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Everyone’s trying to save a buck these days. But I’d rather save a few hundred or even a couple thousand. Care to join me?
MSN Money suggests this: Get organized: Using software to piece together your financial information from banks, credit cards and other financial institutions is a smart way to budget. It can help you identify where you can save money to put toward paying down your debt. But you don’t need to shell out the $60 to $90 for Quicken. Instead, manage your money for free at Mint.com (which is owned by Quicken’s parent, Intuit) or Wesabe.
Great idea. I think I may check out the Mint one. OK, once your get your proverbial ducks in a row, you may be wondering “where do I start?” Good question. Here’s some ideas:
Save money on food:
Cook your own meals! Or “brown bag it” to work! It’s easy to order in or go out to eat…but the trouble is, the restaurant habit is a real budget buster. The average American household spends 42% of its total food budget on dining out. So if you’re serious about saving money on food, your first step is to eat out less — and that includes lunch at work.
For me eating out (specifically lunches with friends) is my comfort. It’s my crack. I love it. But there came a point that I started thinking “hey, is this worth it?” Not that I don’t adore my friends, but I can now step back and ask myself if that $10 meal is money better spent somewhere else? Set aside for a family vacation? To use to get my health and weight under control? Good questions to ask yourself, for sure.
And if you decide to descend into Packed Lunch Land, I advise skipping the prepackaged and pre-prepped stuff. Yes, Lunchables are delightful and Lean Cuisines are kinda-sorta too, but to stretch your dollar more, pay for food, not packaging.
That bag of pre-washed romaine lettuce is convenient, but it can cost $1 or $2 more than buying a head of romaine and washing it yourself. And really, how hard is that?
I am a Soup Fan. I can whip up a big pot of soup for pennies and have a cheap and yummy lunch for days. I also freeze half for lunches at a later date. Pair that with some healthy fruits and veggies and you have a pretty descent lunch.
This rule also applies to individually wrapped snack foods, such as the 100-calorie packs. The mini bags of Goldfish Crackers are adorable, but it’s much cheaper to buy your favorite munchies in bulk and separate them into smaller portions on your own.
I am know I am possibly getting into Verbal–Smack-down-ville here, but mindful of what I call “foo-foo coffee” expenditures. When I drink coffee (not often) I go for the plain and unglamorous “regular” stuff. I watch people shell out $5 A DAY for a foo-foo coffee or lattes at “those” places. Not to sound like Dr. Buzzkill, but, when you do that every day for a week, that’s $100 a month!
How many times a month do you wish you had an extra hundred bucks??? Hmmmm?
OK, I think I have prattled enough for today. Now I’d like to know from YOU, o’valued readers.
What things do you do to save money? Share your thoughts in the comment box below. Toodles 🙂