Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Whether your significant other is a stay-at-home parent, looking for new employment opportunities, or returning back-to-school for further learning, or you happen to be a single-parent, it can become nightmarish figuring out new ways to spend smarter and spend less. The key is to start where you spend the greatest amounts of money, which for the majority of us includes a rent or mortgage, transportation, and groceries.
Where most people first look to refinancing their mortgage prior to looking to other areas of their spending, I would suggest starting with a thorough analysis of the amount of money spent on transportation and gas. Try to create a detailed spreadsheet dividing into such costs as each vehicle you own, the amount of money spent on gas on each vehicle, and the maintenance and insurance associated with the vehicles.
Most financial advisers would suggest getting rid of one vehicle to reduce payments, maintenance fees, and insurance rates. Often insurance is less expensive when, a family has multiple vehicles under the same policy and living with one car can place unmanageable strain on parents. It’s harder to manage kids and much harder to coordinate errand-running or searching for employment or attending further schooling.
By using auto refinance, a family can keep both vehicles while still cutting costs. The money saved in interest and loan payments can go to paying insurance and/or maintenance costs or to an emergency savings fund. Here are eight other money saving tips besides auto and mortgage refinancing:
1. Find simple ways to save 50-100 dollars a month without thinking too much. Maybe it’s giving up a cell phone, or switching cable companies to reduce fees. Some cable companies offer packages if you combine internet, cable, and phone service together. Try to go out to dinner bimonthly instead of weekly and substitute those mid-day runs to the coffee shop with self-brewed coffee.
2. Plan out grocery spending including cleaning and toilet supplies. Think in terms of a weekly or monthly menu (weekly is easier to think about) and include the types and amounts of non-food items you will need that week. When shopping, begin around the perimeter of the store and only hit the isles if the product or item is--absolutely--on your list.
3. Think about the amount of telecommunication you have. If it is possible to communicate with your boss to work from home for at least a few months, the worst thing he/she can say is not for also, see if another mother can take over your carpooling duties for a little while.
4. Seek out secondhand businesses. It’s not a crime to shop garage sales, thrift stores, or other resale shops, especially for children’s clothing. Most stores know that children are clothing sells and because children outgrow clothing so quickly, stores replenish their merchandise fast. Also, consider selling your own clothing to some of these places that will offer store credit and/or cash you could use to purchase clothing for yourself or even groceries you could not normally purchase.
5. Take advantage of all discounts available on the web and newspapers. It’s not just groceries that have coupons. Always be on the lookout for coupons for hotel, gas, technological appliances and devices, and even diapers. Just make it a point to only use coupons on items that you need.
6. Find new places to take your children. Whether it’s a park, zoo, library, or museum, most of these places offer free days or discounted days to attend. Also, consider forming a group of children and carpooling together.
7. Begin to barter with family and friends. Bartering is not for the cheap-minded, but the smart-minded. Offer to clean your mom’s old basement if she take your children to school…whatever the situation bartering saves money and is gift giving at the same time.
8. Be careful who you hang with. If most of your friends are wealthier, you need to let them know that you will not always be able to participate in certain get-together because of financial constraints. Now’s the time to find ways to spend time with them without spending extra money.