baby carriage may be a great place to put the baby to sleep during the day, especially as you will be able to sit outside if the baby is beside you in the baby carriage – just don’t forget the bug net if it’s summer.

There are a lot of other items that can be bought to get your life as a new mom off to a great start but these are the basics that you need to cover before buying any of the more frivolous items such as rocking chairs, changing bags and coordinating wall borders and lamps.

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Children’s Birthday Parties On A Budget

Children’s birthday parties can be a major expenditure for parents to throw. From pony rides to inflatable jumpers to clowns, how do you plan a party that is fun, but that doesn’t drain your wallet? There are many ways to save money and still keep the party fun and memorable for your child. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on your child’s party to make it one they and their guests will remember forever.

The first thing is to ask your child what they would like. This may be a mistake as they may tell you about all of the expensive things that they have in mind, but you may also be pleasantly surprised by how simple they would like it. Many times, the things that parents think that no party should be without are things that the children are not as stuck on. The key is to decide what is important to your child and then work from there.

Cakes are not normally the largest purchase for the party, but if you add in the rest of the food it may be. A frugal party can include just cake and punch or you could add in chips, dip, and more. Some parties have a complete meal served. If that is important to you and your child, then you will have to cut your budget elsewhere, but if food is not the main thing, then why not keep it simple?

Decorations can be as simple or a lavish as you like. Many children do not consider the decorations an important part of the party so this may be an excellent area to cut your budget. A “Happy Birthday” sign and a few streamers may be all you need to set the mood and will be much cheaper than the life-size balloon arrangements that you had last year!

If you are using a location other than your home, then this can really put a dent in your budget. Just about anywhere that you can think of has a party package these days, but compare the cost of their party versus you doing one at home and you may find that the one at home will cost you much less.

Entertainment is something that can really blow your party budget out of the water. Ponies, huge inflatable toys, clowns, and magicians can add up quickly. Ask your child what they would like to do. Pinatas are a fun thing to add to most parties and can be a frugal way to give the guests a treat to take home. Just add a bag or a cup and they will have an instant party favor. Games can include anything that your child enjoys playing. A scavenger hunt or treasure hunt is a great way to entertain the children. Use your imagination to create games that your child and the guests will love.

Children’s birthday parties are a fun way to celebrate your child’s milestone of turning another year old. It does not mean that you need to be paying for their party for the next year though. Use your imagination to create decorations, games, food, and other party details to save you money and you are sure to have just as much fun at the party as your child.

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How to Reduce your Heating Bill this Winter

The price of natural gas has risen, and will continue to rise substantially, putting the bite on nearly every household in America. The rising prices are due in part to natural disasters that affected the supply of natural gas, but also due in part to the simple that that natural gas is a non-renewable resource, and it is getting more expensive over time for companies to supply it. You are not helpless against the gas company though, and it is possible to comfortably reduce your consumption–and your monthly bill without freezing.

One of the best ways to cut your bill is to realize that your thermostat doesn’t have to be set at the same temperature all day long. Turning the thermostat down at bedtime and when you are away is always a great way to save money, but it’s not always easy to remember to do this every time. A programmable thermostat may be the best investment you ever make. You can program these handy little devices one time, and it will automatically adjust the thermostat according to the parameters you set. You could, for example, program it to turn itself down to 62 degrees after you’ve already gone to bed and are tucked under your warm blankets, and then turn itself back up shortly before you wake up. Avoid drastic changes in temperature though. Cranking the heat up to 80 degrees when you wake up will overheat the house, and will cause the furnace to run more than it has to.

Weatherizing is also a common tool for cutting the heat bill. Simple things like caulking, weather-stripping and window film can go a long way towards preventing that heat from escaping. Make sure that there are no open cracks around doors or windows. Also check to make sure that there is no heat escaping from around areas such as dryer vents, electrical wall plates or any other utility opening. Switch boxes are a common source of lost heat, but you can easily seal these up with expandable foam.

Go down in the basement and touch the side of your hot water heater. Does it feel warm? Then you can save money by putting an insulating water heater blanket around it. Also, make sure your furnace is clean, your filters are changed regularly, and it is in good running order–a furnace that hasn’t been serviced may be running inefficiently and costing you more in heating bills

Of course, closing off the heat registers in rooms that aren’t being used regularly will save a bundle. Another area you can save money is the basement. Most people place insulation in their attics, but at the same time, forget the basement. Up to 20 percent of your home’s heat can be lost through the basement.

And what about that ceiling fan? It’s not just a summertime convenience. Set it on low speed on reverse. Remember that heat rises, and using reverse will help move the hot air back into the room instead of escaping out of the ceiling.

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How to Start Investing and Build Wealth

There are some people who are gifted with the ability to save money and there are some that are not. Unfortunately, most people are of the later type. Saving money is something that requires an inordinate amount of effort for most people and only with effort can they accumulate any substantial amount. If this profile fits you then the only way to save money is to use a system and discipline.

Saving money is one of the necessary requirements of building wealth. No matter how much you make, your income must exceed your expenses if you are ever to build wealth. The only way this figure can be adjusted is by increasing income or decreasing expenses. Therefore, if you are unable to save money now then you have no choice but to decrease expenses.

The most obvious question to ask yourself for every expense that you incur is the question, “Do you really need this right now at this point in time?” There are actually very few things that are necessary for our immediate existence. However, as human beings we have a way of rationalizing even the most obscure purchases for the sake of necessity. Break yourself of this habit. Realize exactly what things are needed and what things are not needed.

The next thing to do is to create and stick to your budget. A budget will allocate a certain amount to frivolous expenses (i.e. anything non-necessary) that should not be adjusted. Whatever amount you decide to allocate toward frivolous expenses stick to it. Whatever amount left over is devoted to your savings. It is this that you must continue to build to accumulate wealth.

A good rule of thumb is to take 10% off any income you receive and set that aside for savings. By this, I do mean to physically take it out. That means you actually cash the check and get the 10% in cash and then do something with it like put it into a savings account or an investment account or even a retirement account. Whatever the case, the bottom line is that the money is being placed somewhere that you can get to only with some difficulty. This will discourage you from using that money when you have the desire to make an impulse purchase.

Once this savings account has accumulated a sufficient amount, you should then take that money and purchase an investment with it such as a CD or a mutual fund. This is much more efficient than simply leaving it in a savings account where it will receive a minimal amount of interest. So in a nutshell the steps are as follows:

  1. Take 10% off the top of your income.
  2. Place that money in a savings account or something similar.
  3. Let that money accumulate until it is a sufficient sum for purchasing a better investment such as a mutual fund or CD.
  4. Repeat the process.

If you follow these steps month in and month out then you will begin to build a savings account that will make you more financially secure and much closer to your long-term financial goals.

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Saving Money: Money as Energy

What is money? Once we understand this fundamental question then we will be closer to being able to control it and accumulate it. Money is simply a method of exchange. Rather than bartering goods we exchange money for them. When we remember this we recognize that money is nothing but a form of energy. And as energy we can understand how to work with it.

Energy attracts more of itself. Thus if you have debt then you will likely accumulate more of it. Whereas, if you have money you will attract more of it. The key then is to begin accumulating money. Once you do this then it begins a chain reaction that will continue until you have accumulated more of it. This is why starting a fundamental savings account is essential to building wealth. It gives the money somewhere to go. And it is important that money has somewhere to go. This is why simply keeping extra money in your checking account never works.

Energy also follows the path of least resistance. What does this mean? It means that money will flow to the areas that are needed first. Because it is you who in fact defines your needs, it is you who can determine where this money goes. The more needs you have defined, the more money will flow to those basic needs. You may be wondering why it is important to understand this aspect of finances. It is important for the simple fact that wealth is only accumulated when inflow exceeds outflow. What you define as your needs make up the primary outflow for your income. And most importantly, those who accumulate wealth are usually those who have fewer needs defined than their peers.

Everybody has different needs. But why is it that some people require very little in order to be happy? These people also tend to accumulate wealth. We have all heard of the “little old school teacher” who dies and then leaves some unfathomable sum to the local library or university. How was she able to do this? Simple. She had very few needs. Thus that freed up more money to go into accumulation and over time this has power.

Energy also requires exchange. To receive something, something must be given. This is a fundamental law that we will be coming back to again and again. You cannot expect to get something for nothing. People who expect this find themselves losing money to lottery tickets and slot machines and invariably they end up broke. Don’t be one of these people. Yes it does happen but the fact is that those who do win the lottery or win at the casino usually end up losing it all back anyway. They do this because they have not understood the simple principles of money that are acquired by building it yourself through savvy investments and intelligent management. It is simply not worth it to try to accumulate wealth by chance. Thus, we come back to the law that energy requires exchange.

What are you giving in exchange for your money? The more you give, the more you will receive. If you are just giving your body then you will receive less than if you are giving your body and mind in a job. If you are giving your body and mind and years of experience then again that increases what you get in return. This is why educated professionals are paid more than laborers. It is a fundamental effect of what they are giving to their job. Give more and you will receive more.

Thus you now have an elementary understanding of some of the ways money behaves. Use this to analyze your current situation and gain a better understanding of your current financial situation. The activity below will help you to do this.

Activities

Analyze your financial situation in terms of energy. Where are you giving energy and where are you getting energy back? What could you do to increase what you are giving in exchange for money? Can you give more of yourself to your job? If you can then it is a law that it must return to you either in more pay or in promotions or in some form or another. Nothing is ever lost. Often it changes forms but it is never lost.

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