Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2009-04-13 helping yourself Tips    from backtoeden.ontario@gmail.com


Financial fitness  Back to financial basics  Article By: Katherine Griggs

Money you don't really need to spend: 10 ways to simplify your life.

Simplify your life by cutting out those needless extra expenses. Here are 10 ways to cut back on the money you don't need to spend.

Yes or no

Number Ten:

Pay in cash – this means you will always know exactly how much money you have. With credit cards, debt can add up quickly and you may not pay them off as fast as you would like to. When you pay in cash, it's also a great feeling because you know it's done and paid for and you won't have any bills piling up.


Number Nine:

Don't get someone else to do it for you – stop paying extra to get things done for you when you can do them yourself. Instead of automatically taking your shirts to the dry cleaners, wash them by hand and hang them to dry.


Number Eight:

Eat out less – Visit your local supermarket and pick up fresh ingredients to make homemade meals. You can also take your leftovers to work or have them the next day for dinner.


Number Seven:

Shop with a purpose – Whether you're grocery shopping or attending to other errands, it's best to shop with a list. A list reminds you of your reason for shopping and to resist impulse items. It is also a good idea to plan your meals in advance, so that when you get to the store you know exactly what you need to make meals throughout the week. Try to avoid shopping when you're hungry.


Number Six:

Get some fresh air – Walking is good for you, and it's cheaper than driving. If it's possible for you to hike or bike to your destination, do it.


Number Five:

Keep your car longer- do you really need that brand new car? Maybe your old one will operate just fine for a few more years. If you maintain the car you have now, you may be able to put off buying a new one for quite awhile.


Number Four:

Give up your car altogether - if you live in a city with well-equipped public transportation, chances are you might not even need a car. When you add up the expenses of car ownership including insurance, maintenance and parking, the costs may outweigh the benefits. Make a detailed list of what you actually need your car for. Try renting a car if you need it for a weekend away, or for the monthly trip to Costco you could take advantage of a car-sharing service such as a href="http://www.autoshare.com/" target="_blank">AutoShare or Zipcar.


Number Three:

Find cheaper ways to entertain yourself - instead of going to the movie theatre, rent a movie, relax and make some popcorn. Movies in the comfort of your own home can be a great way to spend an evening. You can go even further and rent movies from your local library. All you need is a library card and you will have plenty of movies, books and CD's at your disposal.


Number Two:

Limit the luxuries – do you really need over 500 channels? Most of the time when you order satellite or digital cable, you are paying for a lot of channels that you don't actually watch. You also pay more depending on the speed of internet you have. If you only use the computer to send emails and read online, you probably don't need the fastest service available.


Number One:

Skip the little things – make your own coffee in the morning. Instead of spending $5 a day on gourmet coffee, take it with you from home. Make it a special treat to buy a coffee once a week from your favourite coffee shop.


bill tracking tools

Billster – This is also a free, online budgeting tool. Billster is geared towards helping you organize your personal, as well as your shared expenses. Let's say that you decide to buy a joint gift for a co-worker or family member. This online program keeps track of who owes what and when. You can even keep track of reoccurring bills that you have each month, and set a reminder for yourself, so that you will not forget to pay them. With the bill tagging system you can categorize and group your bills to help keep track of where your money is going, and where it has gone.    http://www.billster.net/


PearBudgetThis very straightforward, easy to use budget program is downloaded directly to your computer through excel. It allows you to keep track of your expenses through the different categories, which allow you to keep track of exactly what you spend. When you have downloaded the program, it will automatically open and take you through how to fill it in correctly. It will take about 20 minutes to fill out all the necessary information, but will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.  http://pearbudget.com/



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