Having Money at the End of the Month

Save Money on Food

How many of us are in this situation? We have month at the end of the money, instead of money at the end of the month.  It’s too bad schools don’t focus more on budget setting and financial awareness, which are both skills that should be learned when we are young. They are skills we will need to use our whole lives long! If you have young children at home, do them a favour! Teach them how to live on a budget and how to save up money for what they want. It will help them throughout their life and it will show them how to have money at the end of the month, instead of the other way around.

Here are a few more ways we can all keep a bit more cash in our jeans:

- Check your banking fees. Do you bank at one of the Big 5 here in Canada? Are you willing to spend an hour or two and explore the actual fees you are paying each month? If you write a fair number of cheques every month, make sure you aren’t being charged a per cheque fee. If you have more than one service through one bank (like a chequing account, plus a line of credit or a savings account) make sure you are credited every month for your fees. If your bank doesn’t offer that, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere to park your money.

There are also lots of online banks where you pay minimal if any fees at all. Just make sure your are FDIC covered (each bank should cover $100,000) worth of deposits. Some of these online banks give you cash back on all your credit card purchases, which can really add up! You can use credit cards wisely and actually use their “money” for free if you are smart about it. Just never carry a balance and always pay on the due date.

- Take a look at your cell phone contracts. Are you financially better off to have a three year contract and be able to use the phone as much as you want? Or, are you able to just buy a cheaper phone and have minutes put on, instead of signing a contract? Take a good look at how much you use your phone and whether you can get away without the contract.

- Do you have a computer maintenance contract?  This one is really coming for a personal perspective. I pay every year to have preventative maintenance done on my computer. Also, anytime I have a problem, I can get it fixed with on phone call. Perhaps you are computer savvy enough to be able to do all the necessary fixes yourself. I am not; I don’t have the time for it, nor the patience. So I am willing to pay so that the problem becomes someone else’s headache.

That being said, on a recent phone call with the company, they tried talking me into a $99.00 charge so that they could install a particular program which would keep my system running problem free. I declined, saying I wanted to think about it. Really, WHY would I pay this extra fee? I already pay them to look after the system. So, if I go ahead and buy the other program, I am spending MY money in order to save THEM time. Ummm, no thanks!

So, there are a few more things to look into, in order to save yourself some more money. It is very easy to get caught up in the daily living and end up spending more for convenience and saving time. If you have lots of money, do whatever you like. But if you’re like most of us and need to watch your pennies, look further into every part of your life where money is involved. Remember, the goal of business is to take money OUT of your pocket and put it into THEIR pocket.

As always, check out coupon sites to try and save money on all of your purchases, whether it is food, clothing, recreation, travel, house expenses or vehicles. There are almost always extra deals to be had, if you are willing to take the time to find them!

Being a Tightwad

Field Tomatoes

Last week, I wrote about a few ways to stretch out the budget. No matter how much money you have (or don’t have) it’s always a good idea to set a budget and then stick with it. We always try to keep as much money in our jeans as possible. Here are a few more ways that we save money every month.

 

- Buy on sale. Does your grocery store have a monthly case lot sale? If so, this is the time to stock up on the foods your family eats on a regular basis.  We can save up to 45% buying our favourite soup in a case of 12, instead of buying the cans one at a time when they aren’t on sale.

We don’t eat very much processed food, but there are certain things we do buy. Building up a good supply of these items means that not only are we saving money on the cost of the actual item, but we save the gas money and time to make a weekly grocery store run.

- Who here buys toilet paper when it goes on sale? I know I do; it’s something every single person needs and uses, unless you are looking into alternatives. I am not :)  However, whenever I am in the grocery store and I see a good sale on TP I buy at least two 12 packs and maybe more. I get teased a bit about it, but guess what? We never run out and I never pay full price. That’s a good deal in my book.

- We don’t often buy new clothing. I still have things in my closet that I wore 15 years ago when I worked in an office and had to dress up. Good thing I have always tended to stay away from trendy and buy more tailored classic clothes, because they still haven’t gone out of style!

Sometimes, I go to thrift stores. They even have awesome sale days where sometimes you can fill a shopping bag for $1 or $2. How much better can it be? I can always find work clothes and even nice Tshirts, shorts and jeans. If you are looking for something a little more dressy, hit up consignment shops. You can get beautiful clothing for a fraction of the retail price.

Whether you’re looking for clothing, food, sports equipment or pretty much anything else, it’s a good idea to always check your favourite coupon site and see what’s new. These days, many big box stores offer shopping online. It’s easy, you can get things on sale and lots of online stores offer free shipping! Another bonus is that you can just shop from home, instead of using fuel and valuable time to go to the store.