saving strategies http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12341/all en-US 25 Ways to Save on a Shoestring http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_piggy_bank_000064441061.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to save on a shoestring" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ask a financial expert how people can save money and you're likely to hear the phrase &quot;pay yourself first.&quot; This means immediately setting aside money, when you earn it, rather than waiting to see if anything is left at the end of the month. With PYF, savings gets top priority in your budget, like rent or a loan payment.</p> <p>What if you don't have money to save? You get creative and find it! Below are 25 tips from my book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Saving-Shoestring-Expenses-Reduce-Stash/dp/0793111188/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1454020290&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=saving+on+a+shoestring">Saving on a Shoestring</a>.</p> <h2>Savings Strategies</h2> <p>Saving more doesn't have to be complicated or painful, but it does need to be intentional.</p> <h3>1. Automate It</h3> <p>Use an automatic deposit plan such as an employer 401K or 403B plan, mutual fund automatic investment plan, or credit union paycheck deduction to put money into savings before you miss it.</p> <h3>2. Grab Free Money</h3> <p>Take the savings that your employer offers. Some employers match workers' 401K savings twenty-five cents, fifty cents, or even a dollar for every dollar saved. This is &quot;free money&quot; that should not be missed.</p> <h3>3. Up Current Savings</h3> <p>Kick your existing savings up a notch (e.g., from 2% to 3% of pay). The best time to do this is when you receive a raise or a household expense (e.g., loan payment or child care) ends.</p> <h3>4. Bank Your Windfalls</h3> <p>Save all or part of &quot;windfalls&quot; you receive &mdash;&nbsp;retroactive pay, lucrative &quot;side hustles,&quot; prizes, or gifts.</p> <h3>5. Bank Your IRS Refund</h3> <p>Save all or part of your income tax refund. Earmark savings automatically on your tax return by using IRS Form 8888 or save it yourself after your refund arrives.</p> <h3>6. Start &mdash; and Finish &mdash; Savings Challenges</h3> <p>Complete a savings challenge that gradually ramps up savings deposits over time. Try any of these <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/BarbaraONeill/four-savings-challenges-for-new-year-0116">four challenges</a>.</p> <h3>7. Bank Your Pocket Change</h3> <p>Save your pocket change. Throw it into a clear jar (so you can see your savings) and label the jar with a savings goal for added motivation. Ramp up to $1 to $5 a day, plus loose change, for added savings.</p> <h3>8. Build a Budget</h3> <p>Develop a spending plan (budget). Include savings for emergencies and future financial goals as fixed &quot;expenses.&quot; Then automate savings deposits so they don't require ongoing self-control.</p> <h3>9. Keep Making Those Payments</h3> <p>Keep making monthly &quot;payments&quot; for soon-to-be paid-off loans &mdash; to yourself. You're already used to living without this money (e.g., a $280 monthly car loan payment), so put it into savings.</p> <h3>10. Commit Half of Your Raise</h3> <p>Save half of your next pay increase (e.g., raise, bonus, overtime, freelance income, or additional income from changing jobs). Your net pay will still go up and the additional savings will be painless.</p> <h3>11. Save Your Extra Paychecks</h3> <p>Save part of your &quot;extra&quot; paychecks. Workers paid weekly have four months with five paychecks, instead of four, and those paid bi-weekly have two months with three paychecks, instead of two.</p> <h3>12. Bank Supermarket Savings</h3> <p>Save the amount of money you save at the supermarket by using &quot;shopper cards,&quot; sales, and coupons. Your receipt will show how much you saved. If you save $20 a week, that's over $1,000 a year!</p> <h3>13. Snowball or PowerPay Your Debt</h3> <p>PowerPay your way out of debt. Visit <a href="http://www.powerpay.org/">PowerPay</a> to calculate the time and interest savings available from faster debt repayment. As each debt is repaid, remaining debts receive larger payments until all debts are zeroed out. Afterwards, the money that you spent on debt can be saved.</p> <h3>14. Bank on Your Health</h3> <p>Take care of yourself by eating healthy meals and getting adequate physical activity and sleep. The greatest wealth is health, so take care of yourself and protect your ability to earn money and save.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Saving-Shoestring-Expenses-Reduce-Stash/dp/0793111188/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1454020290&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=saving+on+a+shoestring"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/51D9XNCQGJL.jpg" width="318" height="475" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>Expense Reduction Tips</h2> <p>Cutting costs is the quickest way to find more cash to save.</p> <h3>15. Cut 10% From Extras</h3> <p>Adopt the 10 Percent Solution: find ways to cut 10% of current spending for variable expenses such as food, utilities, gifts, entertainment, and transportation.</p> <h3>16. Buy Only the Necessities</h3> <p>&quot;Crash save&quot; by deciding, for a month or two, to buy only absolute necessities and save the difference.</p> <h3>17. Take Aim at Big Expenses</h3> <p>Reduce large expenses such as housing (e.g., refinancing mortgage), income taxes (e.g., tax credits and tax-deferred investments), and insurance (e.g., policy discounts).</p> <h3>18. Brown Bag It</h3> <p>&quot;Brown bag&quot; lunch to work on most days, instead of eating out, and buy packages of soda or bottled water on sale instead of using expensive vending machines.</p> <h3>19. Skip the Boutique</h3> <p>&quot;Step down&quot; when buying clothing, from high-end to moderately priced department stores to discount stores, factory outlets, consignment stores, and thrift shops. The more steps down, the greater the savings.</p> <h3>20. Plug Your Spending Leaks</h3> <p>Add up what you're spending on &quot;little things&quot; such as snacks, coffee, soda, candy, fast food, lottery tickets, magazines, take-out dinners, beverages, and more. If you can &quot;find&quot; $5 per day from reduced spending, that adds up to $1,825 of savings per year and even more with interest.</p> <h3>21. Use Employee Discounts</h3> <p>Take advantage of rebates, discounts, and/or wellness incentive programs provided through your employer. Talk to your boss or human resources office to find out what perks your company offers.</p> <h3>22. Don't Smoke</h3> <p>Quit smoking, or don't start. Assume a pack of cigarettes costs $6. Multiply $6 by 365 days and you could save $2,190 a year, plus interest (not to mention all of the positive health effects!).</p> <h3>23. Cut Home Energy Costs</h3> <p>Save on home energy costs. Check weather stripping and caulking for leaks, upgrade attic insulation, shift energy use during &quot;off-peak&quot; hours, and turn the thermostat down a degree or two.</p> <h3>24. Be Smart About Smartphones</h3> <p>Choose a cell phone plan that best meets your needs (e.g., number of monthly minutes and texts, data usage, number of linked callers) or use low-cost prepaid telephone calling cards as needed.</p> <h3>25. Find Free Entertainment</h3> <p>Seek out free or low-cost community resources such as summer concerts, health fairs, state parks, rabies clinics for pets, and inexpensive adult education classes such as those offered by Cooperative Extension.</p> <p>Even small amounts of savings will grow to significant sums with compound interest over time. When there's a will, there's a way. Consider combining several of the above savings strategies for greater impact. It is also important to have a reason to save. Write down one or more specific financial goals (e.g., a new car in 2019). Having an eventual use for your money in mind will increase your motivation to save.</p> <p><em>How are you saving more and spending less?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-barbara-oneill">Dr. Barbara O&#039;Neill</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-low-effort-ways-to-save-money-ever">The 10 Most Low Effort Ways to Save Money Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-the-easter-bunny-should-give-money-instead-of-candy">8 Reasons the Easter Bunny Should Give Money Instead of Candy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living budgeting Health saving saving strategies spending Mon, 15 Feb 2016 11:00:04 +0000 Dr. Barbara O'Neill 1654795 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Simple Strategies to Save on Everything http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-simple-strategies-to-save-on-everything <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-simple-strategies-to-save-on-everything" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-shopping-supermarket-cashier-Dollarphotoclub_46891943.jpg" alt="woman shopping market" title="woman shopping market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on simple ways to save on everything, what you must know about tax preparers, and how to prevent the flu from spreading.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/15-simple-proven-strategies-save-everything-youll-ever-buy/">15 Simple, Proven Strategies to Save on Every Purchase</a> &mdash; Generic, store-brand products are almost always less expensive than their name-brand counterparts. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/taxes/T056-C005-S002-what-you-must-know-about-tax-preparers.html">6 Things You Must Know About Tax Preparers</a> &mdash; A good tax preparer will ask questions about your personal situation and will be straightforward about their rates. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.allstate.com/prevent-flu-from-spreading/">Cleaning Tips for Your Home: How to Help Prevent Flu From Spreading</a> &mdash; Someone with the flu will likely be spending a lot of time in bed. If that's you, make sure to wash your bedding and towels in hot water to get rid of any germs. [The Allstate Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/make-most-thrift-store-clothes/">Embracing the Thrift-Store Ethic: 18 Top Tips for Buying Used Clothes</a> &mdash; Always examine each item thoroughly. You wouldn't want to discover a hole or missing button in your new shirt after you bought it. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money-travel-10-smart-accommodation-options-save-hundreds">How to Save Money on Travel: 10 Smart Accommodation Options That Save You Hundreds</a> &mdash; Farm stays offer a unique lodging experience, usually in rustic and rural areas. Plus, you get to hang out with the animals! [Penny Hoarder]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Cheap-Free-Ways-Celebrate-Valentine-Day-36776561">50 Cheap or Free Ways to Show Your Love on Valentine's Day</a> &mdash; You don't need to spend a lot to make Valentine's Day special. Just spend the day together: go on a picnic, stargaze, or recreate your first date. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/7-benefits-to-joining-your-local-library">7 Benefits to Joining Your Local Library</a> &mdash; You can find many enriching programs at a public library, including free music programs, story times, and craft hours. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.listenmoneymatters.com/take-back-vacation/">Take Back Your Vacation!</a> &mdash; Not taking vacation time is bad for you AND your employer. [Listen Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyning.com/frugality/how-i-save-money-on-all-types-of-sporting-events/">How I Save Money on All Types of Sporting Events</a> &mdash; Park a few blocks away from the event. You'll get some exercise and save on parking! [MoneyNing]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneyproblems.ca/debt-solutions-blog/past-due-again-its-time-to-deal-with-your-debts/">Past Due Again? It's Time To Deal With Your Debts</a> &mdash; Getting a handle on your debts isn't as hard as you may think. Start by making a list of everything you owe, then make separate lists of your daily living costs and your income streams. [Money Problems]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-simple-strategies-to-save-on-everything">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring">25 Ways to Save on a Shoestring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-crazy-frugality-schemes-that-just-might-work">10 Crazy Frugality Schemes That Just Might Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/read-ageproof-living-longer-without-running-out-of-money-or-breaking-a-hip-to-live-your-best-life">Read &quot;AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip&quot; to Live Your Best Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-the-easter-bunny-should-give-money-instead-of-candy">8 Reasons the Easter Bunny Should Give Money Instead of Candy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-not-frugal-youre-cheap">6 Signs You&#039;re Not Frugal — You&#039;re Cheap!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living best money tips saving strategies Wed, 11 Feb 2015 10:31:15 +0000 Amy Lu 1286634 at http://www.wisebread.com The 10 Most Low Effort Ways to Save Money Ever http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-low-effort-ways-to-save-money-ever <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-most-low-effort-ways-to-save-money-ever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cooking-460315377-small.jpg" alt="cooking at home" title="cooking at home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Anyone bringing home a steady, reasonably sufficient paycheck can save. Not only that, but saving is one of the simplest acts of money management that you can engage in, and there are a lot of ways to make it happen. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-ways-to-save-money-around-the-house?ref=seealso">101 Easy Ways to Save Around the House</a>)</p> <p>To help you get started, try some &mdash; or all! &mdash; of the 10 of the most low-effort strategies for stocking your rainy-day fund.</p> <h2>1. Set Up an Automatic Transfer</h2> <p>Almost all online banking systems are equipped with a feature that allows you to set a date and time for automatic transfers of funds from one account to another. Set one up to transfer money from your checking to your savings account on a weekly basis. The trick is to set it for a small and manageable amount. Try starting with just $20 or $30. It's the small, consistent contributions that really add up over the course of a few years.</p> <h2>2. Cook Meals at Home</h2> <p>Restaurant meals are notoriously more expensive than cooking at home, which is understandable since you're paying for the food along with the kitchen labor and the service. But if you make it a point to eat more meals at home, you'll often save half or more of what you would spend in a restaurant. When you do, make a note of the money you saved (whatever the amount) and transfer that to your savings account.</p> <h2>3. Spend a Night In</h2> <p>Sitting on the couch and watching TV isn't often thought of as a money-saving activity. But if your habit is to go out for dinner and drinks on a Friday night, stay in and save the expense of food, alcohol, and the fuel you'd spend getting to those things. The amount you'll save varies, but $50 for a night out isn't unusual.</p> <h2>4. Adjust Your Thermostat</h2> <p>It takes all of 10 seconds to adjust your thermostat, and it can save you a significant amount on your monthly heating and cooling costs. You've got to be willing to put up with somewhat more uncomfortable temperatures, but keeping your thermostat higher in the summer (75 to 77) and lower in the winter (65 to 68) <a href="http://www.energyhub.com/news/how-much-is-one-degree-worth/">can cut around $10 a month</a> for <em>each change in degree</em>.</p> <h2>5. Plan Meals</h2> <p>If you do decide to cook at home more, you can take it a step further by planning your meals every week. This is particularly helpful for families as it can save you money when you go grocery shopping and help you avoid impulse buys or ending up with food that you don't eat. Rather than wander the aisle tossing whatever looks good into your cart, you'll be armed with a list that can keep you on track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-eat-every-day-a-month-of-frugal-meals?ref=seealso">What to Eat Every Day: A Month of Frugal Meals</a>)</p> <h2>6. Set a Short-Term Savings Goal</h2> <p>If motivation to save money is a problem for you, set small, attainable goals that can be met in a short period of time. Just telling yourself that you're going to save money isn't enough. Far-reaching goals are hard to keep on track, but smaller, achievable triumphs help pave the way little by little. Meeting those goals will encourage you to continue being intentional about putting money away.</p> <h2>7. Check the Air in Your Tires Regularly</h2> <p>Tires that aren't inflated to the proper PSI will decrease your car's gas mileage and cost you more fuel, especially during the warm summer months. Use a tire gauge and make sure that the PSI in each tire is close to whatever is <a href="http://www.firestonecompleteautocare.com/tires/tirepressure.jsp">recommended for your vehicle</a>.</p> <h2>8. Contribute a Little More to Your 401(k)</h2> <p>Most employers will match your contribution up to a certain percentage. If you want an easy way to save for retirement without having to think about it, up the amount that gets taken out of your paycheck for your 401(k) so it's safely put away and invested before you even see it.</p> <h2>9. Drink More Water</h2> <p>Water is by far the cheapest and most readily available drink that we have (so long as you're not committing the ultimate money wasting crime of buying bottled water, of course), and also the healthiest. An easy way to save money is to opt for water at home and when you're going out to eat as opposed to the far more expensive soft drinks, juices, coffee, and alcoholic beverages. I drink water all day long, and compared to my husband who buys several drinks a day while he's working, I'd venture to guess I'm saving about $35 per week by avoiding anything but good ol' H2O.</p> <h2>10. Fill Out a Budget Sheet</h2> <p>There are a lot of great budget sheets online, like the <a href="http://www.daveramsey.com/tools/budget-forms/">Quick-Start budget forms</a> offered by Dave Ramsey. They can be downloaded as PDFs, printed, and filled out, allowing you to conveniently plan how much money you have going out and where it will end up. If you stick to your budget, all of your bills are accounted for and paid, and you know exactly how much discretionary income you have to spend &mdash; and save.</p> <h2>Patience and Simplicity</h2> <p>If you're patient and methodical about saving money, the best ways to do so are often incredibly simple and low-stress. So don't over-complicate the process. Start with the easier methods and work your way up as you get into the habit of budgeting and putting money aside. You'll feel better about your finances knowing that it's easy to meet your savings goals, set up an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund">emergency fund</a> and increase cash flow.</p> <p><em>Do you have more low-effort ways to save money? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-low-effort-ways-to-save-money-ever">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring">25 Ways to Save on a Shoestring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-spend-til-the-end">Book review: Spend &#039;til The End</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting saving saving strategies spending Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1188676 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Easy Ways to Save for Your Dream Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-save-for-your-dream-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-easy-ways-to-save-for-your-dream-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-1848428-small.jpg" alt="vacation" title="vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="177" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've worked hard over the years, and there's nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labor. For that matter, the vacation of a lifetime might top your list of things to do. But after doing the math, a dream vacation can seem impossible.</p> <p>However, don't immediately push the thought aside. You might not be the richest person in the world, but if you adjust your spending and make a few sacrifices, a dream vacation might be doable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Here are 15 easy ways to save for your dream vacation.</p> <h2>1. Set Goals</h2> <p>Before you start saving, determine how much you need for your vacation, and when you want to travel. This way, you know how much to save on a monthly basis. For example, if you need $4,000 and you plan to travel in 18 months, you'll need to save at least $222 a month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-vacation-destinations-that-stretch-your-dollar?ref=seealso">Vacation Destinations That Stretch Your Dollar</a>)</p> <h2>2. Set up a Separate Vacation Account</h2> <p>Open an online high-yield savings account that's specifically for vacation funds. This account is separate from your emergency cash reserves and your retirement funds. Since online savings accounts offer better rates, you're able to maximize your growth and hit your target goal sooner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?ref=seealso">5 Great Online Savings Accounts</a>)</p> <h2>3. Make Weekly Contributions</h2> <p>To reach your savings goal faster, commit to weekly contributions. Some people only contribute to their vacation fund on a monthly basis. This can work. However, once-a-month contributions result in larger one-time deposits. Weekly contributions, on the other hand, are smaller and more manageable.</p> <h2>4. Cook Meals at Home</h2> <p>It might be easier and faster to pick up dinner during the week, but you might spend more than necessary for food. For this to work you have to actually <em>bank the savings</em>. That means, figure out what you actually save by cooking at home each week, and then deposit that in your special savings account.</p> <h2>5. Look for Free Entertainment</h2> <p>Saving up for a dream vacation doesn't mean you have to sacrifice a good time. However, you need to choose your entertainment and recreation carefully. Check your local newspaper or go online and look for free ways to have fun. You can also have fun by simply getting together with friends and going to the park or each other's homes for game night. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-free-things-to-do-in-any-city-you-visit?ref=seealso">Free Things to Do in Any City</a>)</p> <h2>6. Take Your Own Lunch and Coffee to Work</h2> <p>I know, the weekdays are crazy and between getting yourself and the kids ready, there's often little time to make a lunch or brew your own coffee. However, if you spend $5 a day on lunch or coffee, that's $25 a week or $100 a month. That's nearly $1,200 a year that can go towards your vacation fund.</p> <h2>7. Save Your Work Bonuses</h2> <p>If your boss gives Christmas bonuses or other bonuses during the year, rather than spend this money on electronics or clothes, deposit all or a percentage of this free money into your vacation fund.</p> <h2>8. Keep Your Tax Refund</h2> <p>Likewise, it might be tempting to spend your tax refund on fun stuff. But if you haven't been on a vacation in several years, free money from the government can jumpstart your dream vacation fund, helping you get to your destination sooner.</p> <h2>9. Rack Up Cash Back</h2> <p>Apply for a credit card that features a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">cash-back rewards program</a>. Use your credit card for everyday purchases, such as groceries, gas, and even utility bills. The more you use your credit card, the more cash you earn. Redeem for gift cards or a check, which you can use toward your vacation. Of course, always pay off your credit card each month to avoid debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginners-guide-to-miles-and-points?ref=seealso">Beginner's Guide to Miles and Points</a>)</p> <h2>10. Sell Your Old Junk</h2> <p>Surely, there's plenty of stuff lying around your house that you don't need. It's faster and easier to throw these items away or donate them to charity. But if you're looking for a simple way to save for your dream vacation, sell these items and put the proceeds toward your vacation fund.</p> <h2>11. Start a Change Jar</h2> <p>Each day when you arrive home, go through your pocket or purse and toss spare change into a jar. This might seem like an insignificant move, but coins add up quickly. During the course of a year, you could easily save hundreds in change alone, which might cover some of your hotel, entertainment, or food costs while on vacation.</p> <h2>12. Shop at Thrift Stores</h2> <p>Even if you stop shopping to save for a dream vacation, chances are that you'll need some clothing during the year. Instead of heading to the mall or another retail store, shop at the thrift store. You might find exactly what you need for less.</p> <h2>13. Evaluate Monthly Services</h2> <p>Take a look at your expenses and evaluate where your money goes. Where can you cut back? The less you spend each month, the more you can put toward your vacation savings account. For example, could you eliminate cable or a telephone service? Could you get rid of your gym membership or stop your housekeeping services? Cut them and bank the savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-getting-ripped-off-by-one-of-these-8-unnecessary-services?ref=seealso">8 Services You Don't Need to Pay For</a>)</p> <h2>14. Hold Off on Large Purchases</h2> <p>Technology is always improving and new car designs come out every few years. It's tempting to keep up with the latest and greatest. However, acquiring the next best thing can delay your dream vacation plans. Not that you shouldn't upgrade some aspects of your life. But if you're serious about taking a dream vacation, this should be your main focus.</p> <h2>15. Get a Part-Time Job</h2> <p>You might not jump for joy at the idea of working a second job. But if your income doesn't afford the opportunity to save for a dream vacation, working part-time a few hours each week, or asking your boss for overtime work, might provide the funds you need. If you can make an extra $500 a month &mdash; or $125 a week &mdash; that's an extra $6,000 a year.</p> <p><em>Do you have other ideas on how to save for a dream vacation? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F15-easy-ways-to-save-for-your-dream-vacation&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F15%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Save%20for%20Your%20Dream%20Vacation.jpg&amp;description=15%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Save%20for%20Your%20Dream%20Vacation" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/15%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Save%20for%20Your%20Dream%20Vacation.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" />&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-save-for-your-dream-vacation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-spring-break-budget-busters-to-avoid">11 Spring Break Budget Busters to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sneaky-vacation-costs-that-add-up-quickly">10 Sneaky Vacation Costs That Add Up Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-and-track-expenses-for-your-next-vacation">How to Budget and Track Expenses for Your Next Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation">7 Easy Ways to Budget for Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel saving saving strategies vacation Fri, 11 Apr 2014 08:48:16 +0000 Mikey Rox 1135082 at http://www.wisebread.com Save More by Avoiding Multiple Bank Accounts http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-by-avoiding-multiple-bank-accounts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-more-by-avoiding-multiple-bank-accounts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-4562214-small.jpg" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want to save more? Keep it simple.</p> <p>Conventional wisdom holds that people should spread savings across different accounts, and the typical American has multiple checking and savings and other types of financial accounts. However, they're more likely to save more with just one savings account, according to a new study by a University of Kansas researcher. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/zen-and-the-art-of-hiding-money" target="_blank">Zen and the Art of Hiding Money</a>)</p> <p>People save more if they have just one account compared to multiple checking and savings accounts, according to Kansas University assistant professor Promothesh Chatterjee.</p> <p>&quot;Nowadays, the average American has multiple liquid accounts, typically a combination of checking and savings accounts,&quot; he said in a <a href="http://www.news.ku.edu/2013/04/17/trying-save-more-consolidate-your-bank-accounts-researcher-says" target="_blank">press release</a>. &quot;But our research finds this is the wrong strategy to encourage saving. We find that individuals are more likely to save if they have only one primary account, rather than many accounts.&quot;</p> <h2>Banking Implications</h2> <p>His research has implications for accepted banking practices and national policies. Banks frequently offer several accounts to new clients, but the findings argue against that practice.</p> <p>Americans save next to nothing &mdash; the current national savings rate is estimated at 5%. And the inability to save cuts across income and educational levels.</p> <p>&quot;Given that context, this type of research is important to lots of people,&quot; Chatterjee said.</p> <p>Why does having several accounts encourage people to save less?</p> <blockquote><p>Utilizing work on motivated reasoning and fuzzy-trace theory, we suggest that multiple accounts engender fuzzy gist representations, making it easier for people to generate justifications to support their desired spending decisions. However, a single account reduces the latitude for distortion and hinders generation of justifications to support desirable spending decisions.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Fuzzy Savings</h2> <p>In other words, people with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-are-your-bank-accounts" target="_blank">more accounts lack a clear idea</a> of how much they have saved and use that muddled picture to rationalize their spending decisions. We feel good about ourselves over the long-term when we save, but we feel good right away when we spend, which prompts us to find justifications to spend.</p> <p>Simply put, if you have different savings accounts, it's easy to convince yourself that you have a ton of savings. If you have it all in one place, you can plainly see what you have &mdash; or don't have.</p> <p>Those who are opposed to consolidating accounts, according to the research, can at least try using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-budgeting-pocketsmith-helps-you-forecast" target="_blank">software programs that add up different accounts</a>, allowing users to see the total in one place.</p> <p>His research used four separate studies with a total of 566 participants who had the opportunity to earn, spend, and save money. The results were published in the May 2013 issue of the journal &quot;Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.&quot;</p> <p>The students participating in the study earned money for doing tasks on a computer, and then had chances to buy items, such as university T-shirts, notebooks, and a computer mouse, or add money to their savings, according to a <a href="http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/fewer-bank-accounts-may-result-in-more-savings/" target="_blank">New York Times story</a> on the research. Those who kept earnings in a single account saved more than those with multiple accounts. The issue was not their mathematical abilities, but rather their motivation, Chatterjee said.</p> <h2>Targeted Accounts for Saving?</h2> <p>Others disagree and argue that using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system" target="_blank">targeted savings accounts</a> is the best way to accumulate savings.</p> <p>Different savings accounts &mdash; for example for emergencies, a new car, and a vacation &mdash; offer a motivational tool for saving for specific goals, writes one proponent of <a href="http://business.time.com/2011/08/23/use-targeted-saving-to-achieve-your-goals" target="_blank">targeted savings accounts</a>, J.D. Roth, founder of website Get Rich Slowly and author of &quot;Your Money: The Missing Manual.&quot;</p> <p>When savings are combined, it's easy to lose track of how much you've saved for each goal and use money for one goal to pay for another use, he says, adding that online savings accounts offer higher yields and let customers split their funds into subaccounts and even name them.</p> <p><em>Do you use multiple accounts to manage your savings or just one? What works best for you in terms of reaching your savings goals?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/michael-kling">Michael Kling</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-by-avoiding-multiple-bank-accounts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-are-your-bank-accounts">Financial IQ Test: How Healthy Are Your Bank Accounts?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-quirky-ways-to-spend-less-and-kick-start-saving">4 Quirky Ways to Spend Less and Kick-Start Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-savings-faster-with-a-multiple-account-strategy">Build Savings Faster With a Multiple Account Strategy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget">How to Help Your Kid Build Their First Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-bitcoin-still-a-thing">Is Bitcoin Still a Thing?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Budgeting Financial News bank accounts saving strategies savings accounts Mon, 17 Jun 2013 09:48:33 +0000 Michael Kling 977910 at http://www.wisebread.com Evolve Your Money Management Beyond the Budget http://www.wisebread.com/evolve-your-money-management-beyond-the-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/evolve-your-money-management-beyond-the-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/finances-3267436-small.jpg" alt="calculator" title="calculator" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Budgets are a lot like diets &mdash; a lot of people know they should be on one, but the thought of it is met with a collective &quot;Ugh&quot; (cue heads hitting the table and exasperated sighs). All this budget angst has me wondering &mdash; does budgeting really even work? Just off the top of my head, I can think of a handful of ways traditional budgeting is a less-than-perfect system for managing our money and living within our means. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-improving-or-starting-a-budget" target="_blank">8 Ways for Improving or Starting a Budget</a>)</p> <h2>How Budgets Let Us Down</h2> <p>Here are just a few of the ways.</p> <p><strong>Creating a Budget Requires Discipline and Time</strong></p> <p>Let&rsquo;s face it; most would-be budgeters never get past the header row of their spreadsheets. Confusion, intimidation, or boredom sets in and prevents people from estimating and tracking their expenses successfully. In this way, budgets are the financial equivalent of a treadmill &mdash; they represent the very best intentions, but seldom get used.</p> <p><strong>Budgets Are Difficult to Stick To</strong></p> <p>Even when budgeters create a viable, realistic system to keep their spending in check, they seldom stick to it. Budgets bend, expand, get tabled, and eventually abandoned.</p> <p><strong>Budgets Are Designed to be Inflexible</strong></p> <p>Budgets are usually stagnant, even when our incomes aren&rsquo;t. Successful budgeters train themselves to live and die by the parameters they&rsquo;ve established on paper and seldom retool, rework, or rethink their approach. As our incomes, expenses, and opportunities fluctuate, our budgets usually remain locked-in.</p> <p><strong>Budgets Don&rsquo;t Teach; They Only Modify Behavior</strong></p> <p>Budgets may be a great temporary tool for financial training (or retraining), but they don&rsquo;t work well for long-term strategic money management or for creating and seizing dynamic financial opportunities.</p> <p><strong>Budgets Don&rsquo;t Encourage Innovation</strong></p> <p>Most budgeters focus heavily on the expense side of their personal financial equations without giving the same level of attention to the income side. It&rsquo;s important to innovate &mdash; not only by cutting expenses, but by being challenged to increase income. If your income and expenses never vary and you stick to the plan, you&rsquo;re a gold-star budgeter. But that rote approach isn&rsquo;t necessarily the recipe for long-term financial success.</p> <h2>A Better&nbsp;Way</h2> <p>So, is there a better way to keep tabs on our spending and live within our means long-term without the constant number-crunching and sense of deprivation? I think so. Instead of siloing every last dollar, I think it makes much more sense to adopt a four step money management approach that saves first and rewards last (with more saving).</p> <p><strong>1. Artificially Reduce What&rsquo;s Available to Spend by Paying Yourself First</strong></p> <p>Skim off or divert 15-20% of your income before the money even hits your checking account. This would be the same as the &quot;savings&quot; column of a traditional budget. Direct the funds to whatever <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-the-most-of-your-401K" target="_blank">investment vehicles you&rsquo;ve chosen</a> based upon your level of risk, goals, savings horizon, etc.</p> <p><strong>2. Next, Pay All Fixed Expenses</strong></p> <p>A portion of the remaining funds is used to pay overhead like mortgage, cell phone, electricity, etc. (according to pay schedule and billing cycles).</p> <p><strong>3. Live on What&rsquo;s Left</strong></p> <p>No complex spreadsheets, no rigid guidelines, no robbing Peter to pay Paul. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today" target="_blank">remainder of your variable expenses</a> gets paid via the balance. Overspending in one area either depletes the rest, or becomes a call to boost income quickly. Make an unwavering promise to yourself that padding the process through the use of credit is not an option.</p> <p><strong>4. Save the Rest</strong></p> <p>Any money that&rsquo;s leftover gets cycled right back into savings, rather than accumulate for next month.</p> <p>Granted, this method isn&rsquo;t for newbies or the faint-of-heart. I think of it as Budgeting 301 after prerequisites like 101 and 201 have been mastered. It accomplishes the same thing as traditional budgeting, but leverages your hard-won discipline and knowledge and allows for more flexibility. Since every dollar isn&rsquo;t flagged for a purpose, spending can be more fluid.</p> <p>Over time, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-savings-changes-you-can-make-today" target="_blank">even saving becomes easier</a>; the &quot;stealth&quot; goal of pocketing what&rsquo;s left over becomes a powerful motivator &mdash; traditional budget categories expand, contract, or don&rsquo;t get funded at all. As each spending cycle draws to a close, your motivation to cut back, get creative, or earn more is rewarded by an extra little lump sum that no traditional budget would have factored in.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;ve paid your budgeting dues and honed your money management skills, it&rsquo;s OK to waver a bit from a life ruled by rows and columns. If you know how to avoid temptation or compensate for a splurge without running to plastic, explore a more hands-free system that acknowledges your skill and might even help you save more in the long run.</p> <p><em>Do you follow a traditional budget or has your savings strategy evolved over time? What budget tricks or tips do you use that might be considered unconventional?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/evolve-your-money-management-beyond-the-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-improving-or-starting-a-budget">8 Tips for Improving or Starting a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-budgeting-pocketsmith-helps-you-forecast">Beyond Budgeting: Pocketsmith Helps You Forecast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-save-5-this-week">25 Ways to Save $5 This Week</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-save-for-your-dream-vacation">15 Easy Ways to Save for Your Dream Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-management-in-5-minutes-a-day">Money Management in 5 Minutes a Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting family budget financial tools saving strategies Wed, 01 May 2013 10:24:34 +0000 Kentin Waits 973756 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Crazy Frugality Schemes That Just Might Work http://www.wisebread.com/10-crazy-frugality-schemes-that-just-might-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-crazy-frugality-schemes-that-just-might-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thinking-4708501-small.jpg" alt="thinking" title="thinking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ve been called many things in my life. Some good; some not so good. But I can&rsquo;t say I&rsquo;ve ever been called <em>crazy </em>when it comes to being frugal. So, as I&rsquo;m not getting any younger, I thought it was time to bring out a list of 10 crazy frugal schemes and earn the sobriquet. Some of these plans are certainly more &quot;out there&quot; than others, but all are worth a try, I think. Put some of them to the test and let us know how you get on. (See also: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-enemies-of-frugality">The Enemies of Frugality</a>)</p> <p>And, if you have some even crazier ideas, chime in. While writing this article a friend of mine told me they sometimes skip buying lunch and eat free samples from the grocery stores. It may save a few bucks, but that&rsquo;s not my style. Anyway, on with the list.</p> <h2>1. Stop Buying Groceries</h2> <p>Well, not forever, and this is not a suggestion that you steal your groceries, either.</p> <p>The basic idea behind this one is to stop buying until you&rsquo;ve used every item in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. We all overstock our cupboards and throw away food that has gone off because we just couldn&rsquo;t get to it in time. Orwe&rsquo;ve put it at the back of the fridge and forgotten all about it. So, commit to using everything you have. It will take some serious creativity at times, but, dependning on the depth of your larder, you might go two or three weeks without having to do a big shop. Eggs, milk, and bread may need to be purchased, but everything else you forage out of your pantry.</p> <h2>2. Dumpster Dive for Dinner</h2> <p>I hesitate to call this one crazy; I personally think it&rsquo;s both logical and smart. But the idea of digging around in dumpsters for the groceries seems plain nuts to some people. However, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/encounter-with-a-freegan"><em>freegans </em>would seriously disagree</a>. They regularly find completely edible food in the dumpsters of local supermarkets, which has all been thrown away due to sell by dates or imperfections. Fresh fruit that isn&rsquo;t perfect gets dumped, as well as baked goods that aren't 100% fresh. It&rsquo;s a shame that so many people are starving in this world, and yet so much perfectly edible food is thrown away daily.</p> <h2>3. Use a Bathroom That Isn't Your Own</h2> <p>If you have a gym membership, you should take full advantage of it. And that includes using their showers and bathrooms.</p> <p>Go to the gym in the morning, and after your workout, take the long, hot shower you were going to take at home. Use their bathrooms, and thus, their water. At work, use the bathroom just before you leave. Out and about, pop into public restrooms before you come home. It may seem absolutely bonkers, but it can save you hundreds of dollars every year in water and heating costs.</p> <h2>4. Buy Smaller Plates</h2> <p>The size of the average dinner plate has grown considerably over the years. This is partly due to restaurants upping the ante and dishing out larger and larger portions of food. Now, we do the same at home. And the bigger the plates, the more food we get through in a sitting. It&rsquo;s not just bad for our wallets; it's bad for our waistlines. So, put the big plates in the basement and eat meals from smaller plates. The ones you usually serve appetizers on. You&rsquo;ll be amazed at the leftovers you&rsquo;ll have.</p> <h2>5. Reuse Disposable Items</h2> <p>Disposable items don&rsquo;t disintegrate. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">You can reuse an awful lot of them.</a></p> <p>Aluminum foil, ziploc bags, tissue paper, gift bags, takeout containers, swim diapers, tissue boxes, egg cartons, and even laundry detergent caps can be used multiple times. There are even ways to reuse disposable cameras and camcorders, if you have the time and patience. Reuse these items you would normally throw away, and over time you&rsquo;ll see significant savings.</p> <h2>6. Stretch Laundry Days</h2> <p>My mother was laundry crazy when I was growing up. If I took off a pair of jeans or shorts, they were instantly put in the wash. Sweaters were washed as soon as they were removed. Shirts, jackets, you name it &mdash; one wear was all anything ever got. But there is no reason to wash every single item after every use. For instance, jeans can easily go three or four uses, if they&rsquo;re in a good rotation with other jeans (I have way too many pairs). Sweaters? Well, you have a T-shirt between it and your skin. Jackets should really only be washed when they get dirty or smelly. And even T-shirts can be saved with a good spritz of fabric refresher. Underwear? Now that&rsquo;s a different story.</p> <h2>7. Avoid Your Spendthrift Friends</h2> <p>While it may seem a little heartless, we all know people who are very carefree when it comes to money. I&rsquo;ve heard things like &quot;credit cards are free money&quot; and &quot;why save when you could be dead tomorrow?&quot;</p> <p>Well, that may work for them (doubtful), but when you&rsquo;re with them, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-dodge-peer-pressure-to-spend">you will be tempted to spend</a> more than you usually would. So, unless your willpower is concrete, try to avoid your less frugal friends when you know it could lead to wasteful spending of your own.</p> <h2>8. Negotiate for Almost Everything</h2> <p>So, you obviously can&rsquo;t haggle the price of a can of beans at your local supermarket or the price of gas when you fill up. But use your common sense. From big box retailers and car dealerships to farmers markets and craigslist sellers, there is usually some wiggle room in the &quot;for sale&quot; price. But like the old adage goes, you don&rsquo;t get it if you don&rsquo;t ask. And the more you do it, the better you&rsquo;ll get at getting it.</p> <h2>9. Stop Making Left Hand Turns</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t take my word for it. This comes straight from the people who know a thing or two about making trips on America&rsquo;s roads: UPS.</p> <p>United Parcel realized that having 95,000 of its trucks idling in the left lane was wasting a ton of time and gas. So, they employed a system called &quot;package flow,&quot; which drastically reduces the number of left hand turns a driver has to make. It saved UPS over three million gallons of gas. Now, analyze your trip to work or the route you take to go grocery shopping. Can you avoid many of those left hand turns? It may save you a few bucks.</p> <h2>10. Convert Costs to Your Hourly Wage</h2> <p>This is one my lovely wife told me about recently, and since I discovered it, I have completely changed my spending paradigm. It works like this. Let&rsquo;s say you want to buy a new jacket. That jacket costs $100. You earn $15 per hour, but that&rsquo;s gross pay. So net pay, after taxes, you earn maybe $10 per hour that actually goes in your pocket.</p> <p>In real terms it would take 10 hours to earn the $100 you need to buy that jacket. Is the jacket worth 10 hours of labor? 10 hours of construction work? 10 hours of taking orders, answering phones, client meetings, or whatever else you do for a living? If you think so, then go ahead. But you may find that you just don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s worth the time. It works on anything, from a car to a cup of coffee. Do you want to work 30 minutes to pay for that Starbucks buzz? Or a few minutes for the coffee you brew at home. It really is a shift in thinking.</p> <p><em>What&rsquo;s your so crazy it just might work frugal living strategy?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-crazy-frugality-schemes-that-just-might-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-write-a-letter">22 Reasons to Write a Letter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meet-meg-favreau-our-senior-editor">Meet Meg Favreau, Our Senior Editor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-starting-to-live-frugally">The Two Biggest Mistakes People Make When Starting to Live Frugally</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks crazy ideas freegans saving strategies Wed, 17 Apr 2013 10:36:31 +0000 Paul Michael 973487 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Savings Strategies That Work http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-savings-strategies-that-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-savings-strategies-that-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6093701123_b25857f73a_b.jpg" alt="piggy banks" title="piggy banks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="124" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on savings strategies that work, making a killing by picking garage sales, and budgeting for home maintenance.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thewisdomjournal.com/Blog/savings-strategies-that-work/">Savings Strategies That Work</a> &mdash; When you get home at the end of the day, pull your single bills out of your wallet and save them! [The Wisdom Journal]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneyunder30.com/garage-sale-buying-tips">Garage Rocks: 10 Tips for Making a Killing by Picking Garage Sales</a> &mdash; When shopping garage sales, inspect items you want to buy closely and enlist a devil's advocate. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/budget-for-home-maintenance/">How to Budget for Home Maintenance</a> &mdash; It is a good idea to have a household maintenance fund so you are prepared for home maintenance expenses. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://www.beingfrugal.net/3-ways-the-internet-can-help-you-improve-your-finances/?utm_source=rss&amp;utm_medium=rss&amp;utm_campaign=3-ways-the-internet-can-help-you-improve-your-finances">3 Ways the Internet Can Help You Improve Your Finances</a> &mdash; The Internet can help you improve your finances by enabling you to earn more money. [BeingFrugal.net]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2013/03/21/5-reasons-to-refinance-your-mortgage/">5 reasons to refinance your mortgage</a> &mdash; If you want to lower your interest rate, refinancing your mortgage may be a good idea. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2013/03/the-many-college-related-decisions.html">The Many College-Related Decisions</a> &mdash; When selecting a college, parents and their children should look at the college's record of placing graduates in the child's field of study. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2013/03/14/factoring-in-the-value-of-benefits-in-your-compensation/">Factoring in the Value of Benefits in Your Compensation</a> &mdash; To factor in the value of benefits in your compensation, take the time to look at vacation and 401(k) match. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/21/pf/expert/financial-adviser.moneymag/index.html?section=money_pf&amp;utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fmoney_pf+%28Personal+Finance%29">When to call it quits with your financial adviser</a> &mdash; It may be time to call it quits with your financial adviser if you understand that managing your own finances isn't just about picking a couple good mutual funds. [CNNMoney]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Clean-Your-Couch-28552287">Sofa Scrubbing 101: How and When to Clean Your Couch</a> &mdash; Before you clean your couch, figure out the best cleaning solution to use. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/21-fun-and-sometimes-educational-activities-to-do-on-spring-break">21 Fun (and Even Educational) Activities to Do on Spring Break</a> &mdash; This spring, consider going on a picnic or taking an unplanned road trip. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-savings-strategies-that-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-get-your-toiletries-for-cheap-or-even-free">6 Ways to Get your Toiletries for Cheap or Even Free!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-things-to-do-with-your-spare-change">25 Great Things to Do With Your Spare Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-savings-mistakes-even-smart-people-make">8 Savings Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles">Easy Budgeting for First Time Singles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living best money tips saving strategies savings Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:00:34 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 971436 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Ways to Save $5 This Week http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-save-5-this-week <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-ways-to-save-5-this-week" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2468623574_d3cfe2269e_z.jpg" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've been sliding on your New Year&rsquo;s resolution to save more money, let this post help you get back on track.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t beat yourself up about not sending X amount of dollars a month to your savings account because you overspent, didn&rsquo;t make enough, or just plain forgot. Instead, remember that by keeping the goal small and manageable, you&rsquo;re more likely to reach it. These tips on how to cut $5 out of your budget every week will allow you to send that extra cash to savings. It&rsquo;s not a lofty goal, and it&rsquo;s one spread out over the entire year, so you don&rsquo;t burden yourself with the pressure of coming up with the extra savings all at once.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re a real go-getter, double up on these ideas in one week and send $10. Either way, time to start saving today. Here&rsquo;s how. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-savings-changes-you-can-make-today">37 Savings Changes You&nbsp;Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Skip the Starbucks</h2> <p>Cut out at least one trip to the coffee shop this week and set aside however much your favorite drink normally costs.</p> <h2>2. Roll Loose Change</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;ve been <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-ways-to-count-and-cash-in-your-change">saving change in a jar</a>, roll at least $5 and stash it away.</p> <h2>3. Start Carpooling</h2> <p>If you have a coworker who lives nearby, suggest that you carpool to work. Given current gas prices, you&rsquo;ll probably save more than $5 in unused gas, so maybe you can put a little extra into your savings this week. Be sure to return the favor of chauffer service to your coworker next week.</p> <h2>4. Stay in This Weekend</h2> <p>I know it&rsquo;s tough, but one weekend a year in won&rsquo;t kill you. Think of the money (and morning headache) you&rsquo;ll save.</p> <h2>5. Sell Something Online</h2> <p>Find something of value that you no longer need, and list it on eBay, Amazon, or Craigslist for an influx of quick cash.</p> <h2>6. Take Your Lunch to Work</h2> <p>Many of us do this already, but even if you eat out for lunch just once a week you&rsquo;re spending money that you could be saving. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/creating-cheap-healthy-work-lunches">Bring your lunch</a> all five days and put that $5 savings away for a rainy day.</p> <h2>7. Just Say No to Takeout and Delivery</h2> <p>On a night that you normally order delivery, opt instead to make a frugal homemade meal to save at least $5.</p> <h2>8. Work an Extra Hour</h2> <p>If you get paid by the hour, stay one hour longer this week. You&rsquo;ll reach your savings goal for the week plus have a little extra money left over.</p> <h2>9. Quit Smoking for a Day or Two</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re a smoker, try to cut out one pack of cigarettes by not smoking for a day or two. With cigarettes at least $5 a pack in most of the country, you&rsquo;ll meet your goal and be a little healthier for it.</p> <h2>10. Take a Trip to the Recycling Center</h2> <p>If you have bottles, cans, or scrap metal in abundance, take it to the local recycling center to cash it in.</p> <h2>11. Avoid &quot;On Demand&quot; Movies</h2> <p>Most of these movies are in the area of $5. Buying one less this week (or none at all) will keep your wallet full.</p> <h2>12. Stay Away From Office Snacks</h2> <p>Steer clear of the vending machines in your office this week to stay on the straight and narrow path to savings.</p> <h2>13. Clip Coupons</h2> <p>If you have to pick up groceries this week, scour the coupon circulars for discounts you can use to save money at the market.</p> <h2>14. Use Online Discounts</h2> <p>Before you make an online purchase, search for a discount code like free shipping or a percentage off before you click on the buy button.</p> <h2>15. Return a Christmas Gift</h2> <p>Did you receive something you don&rsquo;t really need or want this holiday season? If you have a receipt, return it for cold, hard cash.</p> <h2>16. Bike Around Town</h2> <p>Put your car in park and bike to nearby destinations instead of driving. Do this for a week and you&rsquo;ll definitely save at least $5 worth of gas.</p> <h2>17. Turn Down the Heat</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;ve got the heat on full blast, turn it off this week and bundle up in extra layers when you&rsquo;re hanging out at home.</p> <h2>18. Pick Up a One-Off Side Gig</h2> <p>Offer to walk a friend&rsquo;s dogs or clean someone&rsquo;s apartment for a little extra cash, a portion of which you send to savings.</p> <h2>19. Scratch an Item Off Your Grocery List</h2> <p>Milk, for instance, is getting expensive. To save $5 this week, look at your grocery list to see what you can live without for the next seven days.</p> <h2>20. Visit the Pawn Shop</h2> <p>Have something in which a pawnbroker may be interested? Stop by your local pawnshop and try to unload your goods for a satisfying fee.</p> <h2>21. Set Up Shop on the Street</h2> <p>Offering snacks and drinks to motorist in busy areas &mdash; think bottled water, chips, and candy &mdash; can make you a pocketful of cash in just a couple hours. You might make enough to meet your savings goals for the next few weeks.</p> <h2>22. Go Scavenging</h2> <p>Just walking around town can yield you extra cash. On your trek, you&rsquo;re likely to find loose change, discarded items that you can sell, and lots of recyclables that you can collect to exchange for cash.</p> <h2>23. Sell Unwanted Gift Cards</h2> <p>There are plenty of sites that will buy your old gift cards, like <a href="http://cardcash.com/">CardCash.com</a> and <a href="http://www.giftcardgranny.com/">GiftCardGranny.com</a>, to name a couple. You won&rsquo;t get face value for them, but these sites pay up to 92% of the original value. Should be enough to meet your savings goal for at least a couple weeks.</p> <h2>24. Refrain From Drinking Alcohol</h2> <p>It costs $5 for a beer most places these days, so even one less drink this week will help you meet your goal. Go the entire week without imbibing and you&rsquo;ll save a lot more.</p> <h2>25. See a Matinee Movie</h2> <p>You don&rsquo;t have to eliminate fun entirely to save $5. But if you want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-watch-movies-in-the-theater-for-free">see a movie</a>, try to see the matinee show (usually before noon) to save on your ticket.</p> <p><em>Have even more ways to save $5 this week? Let me know your suggestion in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-save-5-this-week">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-save-for-your-dream-vacation">15 Easy Ways to Save for Your Dream Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/evolve-your-money-management-beyond-the-budget">Evolve Your Money Management Beyond the Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-by-avoiding-multiple-bank-accounts">Save More by Avoiding Multiple Bank Accounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-of-improving-your-lottery-odds">6 Ways of Improving Your Lottery Odds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-smart-way-to-budget-on-a-freelance-income">The Smart Way to Budget on a Freelance Income</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Extra Income frugal changes how to save more money saving strategies Wed, 23 Jan 2013 11:36:36 +0000 Mikey Rox 965681 at http://www.wisebread.com Rethinking the 529 College Savings Plan Strategy http://www.wisebread.com/rethinking-the-529-college-savings-plan-strategy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rethinking-the-529-college-savings-plan-strategy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5725228924_82f4562334_z.jpg" alt="graduate and parents" title="graduate and parents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For years we've been plowing money into 529 plans for our children (after, of course, contributing to our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-step-staircase-to-a-comfortable-retirement" title="The 10-Step Staircase to a Comfortable Retirement">retirement</a> accounts as well), knowing how painful it's going to be 10-15 years out when we start getting those tuition bills. Generally, I've always been a strong proponent of relying heavily on stock market returns over long periods of time since they tend to outperform all other asset classes in periods of 10 years or longer (with 2000-2010 being a notable exception). As such, we have our 529 plan portfolios set up to invest in the most aggressive stock portfolios I could find, with the intention of shifting gears into more conservative stock/bond mix portfolios as the kids reach their teenage years in order to protect the principal in the event of a downturn like what we saw in 2008 and 2009. However, I'm starting to rethink this approach.</p> <h3>529 Investing &mdash; Buying Tuition Credits or Investing in Stocks</h3> <p>The reason I'm rethinking my strategy has little to do with the market downturn in 2008 and 2009. I'm not easily influenced by &quot;the recency effect,&quot; and I don't change long-term strategies unless there's a game-changing definitive driver. Rather, the input that's making me rethink our strategy is the trajectory of college tuition costs and the prospect that there's no relief in sight. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-tuition-helping-out-with-college-expenses" title="Beyond Tuition: Helping Out With College Expenses">Beyond Tuition: Helping Out With College Expenses</a>)</p> <p>The most recent <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pf/college/college_tuition/index.htm?hpt=T2">survey of college tuition costs</a> from The College Board indicates that for the 2010-2011 school year, in-state tuition and fees will rise 7.9%, a staggering number. Private schools will see their costs increase 4.5%, but being mindful that private schools are generally 3-5 times more expensive than a top state school (and hence prohibitively expensive for us to fund fully), it's the state-school tuition hike that we're paying close attention to. Debt-burdened state budgets are facing an uphill battle, confronted with interest payments coming due mixed with declining tax revenues from a stagnant economy. I'd like to be more optimistic, but the pragmatist in me views this as a longer-term issue with the net result being continued lack of funding for public universities. As a result, it won't suprise me if we continue to see hikes of 7-9% for years to come.</p> <h3>Changing Strategy &mdash; What if I Guess Wrong?</h3> <p>By having prepared, and either saving a hefty amount in the 529 plan in a stock/bond mix or having purchased several tuition credits in advance, at least we will have taken a step in the right direction, no matter which option turns out to be the better investment. However, if it turns out that stocks average 2% or 12% over the next 15 years, buying tuition credits in advance will have either looked like a genius move or an overly conservative lost opportunity. In order to have it both ways, I'm actually going to look to start a new 529 plan to purchase tuition credits while retaining the aggressive market-based portfolio in my other plan. This way, I've mitigated my risk substantially. As far as weighting, I think I may start funneling money more heavily toward the credit option because the chances of college tuition costs dropping dramatically over time seem slim, as does the prospect of stocks having &quot;above average&quot; market performance, given that we're coming off a massive 75% gain from the pivot bottom in March 2009, and we're likely looking at very low single-digit GDP growth for years.</p> <h3>Multiple 529 Plans Are Allowed</h3> <p>Since most 529 plans don't have state residency requirements, you can usually have accounts with multiple state plans. Since I started with the Ohio savings plan due to their portfolio selection and low fees, I can actually do a state tuition credit plan in my home state. So, legally and practically speaking, my plan is achievable.</p> <p>By buying credits each year that are expected to increase at 8% or more, that's essentially my &quot;investment return.&quot; What makes, say, an 8% return on college tuition credits so much more attractive than an 8% return in stocks is the lack of volatility. While stocks will continue to see-saw up and down with no guarantee of beating 8%, college tuition increases over the years. Thus buying tuition credits is the equivalent of earning a very high &quot;risk-free return,&quot; which is presently in the very low single-digits for savings, CDs, and Treasury bonds. The intangible risk we're already taking on is that we'll save too much if one or more of our children doesn't go to college. Fortunately, there's ample flexibility built into 529 plans to redistribute savings to other family members or withdraw the money with a penalty as a last resort.</p> <p><em>What's your approach to 529 plan savings?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darwins-money">Darwins Money</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rethinking-the-529-college-savings-plan-strategy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-places-to-stash-your-kids-college-savings">5 Smart Places to Stash Your Kid&#039;s College Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">12 Easy Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-uses-for-a-529-plan">5 Creative Uses for a 529 Plan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-free-college-tuition-really-pay-for">What Does &quot;Free&quot; College Tuition Really Pay For?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Investment 529 plan college college education savings college planning saving for college saving strategies Thu, 04 Nov 2010 12:00:09 +0000 Darwins Money 277778 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Create Barriers to Your Savings http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-barriers-to-your-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-create-barriers-to-your-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2526825694_1ca87495d2.jpg" alt="barbed wire fence" title="barbed wire fence" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>All it takes is one weak moment to reach into your checking account or connected savings account and use those funds on something frivolous. That's why it's important to protect your savings from you! The way I do this is to create barriers between me and my savings. I protect my money from me.</p> <h3>Trying Hard to Save</h3> <p>Do you want more money set aside for emergencies, vacations, college expenses, or retirement? I'm sure most of us at one point wish we had a bit more saved for these things. What we often try to do to make this happen is to &quot;try really hard&quot; and spend less. We tend to think that it's all about self-discipline and effort. And then when we discover that we haven't saved that much, or we blow all our savings on a whim, we beat ourselves up. Some may even write off saving completely.</p> <p>While it's true that what you don't spend, you can save, I've found that unless I'm proactive with my saving, I'll usually end up spending it anyway, regardless of my frugal spending strategies. All it takes is one weak moment to reach into your checking account or connected savings account and use those funds on something frivolous. The road to broke is paved with good intentions.</p> <p>That's why it's important to protect your savings from you! Yeah, I said it. You are the reason you don't have any money saved. What you need to do is take <em>you</em> out of the equation. Eliminate yourself from the savings process. The way I do this is to create barriers between me and my savings. I protect my money from me.</p> <p>Before I explain, let me add that I think most people should aim to have an emergency fund (around six months' worth of expenses). I also recommend that you make an attempt to save for short term needs like a new TV or a vacation. It's costly to finance these things with debt. Finally, you should make an attempt to take care of your retirement savings.</p> <p>Given those three general goals, here's how to create natural barriers so that you're able to save up the money and keep it there.</p> <h3>Create Barriers to Your Savings</h3> <p>For short-term, emergency-fund type savings, I recommend a high-yield online savings account. It should be one that's not directly attached to your checking account, a debit card, or an ATM. That way you can't get to the money easily.</p> <p>And because transfers to and from online savings accounts typically take a few days, you'll be less likely to reach into those funds for a splurge. I've found that the three to five day window really helps me to stay away from those funds. Yet, the savings account is still flexible enough to help you if you lost your job, or had a medical emergency that would require the use of the funds.</p> <p>For short-term saving goals (like a vacation), I also recommend the online savings account. A bank like ING DIRECT will allow you to <a href="http://ptmoney.com/2009/07/17/multiple-ing-direct-accounts/" title="create multiple savings accounts">create multiple savings accounts</a>, so that you can assign a different goal to each one. And just like the emergency fund, the nature of this isolated account will increase the chances that you'll leave the money alone.</p> <p>Let's look at retirement accounts. For this goal I use tax and penalty barriers created by tax-advantaged retirement accounts, like the 401K and the IRA. There are some pretty strong incentives associated with these accounts. Withdrawing money from these accounts prior to retirement will in most cases trigger a loss of the tax savings (wherein taxes become due) and possible penalties for accessing the money too early.</p> <p>Therefore, keeping your retirement savings in those types of accounts, versus a taxable investment account, somewhat forces you to stay away from those funds. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want to be paying taxes or penalties because I dipped into savings that was originally intended for a future use.</p> <p>It's not rocket science. But this simple change in mindset has really made the difference for me. I hope it can do the same for you. Couple this strategy with automatic contributions from your paycheck, and you'll really start to save more than ever.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post from PT of <a href="http://ptmoney.com/" title="PT Money: Personal Finance">PT Money: Personal Finance</a>. Need some extra cash? Check out PT's list of <a href="http://ptmoney.com/2009/01/28/52-ways-make-extra-money/" title="52 Ways to Make Extra Money">52 Ways to Make Extra Money</a>. Looking to start active investing? See his list of the <a href="http://ptmoney.com/2010/05/21/best-online-stock-brokers-for-cheap-stock-trading/" title="best online stock brokers">best online stock brokers</a> for cheap stock trading.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pt-money">PT Money</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-barriers-to-your-savings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund">A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency">8 Ways to Decide if It&#039;s a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance achieving goals emergency fund saving strategies Fri, 23 Jul 2010 14:05:33 +0000 PT Money 183528 at http://www.wisebread.com