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Save On Recurring Expenses-Part 1

One of the first places people should be looking to save money is on the big recurring expenses that we all have every month. Let’s look at a few places you can save.

·Cell phone bill: JD Powers reports that the average annual wireless phone bill is $1,152, or about $96 a month.  Why pay that much when you can get a great smartphone via a pre-paid wireless provider for hundreds less every year. My wife pays $35/month or $420 a year for unlimited data and 300 minutes every month.  That’s a savings of $732 over the average! Find out how to do it on our post showing how to save on your cell phone bill.

·Home phone:  Some people will cancel their home phone service altogether in favor of either cell phone service only, resulting in savings of hundreds per year.  Of course if you still need a phone you can go with internet telephone service instead, which often costs much less. We switched to a service called HYPERLINK ""OomaOomaHYPERLINK "" was easy to HYPERLINK ""setup, and it only costs about $4.50/month in taxes in our area. That’s a big savings over the $43/month we were paying before. If you need to have a land-line for a home security system or something along those lines, consider canceling extra options on your phone like voicemail, call waiting and caller id to save on things you don’t need or use.

·Internet service:  Try switching your internet service to another provider in order to take advantage of new subscriber deals or promotions.  Switch from one internet type to another – DSL to cable or fiber-optic internet.  Switching can often get you great initial deals, and then you can hop providers to get another great deal when the promotion ends.  Also consider bundling your services like phone, internet and TV to save.

·TV and entertainment: there are a variety of ways to save on your TV and entertainment costs.  First, you can switch cable providers from one to the other to get in on a promotional offer. If that doesn’t work you can always cut the cord altogether, and save a ton by setting up a home entertainment system using streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and other free content providers.

·Utilities: Often there aren’t a ton of ways to save on your local utilities whether it is electric, garbage, gas or other services. Quite often you only have one utility option to work with.  What you can do is cut back on how much you use the services to limit costs.  Turn the temp up in the summer, and down in the winter to save on electric costs. Use a programmable thermostat.  When you’re not using something, turn it off or unplug it.  Turn the water heater down to 112 degrees and don’t run the dishwasher or laundry every time you’ve got a small load.  Look for energy leaks in your home by getting a home energy audit, and find ways to maintain your home to cut costs – like cleaning your AC HYPERLINK ""condensorHYPERLINK "" coils or changing furnace filters regularly.

·Insurance: Shop around to find the best rates on your insurance whether it’s auto, home, life or other types of insurance.  The last time I switched auto insurance I was horrified to learn I was overpaying to the tune of around $1000/year, for the same coverage.  That’s a lot of wasted money!  Switching homeowners insurance also saved us a ton.

·Gas: There are quite a few ways that you can save on gas. Do things like carpool, buy at the cheapest local gas station (use an app like GasBuddy to find it), fill up at a local warehouse club, take advantage of gas coupons via local grocery stores and use cash back credit or debtit cards that can help you save anywhere from 1-5% of gas.  Of course, you can also just drive smart and limit your quick starts and stops, and keep to smooth acceleration.

·Prescriptions:  One of the quickest ways to save on your prescriptions is just to make sure that you buy the generic version of your regular prescriptions. Other things to do include shopping around at different pharmacies for lower costs, getting samples from your doctor or buying your prescriptions in larger quantities to save.

·Property taxes:  Sometimes you can appeal your property taxes if you believe the appraisal they’ve given your home is incorrect. We saved several hundred dollars by appealing our property taxes one year.

·Refinance your mortgage: While lending restrictions have tightened, if you’re able you can get some amazing rates right now and save hundreds on your mortgage every month.

·Remove mortgage insurance:  A lot of folks are paying hundreds of dollars a year on mortgage insurance if they didn’t put down at least 20% when they bought their home. If you are one of those folks, and  you’ve recently reached the magical 80/20 loan to value ratio, ask your mortgage provider if they will remove the insurance from your monthly payment.

·Online bill pay:  Try paying you bills online instead of mailing in a check. It can save you $50-60/year depending on how many monthly bills you have.

·Gym memberships:  You can save on a gym membership by taking advantage of health plan discounts, or by setting up your own home gym

The Price Book helps discipline smart shoppers by allowing a quick comparison of the average unit price of an item and comparing it to the "sale" price being offered.
At first glance, keeping a Price Book seems like a tedious chore. But by following these simple steps, the monetary return over a period of a few months may prove to be worth the effort. There are many different methods of coming up with your own personal Price Book and in time you will find what works best for you.
Getting Started
Start by saving all of your grocery store receipts. Don't forget to save the "quick-stop" receipts because often those are your "most used" items. Toss the receipts in a drawer or box so that you can begin to build your shopping history.
After you have collected four to five weeks of receipts, your next step is to begin building your Price Book using the information from the receipts.
Purchase a small three-ring notebook or binder. Get something that is not bulky and can be easily taken to the store with you without being cumbersome. You will want to be able to add and remove sheets as you build your book, so a loose leafed notebook is recommended.
Start a sheet for each major category. For beginners, stick to the main items such as, Canned Food, Boxed Food, Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Dairy Products, and Snacks. You can always add more later as your book grows.
Create columns for listing your comparison information. You not only want to compare price but also keep track of which store offers that price. A typical sheet will include columns broken down into the following:
| Store Name | Brand/Size | Unit Price | Sale Price | Date of Sale
Referring to your old receipts, fill in the appropriate information. This will be your first step to smart comparison shopping. You will begin to see a "spending-cost history" develop as you log your information. You will also discover where to purchase your favorite items at the lowest price.
When reviewing the weekly sales advertisements, pull out your book to see how good of a deal you are really being offered. Add the best deals, on your most frequently used items, to your shopping list. If possible, buy the item in bulk, so that you can optimize your savings.
Bring your Price Book with you when you shop, to enable you to determine quickly, if an item is at a price incentive good enough for you to purchase.
Continue to save your shopping receipts and use them to update your Price Book for several weeks.
If you do this consistently for several weeks, you will soon be able to determine which stores consistently have the lowest prices on the products you purchase. Remember, no one store can offer the lowest prices on everything. Keeping an opened mind about where you shop and which brand names you shop for will quickly begin to pay off.
The goal in using the Price Book is to help discipline you to not be deceived by advertised specials and to allow you to pay the lowest price for your favorite items. Give it a try. For many people it becomes a great budgeting tool and a fun hobby.
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Being Frugal


The way things are in the world today most people have no choice but to cut down on costs and become more frugal or money conscious. Some people think of frugal people as being poor or cheap. I beg to differ.
I find that a lot of people feel as though they have to keep up with what their neighbor has or keep up with friends that may not be in the same income bracket. However, all that ends up happening is that they end up broke, in debt, and unhappy. For what? To have a shinier car? A bigger house that is going to go into foreclosure? Call me old fashioned, but I really don't see the point in that.
So here are a few things that you can do to live a simple and frugal lifestyle

1.  No Retail (or very little)

I shop at thrift stores, garage sales and craigslist for most things. I love the fact that I am saving money and I love the "thrill of the hunt" and finding that "retro something" that is so cool, that you haven't seen in years, that brings back such great memories.

2.  Shop Grocery Outlets

Allow SavvyShopper4U to be one of your stops to be frugal and put money back into your pocket not the big chains. Then you could do something fun with your family like a getaway.
3.  Lose the landline

Our cell phone company has a shrinkage plan where after 6 months of on-time payments the bill is lowered in $5 increments until it reaches $35. This service includes unlimited phone, text and internet.

4.  Cut cable bill

Cable bills can be insane and we don't watch a lot of television. So see where you can cut that cable package or get a converter and get 12 channels. That is perfect for the person trying to be frugal.

5.  Join a vegetable co-op

If you don't have the space for a garden, you can always join a vegetable co-op garden or lots of places are now doing community gardens.  This saves you money on “FRESH” produce.

6.  Don't eat out

Why spend $40 for a meal you can make at home for $5? My family will order out, but usually only once a month for a treat and when we go out we use coupons.

7.  Learn to cook

Make your own food, from scratch. Why buy mac and cheese when you can make your own? We hardly buy any processed food. We cook everything from scratch and love it.  A perfect example of one of our home-cooked meals is this delicious Homemade Mac&Cheese. Follow the following recipe and you and your family can enjoy it too!!
1lb CV Cooper Sharp (cut into cubes)
1lb Box Plain Velveeta Cheese (cut into cubes)
2lb San Georgio Elbow Macaroni
½ Gallon Whole Milk
Cook Macaroni 4-5 minutes only
Drain –do not rinse!!!!!!!!
Spray Crock Pot well with Pam
First Layer: macaroni-1/3 of the cheese salt and pepper to taste
Second Layer: macaroni 1/3 of the cheese
Last Layer: macaroni remaining cheese and pouring the milk over mixture.
When you begin to see milk below to layer of noodles-stop pouring
Cook on high 1st hour stirring well
Continue to cook on low until milk is absorbs usually 1-2hours total.

HINTS: If you use other brands of ingredients  than those listed the Mac&Cheese may not taste the same. Don’t use jar Velveeta  as you want the cubes to take their time melting and jar can become runny.  I always make this fresh and it is an A+ hit EVERYTIME!! Good luck and happy eating!

8. Make your own household cleaners

I have been doing this for over a year and I love it. Most household cleaners are made from baking soda or vinegar. Making cleaners and detergents is very easy and so much cheaper than buying from the store.

It really is all about what makes you happy and what you like. We like living simply and doing as much as we can to be as self sufficient as possible. I am constantly learning about new cleaner recipes to make. There is something about having the satisfaction of making your own cleaning products from scratch, not to mention the money you save making them!! So my thinking is a win win situation!

What does frugality and living simply mean to you?

How to stay motivated when being frugal


Today, I have an awesome post from Natalie at Debt and the Girl. Enjoy! 

I have to say that ever since I started this journey to rid myself of debt, it has sometimes been a struggle to stay motivated. We all have experienced burnout when we put our all into something and its only natural.

No matter how much determination you have for something, it is normal to lose motivation especially when it is one of the things you think about most of all.

Blogging in the PF community has been an immense help in staying determined with this, but what else can you do to stay motivated?

One of the things that have always been the downfall of many is hanging out with those who have different priorities. The same can be said when you are trying to save money. If you have many friends that are looser with their finances, then you may be tempted to spend to keep up as well.

For example, I have a friend who treats money like water. By that I mean, she thinks it will never run out. Some of her crazier purchases include a $200 sun tent that she only used once and several expensive handbags that are collecting dust on the shelf. Her parents have always helped her out with money and so she has never really learned to deal with it.

I love her to death but I have had to tell her that I can’t always go to the fancier restaurants because I am trying to pay off debt. Luckily, she understands and we are still able to have cheaper outings on the cheap.

I also try to read as much as I can about what others are doing to save money. This is not solely reserved to reading PF blogs. One of my favorite things to do is read economic articles on MSN Money or Yahoo and read up about how others budget and live.

I have even found valuable advice on sites like Pinterest that have all kinds of ideas on saving money such as making your own laundry detergent or making your own face masks. There have also been many articles lately ton the internet hat center on everyday people paying off enormous amounts of debt through hard work and determination. I like to read those to further re-motivate myself to keep doing what I am doing.

Probably my biggest motivator is the thought of being financially independent.

The idea that I can one day achieve my dream of being secure and be comfortable in life no matter what is what gives me the energy to keep going. I know that I can realize my wishes by working hard and being self-disciplined.

For all my efforts, I do try and do fun things for myself as well so that I don’t completely run myself down. It is important to have little splurges in life so that you can enjoy things and not hate everything in life J

Staying motivated can be tough but its important to keep yourself going:

·         Hang out with people who share your goals if possible.

·         Read as much as you can for knowledge and inspiration.

·         Don’t forget why you started being frugal in the first place and know that there is no greater feeling than being financially sound even when everyone else is spending up a storm.

·         Know that what you are doing is for the best in the long run and remember to do fun things for yourself to keep things interesting.

The path to financial independence is long but it is so worth it in the end. I can’t wait till that day is here.

Natalie is writer, instructor, marketer and a full time debt destroyer at her PF blog.

(*This content comes from the website “”.)