TIP #31: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

I’ve given you 31  tips on how you can March Into Money to ease your stress level. If you choose to do any or all of them you could save enough money in one month to go on a nice vacation of buy that nice chair you’ve been eyeing (I’m always eyeing chairs, I love them). Most of the time we save money but never see any of the money we’ve saved. But if you putting it all together you can take the money you’ve saved and open a new savings account. 

make some extra cash

If you’re really in a pinch for some extra cash you may want to look into bringing more money into your hands.  A part-time business would relieve your financial stress by helping your health and the health of your family.

As promised here are tips 21-26 from my absence.

Tip #21: The Spending Diet: Only spend money on necessities, only the basics for an allotted, agreed upon time period. I did this with my family for six months one year and was able to send our four children to the summer camps of their choice for one week.

TIP # 22: Challenge yourself to stop using big appliances for a month or a season at a time. For me it was the oven and it lasted an entire summer. I saved a whopping $60. It takes some pre-planning but it can be done.

TIP #23: Wash everything in cold water and put clothes through 2 spin cycles. Spinning clothes twice takes more water out which makes the drying time shorter as well.

TIP #24: Creatively use your trash. Compost food scraps. Cardboard boxes and Styrofoam food trays are great as art projects for kids. The less trash you have the less you have to pay in some communities. Plus is you recycle more you are helping the environment too.

TIP  #25: Free books on my kindle are my favorite way to save money.  If you have an electronic reading device, download the free books, and low cost ($.99) books. I am currently reading one I got for free, because I was in the right place at the right time: Vibrational Money Immersion Think and Grow Rich for Network Marketers by Ray Higdon.

TIP #26: Have a potluck meal once a week with family, friends, and coworkers. It’s cheaper when you only have to bring one dish instead of making the whole meal.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips if you’ve used any of them, drop me a message or find me on Facebook at Well2Day

Join me next month as I begin April’s Action Steps To Wellness!

TIP #29: KEEP A PRICE BOOK

Ever since the Tightwad Gazette came out back in the early 1990’s I’ve been keeping a price book. But now I have two of them. One is for all my online purchases and the other is for my purchases in grocery stores, health food, natural food stores and even clothing and electronic stores. With the many ways to purchase products now a price book is the only way to keep things straight.

The price book can be a simple notebook with columns in it for the different stores and the items with the prices each stores sell them for. It can also be kept on your cell phone as a note or a task. Since all my online purchases are made at home in front of my computer I just bring up my excel spreadsheet with all the online stores I use and the items I normally buy online with their different prices. I also keep track of all the sales that come out this way too. It helps to know who’s got what on sale and how much it will all cost once shipping and handling is figured in. Online Price ComparisonIf you’re not inclined to use a price book maybe you would use a phone app where you take a photo of the bar code and you’ll record the price and other information that’s hidden in the bar code.

The idea here is to know where to get the best price for the items you buy instead of running willy nilly all over the place to buy things. You’ll have a set list of items to get at each store.

 

TIP #28: LET GO OF THINGS YOU DON’T USE

I’ve had friends over the years that would pay for memberships but not use them. One such membership was to the local health club. One friend never went to the health club but was charged a fee every month for her membership. When I asked her about it once, she said that she couldn’t bring herself to cancel the membership because she might go in the future. Trust me if you have a membership to a health club and haven’t used it in a year chances are you’re never going to use it. So stop throwing money at something you’re never going to use. I was going to title this post Ditch the Health Club but the many reasons why you should keep your health club membership especially if you use it, the benefits outweigh it’s cost. But for those people who are constantly throwing money to the wind without reaping the benefits it”s time to take a serious look at where your money is going and ask yourself if you could live without it.  Let go of the things you don’t use.

health club

We had to let go of our health club membership because we couldn’t afford it. It was a difficult thing to let go of; my husband still misses it today and it’s been over a year of letting it go. So I came up with ways to stay healthy and lose weight that don’t cost nearly as much and some are even free. We all like free!

  • Join or start a walking group or just grab your kids and husband and go for a daily walk with them. 
  • If you’re a swimmer, join a swim club and compete in meets.
  • Rent or borrow exercise DVD’s from netflix, redbox, or the library
  • Use YouTube as a free exercise buddy
  • Save up for exercise equipment for your home.
  • Borrow unused exercise equipment from friends. If it’s unused they may just give it to you.
  • If you’re fortunate to live in a condo or apartment complex with its own gym use it, you’re paying for it anyway.
  • If your condo or apartment complex has stairs, run up and down the stairs.
  • Workout at the office if you have the facilities. Take lunchtime exercise classes too.
  • Spend time with your kids playing outside games: Frisbee, catch, tennis, tag, etc

These are just some areas that can help keep you healthy and help you lose weight, without spending money you simply don’t have.

TIP #27: SAVING UP

Before I get on to the post I just want to apologize for my absence for the week. I’ve been dealing with a family issue and trying to some sense of all that has transpired. The missed days will be added to the last post of March.

TIP #27: SAVING UP

I remember as a kid when I wanted something my parents could not afford they always told me to save up for it. Plus I also remember they too, saved up enough money to buy things like refrigerators, and other appliances, furniture, cars and even our house. We didn’t buy items on credit unless it was an emergency.

Piggy-Bank

What constitutes an emergency? Natural disasters, accidents, health crises, and unemployment are emergencies. Snacks from vending machines, a craving for a new pair of shoes, the latest video game are not emergencies, but for many people it is the latter where they use their credit cards, and set up their own financial ruin. In today’s society using a credit card only for emergencies is often laughed at and ridiculed. We’ve gotten so used to using our credit cards that when someone says “I’m saving up for a trip” they don’t know what to make of it. I’ve gotten many interesting comments and looks of confusion when I say that.

Here are some ways a credit card should not be used, I’m sure if you think about all the ways you use your credit cards you’ll be able to find out what you can cut out.

  1. Groceries: (Have a budget, use cash and only use what you’ve allotted in your budget, it will make you shop frugally.)
  2. Fast Food: (Stop buying it all together and you’ll save even more money.)
  3. Snack machines: (Remember you pay interest on everything you buy on credit. So for that pack of chips you just bought, you are paying interest on it too. Another idea: bring your own snacks from home and bypass the the snack machine all together.)
  4. Convenient stores or snack shops: (If you’re getting gas, purchase the gas without going into the store. Food items at convenient stores are priced higher than your regular grocery store. Convenience costs more.)

Remember when stores had lay away plans? Some are bringing this saving up concept back. You put something on lay way whether it’s clothes, furniture or electronics. Then you make payments on it at least once a week, until you pay for it outright. You can do this on your own for a few months and you’ll be able to purchase whatever you want. For instance if you know you’re going to need a new stove, go look up the brand you want, research what features you want and need. Then start saving at least 10% of the price each week or pay period. This way you’ll be able to get the stove you want without owing any interest, or fear that if you don’t make a payment, it will be taken away from you.

I bought my $1,200 sofa with monthly payments where if I paid it off in 6 months I didn’t have to pay any interest (6 months same as cash). So I made it a point to pay it off in 3 months and kept saving the monthly payments for another 9 months then I went back to the furniture store and was able to buy the love seat, club chair and ottoman because I had enough money and they were on sale, unlike my sofa.

Saving up is also a good boost for your confidence especially when it’s your first time. As a child saving up for something helps children learn not only the value of money but the value of work to earn that money.

Let’s keep in mind that emergencies don’t happen everyday and they aren’t something you can plan for buy you can prepare yourself to be ready either by setting aside an emergency fund or relying on a credit card or both. But remember that credit card should only be used for emergencies…I’m sure that latte you purchased this morning has nothing to do with an emergency.

Redefine your emergencies and you’ll redefine your life.

TIP #20: VICE QUITTING

At the beginning of this month, when I started this March into Money series of 31 tips. I decided that every tip I talked about I either have already implemented or would start to implement because it keeps me accountable to show the world that with patience and perseverance these simple tips can be done. Quitting a vice can save so much money each and every month but it can also lead to much better health in the long run.

Responsiblity

I quit a vice, yet kept a vice through changing how I have it. It’s no shame in saying, “Yes, I’m addicted to chocolate!” But gone are the candy bars, the cookies, and the unhealthy forms of them. Instead I add a bit of dark cocoa to my whey protein shake in the morning and I’m satisfied the rest of the day. Could be the reason why I’ve lost eight (8) pounds so far?

Another interesting note is that I’ve added more fat to my diet and am even eating sugar again, but I’m not eating foods that are fatty or are sugar laden. Because I control the amount and the kind of fat and sugar I use; I use less, eat healthier, stress less and eat cheaper.

There are other substantial money and health saving benefits from quitting a vice. Like smoking for instance: A pack of cigarettes cost more or less depending on where you live in the nation but the average is about $6. Do the math and if you smoke a pack a day that’s $42 a week, $168 a month, $2,016 a year! That’s just for the cigarettes, it doesn’t even include health issues that arise from smoking that much or time missed from work because of sickness. Imagine the cost of cancer, COPD, Emphysema, and the surgeries and medications to counteract this vice. Instead of a person who smokes working to support their family, their working to support their vice.

Here are some of the more popular vices that are stealing your money and your more importantly your health.

  • Soda (regular and diet)
  • Fast food
  • Alcohol
  • Speeding down the road
  • Junk food
  • Not wearing a seat belt
  • Prescription drugs
  • Processed food
  • Genetically modified food
  • Caffeine
  • Pornography
  • Facebook
  • Gambling
  • Video Games
  • Shopping
  • Credit cards
  • Work
  • Power and Control

Admitting that a problem exists with any of these vices is the first step in overcoming these vices. If you’re trying to save money and improve your health, then look at how connected you are to any of the vices listed above or whatever is in your life that is causing money, your family, your friends, your health, and your life to float away from you.

The choice is yours.

Only you can stop it.

Remember the motto for this blog.

“Tomorrow’s wellness reflects today’s choices!”

TIP #19: MONEY SUCKERS

Recently I had a conversation with a very wealthy friend of mine who made the comment, “A person with money problems shouldn’t be spending money on muffins, bags of chips, or going out to restaurants.” His comment has stayed with me for quite some time and I’ve been questioning all the purchases I’ve made in the last three weeks. Saving receipts on everything I bought. I found out that I’ve also been throwing my hard earned money to the money suckers without thinking about it. We all have our own money suckers they are unique to our lives but one thing is certain they will continue to suck money out of our pockets until we stop the behavior and say “NO MORE!”

Money Suckers

 I stopped  buying a cup of coffee at my local coffee house. I love their coffee but realized that a pound of their coffee ($14) was cheaper than a three visits to their coffee house. Because I don’t just order their coffee; I have to get a treat too.  So I still have my favorite coffee but only pay a fraction for it. Plus, I’m saving calories when don’t go into the coffee house.

Another area that stopped the money suckers in their tracks has been any convenient purchases. It used to be that I would run to the gourmet grocery store every time I got a craving for something sweet, salty, or didn’t feel like making dinner.   It’s difficult for me because this store within two blocks from my house and I love all their healthy but expensive treats. So now I just keep things on hand to make my own treats. If I feel the need for chocolate: I make a chocolate protein shake. If I want something salty: I cut up a cucumber and sprinkle salt on it. Both are much cheaper because I already have them in the house, and both are a whole lot healthier for me.

Then I got to wondering how many times in a month do I say “I don’t feel like cooking!” “I didn’t have the time to cook!” So both of us would go to our favorite restaurant in town and order a salad and end up spending more than $20. Or we’d end up at the gourmet store and order one of their sandwiches and drop $15. When all along I had the fixings for a good meal in my refrigerator and pantry. All I needed to do was plan better and use my cooking skills to come up with simple meals.

So what’s changed so far in the last month? I’ve spent less money, and have become more creative with what I have on hand. Yes, it’s difficult to walk past my favorite store every day (it’s on my walking route), but I’m saving my checking account and my health. 

It’s simple: The money suckers will always be there. You can give in and have no money left. Or you can stand strong and stop the money suckers from sucking your life away.

It’s your choice. Choose wisely.

TIP #17: SPRING CLEANING TRADITIONS

Ever since I was a child, spring cleaning was a family affair. I remember one of my jobs was to beat the rugs with these wire swatters that looked like fly swatter. Each year my grandfather would remove the carpeting from our house and hang it over the clothes line in our yard. We would beat the dust out of it until our arms hurt. I think this was my job because I was always underfoot and parents and grandfather wanted me to help but not be in the way.

Rug Beater

While I don’t beat my rugs any more I still participate in spring cleaning traditions of my own. When my sons were still living at home they also participated. But now this tradition only includes me and the hubby. He does all the heavy lifting stuff while I do the lighter things. Oh, yes, and let’s not forget I don’t touch his vacuum.

Our spring cleaning involves using simple methods of cleaning while getting rid of every speck of dirt but also as much leavening as we can. We clean out the leavening from our bedroom first because even though we don’t eat there, whatever is on our feet will travel with us to each room. This is a time I also clean out the closets moving my spring and summer wardrobe in for the winter and fall clothes.

We go through each room of the house tag teaming it like a well oiled machine. With the two of us cleaning in this way we get done with our home in about two to three hours. Plus it’s so much nicer to have both of us planning about how to rearrange a room instead of just me. One nice thing about my husband is that he thinks in numbers and can tell me if something will work or not with the dimensions of the rooms and my furniture.

The simple methods of cleaning involves my own homemade supplies which cost a fraction of the commercially made products and don’t contain harmful chemicals. One of my favorites is my citrus cleaner which is powered by white vinegar and mixed citrus plus smells like peppermint.

  • Windows and mirrors: equal parts of vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water
  • Dusting and polishing: equal parts lemon juice and olive oil
  • Floors, bathrooms, and everyday cleaning:  My citrus cleaner
  • Bathtubs and sinks: I add some baking soda to my citrus cleaner to make a scrub.

Not only are these simple to make and quite inexpensive they are also good for people with chemical sensitivities. Our health depends on how clean we are but not to extreme of using chemicals that disrupt our entire systems. Do your health a favor and switch to natural, organic, low cost cleaning methods.

TIP #15: THE SUNDAY DRIVE

Sunday Drive

I remember as a child piling into the family car and driving to no particular destination. It was fun to see where we would end up. Sometimes we would stop at a diner along the road for a bite to eat and shop in the small town shops, for some trinket to help us remember that particular trip. It was fun as a child to ask, “Where does that road go?” My father would then drive down that road to find out where it went. Sometimes it led to no where in particular, but sometimes we would find a new route to a certain place we have been before. The Sunday Drive took us to new places while saving money on expensive vacations.

Have we gotten too busy as a society that the simple Sunday drives are a thing of the past?  I know that gas is expensive but if the trip is planned for it’s doable. What about other time honored traditions, like the block party, that took us out of the house and made us interact with other people in our neighborhood? These traditions made us converse with our families, our neighbors, our friends. Today we seem to be more interested in electronics, our computers, our videos and let’s not forget our phones.  When was the last time your family ventured out in the family vehicle without all the electronics devices, to no place in particular? When was the last time you explored the place in which you live?

We (my husband and I) moved to the Pacific Northwest in April of 2008. Each weekend we have explored our new part of the country in which we call home. Sometimes we have taken ferry rides, bus rides, and driven down roads that led to no where in particular. The scenery was beautiful, and exploring the new areas with each other made the day trips even more special. Our friends have asked us many times about the place we have been to. They have lived here longer than we, but have never ventured out. It is interesting to find that when people become comfortable with their surroundings they never want to venture out.

Imagine in times past, if people were afraid to venture out of their comfort zone, we wouldn’t have had the great explorers of the history books. We need to continue this tradition of venturing out for a Sunday Drive whether it be to the town next to yours or the other end of your neighborhood, or city in which you live. Go out and explore. The possibilities are endless. You never know what you might find. Who knows, you may find a really good restaurant, coffee house, book store; museum or antique store you never knew existed.

We need to get the exploring gene back into our lives. We have been told for many years now that we need to get out of our comfort zone. Explorers are not comfortable looking at the same four walls all the time; they have a need to see something new.  How great is the need in you, to get out of the mundane life of everyday living and see what is out there? Who knows you may even find that you like it out there. I know I did. I know it is hard at first to have an exploring attitude towards life. I know first hand. I am the typical homebody. I love being at home, everything I need is here. Well that is almost everything. I love spending time with my husband and he is a wanderer. He loves to explore new areas, whether on his bicycle, the ferries, a car trip or by hiking. He loves to be outside. So I have compromised and on Sundays we have our exploring time together. We some times pick a place on the map and use the GPS to get there or we simply get in the car and drive.

One Sunday Drive we drove a little over two hours south, to Portland, Oregon. We didn’t have a definite place picked out, we just wanted to go and say that we were in yet another state. It was fun, traveling along the interstate, the scenery was beautiful. We found a wonderful Outlet Mall along the way; we stopped by on the way back and found some really good deals. We love Outlet Malls; we would have never known it existed, if we didn’t take this particular Sunday drive. We also found a quaint little mom and pop diner, that we stopped in for a bite to eat. We loved every minute of this ride.

Venturing out doesn’t have to be expensive either, you can go with friends and split the cost of gas and have a wonderful time conversing in real time instead of through Facebook or texts.  Instead of stopping at restaurants you can find a park, pack a lunch and have a picnic.  You can make treasure maps of items for your children to find as you travel down the road, instead of being plugged into their DVD players, MP3’s and the like.

We need to bring back the time honored traditions of past, when times were simpler and parents talked to each other and to their children.

The Sunday Drive, the less expensive vacation.

Let’s bring it back.

 

TIP #13: SECOND HAND SALLY

When I was growing up, my father would give me nicknames that centered around what I was doing at the time. When I was clipping coupons every Sunday he called me Hector, Hector the Coupon Collector. When I would make my rounds of thrift stores, garage sales, and junking he called me Second Hand Sally. Second Hand Sally was what he would normally call me in the summer because I loved shopping in second had stores, and would always get more than my monies worth.

Thrift Shopping

One time I came home from my walk to the thrift store to show my mom and dad the cool suit jacket I found. They were looking at and wondering out loud,”What on earth is she going to do with a man’s suit jacket?” I put the jacket on my sewing table and began cleaning out the pockets when I found $20 in one of the inside pockets. What’s not to love…saving money and finding money at the same time?

Seriously second hand stores are not just for thrift anymore, although when you have small children it’s the best way to shop because kids grow out of their clothing faster than they wear it out. It’s also great for people who are losing weight, and don’t have the money to spend on a whole new wardrobe.

Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping second hand whether it’s thrift stores, garage sales, clothing swaps, and flea markets,

  • Learn the designer and artist names: Designer clothesare made better than what you’d find at the big box store. 
  • Look for any stains that might be present: The best purchase I ever made was book Stain Rescue I have used it to get out stains that I thought were set to the end of time. Any stain you have this book has a remedy for it.
  • Look for rips, tears, and snags. Snags are easy to fix on sweaters with the Snag Nab It tool. With clothing, if the seams or hems are ripped it’s easy to fix with needle and thread. Some clothes may be ripped beyond repair but if you have a creative eye you can picture it made into something else.
  • Furniture is baby all by itself. If you’re buying a second-hand piece of furniture that needs to be revamped, do some research first. I’ve made many mistakes buying pieces and just reselling them at my own garage sale because I had no clue what to do with them. Reupholstering dinning room chairs are easy, but a whole sofa might need an expert.
  • Learn what days the thrift stores offer discounts. My local thrift store uses the different color tags system and will highlight each color on a different day at 50% off. Some stores offer $1.99 on certain days.
  • Make a list of items along with sizes, dimensions and color you are looking for. Keep the list with you. You never know when you might be driving by a garage sale.

While I may not be called Second Hand Sally anymore, I am still passionate about getting whatever I can second hand. For me it’s a stress reliever. When I have an extra $10 waiting to burn a hole in my pocket I head over to the nearest thrift store and I lose myself in the possibilities of what could be waiting for me. Second hand shopping is like organic eating. It’s good for the environment and it’s good for me.

TIP #12: YOUTUBE

I can’t begin to tell you how much money I’ve saved in recent years from using YouTube. YouTube has a a plethora of information on how do it yourself (DIY). Anything from quinoa sprouts to installing a new furnace and every in between is here at your finger tips. The money you save is all based on what you’re trying to do, of course.

YouTubeFor example, I’ve been cutting my own hair for a long time. But the videos on YouTube have really helped when I wanted to layer my hair, or fix it a different way. Here where I live cutting my own hair saves me $35 a pop. It helps to have the video with you when you’re standing in front of the mirror with scissors in hand instead of trying to remember what you watched or read about.

I also used YouTube when I was in school and had to watch different health videos and write up reviews on them. One such health video that I watched really changed the way I think about cancer. It’s titled Cancer – The Forbidden Cures. It changed the way I thought about this nasty disease. It’s all about big business and I didn’t know that before I watched it.

YouTube has also saved me money by offering up different business/entrepreneurs giving webinars on everything I needed to keep in mind when starting my new business. I’ve saved a lot of money and most importantly headaches when it comes to a network marketing company. The webinars I watched on YouTube were from people who have been through what I’m going through and offered tips on what they did that worked and what didn’t work.

YouTube can also be for pleasure. I used to have different clean comedians playing in the background while I wrote papers for school. They helped me focus more on the lighter side of life while working on a 20-page paper on the side effects of artificial sweeteners.

One thing for sure that YouTube has helped me with is by finding different health testimonials for the product I sell, and testimonials from people who eat an alkaline diet for health. If you’re trying to figure out if the alternative product or diet you want to use works for other people YouTube is the place to start.

Depending on what you need to do in your home or life will depend on how much money you can save with YouTube. I save money every day with the information I learn from the different people I subscribe to on there.