Custom Search

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Money Saving Tip of the Day: Dining Out -

Dining Out -  Restaurant discounts and coupons are available from many local sources, for both fancy and everyday restaurants.  So, be sure to use discounts whenever possible, and make sure to keep track of coupon expiration dates.  Check your local newspaper for discounts and coupons for local restaurants.  Also, make sure to check out the local mailers for restaurant coupons.  New restaurants are particularly fond of using discounts and specials to attract customers.  Look for restaurant discounts and coupons aimed at tourists. These can be found at the local visitors’ bureau or chamber of commerce, and in free magazines and brochures aimed at tourists.  Also, make sure to check out the brochure racks at lobbies of local hotels for restaurant discounts.  Keep in mind, you do not have to be a tourist or visiting business person to use these discounts.

Discounts and coupons for local restaurants can also be found on the Internet.  Just do some searches and you are sure to find some savings.  Many national restaurant chains offer discounts through their web sites.  By signing up at their web sites, you may be able to receive special promotions and coupons.  Internet sites like offer discounts and discounted gift certificates at many restaurants.  While there is an up front cost to purchasing these “coupons,” you will often be able to save more than 50% off the cost of your restaurant meal.  Or try, a free site that lets you book a table and lock in savings of up to thirty percent during off-peak hours at many fine restaurants.  Discounts can also be found at web sites like and

Ways to Save Money - Part 13 in a Series by David Ning


  1. Fido for free. Why would anyone pay a pet store for a furry friend when there are perfectly wonderful dogs and cats for free (or nearly free) at the Humane Society? Not only are you getting an inexpensive companion, you could be saving a life! But remember before you take one home that pets can be expensive. An average-sized dog can easily cost you $25 per month just in food alone.
  2. Shop your pet food. Unless your dog and cat read or watch a lot of TV, they probably won’t complain about getting generic food. Read the labels, and you’ll find that name brand pet food often has the exact ingredients at twice the price! Buying in bulk could also be a good idea, and don’t forget to try online shopping too. You might be able to save up to 50% at websites like,, or
  3. Make your own pet toys. Pets are like babies. They’re more likely to enjoy the box the toy came in than the toy itself. You’ve got plenty of interesting, entertaining and chewable items lying around the house already. You can grow catnip or find it cheap at herb stores.
  4. Use free or discounted pet services. Odds are you’re already paying taxes to subsidize some basic pet health services. Call your local Humane society or county facility and ask about discounted inoculations or other services.

Frugal Living & Natural Cures for Ear Infections

Frugal Living & Natural Cures for Ear Infections

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ways to Save Money Part 12 - By David Ning

Around the House

  1. Don’t buy drier softening sheets. Instead, mix up a spray bottle with half water and half fabric softener. Spray a washcloth with the mixture and toss it in the dryer.
  2. Repaint in white. Painting is one of the few home improvements you can make that normally add more value to a home than it costs, assuming you do it yourself. White paint is usually cheaper, doesn’t fade, makes rooms look bigger and goes with more stuff.
  3. Clean your own carpets. A carpet-cleaning machine is a great neighborhood co-op tool. Share the cost (maybe you can find one at a yard sale) with your neighbors and everybody on the block saves $100 a year or more in carpet cleaning costs.
  4. Do it yourself. If you own a home, buy how-to books and stop calling repairmen for everything!
  5. Charge it! Batteries that is. Reusable batteries cost more to buy, but can pay for themselves easily.
  6. Buy yesterday’s technology. One of the fundamental ways to save money is to buy yesterday’s technology. A Pentium 366 computer may not play Solitaire at the speed of light, but it will probably be perfectly adequate for the tasks normal people use computers for. And it will cost a fraction of the price of the newest, fastest models. Buying the latest greatest gadget is an expensive hobby. The same concept applies with everything from cars to bicycles to coffee makers.
  7. Stop being so darn clean! Americans can be obsessive when it comes to cleaning our clothes. Result? High dry-cleaning bills, high utility bills and high clothing bills. Nobody’s suggesting you should use body odor to cull your circle of friends, but the fact is that many items, especially the expensive-to-dry-clean-kind can often be worn more before we have them cleaned. Talk to a haberdasher and they’ll tell you that a quality men’s suit should be dry-cleaned as infrequently as possible for longer life. They’d rather see you brush them clean than exposing them to the trauma of a dry-cleaner.
  8. Use inexpensive decorating techniques. Sometimes you just need to change the look of a room. A new tablecloth can transform a dining room, and you’ll probably find one at the Salvation Army for $5. Plants are great decorations that you can get free by exchanging clippings with your friends. A plywood circle sitting on a round trash can look good when you cover it with a nice tablecloth, and the base doubles as storage. Old wooden chairs and boxes look cool when they’re repainted in funky colors. Bottom line? When it comes to decorating, an ounce of imagination will replace a pound of shopping!
  9. Freeze your scouring pads. They last longer that way.
  10. Save a tree or two. Use a clean hand towel in the kitchen instead of always reaching for paper towels.
  11. Plastic has a half-life of a million years. Wash and reuse plastic food storage bags.
  12. Foiled again. Aluminum foil can often be reused.
  13. Clean up on cleaners! You can often make your own cleaners that will save money and work just as well as their heavily advertised cousins. For example, combine ½ cup of ammonia, ½ cup vinegar and two tablespoons of cornstarch to a bucket of warm water and you’ll have a great window cleaner! And while you’re at it, use old newspaper to clean windows. Not only is it cheaper, it won’t streak. Baking soda does the same work as carpet deodorizer, scouring powder, and toilet bowl cleaner. It can even act as an antacid and a fire extinguisher. And how about vinegar? Combine it with salt, and it will clean your copper pots. It also polishes chrome, removes soap scum, and cleans your coffee maker. Cornstarch is more absorbent than talcum powder, and pure enough to use in place of baby powder. It can also clean carpet and remove grease stains.

Everything I Needed to Know About Money I Learned From My Mom | Money Talks News

Everything I Needed to Know About Money I Learned From My Mom Money Talks News

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yahoo! Finance - Financially Fit

Yahoo! Finance - Financially Fit -Don't Waste Your Money: Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

70+ Egg Recipes — Bohemian Revolution

70+ Egg Recipes — Bohemian Revolution - Eggs are some of the cheapest protein. I love my eggs!!

5 Skills Your Teenager Should Prepare for Adult Financial Responsibilities

5 Skills Your Teenager Should Prepare for Adult Financial Responsibilities

Get your Concert Tickets for a Steal

Get your Concert Tickets for a Steal

KidzEyes: Where Kids Earn Money! – Hip2Save - Not Your Grandma's Coupon Site

KidzEyes: Where Kids Earn Money! – Hip2Save - Not Your Grandma's Coupon Site

Ways to Save Money - Part 11 in a Series by David Ning


  1. Money for nothing. Billions of dollars of grants, scholarships, work-study programs and low cost loans are available every year. Don’t pay a company to find them for you, because there are places you can search for free. The Internet is a great resource for this. Websites to check out include and, but there are many others. Just do a search for “college scholarships.” You can also get lots of helpful advice from any college admissions office.
  2. FAFSA first. FAFSA stands for “free application for federal student aid,” and it’s basically a standardized form that will help you find out what kind and how much aid will be available to your student. Colleges and universities use it as a basis for the tuition packages they offer, and nearly every scholarship, work-study and other dispenser of student aid also uses it. Bottom line? If you’ve got a kid going to college, you’re going to need it, so fill it out as early as possible, especially since some grants are first come, first served. You can get the form from any college, or you can fill it out online
  3. Beat the local bushes too. You can look at all the scholarship search websites and library books in the world and still miss college cash. Why? Because the $300 scholarship offered by your local Rotary Club isn’t in there. Neither is the local Elks club $250 essay contest or any number of other awards local civic, cultural and religious groups may be offering in your neighborhood. Individually, the local stuff may look like small potatoes. But free money is free money: someone’s got to get it; might as well be your student!
  4. Buy textbooks online, used or both. Used to be you were trapped paying outrageous prices to the monopoly known as the campus bookstore. Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, you can buy new and used textbooks online and save serious bucks. Do a search for “used text books.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Real Debt Help - Get out of debt with Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover Plan -

Real Debt Help - Get out of debt with Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover Plan -

5 Weird Ways to Pay for College -

5 Weird Ways to Pay for College -

Going Once, SOLD! Tips for Craigslist Selling | Northern Cheapskate

Going Once, SOLD! Tips for Craigslist Selling Northern Cheapskate

Protect Your Used Car Purchase |

Protect Your Used Car Purchase

Full coverage or just liability insurance on your aut |

Full coverage or just liability insurance on your aut

Frugal Living : Revive Your Tired Eyes with a Steamy Cup of Tea - A Home Remedy

Frugal Living : Revive Your Tired Eyes with a Steamy Cup of Tea - A Home Remedy

Money Saving Tip of the Day: Clothing -

Clothing - Establish a budget for clothing, jewelry and toys and stick to it.  Actually, since most people do restrict spending on these items somewhat, they have already established a budget.  It just is not very defined or constrained.  The trick is to sit down, decide how much money is enough for these items during the course of a year, pace yourself during the year and make sure to follow one rule: “”Do not go over budget.”  Also, make sure your kids, when old enough, also have a budget they need to follow.  When they understand that those $150 athletic shoes will prevent them from having something else, often the $30 shoes will do just fine.  Find great clothing shopping sites here.

Ways to Save Money - Part 10 in a series by David Ning

Telephone Savings

  1. Use the Internet! Email is free. Long distance calling isn’t (unless you also do that on the Internet!) The Internet is also a great free way to find numbers instead of using directory assistance. But if you are going to use directory assistance, your local one (411) is almost always cheaper than the national ones you see advertised on TV.
  2. Stop leasing. You’ll usually save money by buying your own phones.
  3. Hang up on frills. The phone company is a master at getting us to buy services. They sell your phone number to telemarketers, then sell you caller id to thwart them. In round two, they sell services that block caller id to telemarketers, then sell you a gadget that won’t allow blocked calls to ring through. Don’t play this ongoing game. Get the basic package, skip the frills and save yourself $100 or more per year.
  4. Turn the tables on telemarketers. One of the most popular TV news stories I’ve ever done involves changing from victim to predator in the cold-calling jungle. Here’s how it works. Federal law requires that almost anyone who solicits you by phone give you their name and either address or phone number (which they virtually never do.) The law also requires that they call between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm. And if you ask to be put on their “do-not-call” list, nobody from that company is allowed to call you for ten years. Finally, they’re required to furnish you with their written “do-not-call” policy upon request. Now, here’s the cool part. Companies are allowed one mistake per year, then they are subject to a $500 fine per violation. So here’s what you do: keep a pad and pencil by the phone. When you’re cold-called, ask to be put on the “do-not-call” list, and ask for a copy of their written policy. Make a note of the date, time and person you talked to. If that company contacts you again, let them know you’re supposed to be on their “do-not-call” list. That was their one allowable mistake. If they call you again, get their address, because you’re about to make some money. Send a letter to the company threatening to sue them in your local small claims court for $500 per offense because the company is in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. More than likely the company will offer you a check ($250 to $300) to avoid the hassle of a court hearing that they’re going to lose. Believe it or not, informed Americans have already collected hundreds of thousands of dollars with this strategy (and no doubt had fun doing it!) That’s just the gist of what you need to know, however: to learn more, go to Sites like this can also help you reduce your junk mail.
  5. Shop your long distance. Internet sites like and can help you find the best long distance calling plan for your needs. If you don’t have Internet access, go to the library. Remember: part of your monthly phone bill goes to pay for library Internet access, so use it! Even if you aren’t willing to go to the hassle of finding the best long distance deals, at least call your current long distance provider and make sure you’re on the cheapest plan for your needs. Before you start shopping long distance, be sure and look at a few bills to see what your calling patterns are. Do you make most of your calls to one person? Mostly night and weekends? How long are your average calls? How much do you typically spend? This type of information is important to know before you can find the best overall plan for your family. And, just as with other services, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. The way to do it is simply to say you’ve found a better deal elsewhere and ask your current company to match the rates. Don’t lie, however: they’re likely to verify the information.
  6. Know the lingo. It’s hard to shop smart for something when you don’t know what questions to ask. In long-distance land, there are three major ones. First, “What is your cost per minute?” Second, “What is your billing increment?” Billing increment is crucial if you make lots of calls, and especially lots of short calls. Billing increments for the “big three,” AT&T, Sprint and MCI/WorldCom, are typically one minute. That means if you talk for one minute and one second, you get charged for two minutes. Other companies may have billing increments of only six seconds, which is obviously a better deal. Third question: “What fees will I pay?” Many of the larger companies charge a fixed monthly fee in addition to their rate-per-minute. Depending on what you’re spending, this seemingly small fee could radically change your cost-per-minute.
  7. Don’t take their word for it. We tend to regard anything printed out by a computer as accurate, which is often far from the case. Look at your bills and make sure you’re actually paying the per-minute rate you were promised. Mistakes abound, and by some odd coincidence, they almost always seem to favor the company!
  8. Don’t forget calling cards! If you travel, calling cards are important because they allow you to get the same rates from the road that you’re used to paying at home, at least theoretically. But the big three long distance carriers often have ridiculously high rates and fees for their cards. Before you enroll in any plan, be sure to ask about calling card rates. If the plan is otherwise perfect but the calling card rates seem too high, you can always buy low-cost pre-paid cards with rates as low as five cents a minute.
  9. Save on cellular. Cellular phones are convenient, but they can really fracture family finances. If you keep one for emergencies, consider a much less expensive pager instead. If you really need cellular, understand what you need it for before you buy it. For example, why pay for an unlimited national calling plan if you rarely leave your state? If you don’t use all the minutes that come with your monthly plan, the cost of the minutes you do use skyrockets. So think about your needs before you sign a contract. And speaking of contracts, nowadays there are many plans that don’t require one. With rates and plans changing often, you’re a lot better off not being locked in.
  10. Free cellular phones aren’t free. Normally you’re better off getting a cheaper plan and buying your own cellular phone. Plans that include “free” phones often also come with long contracts and higher monthly costs.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reader Tip: Extend the life of your contacts by cleaning them with baking soda :: Money Saving Mom®

Reader Tip: Extend the life of your contacts by cleaning them with baking soda :: Money Saving Mom®

Why It Might Be Time to Leave Your Bank – and 3 Steps to Replace It

By Karla Bowsher | about 10 hours ago
If your bank raised its fees tomorrow – and it seems to be happening more and more – would you ditch ‘em? Most of us would, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
For their latest survey, they asked 2,200 people what they would do if their bank raised its checking account fees. The results show that…
  • 51 percent would shop for another bank.
  • 16 percent would complain to their bank.
  • 16 percent admitted they’d probably never notice.
  • 11 percent would grin and bear it.
  • 6 percent would close their bank account and start using a pre-paid debit card.
Based on another recent study by Harris [PDF], those of us who do switch banks will probably pick a small, regional one instead of a big, national one.
“When it comes to banking and investment brands, consumers seem to be leaning more toward local brands,” says Jeni Lee Chapman, a vice president for Harris Interactive. “The feeling that larger financial companies let consumers down continues to weigh heavy on those brands. They will have to work hard to regain consumer trust.”
In fact, when Harris asked 25,000 people to rank retail banks – based on qualities like commitment, consumer connection, trust, and fair play – none of the big names made the top five. The Brand of the Year award went to BBVA Compass Bank, which earned a score of 62.3 out of 70. The 10 best-rated banks were:

  1. BBVA Compass Bank: 62.3 (out of 70)
  2. Huntington National Bank: 57.1
  3. TD Bank: 56
  4. Fifth Third Bank: 55.8
  5. Bank of New York Mellon: 54.5
  6. PNC Bank: 53.5
  7. Chase Bank: 53.4
  8. Wells Fargo Bank: 52.9
  9. M&T Bank: 52.3
  10. HSBC Financial Services: 52.1
If you’re considering leaving your bank but aren’t sure where to start, here’s a three-step plan to moving on…

1. Find your new bank

Small local banks will probably offer better deals than the monster ones. Or better yet, don’t use a bank at all. Use a credit union instead.

Credit unions are nonprofit and community-based, which translates into as close to the good old days as you’re likely to find. Compared to giant banks, most credit unions pay higher interest on savings and charge less for loans. Their fees and interest rates on credit cards are often lower too – and many still offer free checking.
If you’re worried about convenience, don’t be. If the credit union you pick is a member of a shared branch network, you can access it at any other credit union, even ones in Europe. In fact, you might even be able to access your account from full-service kiosks at the nearest 7-11.
If you’re not eligible for a credit union through your job, just use Credit Union National Association’s credit union locator to get a list of the nearest credit unions. Look for “community” as the type: That means you’re probably eligible to join by virtue of where you live as opposed to belonging to some profession or group.
Then compare their rates and fees to those you’re paying now. Like what you see? Then find out if they’re a member of a shared branch network by going to If they are, that means you can go to any other shared branch credit union or ATM in the world to conduct business just like you would at your own. (Imagine banks doing that?)

2. Ease away from your old bank

Ask your new bank or credit union if they offer a “switch kit.” That’s just a collection of the paperwork you’ll need (which might be online) to re-direct your direct deposit and inform whoever is automatically taking money out of your old account to start taking it from your new one.

3. Don’t just cash out and close down

OK, you’ve opened a new, better account and filled out the forms to automatically switch all the stuff over. Ready to close your old account? Not quite yet. Leave the old account open for a while just to make sure all your checks have cleared and all your automatic deposits and withdrawals have switched. Go online daily for a couple of weeks and check both accounts to make sure everything’s kosher.

4 Tips to Lower the Rising Cost of Car Ownership

According to AAA, it’s more costly to own and operate a vehicle than it was last year. They blame gas, tires, and depreciation – but we have tips to save on all three.
By Karla Bowsher | about 10 hours ago
It’s not just the cost of gas that’s going up. The overall cost of driving has also increased this year, AAA says.
Their recently released 2011 Your Driving Costs report [PDF] shows that the cost to own and operate the average sedan has risen 3.4 percent – to $8,776 a year, or 58 cents a mile. For SUVs – the most expensive type of vehicle to own – the cost has jumped to $11,239 a year…

Based on Driving 15,000 miles annually
Medium Sedan
Large Sedan
Sedan Average
Cost Per Mile
45.1 cents
57.3 cents
73.2 cents
58.5 cents
74.9 cents
63.3 cents
Cost Per Year
“Despite seeing reduced costs for maintenance and insurance this year, there is an overall increase in the costs to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S. this year,” said John Nielsen, an AAA director. “The 2011 rise in costs is due to relatively large increases in fuel, tire, and depreciation costs as well as more moderate increases in other areas.”
So let’s break down those last three causes and see if Money Talks News can’t help you drive a little more cheaply than the average motorist…

1. Fuel

  • The cost: About 12.34 cents a mile, a 8.6 percent increase
  • The reason: It’s not what you think – a shortage of oil, or maybe unrest in the Middle East. Today’s rising oil prices are related more to what’s happening in New York than in Libya, as speculators make huge bets on oil prices. Stacy explains it in How Wall Street Wagers Pump up Gas Prices.
  • Our advice: As I explained in this recent story, you have three options: Buy a more fuel-efficient car, try public transportation, or just learn to stretch your gas dollars further. Little things like turning off the A/C, rolling up the windows, and not idling for long stretches can make a noticeable difference. For more tips, be sure to read Stacy’s comprehensive 28 Ways to Save on Gas.

2. Tires

  • The cost: About 0.96 cents a mile, a 15.7 percent increase
  • The reason: “The rise in costs of raw materials, energy, and transportation has led to notable tire price increases in recent years, and 2011 is no exception,” AAA says. “Also contributing to higher average tire costs is a trend by automakers to equip their sedans with premium-grade tires as original equipment.”
  • Our advice: It won’t make your tires themselves any cheaper, but regularly checking your tire pressure and inflating them when needed will increase fuel efficiency and decrease wear and tear. If you don’t know how to check your tires, check out Edmunds’ step-by-step guide.

3. Depreciation

  • The cost: $3,728 a year, a 4.9 percent increase
  • The reason: Depreciation is the gradual loss of your car’s value. So as the price of cars rises, so does the annual depreciation expense. AAA says depreciation is “the largest cost for vehicle owners” – yet is “the most frequently overlooked by consumers determining the cost of owning and operating a vehicle.”
  • Our advice: New cars typically lose 40 percent of their value within the first three years. That’s why it’s best not to buy them. To learn more, check out Stacy’s Why I Don’t Buy New Cars and 8 Tips for Buying a $5,000 Car.

4. Other stuff: Insurance, maintenance, and financing

Insurance and maintenance costs actually declined, according to the 2011 study. But that’s no reason to ignore these expenses. When it comes to insurance, check out our story Understanding, Organizing, and Saving on Car Insurance. As for maintenance, do what you can yourself, and remember that a little preventative maintenance now can save you big repair bills later.
Then there’s financing. According to AAA, the average car owner pays $823 a year in interest. Simple way to bring that cost to zero? Don’t borrow money to buy depreciating assets. Or at least borrow as little as possible and pay it back as soon as possible.

How to Plan a Wedding Guest List

How to Plan a Wedding Guest List - 6 Money Things to Consider

Yahoo! Finance - Financially Fit

Yahoo! Finance - Financially Fit - Do Your Spring Cleaning and Boost Your Bank Account

Topic Tuesday: Meal Planning! | Raining Hot Coupons

Topic Tuesday: Meal Planning! Raining Hot Coupons

I don't get this detailed on my lists, but this will work.

Ways to Save Money - Energy Savings

Energy Savings

  1. Get a free energy audit. Many utility companies will come out to your house for free or at a nominal cost and tell you how to save money. If yours will, let em. And while they’re there, ask if they have any off-peak, load-management or other savings programs.
  2. Here’s a bright idea. Florescent bulbs use 75% less energy than incandescent and last up to 10 times longer. Use as many as you can. And for non-reading lights, lower the wattage of your bulbs.
  3. Run your dishwasher less. One less time per week can save you $50 per year. And air-drying your dishes will also save.
  4. Buy energy efficient appliances. Those yellow energy-guide stickers are important reading, especially if you’re shopping for a refrigerator, air-conditioning or a furnace.
  5. Change your filters. Keeping your furnace and air conditioning filters like new can save you up to 10% per month on costs. Don’t check them once a year, check them once a month.
  6. Seal it up. Use a lighted candle to detect air leaks around doors and windows. Caulk is much cheaper than electricity.
  7. Dial for dollars. Turning your thermostat dial up or down by just one degree can reduce your energy bill by up to five percent per month.
  8. Use ceiling fans. Ceiling fans cost less than 1/10 of what air conditioners cost to run. In the winter, reverse the blade direction to force warm air down from the ceiling.
  9. Insulate. Adding insulation can reduce cooling and heating costs by up to 20%. Some utility companies even offer rebates to help defray the cost, and the cost isn’t that much anyway. You can add insulation to a 1500 square foot home for about 200 bucks. Extra insulation in the attic can easily pay for itself in a few years.
  10. Try a heat pump. While they may not be the perfect solution for all parts of the country, a heat pump can reduce your power bills by 40%.
  11. Be careful with vent fans. Believe it or not, a kitchen or bath ventilation fan can completely empty a house of warm or cool air in about an hour. Use them, then turn them off.
  12. Use your drapes. In the winter, open your south-facing drapes during the day to capture heat, then close them at night to keep it in. Do the opposite in the summer.
  13. Beware portable heaters. Using a portable heater costs close to nine cents per hour. So using one eight hours per day will cost about five bucks a week, or $20 per month.
  14. Pay attention to the temperature. An indoor/outdoor thermometer can tell you when to open and close your windows and doors.
  15. Close off rooms you’re not using, but be careful about closing vents. Closing too many vents can reduce the efficiency of your heating and cooling. This is especially true for heat pumps.
  16. Be a stripper. Weather strip all your doors and windows.
  17. Cover yourself. An electric blanket only costs a little over a penny per hour to operate. Buy one cheap at a yard sale.
  18. Go for the juice. A 220-volt air conditioner is cheaper to run than a 120 volt.
  19. Use turbines. Turbine fans on the roof will let out summer heat, but be sure to cover them in the winter.
  20. Stay out of hot water. You can buy a water heater blanket for about $15 that will save you about $50 per year. And while you’re at it, insulate the pipes as well. If you can set your water heater to only be used at certain times of the day and turned off at night, you can save $20 per month.
  21. Don’t be a drip. Leaky faucets are a problem, but leaking hot water is an emergency. Hot water drips can cost you $25 per month!
  22. Grow some savings. A tree planted on the south side of your house can provide shade in the summer. Don’t plant an evergreen, though: you want those leaves gone in the winter.
  23. Turn off your furnace pilot light in the summer. You can also save by turning off your stove’s pilot light and using a lighter.
  24. Use your fireplace. Wood is still usually cheaper than gas. But be sure and close your flue tightly when you’re not using it, and make sure the fit is snug. Caulk around the hearth. If you don’t use your fireplace at all, plug and seal your chimney flue.
  25. Dress for success. Don’t try to stay dressed in shorts all winter long. Wear clothing appropriate to the season, and adjust your thermostat accordingly.
  26. Put your water on restriction. Low-flow showerheads can save a family up to $200 per year by reducing water flow by up to 50%.
  27. Water early. Try to water between six and eight AM. That minimizes evaporation.
  28. Don’t waste water. You don’t need to run the water while you’re shaving or brushing your teeth.
  29. Save a load. Every load of wash uses between 25 and 50 gallons of water. The same is true of your dishwasher. And you shouldn’t need to soak or pre-wash dishes unless the food is burned or otherwise stuck on. By the way, the amount of detergent you use for both clothes and dish washing could probably be reduced. Try using ¾ of the amount recommended.
  30. Go out back and hang out. If you’ve got a decent sized family, hanging your clothes out to dry can save you $40 a month in electricity.
  31. Be cool. Using cold water only can save you 90% of the cost of washing your clothes. Disconnect the hot water hose.
  32. Refrigerator etiquette. If you’re buying a new refrigerator, remember that top mounted freezers are cheaper to operate than side-by-sides, and don’t buy more refrigerator than you need. Automatic ice makers add about $200 to the initial cost of a refrigerator, cost about $50 a year to operate and are the first thing to break. If your refrigerator is old, check the seal by putting a dollar bill in the door. If it falls out, replace the seal. Keep the cooling coils in the back clean. And avoid repeated opening of your refrigerator door. When you’re getting ready to cook or cleaning up after a meal, make it a game to see if you can open the refrigerator door only once.
  33. Oven etiquette. Use energy saving appliances like microwaves, pressure cookers and toaster ovens instead of always using the oven or stove. You can buy ‘em cheap at yard sales. Turn off your electric burner three minutes before the rice or pasta recipe calls for: it’ll stay hot that long. Same with your oven. And if you are going to bake in the oven, why not throw in an extra potato or two for tomorrow’s casserole?

Money Saving Tip of the Day by

Even when not “going out to eat” many people still go out to eat.  At least that is the result on their wallet or purse.  That Starbucks coffee and morning pastry, that fast food or restaurant lunch, a little snack or drink from the vending machine, snacks and drinks for the kids when running about town, and maybe even that school lunch, all add up to significant expenditures.  Think about it.  Ten dollars a day of these types of expenditures for a family  is over $3,600 per year (and many families spend a lot more).  And that is after tax dollars.  It’s closer to $5,000 a year before taxes.  How many of us would like to have a $5,000 raise, or even a $2,500 raise?  Knock out most of these types of expenditures by making your own coffee, snacks and lunches, and bringing your own drinks, and that is what you will get, a big raise.  Maybe paying down that credit card debt, or buying that big screen high definition TV, might just get a bit easier.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Money Saving Tip of the Day: Cooking On A Budget -

Cooking on a Budget - When making a favorite meal, make a large batch and create “frozen dinners” for you and your family.  Since you are already cooking, the amount of extra work and energy cost is minimal.  Or if you like, set aside a “cooking day” once a month and prepare many kinds of meals for future use.  All you need are some freezer containers for the types of portions you prefer, enough freezer capacity and a little organization.  Most any kind of meal will freeze well.  Even many breakfast items can be prepared ahead of time and frozen. For instance, mix up a large batch of pancake mix, griddle the pancakes and freeze them. When you would like pancakes, just pull the pancakes out of the freezer, microwave and enjoy.  Or make a batch of muffins and freeze them.  Preparing all kinds of meals ahead of time will result in nutritious meals you and your family will enjoy, that can be pulled out of the freezer on a moments notice.  And you will save a lot of money.  It’s really that easy.

Ways to Save Money - Part 8 in a series by David Ning


  1. Join your employer’s voluntary retirement plan, especially if it offers a match. After your debts are paid off, saving through a retirement plan has some great advantages, like investing automatically and being able to defer the taxes on the money you make. Even before you pay off your debts, you should enroll in a plan and deposit enough to get the full match from your employer. If your employer is offering a 50% match, that’s like earning 50% on your money with no risk! That’s a deal that’s hard to beat.
  2. Don’t buy load mutual funds. A “load” refers to a commission, and there’s no reason for you to ever pay one. If you’re buying a mutual fund through a financial advisor of any kind (except ones you pay by the hour), you’re undoubtedly going to pay a load. Do your own research, buy your own funds, and don’t pay a commission.
  3. Buy stocks direct, then DRIP by DRIP. You can buy nearly 1,000 different stocks by going direct to the company that issues them. While the fees charged for doing this vary from company to company, they are often much less than the fees you’d pay by going through a broker. DRIP refers to dividend reinvestment plans that allow you to reinvest quarterly stock dividends into additional shares of stock. There is normally no fee for this service. To find out if the company you’re interested in offers direct investment and/or DRIP plans, you can call the company’s investor relations number and ask them. To get a company’s investor relations phone number, you can either go to the website of any online brokerage firm (try and look up company research, or you can go to your public library and look in investment guides (try Value Line.) There are also websites that, for a small fee, will help you establish direct investment and DRIP accounts. One example is

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The 5 Dumbest Things You Can Do if You Have too Much Debt | How Life Works

The 5 Dumbest Things You Can Do if You Have too Much Debt How Life Works

Ways to Save Money - Part 7 In A Series - by David Ning


  1. Shop your banking services carefully. As banks consolidate, competition is decreasing and fees are increasing. Think about the services you need first, then call around and see who can deliver them for the least money. Do you do a lot of ATM transactions? Then you need a bank with lots of branches and ATM machines to avoid paying “foreign” ATM fees. Do you travel a lot? Then you want a bank with branches in the states you often visit. Do you need online banking? Find a bank that doesn’t charge for this convenience. Do you write just a few checks a month? Find a bank with a stripped-down inexpensive checking account. You get the picture. Think about what you need before you go shopping, and be sure you understand all the fees before you sign up. In general, you’re going to get better deals from smaller local banks rather than the biggies.
  2. Don’t use a bank! Instead, use a credit union. Credit unions generally offer lower rates on loans, higher rates on savings, and lower fees than commercial banks. To find one that will accept you as a member, ask your employer or open the yellow pages and make a few calls.
  3. Use only your bank’s ATM. Avoid fees to get to your own money!
  4. Don’t use a passbook savings account. These accounts are old-fashioned and pay very little interest. You’re much better off with your bank’s money market account. You’ll earn more interest, your money will be just as safe, and you’ll still be able to get to it at any time. For a little more interest with just a tiny bit more risk, consider money market mutual funds. These aren’t federally insured like bank money markets, but they’re normally plenty safe.
  5. Check your checks! There’s no law that says you have to buy checks and deposit slips from your bank. There are companies that will sell them to you for 50% less.
  6. Don’t pay fees to have a checking account. There are now online banks that will charge you nothing for your checking account, and even pay interest on it. Shop around, and you might even find the same with old-fashioned bricks-and-mortar banks. Eliminating the fee on your checking account could easily save you $100 a year.
  7. Be aware of fee changes. Did you know that banks most often mail notices of fee increases between Thanksgiving and Christmas? That’s because they know that you’re least likely to read it during that busy time. Don’t let them fool you. Read fee notices.
  8. Ask and you might receive. Years ago, Money Magazine called 10 credit card lenders and merely asked them to lower their interest rates. Three out of 10 did it! This could work in all areas of banking. If your bank is charging you high interest or high fees, try saying something like, “Gee, I’ve banked here for years, but I can get much better deals from your competitors. Can’t you lower (eliminate?) this fee (interest rate) so I don’t have to leave you?” You’d be surprised how often this simple tactic could work.
  9. Go direct! Direct deposit of money you receive and direct payment of bills you owe can save you postage, gas and hassle. And it could increase your interest earnings to boot. See what your bank offers and take advantage of it.
  10. Balance your checking account! Estimates of people who don’t bother to reconcile their checking accounts range from 6% to 20%. If you don’t keep track of what’s in your account, you should just carry cash. Because sooner or later, you’re going to be paying giant fees for bounced checks!
  11. Give yourself credit. If you’re going to have credit cards, get the best possible deals. If you pay off your balance every month, get a card with no fee. If you don’t, get the lowest possible interest rate, but don’t forget to include any annual fees in the interest price you’re paying. You can find good credit card deals in magazines like Money and Kiplinger, or online at web sites like and And, as you’ve learned from reading this book, remember that a life with no debt is always your best option.
  12. Be aware of “stealth” fees. Hidden fees abound in credit cards. They include fees for going over your credit limit, transferring your balance to another company and paying late. The only way you have of finding out about these fees is to call the issuer or read the microscopic print found on the original disclosure paperwork or monthly statements. You should also be aware that your card issuer can sell your account at any time to a company that will change every term you have including the interest rate. Be vigilant.
  13. Know the lingo. When we shop for credit cards, or any loans for that matter, the focus is always on the interest rate you’re being charged. While that’s obviously the main thing, it’s not the only thing. In the case of credit cards, you also need to inquire about “grace period.” That’s the period of time you have after using the card before the interest clock starts ticking. Twenty-one days is typical, but obviously the longer the better. You also need to know about all fees: the annual fee, and any possible fees that could occur on cash advances, late payments and balance transfers. Once you’ve uncovered all the costs, only then can you really compare apples to apples.

The Simple Dollar » Frugality Tips and “Red Flags”

The Simple Dollar » Frugality Tips and “Red Flags” - LOVE This!!

7 Tips to Save on Easter | Money Talks News

7 Tips to Save on Easter Money Talks News