5 Things you can do NOW to change your finances!
Budgeting and saving is an awful lot like dieting. When you first start and come up with a plan you are super excited. You are going to pinch every penny till it screams. You can eat rice every day – no problem. Then, a month goes by and bad habits start creeping back in. “We can eat out just for today, we deserve it.” “Those shoes are on sale so I’m really saving money.” Next thing you know, you have reverted back to spending more than you should. This week, in honor of “Labor” Day, my husband and I have renewed our commitment to our goal of early retirement. To keep from burning out too quickly, we are only choosing 5 areas to work on. These are easy ways to save or earn extra money that anyone can do.
Did you know that when you leave some devices plugged in they continue to drain a small amount of electricity? While the wattage used per device is fairly small, think about how many devices we are talking about. Here’s what I found in my home:
Alarm clock, Keurig, microwave, range, 2 cable receivers, video game console, laptop, iphone charger, and printer. Some of these may be more trouble to re-set than the savings are worth such as the range, alarm clock and microwave; however, others can be unplugged easily. Another option is to plug these items into a power strip and then turn the whole strip off when you leave the house. I’m using a Remote Outlet System that I normally use for Christmas lights. This gives me a remote that turns on/off three different outlets.
Sell what you aren’t using
This one kills two birds with one stone. You can unclutter your space and make some cash! So far, I’ve listed three items for sale online. There are probably several Facebook groups in your area that allow you to post items for sale. You could also use Ebay or Craigslist. I’ve found for larger items, local sales are easier. We are also getting rid of one of our cars. Back in our happy go lucky days when we weren’t thinking about money at all, we purchased two convertibles: a PT Cruiser and a Mazda Miata. Now that we are older and, I hope wiser, we realize we don’t need 4 cars on our insurance and we do need a small truck. I just listed the PT Cruiser for sale and my husband is still “considering” selling the Miata. He really loves that car and is not sure he can part with it. Either way, we will be down at least one car.
Check your insurance rates
Speaking of cars, when was the last time you reviewed your auto insurance policy? What about your homeowners? Consider raising your deductibles or getting rid of coverage that you may not need. If you are carrying collision coverage on an older car, do some research to see what the car is worth and whether the cost of the additional coverage is truly worth it.
Eat from your pantry
Our food budget is the one that we seem to have the most trouble with. I try to meal plan, but I plan for what I want to eat rather than what we have in the pantry or freezer already. Take an inventory of your pantry and freezer. See what you have and then meal plan around that. Honestly, most of us could live for quite a while just on what we already have. Be creative!
Use money making/saving apps
If you are not using Ibotta, Checkout 51 or Savings Star, you are truly missing out on some additional income. No, you are not going to get rich with these apps, but why not get cash back on items you are already buying? I also love Swagbucks. Again, you are not going to earn a real income from this site, but you can earn swagbucks that can be redeemed for gift cards at your favorite retailers. There are surveys you can take, videos you can watch and games you can play. I just use Swagbucks as my search engine and earn swagbucks that way. This is an easy way to earn a $25 or $50 gift card to use for the Holidays or for yourself! If you shop online and aren’t using sites like Ebates, you are really just leaving money on the table. Shopping through Ebates is easy and you earn cash back on your purchases.
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