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Hello and welcome to DrFrugal.com. If you've ever had the unfortunate experience of trying to find information online that has anything to do with money, you know most sites are worthless because they're trying to pawn something. Not here--there's nothing to buy. I've tried my best to only include pragmatic, realistic informtion to help you lead a simpler life by taking care of your personal finances.
Plenty of things can derail your ability to save money. Some of which have really nothing to do with you.
Those money missteps that belong to you are easy to see, and can be pinpointed easily as to why you're not saving money.
You spend more than you make. You don't budget. Your idea of saving money is canceling HBO, rather than the entire entity that is cable television. Perhaps your propensity to purchase clothing outweighs you wanting to put money aside in your savings account.
Then, you have those, what would be called "life events," that can send you into a financial tailspin, and it has nothing to do with you.
Or does it?
Let's say your roof needs repaired, the car breaks down or one of the kids need braces. These aren't a few hundred dollars on the table but rather thousands that need to be found somewhere to be able to take care of these inarguable items that need tended to one way or another.
So what exactly do you need to do?
Yes, these things will affect your ability to save money, and that point can't be argued. Something of any substance that is going to cost you money is going to pull from what you already have set aside. A friend recently told me he spent one thousand dollars on car repairs and it totally wiped out all of his money he had saved.
That's it? A thousand dollars.
The truth is plenty of people want to blame major repairs and life events for the reason they can't save money, but the reality is they've failed to save money to be able to plan for such things happening, the ultimate financial Catch 22.
If you want to blame unexpected costs for derailing your ability to save, that's fine, but before that happens ask yourself if you've done enough (or anything) to work toward actually saving money. If you can honestly say that you make it a point to budget, save money by not spending or cutting when necessary and set aside a certain percentage of your pay to savings, then large scale repairs should just take a chunk away from what you have already put aside. It should never wipe you out completely.
Those that do "wipe you out" should be a brand new roof, replaced entirely or something of that ilk that is a $10,000 or more job. Otherwise, a few thousand dollars should be peeled off the top of your savings without much trepidation or hesitation, and it certainly shouldn't put you at zero balance once you've paid what you owe.
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A recent article on the NPR website claimed that more than 36 million people use Internet coupons for their daily purchases. When people use coupons correctly, they can save more than 50 percent off their purchases. Nowadays, almost everything has a coupon for it. There is nothing that a consumer cannot save money on with a coupon that he or she finds on the Internet. The following are some tips for finding coupons that one needs for everyday life:
Oil Change Coupons
Automobile owners have to change their oil about every three months or 3,000 miles. A consumer can find a slew of oil change coupons by entering the phrase "oil change" into a search engine. The search will return some amazing deals such as the $10 Goodyear oil change, the $20 Jiffy Lube oil change and the $17.99 Sears oil change. Another way that a person can get a discount on an oil change is to visit a mixed coupon site or take advantage of one-day sales. An example of a mixed site that one can visit for an oil change coupon is tirecoupons.org.
Grocery Store Coupons
Food shopping is becoming an expensive venture for consumers around the world. The average grocery store bill for American consumers is about $240 a month, according to a report by the How Stuff Works webmaster. Consumers can cut that bill down significantly using a number of strategies. The first strategy is to obtain a grocery discount card from the facility. Most grocery stores offer such cards at the checkout line. The second strategy is to visit a site such as Groupon or Coupon Cabin to look for coupons on specific items.
Consumers can search for clothing coupons using sites such as keycode.com and promotioncode.org. Both sites have coupons and discount codes for clothing from the top providers. Consumers can click on any of the links to the right of the page, or they can type something specific into the search bar. The keycode.com site has a plethora of articles that can help consumers to make smart shopping choices, as well.
A ton of coupon sites are available for consumers who want to take advantage of them. Nowadays, there is no excuse for not using a coupon site as so many opportunities are available. Consumers can develop a smart couponing system that can get them by in the struggling economy.
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How many times have you been privy to a sleek, slick commercial, stellar online ad or a pop up that keeps popping up in your head?
The result of that sort of advertising can lead to having the product you want, but also a sizable expense, credit card bill or however you want to convey the idea that you spent money that you either don't have or could be better suited for a bill or perhaps in that savings account you're always talking about, yet don't do much with consistently.
So how exactly do the advertisers do it? How do they convince you to spend money, even if you don't have it. A smart, savvy commercial or slick marketing campaign can do wonders for said company as far as generating revenue that makes them rich and you, well, not so much.
One aspect of marketing that is working against you is the idea that products aren't negotiable as far as needing them. These wonderfully bright sales people of sorts know how to make you believe that you can't live without a particular car, the perfect wardrobe or just giving you that feeling that you're in the midst of watching or listening to an add that is nearly perfect.
Another common prevailing theme of spending money when you least expect it or just because something looks so good is the idea that you'll be left out if you don't act now or that others in the neighborhood or office are enjoying this very product or service and you're not, which means you're on the outside looking in. You'd be shocked to know just badly the average consumers correlates acceptance with being able to have the newest smart phone, a car that is relatively new as well or the barbecue grill that has WiFi. What's good for the rest of the world should be something you should have as well, right?
Well, not if that means spending money just for the sake of doing so.
Those who understand the purpose of developing a budget, having a savings account or planning for the future in the form of retirement realize that they can't always have the latest and greatest. They understand that their Samsung phone, version 4, might have to last a few more years before they upgrade to a 6 or, by that time, a 7. They're perfectly fine with not having a car payment and focusing on having a debt to income ratio that is more favorable if they decide to borrow money to put back into the house next summer with a new roof, thus securing a better rate.
Simply put, those in the financial know ignore the glitz and glamor of the frivolous and focus on need over everything else.
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Think back to before you had little or debt, perhaps you had just started college and the debt only started to begin with school loans that hardly would be of any concern given the fact that the interest rate is so low.
You weren't bogged down with debt, credit cards or the feeling as though your car payment, mortgage or rent and utility payments were going to be the end of your financial freedom and the ability to do anything other than work and pay bills.
Your credit score was in its infancy stages and your debt to income ratio was sitting at nearly a perfect number.
What exactly happened? Well, you could argue that something as simple as life did. You started a job, and need things for that first apartment, including first and last month's rent, along with furniture, silverware and a slew of kitchen appliances.
Say hello to your first credit card or line of credit and your forage into finding out exactly what it means to have debt. Where you may have reached a crossroads and stood at the edge and looked down is adding more and more debt to your credit history or perhaps slipped and fell a bit when you took a pay cut, lost your job or any other life event that set you back financially a few months or years.
The truth is, you can start over and financial salvation can begin with going back to the beginning and simplifying the process. For instance, you can eliminate expenses that you really don't need, take your budget and start looking at it on a bare bones basis, perhaps still leaving a little money for fun and begin to skip adding more and more debt.
You can spend adequate time checking into your credit score, knowing what it is and how to improve it, even it is just a few little things like getting your debt paid down so it isn't butt up against the total line of credit number.
You also need to realize that the easiest way to help your credit is simply paying your bills on time and not being late with payments. Even if you're the type that doesn't want to pay the minimum payment, you still shouldn't skip or miss payments and stick to a mere $10 or $25 or whatever that minimum is set at for this particular line of credit.
Changing your credit outlook, score or managing debt efficiently isn't something that is going to change right away but sometimes scaling back to a simpler time is all you'll need to head down the right path.
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The average gas price in the nation is a whopping $2.69 per gallon, according to researchers who posted the information on the Gas Buddy website. While the price is relatively low as compared to the range it was in a few years ago, it can still hit a consumer's pocket pretty hard. Traveling around can become difficult, with the price of food, clothing and toiletries at an all-time high. A frugal vehicle owner can still think of some creative ways to trim the fat off of the fuel bill, however.
Scooters Are Communtonomical
Scooters are an excellent alternative to driving a six or eight-cylinder vehicle. A scooter can get up to three times the amount of gas mileage that a car can get. For example, the Honda Dio can get up to 144 miles per gallon. It's the perfect alternative for a person who needs to travel back and forth to work or school. The downside is that the weather determines rideability.
Sleep on the Train, or Relax on the Bus
Public transportation is still a good backup method for people who want to save money on driving their cars. The cost of a bus ride is usually less than $2 unless the person has to perform a transfer at some time. Buses usually travel every hour. Trains are a bit more expensive than buses are, but they still cost less than the average vehicle ride costs. One of the best benefits of riding a train is that the travelers can sleep on the ride.
Make Some Friends With a Benz
Carpooling is always an excellent way to save money on fuel. It's an awesome way for workers and classmates to get to know one another while they are working together to save money for their families. Starting a carpool arrangement is easy. Many job locations have an established list. A new worker can ask around to see if anyone lives in the area. All carpools operate differently. One group may have all of its members chip in a small amount each week. Another group may have alternating persons pay for all the gas for the week.
Drive a Chevy Two-Footer
A person can always opt to "drive" an old-school Chevy two-footer (walk) if the commute is less than one mile long. A bicycle is another option that a person may want to take. Creative ways are always available for the frugal traveler.
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