Welcome to Dr. Frugal!
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.
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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Children and adults can never wait for the summer because they all love to have fun during that time. Examples of fun that people like to have during the summer are going to the movies, dining out, playing sports and visiting various sites, attractions and landmarks. Summertime fun can be expensive if family members do not have the appropriate resources. The following are some tips and ideas for saving money on summertime fun:
Ferry Rides Instead of Cruises
Many people love the idea of taking a cruise and enjoying the beauty of a new area. Cruisers love the way the water feels, and they enjoy their time away from home during the summer. Cruises are quite expensive, however. The average cruise costs almost $1,000. One way that a family can avoid paying so much money for a cruise is to take a ferry. Most ferry rides are free, and they last anywhere from an hour to two hours. The travelers will have the opportunity to observe a new area and relax on the water without emptying their wallets. Interested persons can locate a local ferry ride by conducting an online search.
Zoos and Free Parks
Zoos and free parks are an option for families that love animals. The average price for a ticket to the zoo is $10 to $20 per person. Frugal families can try the alternative method of visiting free parks. Every locale has at least one or two free parks that families can visit. Those free parks may have ducks at them that the children can feed, and they may have benches by a body of water. Residents can find free parks by conducting an online search for such.
Specialty Bowling Events
Families that like sports can enjoy inexpensive bowling games at their local alleys. Many alleys offer cheap bowling days that everyone can enjoy. For example, one alley may have $2 bowling during which games, shoes and foods cost $2. Another alley may offer something called $1 bowling which goes by the same concept as the previously stated deal. Visitors might be able to enjoy an inexpensive two-hour special, as well. For example, they may offer a flat rate of $9 a person for as many games as that person can play in two hours.
Many more inexpensive options are available. Families can have loads of fun if they take the time to conduct research to find what they need.
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The economy has gotten so bad lately that everyone is trying to save money on housing. They are trying to stretch their funds as much as possible so that they can still have a high life quality despite all the challenges. The following are some ways that a home owner or apartment dweller can save on housing expenses:
Roomies and Sublets
Roommates and sublets are the first things that a person will want to consider when he or she is trying to think of a way to save money on housing costs. A good, reliable roommate can assist with the rent and utility bills. Such a person could act as a backup individual for car rides and childcare in some cases, as well. The only downside to roommates is that they can be unpredictable. The homeowner will want to conduct a thorough background check and perhaps ask for security just in case he or she feels the urge to move at the last minute.
Finding All-Inclusive Situations
Another way that some people are trying to cut down housing expenses is by finding living situations that include rent and various utilities such as cable and Internet. Hotel and motel rooms are becoming popular for people who cannot afford security deposits or monthly lump sums. The only problem with all-inclusive situations is that they are sometimes highly overpriced. Residents then get stuck in the cycle of paying almost all of their paychecks for rent. The positive side is that they can enjoy a clean bed, a television with cable services, Wi-Fi, bathtub, telephone and the like.
Shave the Bills
A homeowner can try some alternative methods if the previous methods do not seem appealing to him or her. One way that a person can still save money is by shaving his or her household bills. The consumer can scan all the bills and cut each item slightly. For example, the person can remove one premium channel from the cable bill and one extra feature from the phone bill. The consumer could change the Internet service to a service that has a slower speed and a lower bill. The consumer can think of many small areas to cut. Little savings can add up to huge savings after a while.
The current times are very trying as people are fighting every way they know how to keep everything that they have. A person can still make it in the world with faith, a positive attitude and a crash course in frugality.
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