101 Changes: Change 19- Do More With Beauty Products

If we try to make huge changes, it is often difficult sustaining it and we have sense of  failure but small changes made slowly becomes habits if done over and over for 21 days. I am writing a series of posts about small changes we can make it our life to make our daily living and health improve tenfold.

These are changes I have made or working on it. Would you like to join with me in this journey?

Check out previous 101 Changes Article: 101 Changes: Change 18- Heal The Hurting Heart

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Creative Triple Duty Beauty:

I like and think of a new ways to re-use, re-purpose what I have at the hand. It comes in handy as a stay at home mom, or saving money and also saving a trip to a store. Here are a few ways you be able to save money and downsize your make up bag as well. Did you know, beauty products can do other things as well?

Petroleum Jelly:

Use 1: Everyone’s knows and uses the pretty inexpensive Petroleum Jelly for smoothing rough and dry skin and protective barrier over the skin. My favorite use is to use it over minor cuts and scratches on kids and myself.

Use 2: Use for lips: I was reading ingredients on lip balm and thought of creating a lip-balm at home for cheap using Petroleum Jelly. You can create a lip balm with dab of Jelly, a drop of perfume, 1 vitamin E capsule.

In addition to it you can create lip exfoliate product at home. Here is how to do it,  take small scoop small  spoonful of Jelly, mix it with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Massage the mixture over dry, chapped lips. After you’re done, wipe it away with soft cloth towel and now you will have soft and kissable lips.

Use 3: Remove makeup: Use petroleum jelly on cotton pas and gently press it over eye makeup area for to wipe away make eye make up. It can be used to take over makeup over face as well.

Perfume:

Use 1: Use spray perfume to give your skin, clothes, body an amazing scent and feel fresh.

Use 2: Create a scent holder: Take a pretty greeting card or colorful thick card paper, punch a hole at the top with hole puncher and thread a yarn or ribbons through it. Spray a mist with your favorite perfume and hang it inside the car or bathroom for instant scent freshener. Whenever, scent stops coming, you can spray it again a few mist and its ready to go again.

Use 3: Some of the perfume bottles are so pretty, so what to do when it is empty? I use it when it is empty to fill up with little water and make in to mini single flower vase to display. It looks great and smells wonderful.

If you use many little small bottles together with single bud or flower will make a beautiful center piece or decor that not only will look great but smell great as well.

Mascara:

Use 1:  Generally used for boosting the thickness or length of your eyelashes.

Use 2:  Did you know you can use a mascara as an eyeliner too? Dip a small brush in to the container and sweep it along the lash line. I learned this trick from a make up tip from a Women’s day magazine.

Use 3: Disguises gray roots: If you started to get white hair but not enough to use hair color formula, then using mascara to disguise the white roots and hair might just be right trick for you. Grab a mascara that matches your hair color closely, and gently brush and glide it over your white hair and roots. A little mascara can go long way.

How do you re-use or re-purpose beauty products you have?  If want to know more creating beauty for cheap check out my post: Create Beauty Products from Fruits and Vegetables

50 Way To Increase Your Income & Earn Money

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Pic Credit: Zengirl

Many of us are working at a job for pay bills and save money for the retirement. However, after paying bills, insurance and daily spending very little is left for many people. Right now with economy being down, many people are laid off, or getting paid less in their current job.

Many of us are looking for ways to make money on side to boost our income a little or a lot. There are a few ways which are relatively easy for any of us to make extra money. Now, none of us will be able to retire with these ideas or be a millionaire, but it will sure increase a nice boost to your income. Check it out, many are easy to do for any of us.
Ways to Make Money In Hurry

50 Ways to Make Money

Here are 50 ways to make money and boost your earning income to comfortable level.

1 Do online surveys. Many online surveys pays as little as 10 cents to 5 dollars. There are many surveys are out there to try it out. Beware of the one that asks for fee, try only free surveys sites. You can do surveys online or via email.

2. Sell sometimes from home which are not using. You can sell your stuff on craigslist, ebay or amazon. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. You can make good amount depending on type of stuff you have. If you have any collectibles items, you can make good money. A friend of mine sold his baseball cards to make $950, not bad for something sitting in his closet. Sell only things you do not care for or not interested in.
Offer to drive someone around for little pay. Sometimes you can drop off people to airport, or pick up groceries for them and some of them will pay you $5-$20 for it.
3. Go around in neighborhood and ask them if the need lawn mowing done. You can go with a buddy and clean up yard for $20-$50 per yard.

4. Clean houses, sure it is not glamorous but cleaning house for a couple hours can make you $70-$150. Most of the area people need cleaned are bathroom and kitchen. If the house is super messy, you can ask for more money for it.

5. Give Blood, many blood banks are always looking for blood donation. It can be helpful to someone and you can make some money out of it. Check out everything before you donate your blood.

6. Write for online places such as hubpages or squidoo. You can make some money while writing about things you know. You do not need to be a great writer, good enough writer will do. Click here to join HubPages and Squidoo here. It is free to join.
7. Baby sit your neighbor or relative’s kids. If you like kids that is the great job to do. If you get a babysitter license, you can watch kids at your home and make a good full time income from watching 2-5 kids at home at once. Not bad.

8. Pick up children from school service is great as many parents are still at work when kids gets off the school. Parents need someone to pick up kids from school, and drive them home and spend couple of hours with them until they get home. These kids are usually older and can take care of themselves so it is good potential of making extra money.
9. Start blogging, you will not make money right away as it takes sometimes but blogging can be a good income source for many if done right.

10. Rent a room in your house, if you have an extra room that you are not using. That is great way to have income coming in without doing much work. You can set some rules as you see fit for your lifestyle such as no smoking inside the house, no late parties and so on. You can rent room for $200 to $700 per month, depending on where you live.

11. Teach English to adults and kids. Many times people want to learn proper English and you can teach them and it is a good way to supplement your income.

12. Paint street and house numbers: These painters have a block to paint numbers for street or house number and you can make $10 or more for painting each house on curb side. I recently paid someone $15 for my place and found out this can be done by anyone.

13. Recycle metal, cans and make extra money. If you are using lot of cans and metals, you can take it to recycle and make some money by doing it.

14. Paint houses, lot of people are looking for someone to do the work of painting the house. Painting house is relatively easy once you move the furniture and have supply at hand. It can be a great boost for additional income when money is tight.

15. If you love taking pictures, put your pictures in photo sharing sites, some of them you can earn money if someone decides to download it and use it for their website or print media.

16. Write for others: Many people are not great writers and looking to buy articles they need in specific niche subject, you can earn money by writing for demand studios or about.com.

17. You can always look for odesk, freelancer sites to see what are people looking in services, if you can provide those services that is a great way to make easy cash money.

18. Sell your hair for cash. Many people need real human for making wigs. If you have a long hair you can sell it for money, and your hair eventually will grow again in no time.

19. Take dogs for walk services. Many people are too busy to take their dogs for walk, if you have time and like being with dogs, then this is a great way to get outdoor and make some money along with it.

20. Deliver newspaper: There are still many people who are getting newspaper delivered to their homes. You can do small or large route and make money delivering newspaper as an adult too.

21. Fix computers for others: If you are computer savvy and know lot of installing and fixing minor computer problems, this has a great potential as many people are looking for ways to get help for computer related problems.

22. Invest in stocks: If you know what you are doing and know your stuff well with help for right people, tools, you can make good money in stocks. I am still learning but I know a friend who has made a good profit playing the stock market wave.

23. Sell your gold. Many of us have gold stuff that we do not use or care for, selling it to a reputable company can bring some cash to you. Do research before sending your gold anywhere.

24. Land your voice: If you have a great radio voice, you can do voice over for many companies or individuals. Good and easy way to make extra income.

25. Odd jobs as needed: One can shovel the snow, washing a car, cleaning a rain gutter, small handyman type of job will help make extra income in short amount of time on side.

26. Help people move: If you have a van or truck, you can be hired locally to move stuff for people and you can charge people by mile or amount of stuff they have.

27. Become a mystery shopper: Mystery shopping can be fun, as you can shop or dine to check out the services and file a report. Generally you do not get paid for items unless they are food in restaurant. Generally you will get paid $10-$20 per project. Look for mystery shopping opportunity near you.

28. Deliver Phone Books: You can deliver phone books to various neighborhood to supplement your income.

29. Start a small business from home: If you have some ideas for a business, start one from home, alone or with a friend. There are many business ideas to choose from, go with what you know.

30. Put your saving goals in high interest yielding account to make easy passive money.

31. Create a CD ladder: Here is a idea on how to create a CD ladder to earn more money from your interest on your savings.

32. If you use credit card, use reward cards that gives back percentage of spent amount of mileage for traveling, it is a great way to earn money from something you use anyways.

33. Tutoring kids for various subject such as math, science, reading or something you know.

34. Teach music: if you know how to play piano or how to play guitar, giving lessons from home can boost earning for you.

35. Search for bonus and freebies for signing up. Many times, banks and other companies may offer some bonus or freebie to open up an account for you, some time as high as $100, look for these deals.

36.Write an ebook on subject your know well of and sell it online.

37. Look for missing money and where is my refund sites to check if you have any money in it that you can claim.

38. Deliver Pizza; Most people order pizzas Fridays and in weekend, so if you get a part time job during that time, you can earn some money plus make some extra on tips as well.

39. Do car valet services: you can offer to park cars for popular restaurants, hotels or resort and make good money on income and tips.

40. Sell bottled water and cookies during fair and cultural event for profit

41. Sell your nicer stuff on consignment stores; Nicer clothes or nice stuff can be sold for higher prices at consignment store.

42. Use cashCrate for making some extra money.

43. Get free or cheap stuff from friends and resell it at higher price, after repairing and updating the pieces.

44. House sitting: Taking care of house related stuff while owners are short or long term vacation can be a great boost of income as well it can be free rent for you.

45. Be a guinea pig: Many times when new drug or product comes out, the pharmaceutical companies need to test the outcome, so if you are brave enough you can check out these opportunities for easy money for a few hours or long term work.

46. Sewing and alterations services: If you know how to sew and have a sewing machine at home, you can do small to big job or sewing new clothes, pillow cases, curtains and so on and you can make money doing alterations for expensive clothing for many people.

47. Be a Nanny: Nanny job is different than babysitting, as you will be watching only one family kids either at their home or yours. Many times, these nanny job comes with free rent, food and income to stay with the family.

49. Adult Daycare services: Many times elderly people or people who are sick need looking after and there are many opportunity out there for adult day care service jobs.

50. Have a garage sale for unwanted items, specially in spring and summer month. You will get rid of clutter at home and make money at the same time.

How To Slash Your Bills and Get Your Expenses Under Control

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In January, many people are looking to take care of their new year resolutions, be it losing weight, eating well and saving money. I have goals that I want to achieve in 2013, I have given up making resolutions as I have failed in a few months to keep those up. So I create mini goals that I break down from a one big goals so it makes it easier to me to achieve it and stay focused.

One of the thing I am passionate about or should I say, I am forced upon is to save money. When I decided to not go back to my six figure salary work and be home with kids, something had to give so I started reading and learning new ways to cut down on expenses. Some of my early favorite personal finance blogs were Simple Dollar, Get Rich Slowly and Zen Habits. Trent from Simple Dollars still writes his money tips with passion after so many years so do check out his blog. J D Roth has sold his “Get Rich Slowly” blog and I admit I do not read regularly anymore but there are some great articles out there still. Leo from Zen Habits has achieved his financial freedom so he does not write about money tips much but I still read his blog for changing habits and inspiration.

I have done No Spend Money experiment and written about saving money tips before, as 2013 is starting, I am looking back to find more ways to save money so that I can continue to follow my passion of being home, work at home part time and homeschooling mom to my kids.

One of the most expense that people now a days have is phone related that is to say, phone, cable, cell phones and internet bills that keeps growing. Ten years ago or so family needed only single land line phone and television was simple choice enough choosing whatever came in local handful channels that came mostly free. But now there are thousands of channels and programs for television are there. For phone there are multiple lines, data plan, test plans, apps, ringtones and what not. I am not even sure I am all updated with what is available technology wise currently.

If you add this for spouse and kids, bill can run higher and higher. Although, television program says “Must See TV”, there is no such a thing as I and many others have given up or reduced watching Television for good. If you still decide to watch it, you can let go of many overlapping services to save money on bills.

How To Slash Your Phone Bills:

There are a few ways to slash your phone bills and most of these tips will not cause to feel deprived either.

  1. Reconsider Land Line Phone: For long time, we kept up our land line phone just in case there was internet or cell phone outage, mostly in case for emergency. We have given up land line phone for using Vonage service (internet based) for 7 months and could not complain about it. Monthly savings can be $30-$75 depending on services you were using, not bad for saving $360 to $ 900 savings for year.
  2. Drop Extra Services: This tip seems so simple and obvious however, many of us are having so many overlapping services with cell phone and land line phone combine. This also works if you want to keep your land line phone service without costing you big in monthly spending. Example of these extra services can be, You can let go of voice mail and buy answering machine phone, you can let go of your long distance services and use cell phone for calling long distance instead.
  3. Talk Free Via Computer: I am not tech savvy, despite having an electrical engineering but Zenguy is master geek and tech guy so we save money through talking to relatives and friends far away via Skype, Google chat. These services are free and can be downloaded free to your computer. What I like about this plan is it is free, you can chat and also use video chat so grandparents or friends can kids and vice versa. Also, thing to note is that grandparent or any person you call does not need to have Skype or Google chat program, you can call cell phone, land lines on other side.
  4. Buy For Busy Talk Month: I learned this the hard way, as phone carriers have hefty fees and charge if you go over minutes. It might be better to pay some extra every month to cover your busiest talk month to not get these charges during high usage month. If you do not plan this, just be careful to stay within your allowed minutes to not get charge ridiculous amount of fees.
  5. Shop around: I like being loyal to my family, friends but I have learned hard way to remain loyal to a company. I used AT&T for 8 years as I really liked them and what they did for that loyalty? They charged me crazy amount, so reluctantly I left, only to be offered same deal that I was asking them while being a customer.  Since that incidents, I always shop around to see best deals and choose phone company that works for my budget and customer services.
  6. Ignore Texting: In US texting is not free, unlike a few Asian countries. A relative from India sent us text messages and only to read those it ended up costing us $35. So, if you have teenagers or relatives who get free texting, be careful and avoid these texting charges either by ignoring those or reading text messages through some free reading services.
  7. Be careful for Roaming Charges: If you travel out of town or country, be very very careful of using your cell phone. It is almost always a good idea to get local cell phone or have roaming service plan added (if you travel a lot). Otherwise you will be billed $1-$5 per minutes, I have once read a news regarding someone getting a roaming charges for $12,100. (I am unable to find that news link now, but I am sure you may see those once in awhile too) So don’t be one of those statistics and save money by using local phone services instead.

Slash Your Cable and Movies Bills:

I love watching movies and a few Television series such as from BBC, A&E and Master Piece Theater. So, one does not have to give up watching their favorite TV shows or movies just to cut down on expenses. There are many ways to save and cut the bill in half or even more.

  1. Let Go of Premium Channels: Having premium channels such as HBO, Showtime, AMC can cost about $10-$15 each monthly. In most cases you can watch these movies through Netflix, or DVD rental. Now netflix gets DVD released movie much faster so you will still get to see it early.
  2. Track Your Watching: If you really note down how you or family tend to watch, such as which channels, how often you may cut down on other unwatched and UN-necessary channels from your services. Sometimes you may even find that you’re not watching as much cable as you thought, and in that case you can let go of cable services.
  3. Ask For Discounts: If you like to keep some favorite channels or services, ask the provider for discount or better offer. In some cases the company want to keep you as a customer and will negotiate a better deals and other case some stone- hearted company may ask you to cancel and in such case you can choose other provider or wait for a few months to really see before you sign up for new plan.
  4. Day has only 24 hours: Remember, having so many channels and movies choices may be futile as even if we watched one movie a day (2-3 hours each), we will not finish all movies produced and released and same thing with television series. So pick what you truly like that is best for your time. Watching TV and Movie all day no matter how much you like would not be a good thing for anyone.
  5. Buy HDMI Cable: I learned this from Zenguy as I would not know what it was. Thing is this HDMI cable costs like $5 or so and you can connect your computer to television. That allows us to watch free shows from network downloaded. Do not ask me how it works yet but I know it is time and big money saver for little cost. (I will update it once I find out how it works here)
  6. Skip Subscription Plans: Netflix, itunes and Amazon video on demand subscription plan varies and can be useful if you watch lot of movies or occasional movies here and there. In some cases, skipping the subscription plans and getting movies from red box or local store may be a better deal. If you do not mind getting new movies later, and somewhat less choices local library is also a good place to get movies and television series rentals.
  7. Watch it Free on Internet: There are many places such as you tube, hulu and other video sites where you can watch movies and television series for free. Remember, you tube have free and cost movie rental both. You can just view free movies there. The one problem I see is sometimes movies can be removed by copyright violation so it might be gone. I have watched a few movies on you tube movie section and I buy only movies that I like to see it again and again from amazon when deals comes in.

How to Save Money On Internet:

It has been said that over 70% of household have an internet access. That means many of us can find ways to slash our internet bills so we can still save money and still read best blogs, deals and news online.

  1. Group Services Together: Sometimes going with same company and grouping services can reduce your bills significantly. Many company nowadays offer bundle on land line, cell phone and internet services. In some cases doing individual service and billing may work however in most cases grouping services together works the best.
  2. Use library or free Wifi Cafe: Unless you’re buying unlimited internet data usage, you can save money by occasionally using library or free WiFI-cafe for internet for supplementing using internet.
  3. Get a Tablet: Many tablet users who use tablet and watch movies together, so why just use tablet for everything. There are so many apps for iphone and android that can help as free channel guide can be helpful. According to CNN post, replacing your cable with tablet can pay off in 7 months or so and with tablet one can do many things
  4. Know Competing Offers: In many cases most great offers are for new customers and not current customers, so know your offers from your internet providers as well as from competition every 6 months or so. Then call your provider and ask to match the deal, if they do great if not, switch to another company.
  5. Check for Overlap In services: If  you are using smart phone data plan and broadband internet services both, you have overlap in service plans. If you only play occasional games at home, 3G wireless service is not needed. Checking this overlap and how you use smart phone, internet and cell phone can save you $30 per month or more. That is over $240 a year savings on things you do not use anyways.

Enjoy using phones, internet and watching movies, Television series without breaking your wallet this year!

No Spend Month Update

In past couple of years I have done “No Spend Month” Challenge where my family of 4 spent about $300 on daily expenses, not counting mortgage/rent, utility and phone bills. One year I did great and another I did not. This time, I am going to be out of town traveling during month of July, hence decided not to do “no spend month challenge” this time.

If you are curious about it check out past few years post to see weekly updates and how I fared below; If you decide to go through this challenge, let me know if you have any questions or concerns. It is always easy to do this with a friend or online friend support.

Learning from No Spend Month Challenge and Experiment:

I have learnt a few things from being stay at home, Zenguy being out of work for 22 months and doing this experiments for a few years;

  1. Using cash made me aware what I was spending
  2. Credit card usage made me spent more and did not realize where money went, until bill came
  3. Writing down daily expenses, including small 50 cents expenses made me more frugal
  4. Cooking at home is always cheaper, faster and healthier
  5. Kids did not even know anything was a miss, they simply enjoyed it.
  6. Money does not make life better, there are lot of simple things that makes us happy
  7. Library has great resources for entertainment such as new books, movies and even music CDs to enjoy
  8. Paying down bills made me more happy then spending it on luxury item at the end
  9. It is not money but how we feel about money makes difference in our life
  10. Knowing I spent less and was able to control my “I deserve it”, made me learn patience in life
  11. Reading  how to save money books surely gave me ideas on ways to save in my daily life without feeling the pinch.
  12. Finding new ways to make money from home or start blogging to supplement income also helps.

No Spend Month Challenge (2011)

No Spend Month Challenge Take Away and Lessons
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 4
No Spend Month -July 2011: Update 3
Upgrading Inexpensive Food In to Gourmet Meal: Ramen Noodle Hacks
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 2 and Savings Tips
  No Spend Month Challenge: July 2011- Update 1
No Spend Month Challenge: July 2011

No Spend Month Challenge (2010)

No Spend Month Challenge: Update and Take away from the experiment
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 4
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 3
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 2
  No Spend Month Challenge: Update 1
No Spend Month challenge: July

Question for you:

How are you saving money now?

Remaking America: Dealing with Finance Crisis

Image Source: replayground.blogspot.com

There is lot of things wrong with world today, one of them being people are hurting due to economy all over the world, in Asia, Europe such as Greece crisis. However, nothing is worse than in America, once land of American dream and an opportunities. Easy credit, and buy now and pay later culture has left many people, who are hard working, honest people in stressful financial situation.

I recently wrote about 5 ways to save money and 5 more ways to save money as many of us need to find ways to save money, reduce debt. Yahoo news has recently started a series called “Remake America” which talks about a few family’s stories on how their financial life has been affected by foreclosure, medical issues and layoffs.  Stories are real and emotional, it is sure not reality Television where everything is exaggerated.

Take a look at each families story, see what you can learn from it. It is easy to judge someone else but be able to see how easy it could any of us. Unemployment rates are going down but it might be misleading number, as un-employment rates only comes for current number of people who are getting a benefits. Many people are not reported or do not qualify for the unemployment, making real number much higher and hard to quantify.

New Jersey Family: Unemployment, 3 Kids and Debt

John and Michele Kocotos family has 3 kids, father in law, 2 mortgages, 3 maxed out credit cards, children’s brace and glass, truck that needs repair and whole lot of stress. John has worked for Red Cross for 16 years, helping in many emergency crisis situation such as 911, Hurricane katrina and more. However he was let go due to budget cuts, and now he is working in supermarket at minimum wages. His wife also works but it is not enough to make enough money to pay bills and feed family of 6. You can click below to see their story in video and more details.

See their story here: Remake America: Kocotos

Kyle and Krystal’s Story: Ex Marine’s life now

This is one of the heart wrenching story, Kyle who really wanted to serve his country and do something nice, so he enlisted for Marine corps while being high school. He served  well and was proud of his contribution he made. In 2006, he humvee was exploded by roadside bomb, injuring him and losing one hand.

Now with wife and 2 kids, he is stay at home dad, while his wife works for subway, making little money and no support. This story probably hit  hard many readers as seen by comments, many feeling that US should take care of its soldier so they do not have to be in this situation of financial mess.

To see their story and video click here: Adjusting after war Kyle’s story

Kirk and Latosha’s story: Layoff and crazy bills

Kirk and Latosha’s seem to have starting a good love story. She says, she was waiting for perfect man and she found Kirk to that man and married him. Now six kids, 2 dogs, mortgage and layoff of kirk 2 years ago, has made the couple’s relationship on edge. Kirk as a man has hits self esteem issue as he feels as a man he should be a provider, they have lost a house in foreclosure already but other problems with finance are still persistent.

Latosha works full time, helping low income families, the help that she needs very much herself is the irony of her life. Kirk is spending full time, focusing on finding job without much luck.

See Latosha and Kirk story and video click here: Kirk and Latosha Bills and layoff

Bill and Donna’s Story: Health care and bad economy’s effect

Bill and Donna are older couple with adult kids, they thought everything was going well for them as they were working, had retirement plan set up. Then Bill had a health trouble, he had stroke, one side of body stopped working, when he was barely recovered, he started working at the same job before he had a stroke. Somehow, the company thought it was best time to layoff Bill then.

Bill was down but not out, he and his wife invested their savings to start a business Bill had passion for, a hardware store. Ace hardware store opened up close to his hardware store, failing his mom and pops business dream. Right now he is working hard again but barely making it. Worse part of the story, they had lost, job, business, health and most hope.

To see video and story of Bill and Donna click here: Health care and bad economy

Leslie’s Story: Real Estate Agent bad luck

Like all above story, Leslie’s story is real. As a successful real estate agent Leslie did well for herself and her clients who bought houses. With real estate bubbles, she was struggling but still working hard, until she was laid off by her real estate company. She feels as a single woman and older age has not helped her get a job, as she feels she is discriminated against it. She feels alone in her flight, shame to tell her friends or kids that she has been using her IRA or retirement money to pay mortgage and bills, when that runs out she will be in even worse position.

To read and see Leslie’s story click here: Struggle of former real estate agent

Suggestion for Remaking America:

American culture has been pushed towards instant gratification, buy now and pay later. I was born in India but living here in US for over 20 years, has also made me part of same mentality. I gradually started to change my ways when I quit and decided to be stay at home mom (on purpose). What a thing to do for these people and many others who are in similar situation? While, I am not a finance guru, here are a few suggestions that may help;

  1. If you have 2 cars, sell one or both car. Even when you sell a car with loss, you will get rid of some payments and bills such as car payment, care insurance, gas and so on. If you think you need a one car for job interviews, keep older one or buy reliable old Honda or other smaller car.
  2. If you have one or more mortgage, think of downsizing the house by re-selling it, renting it as whole and rent a room to make some income.
  3. Sell stuff from home, such as jewelry, gadgets, coins, furniture. Even if you sell it cheaper, you will create some space and much needed income with it, specially if the stuff is just sitting in closet.
  4. When you are unemployed, get rid of services or cut down to bare minimum. You will not need premium cable, magazine, netflix, or newspaper subscription.  Make your cell phone and internet service from premium to bare minimum to reduce extra payment.
  5. Eat at home, reduce take out from restaurants. Occasional take out may be okay but if you do it daily, it will add to your expense and your waist at the same time.
  6. No matter how bleak situation maybe, there is a light at the end of tunnel. Think about it, when you have hit rock bottom, only place to go now is up.
  7. Keep up your health and healthy routine. It is hard to find motivation when everything seems to be going against your way but keeping your health and wits about will make you get of the financial hole much quicker so eat healthy.
  8. Think positive, go out in fresh air to walk. Pray to God or higher power. Let go of negative or “naysayer” thoughts from your mind.
  9. Keep trying but if things do not work in some times, have an alternative career or job in mind.
  10. Work odd job, do lawn care for neighbors, start a blog business or any business from home that requires little capitol to get started.

Most of all, do not lose hope. How do I know? I have been there. A few years ago, Zenguy was in between jobs and project and I was stay at home mom of 2 kids so I made zero money. We were in that situation for 22 months, while Zenguy is fortunataly working now, effect of past bills keeps us still little choice. I am not saying it is easy now, but it does get bit better and slowly so keep at it.

Other interesting read:

Top 10 Money Saving Tips

Preserve Food to Save money on Groceries

My No Spend Month Challenge Experiment

How to earn more money

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Irony of Recession:  Goods Price gets higher, income gets lower

How to help someone in bad economy?

Items to Spend money on:

Items to Save Money on:

Save Money when eating out tips:

5 More Tips To Save Money

5 More tips to save money and be little bit richer

This is second in series of how to save money for daily expenses. As a stay at home mom for 2 kids, I have learned a few tricks that helps me keep within my budget and that too without feeling too much deprived. When I decided that I want to be home, leaving my cushy six figure job it was drastic change, one that I am happy to volunteer to leave my stressed job so I can be home with kids.

There are easy and simple ways we can save money for everyday savings. Once saving habits are ingrain in our mind, saving money or being frugal comes as easy as breathing and it will have so many benefits that your quality of life will be improved.

Start today, do not wait for special occasion or a new year to start a new habits. We can save money on everyday expenses such as phone services, insurance, groceries and travel and more. When we are starting, every penny will count. Do not think, what you will do with saving a few pennies here and there. Just imagine, saving a few pennies will make a dollar and few dollars savings will makes hundreds of dollar. Just imagine you putting this saving towards debt or in saving account, how much money you can save in interests.

5 More Money Saving Ideas and Tips

If you have not read yet part 1 of this series, you can read it here: 5 Tips for saving money for everyone.Let is look at 5 more additional tips that save us money for everyday expenses which anyone can do and add to our savings account.

Tip 6: Do not carry too much debt:

I personally like to say no debt is always the best but it is not realistic for many of us. Buying a home or car without a loan is not possible for 80% people unless you are already rich, have rich parents or rich friends with benefits. If you are like me and majority of people, we carry some debt. But that does not mean we are doomed, we can be smart and pay off these loans faster by paying $10-$100 extra towards our loans and pay off credit card debt when bill comes.

The worse part of debt or any loan is excessive interest that we pay on each loan, so faster we pay off, better we will be. Use cash only for many small daily expenses and paying off debt faster is way to go. Make sure your debt to income ratio is reasonably manageable for your monthly income.

Tip 7: Save money for emergency:

Emergency expenses can happen to any of us, any time. Like Dave Ramsey says about Murphy’s law, expenses and problems comes when you are not expecting it. Until someone invents a 100% future predictions, best we can do is save money for it, just in case of such a emergency. If it happens you will be prepared for it, and if it does not happen you will be bit richer, either way it is a win-win situation.

Just make sure you do not count buying diamond for your girlfriend as an emergency.Best way to save some money without feeling deprived is to auto deduct from your paycheck or your checking account and in to your saving account that you can not touch.

Tip 8: Wise Buying Decisions:

What do I mean by wise buying decisions? I have done impulse buying based on emotions, hunger and sheer joy of showing off to someone and I bet some of you might have done it too. Simple thing is do is, do not go grocery shopping when hungry, the truth is I have bought more junk food when I have shopped when I have been famished. Don’t try to keep up with jones, they might have nice stuff but I bet some of them may have nice debt too. Be smart and do not compete with someone in buying cars, vacations and diamonds. Comparison shop, do bulk shopping to save money as mentioned in part 1 of this series.

Tip 9: Eat IN more often:

As a vegetarian person who loves to cook at home, this comes easier for me. Even if you are not like me, you can still cook a few simple things at home and eat out occasionally only. Check out tips to save money when eating out. Food outside is usually ten to twenty times more expensive than if you would have made it at home and sometimes you can have more healthier food when you make it yourself. Occasional eating is fine and keep you from feeling deprived, just do it sensibly so you can save money as well as your health.

Tip 10: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse:

In USA, where I live, we tend to throw away things and buy new in this consumerist society. Buying a new shoes or new Television is much cheaper compared to repairing it here so it makes sense to do so, but we are wasting resources and earth’s environment by dumping things in garbage. We can consume less, reduce our materialistic things, recycle whenever possible will save us money and live sustainable life.

We can make small changes such as using

  1. Little less soap when doing dishes
  2. Using less shampoo when washing hair,
  3. Putting on sweater before turning on heater
  4. Donating good used items and not throwing in trash
  5. If you have child, supplementing with cloth diapers
  6. Turn off light of Television or computer, when not in use

Conclusion:

If we saved money without feeling deprived, we will do it for long term. Only two ways to save money are earn more income and be frugal. We can do both and save our environment at the same time. Start today.

5 Money Savings Tips

Everyday Money Savings

Source: Free Digital Images

Right now with economy being down and jobs are far and few to find, life has been tough.  While economy seems to be improving, I see many good and hard working people are struggling and hard to keep paying bills for mortgages, medical treatment and worst of all credit card payments.

While we can not help some bills such as medical and emergency situation but we can take precautions to make sure we are never in this uncomfortable situation where we may have to lose a house or lose credit ratings. Saving money has been practiced since early days of our great great grandparents to our parents.

There are easy and simple ways we can save money for everyday savings. Once saving habits are ingrain in our mind, saving money or being frugal comes as easy as breathing and it will have so many benefits that your quality of life will be improved.

Start today, do not wait for special occasion or a new year to start a new habits on our personal finance. We can save money on everyday expenses such as phone services, insurance, groceries and travel and more. When we are starting, every penny will count. Do not think, what you will do with saving a few pennies here and there. Just imagine, saving a few pennies will make a dollar and few dollars savings will makes hundreds of dollar. Just imagine you putting this saving towards debt or in saving account, how much money you can save in interests.

Grocery tips for Saving Money

Good Money Savings Articles

11 Steps for Money Management

No Spend Month Money Challenge

How They Calculate Your Credit score

5 Tips to Save Money

Top 5 Money Saving Ideas and Tips

There are many ways to save money in our everyday life. Here are my to ways to save money for everyday expenses. Some tips may need getting used to in the beginning but, it is doable for any of us. Why wait, read on and start saving now.

1. Spend Less Then you Earn

Spend Less, period. This seems simple enough but sometimes hard to achieve, at first. This step is really important if you are serious about saving money for long term effect. Best way to do this is to write it down, each day what you spend money on; it could be gas for your car, or cookies from vending machine, a dollar for homeless guy, no matter what it is, write it down. Can you do without any of this expenses? When I looked at my expenses, I was spending on Latte a day, that saved me $4.50 a day and $135 a month when I stopped buying. And you know what is great about it? I had extra $1620 money which can be used towards traveling or paying off debt. See how every little things adds up?

Cooking at home also helps spending less money. One way you can start doing is by starting no spend money challenge to set a budget and spend only within that budget for the month.

2. Create a Budget and Stick to it

Budget is dreaded word. At least it was for me a few years ago. Now, I have have a budget and I like to call it as a spending plan instead. It sounds better but it is actually budget plan so I know how much money I am spending in various categories such as phone services, groceries, eating out and more. Establishing a personal budget and sticking to has helped me and it can help you too, whether you are a single student or large family with kids.

Just think of this way, if you do not know where your money is going, how can you know if you enough money coming in and going out? In order to know your own finance on piece of paper or a software spreadsheet, it will be much easier to stay motivated and stay on course.

3. Shopping Habits for Savvy Shoppers:

Many times buying bulk saves us bunch of money. Think of buying groceries such as dry staple, soap, and other necessities of daily expenses. If you plan you meals in advance you can do bulk buying and buy necessary ingredients when in sale and not at last minute. Sometimes buying food item in season and freezing or canning them for later also helps. You can buy not only food items but other needed items in bulk to save money, for example, printer paper, soaps, dish washing and laundry detergent, shampoo, diapers and so on in bulk when using a coupons or when in sale. If you are buying gifts for friends and family in advance, it will help you look out for sales and discount and can make you save money and plan things, so you are not buying things at last minute at retail price.

4. Do research before buying:

Before you buy an item, do a research online, ask friends and family before making a purchase, specially if it is a large ticket item such as flat screen Television or camera. Make sure the sale price is really a sale before making any large expense that cost $100 or more. What do I mean by that? Some product may it is 40% off retail price, while that many sounds good, not many product companies pay retail price, so check to see where is the best price comparisons such as similar stores, ebay or other online shops to make sure you are getting a best deal on item you want to buy.

Many time, “Buy one get one free”, “50% off”, and “Huge Discount” will make you think you are saving money, double check to make sure it is really a huge discount as they say as it is our hard earned money we are spending.

5. Buy used or generic when possible:

I have made a rule except a few items, everything can be bought used. I personally am fan of used items as it saves me tons of money. I have 2 years old car that is running fine and has saved money. I just make sure with a mechanic to make sure there are no hidden repairs and check car fax report before buying it. Cars loses 33% of value in its 1st year so if you wait a couple of years you can save a lot. You can buy used and good quality furniture, toys and so on. Other than diapers, medicines, food items, many of us can buy quality items from garage sale, craigslist and ebay.
How do you save money?

How do you save money with Budgeting or Spending Plan?

See part 2 of the series: 5 more tips to save money

No Spend Month Challenge: Update and Take away from the experiment

Now that August is here, here is a recap of our No Spend Month Challenge with its final update and lessons and take away from this No Spend experiment:

This July we did No Spend Month experiment to see if our family of four, living in Northern California can survive with only $300: For groceries, eating out, cleaning, gardening supply, entertainment (books, movies, etc), Gas for cars, Any repairs, clothing and accessories and other items.

31 days

4 people

$300

To see recap on what is No Spend month and with Monday’s weekly updates on how we did, check out the posts below for more details.

No Spend Moth Challenge: Introduction $0
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 1 Money Spent 1st week: $104.73
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 2 Money Spent 2nd week: $33.72
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 3 Money spent 3rd week: $97.15
No Spend Month Challenge: Update 4 Money spent4th week: $18.50

Last week spending update:

Gas and Groceries only.
Total for last 5 days: $45.56

Here is total breakdown for the whole month to compare where did the money go?

Our Total expenses for the No Spend month Details:

Gas for both cars: $158.79
Groceries: $82.70
Misc: Rest of the budget
Total for the month: $299.66

As you can see, we barely made with 44 cents left over from our $300. Phew!!
Edited to add: We did not pre-stock gas for the cars or groceries prior the the no spend month experiment. Also all expense from cash and little on credit card are included here (even though CC bill be due next month).

Highlights and Analysis of this month:

  1. Gas prices are highest in the nation in Northern California, cheapest unleaded gas price is around $3.20 per gallon here. Except for our long Yosemite drive, we did not drive much and walked. Gas we had to fill in every other week, our normal gas expenses are much higher. This was consciously done.
  2. We had once had guests over for dinner and once we had to bring a potluck meal for 40 people. Our groceries expense is under $100, because we mostly used up our pantry, frozen and canned food supply this month. We still have a few cans and little frozen food left but most of food supply is used up. We were also were able to donate some goods that otherwise would have expired before being used.
  3. We did not eat out except for coffee and snacks once.
  4. We did not spend any money on repairs, clothes, cleaning supply or diaper this month as we used vinegar and cleaning supply from home for it. Zenguy repaired one chair by himself. And we used gift card (from last Xmas) to buy some diapers and we supplemented with cloth diapers for little P.
  5. I did little splurging like buying used books ($1.50) or used high chair ($10, actually needed) as Little P was growing out of his bouncer which we used as a feeding chair till now. Although we did not spend much money this month, we still were able to manage life and have fun.
  6. Both kids have no idea that we were in no spend month last month or had any budget issues. They were happy as usual. Our life style is mostly simplified anyways.
  7. Knowing we did not have money to spend, we stayed out of malls, bookstores, clothing stores and un-necessary grocery trips. We visited library more often and read books and movies from our own collection.
  8. We cleaned up our yard, organized our Gazebo, took out weeds and planted some more plants and flowers in our yard. We went for walking to near by parks, caught up with neighbors, watched movies from our small collection for entertainment.
  9. My breakdown point came around day 25th of this No Spend Month. I was feeling down, blue and bit childish as I wanted freedom to spend and not count everything before we buy stuff. It is like food fasting, which is good for day or few days but if you keep doing it always, it is not good for your health. Money fasting is similar in a way, too long of it might would have created deprivation.
  10. I learned a lot about myself and my family and our strengths and weaknesses. My family always supported me, even though this was my decision, Zenguy also curbed his spending and motivated me when I was bit down last 5 days. I also kept busy with my guest posts and commenting there to keep my mind off from my budget and it worked well.
  11. I also re-learned that we do not need money to be happy, we had a lot of good times during this month as a family. I got to see my creative side to make new meals from left over food. I was able to complete the No Spend Month challenge despite giving up hope during last week.
  12. There are many people who made this happen for me. I could not have done this challenge without support of Zenguy and my kids. I learned this concept of No Spend month, from Rachel of small notebook and I was honored to be mentioned in her post about this challenge  along with others What to eat on beans and rice budget, besides beans and rice . Also I got to know other ladies who were also in same journey and Sharon mentioned my update on her post Diary of No spend Month: day 19 too. Thanks Rachel and Sharon for the shout outs and support.
  13. I am thankful to Betsy Bargain , Vaishali and Ali sharing their money savings tips during this month. And to all my readers despite coming from various background supporting my challenge and commenting on update posts, kept me going.
  14. This challenge was not about winning or losing, this challenge for me was to make a conscious spending decision. I always thought of my self very frugal but this month made me realize I have quite a way to go and things to learn. I am more appreciative of people who live on very little every month, not because of any challenge, but because they have to.
  15. I learned that simplifying life and spending less has enabled me to stay home with both the kids and survive even with zero salary as Zenguy is between projects right now. Money may give us illusion of (temporary) happiness but happiness comes always from within.

These are my take away, analysis and lessons learned for the whole No Spend month Challenge. I am glad I did this challenge openly despite being scared of failing in front of others.

Your turn: What did you think of this challenge? Do you spend money consciously, regardless of how much money you have?

Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net