One of the things I like to do at the start of each year is to make a plan for myself and my family because I feel if I begin my year correctly, my budget goals for the year will be plain sailing.
Starting off the New Year 2014 with a budget in mind and a plan in place could be your start to a debt-free calendar year. What is most important is having your focus on finances, leaving distractions in the background and keeping your goal in mind. Turning off the television is where it all starts. Television instills ideas of grandeur in our heads, with guilt-inducing and money-motivating ads. Find another hobby that will motivate you better – try reading. Next, join every Free Rewards Card Program that you can. I know what you’re picturing – a huge key ring with hundreds of rewards cards dangling; you can avoid that chaos today with a digital version of almost every rewards card. Take this step to join and track your spending at your favorite shopping locales. To simplify this process, create an e-mail address specifically for your rewards cards and promotions. Only access this account when it is time for you to shop for an item or items you are looking for. As far as credit cards, I know you have those “emergency” credit cards available for use in your wallet. Hide them. Take a bit of cash instead, you will be far less motivated to swipe away in a dire situation. Don’t allow yourself to have a plastic safety net until you feel like you have the strength to not use it simply based on how easy it is to swip
Before you embark on that shopping trip, make a list before you leave. This will help to maximize efficiency and cut down on additional unnecessary spending. Don’t place anything in your cart that is not on your list, no matter how tough that may be and you will end up saving surprisingly more money than you envisaged. During this shopping trip, stock up on items you can use for multiple meals. Cut down on fast food and eating out, spend a weekend afternoon for a few hours and prepare meals for the week. This way you will save time and money, and you will also benefit by having healthy meals if you stick to it. Simple ingredients leave options for a lot of different meals to enjoy throughout the week and variety is key in sticking to this program. Spend time creating a casserole of sorts and make multiples. Freezing food is just as easy as purchasing a prepaid meal and it’s something you can eat healthily and cheaply. Instead of planning those meals around a cookbook you have, or a Pinterest recipe you found, base it on your local grocery stores flyer. Base it on the bigger items that are on sale and you will maximize the store savings discounts and you will get more bang for your buck. Don’t be afraid to do a comparison by taking a couple of extra minutes to compare the items on your list to those at another local store. Heck, the grocery stores do it all the time! Eventually you will come to find that one of the stores you choose will consistently have better deals and the more you frequent that location, the more you save.
All of these ideas are just the beginning of a new lifestyle for yourself in 2014, and when you make a plan, you prepare the ground going forward. Simple changes can really affect your pocket book in a positive light, and you may even find yourself having fun in the process.
Did you get a bunch of gift cards for the holidays? If so, here’s the best way to extend that money so you can maximize your shopping spend.
Here are three insider tips:
1) Shop online and get a promo code
There are great sites around the internet that specialize in providing coupon codes and promo codes for many of the same places that you have a gift card for. Just surfing around, I found Lands End promo codes, JCPenney promo codes, and many others at My Coupons.. The site is simple to navigate and offers multiple codes for each store. That’s what I like – is the ability to utilize different codes depending on what I am buying. I’ve used them many times with great success – stretching my money!
2) Want cash for those gift cards instead? Sell them back.
Now for years people have sold gift cards for cash on places like Ebay. If you have a $100 gift card to JC Penney, for example, you can actually sell it on Ebay and probably fetch around 85-90% of it’s value. It’s good for you converting the gift card to cash, and good for the buyer who immediately saved 10-15% on his purchases.
There are also services online that do the same thing and I’ve found them to be even simpler. Here is one example on GiftCards.com. These guys have been around for many years and are trusted.
3) Sign up for a credit card in store
Now I am not someone that pushes folks to sign up for credit cards. In fact, this should be one of your last resorts, but if you want to save money, signing up for the in store credit card can knock an additional 15% off your purchases, taking that gift card money even further.
I hope these quick tips will help you spend that gift card money even better ! Happy New Year!
Promo Codes are fast becoming one of the most utilized forces on the Web to generate savings with online purchases. They come in all different shapes and sizes and we’ll take a brief look today at some of the most popular and how to use them properly.
To the uninitiated, Online Promo Codes are simple ways to save money on purchases of online merchandise that are on sale. They resemble the old garden-variety paper coupons that we’ve all taken to the store over the years except these are numerical codes. When you buy a product or service, there is usually a box in the checkout form that will ask the purchaser for the Code in order to calculate the discount into the final sales amount. The codes can be found on easily located websites where they are offered in bulk.
There are two product areas that seem to attract the most Promo Codes. One is department store websites such as Target, Home Depot etc etc. The codes are usually of short expiration but can be plentiful so these represent a huge savings opportunity. I’ve always tried NEVER to buy anything from a Big-Box store without some kind of Online Promo Code. Doesn’t always work out that way but more often than not I can usually squeeze a few bucks off my bill.
The second area is that of online phones, Internet service and mobile calling plans. Most of the manufacturers and vendors deeply involve themselves in this market place. One of the most lucrative currently offered are the “Verizon Promo Codes” which are very simple to obtain and can realize some deep discounts. They are wide-ranging and offer savings on many of their services.
If you are a smart “couponer”, these offers will definitely become a big part of your savings “arsenal” going forward, and given that we’re at the time of year when we’re looking to save every dollar we can, there is not time like the present!