10 Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store

In these troubled financial times, it’s becoming increasingly important to find ways to lower your monthly grocery bill. The grocery store is one place where it is often easy to overspend and wreck your monthly budget; however, with careful planning and a few lifestyle changes, it is possible to save money and reduce your grocery store spending.

grocery store

Here are 10 common sense and creative ways to save money at the grocery store.

Make a Monthly Budget and Create a Meal Plan

Creating a budget, controlling expenses and planning your monthly meals are important ways to save money at the grocery store. If you are used to a hectic lifestyle of eating on the go and not tracking expenses, this may require a major lifestyle change, but the effort involved in making a monthly budget and a meal plan will definitely pay off in lower grocery bills.

When making a weekly or monthly grocery budget, first become more conscious of how much money you are currently spending at the grocery store. Tracking your current food expenses can be a great way to discover where your grocery money is going each month. Then set a targeted dollar amount you’d like to spend for your weekly or monthly grocery store budget. Once you have an estimate in mind for your monthly food budget, you can create a meal plan that will help save money at the grocery store.

Figuring out a few simple meals to cook each week as part of a meal plan will be very helpful in lowering your grocery bills. Use your weekly (or monthly) meal plan as the basis for devising a grocery list that will make it easier to save money at the grocery store. If you don’t cook at all, select a few convenience foods and easy to make meals that fit into your food plan and overall budget. Mapping out what you’d like to eat is still a good idea for the non-cook, as it helps avoid aimless shopping and impulse purchases.

Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry

If you want to save money at the grocery store, don’t shop when you’re hungry. Hungry grocery store shoppers tend to overspend, and store aisles are full of soda, chips and other higher priced items that can really wreck a grocery budget. Stopping off after work to pick up a few groceries when you’re ravenously hungry is a recipe for disaster; it’s much easier to stick to your food budget and avoid unnecessary purchases when you’re not famished.

Buy Only What You Need

Once you have a monthly budget, a meal plan and have created a grocery list, it’s time to go to the grocery store. Try to pick a quiet time to shop when you won’t feel rushed or distracted by hordes of other shoppers at the store. One way to save money at the grocery store is to follow your grocery list. Don’t be tempted to stock up on unnecessary items just because the grocery store is offering fantastic markdowns and buying more seems like a great deal. Deviating too much from your grocery list may cause you to go over your budget and purchase items that may spoil or sit unused on your shelves.

Use What You Have on Hand

Another way to save money at the grocery store is to use what you currently have on hand. If there is food in your cabinets that is perfectly good but hasn’t been utilized, this is the time to use up what’s already in the house before spending more money at the grocery store. Challenge yourself to eat foods from your pantry and let nothing go to waste.

It also may be a good time to unplug that big freezer or second refrigerator. Stocking up on lots of frozen food or perishable items can often lead to overspending at the grocery store, and these extra items in the house can sometimes end up going to waste. Unless you are feeding a lot of people, it may be smarter to just work out of one refrigerator; use up all the food on hand, then buy only what you need to replenish perishable items.

Learn to Cook Simple Meals

Learning to cook wholesome, inexpensive meals from scratch is an important way to save money at the grocery store. It is definitely more cost effective to buy your own ingredients and make your own meals than it is to load up on take-out, prepared meals and packaged dinners.

Magazines like Woman’s Day, Family Circle and Good Housekeeping are a treasure trove of delicious, inexpensive recipes. A recent issue of Woman’s Day magazine featured “Delicious Dinners for Under $2”
with recipes for dishes like Oven Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables ($1.31 per serving) and White Bean and Sausage Cassoulet ($1.19 per serving). At some grocery stores, you’ll find recipes that are quick and easy to prepare and tips that will help you save money at there.

If you’ve never cooked before, a basic cookbook, like Cooking for Dummies by Bryan Miller and Marie Rama can help bring you up to speed in the kitchen. Look for recipes that don’t involve fancy ingredients or expensive cuts of meat. It can be helpful to plan multiple meals from the same ingredients; for example, tonight’s meatloaf dinner can become tomorrow’s meatloaf sandwich for a brown bagged lunch.

Stocking your pantry with a few basic items that can be used to create simple meals is an excellent way to save money at the grocery store. Things like eggs, rice, noodles, canned foods and frozen vegetables can be used to put together a last minute meal that stretches your dollar (when all else fails, and a trip to the grocery store is not in the cards, the many creative ways to prepare an omelet are only limited by your imagination!)

Cut Back on Convenience Foods

Limiting the amount of convenience foods you purchase can definitely save money at the grocery store. Prepackaged foods like frozen TV dinners are usually more expensive than home cooked meals prepared from scratch. These convenience foods are often loaded with unhealthy ingredients and can really wreck your budget.
Instead of purchasing individual bags of cookies for school lunches, buy a package of cookies and separate them into individual portions. Cut up your own vegetables instead of picking up a plate of pre cut crudites at the deli counter (these can be astronomically expensive). The extra labor involved in avoiding some of these convenience foods will surely pay off in a lower monthly grocery bill.

If you live alone or simply don’t have the time to cook a lot and need to have some convenience foods on hand, try to make smarter choices for packaged foods by comparing prices and nutrition information, and shopping for healthier convenience items. Remember to purchase these types of items in moderation, as cutting back on the amount of convenience food you buy will help you save money at the grocery store.

Avoid the Deli Counter

The deli counter can definitely wreak havoc with your budget, and cutting back on deli items is a great way to save money at the grocery store. Cold cuts sliced and packaged at the deli counter tend to spoil quickly,
and it can be tempting to overbuy on these types of items (sometimes it’s hard to estimate how many cold cuts to have on hand for sandwiches). If you really need a few deli items, buying prepackaged cold cuts that stay fresh longer in your refrigerator (like Sarah Lee Fresh Ideas) can be a cost effective way to eliminate the problem of spoiled deli meats.

It could be a smart idea to give up cold cuts completely, in favor of things like egg salad, tuna, or other food that keeps longer without spoiling. Other budget disasters at the deli include pasta salads, pizza, and convenience items like prepackaged dinners. Save money at the grocery store by steering clear of the deli counter whenever possible, buying fresh food, and preparing your own meals.

Go Meatless

Going vegetarian can be an excellent way to save money at the grocery store while reducing your impact on the environment. Beans are an inexpensive choice that will add protein to your diet without the expense of costly meats. Slowly transition to vegetarianism by cutting back on the amount of meat products you currently consume and substituting vegetarian ingredients for meat (gradually replacing the meat in your chili with more beans is one painless way to go vegetarian).

If you are interested in going meatless, The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook by Diana Shaw is great for beginning vegetarians. The book has information about balanced and nutritious vegetarian meals and tons of healthy vegetarian recipes. The Vegetarian Times Magazine is another great resource that will help you go vegetarian while you save money at the grocery store.

Buy Store Brands Whenever Possible

Purchasing store brands instead of higher priced name brands is one option to save money at the grocery store. It is possible to substitute store brands for all sorts of food items, including things like egg substitute, frozen vegetables and breakfast cereals. Individual tastes vary, and in some cases, you may find you like a name brand better than the grocery store brand. Try to work the higher priced brand into your food budget; however, you’ll save money at the grocery store by choosing the store brands over the more expensive name brand items.

Grow Your Own Food

In this tough economy, people all over the country are turning to growing their own food. According to a recent issue of Natural Home Magazine, some people are even turning their front yards into gardens, growing enough
food for their families and selling the rest of their crop or sharing it with their neighbors in community supported agriculture programs! (This microfarming movement is called SPIN or small plot intensive farming).

Starting your own garden can be a great resource for fresh produce, and a creative way to save money at the grocery store. If you don’t have a plot of land for front yard farming, consider container gardening. The library is a great resource for books about how to start a garden and grow your own food, or surf the internet for sites like naturalhomemagazine.com, which has information about organic gardening.

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A Few More Tips to Save Money at the Grocery Store

By following the ten steps listed above, you’ll definitely save money at the grocery store. It may also be helpful to set definite days and times when you’ll visit the grocery store, and avoid any unnecessary trips to the supermarket. Only carry the cash you’ll need to buy the items on your grocery list, to avoid blowing your budget on impulse purchases.

Become a smart shopper by reading food labels and comparing prices on grocery store items. Study grocery store circulars and look for sales and good deals that are closest to home, to cut down on dollars spent at the gas pump. Clip coupons, hunt for bargains and invest time in becoming an educated, savvy grocery store shopper.

These tips may seem labor intensive, but the lifestyle changes you’ll make while shopping during a recession will pay off in more ways than lower monthly grocery bills. Not only will you save money at the grocery store, you’ll also experience better health from eating well, the satisfaction of reducing your carbon footprint, and the confidence that comes from self reliance and taking control of your budget.

5 Easy Ways to Save!

Saving money is something we should all do right now, but how can we make it easier? Here are 5 great tips to save a little cash and still maintain your social life!

save money

1. Enlist the Help of Friends.
Your friends may be feeling the same money crunch that you are and what better way to get through it than with a little help from your friends? Instead of meeting out at a restaurant for dinner, why not take turns hosting at each other’s houses? Have everyone bring a separate dish and get ready to sit down to a great meal with friends! If staying in is not an option, consider meeting just for dessert or appetizers.

2. Cut Coupons.
Coupons are everywhere today and there are a lot of web sites, magazines & newspapers that can help you get the most bang for your buck while visiting the grocery store. The percentage that you save off of your grocery bill can vary from store to store; your store might double coupons and that can help you save even more money.

3. Use that Cell Phone
Speaking of cutting things; do you still have a land line telephone? If you have both a land line and cell phone, consider disconnecting your land line. Some employers require that their employees have a land line but most have realized that we carry our cell phones with us all the time and land lines are really no longer a necessity. Re-evaluate your cable or satellite coverage too, do you really need over 260 channels?

4. Pay Bills on Time
It may not seem like a big deal if you are just a few days late, but companies like to tack on large late fees and this makes your bill sky rocket. If you find that you need to make a payment arrangement call your creditors; most companies will be more than happy to work with you. Work hard to pay off your credit card debt as quickly as possible.

5. Create A Budget and Stick To It.
Make a goal that you would like to reach. Your goals can be as big or as small as you would like them to be. They can be anything from a new camera, to a vacation. From here, plan out a budget that will bring this goal to fruition. When you have to give up that next cocktail, remember that camera or vacation and why it’s worth it!

Kathryn Thomas enjoys writing about communications, personal finance, term life insurance & cheap home insurance.

 

6 Ways To Spend Less And Live More

Spending more money than you have is a bad thing, and saving is generally considered a good thing right? But it’s not exactly fun is it? Sometimes in life you have to choose between living in the now and saving for your future, and it’s not always an easy decision.

So here are 5 simple ways that you can save money without having to sacrifice those fun things that you would like to do more of.

 

Vacations:

vacation

1: Vacation out of season

Certain times of year are more expensive when it comes to going away. So try to go on vacation off peak when it’s cheaper. Cheaper means you can go for longer and still save money. It’s win win.

2: Airport parking

Parking at the airport is overpriced because of the convenience it brings. But in reality finding airport parking nearby is very easy and you can save a decent chunk of cash which you can spend on tacky souvenirs instead!

3: Plan ahead

The longer you have to plan your vacation the more you can shop around for a good deal. Get everything planned ahead and take your pick of the best deals whilst avoiding wasting money.

 

Going Out/Staying In:

4: Cook at home

cook at home

This might seem like a compromise, but if you take the money you would have spent eating out and spend it on nice food to eat in you can often make a full evening of it, get more food and more variety and you’ll even save money.

5: Sign up for discounts

Set up a spare email address, and start hunting around for discounts. It is actually pretty easy to find various mailing lists which will regularly tell you about discounts and special offers that are available near you.

If you try to avoid going out anywhere where you don’t have a discount you will soon find you can afford to go out more often and you will also be forced to try more new things depending on what is on offer.

The Bits You Have To Buy:

6: Shop for discounts

When you go to the store, go with a list and avoid impulse buys. When you find an item on the list note down how much it costs. By doing this you will start to get to know how much things should cost and you will soon be able to spot a bargain when one appears. By saving money on stuff you buy any way you can spend more on the little luxuries.
This post was written by Mark from www.birminghamairportparking.com. Thanks for reading!

Money Saving Tips That Won’t Affect Your Lifestyle


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Saving money doesn’t have to involve stopping the things you enjoy doing. It doesn’t have to mean eating ‘value’ brands, and it doesn’t have to mean giving up on your hobbies and activities. At its best, saving money simply means employing a few smart strategies and sometimes doing the very same things in smart ways that don’t cost as much. Here we will look at some examples of what that means, and at how you can go about implementing these tips and tricks to save money without affecting your lifestyle.

Use Rewards Schemes

UK Loyalty Cards - Boots Advantage, Sainsbury Nectar &Tesco Clubcard
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You know when that shop you go to regularly keeps asking you if you have a loyalty card? And you get slightly annoyed and hint that they need to back off? Well stop doing that! Actually loyalty schemes are one of the few examples of business models that benefit everyone and they’re a great way for you to get the things you enjoy most often for less. It might not seem like much, but if you use them regularly you’ll see the benefits in time and be glad you made the effort.

Look for Deals – And Buy in Advance

WordPress Hostgator Hosting Discount
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This is something that we all know, but that few of us actually take advantage of. Next time you’re out shopping then, be on the look out for deals and discounts and let them inform your buying where it actually benefits you. What that doesn’t mean by the way is buying things you wouldn’t otherwise buy: it just means buying alternative brands when you can get them for less than your usual purchases.

Another tip is to take advantage of deals by buying in bulk. If you use a lot of protein shake and you notice that it’s in a penny sale (meaning you buy one, you get another for a penny), then buy four tubs at once. It might sting at the time, but if you know you are going to spend that money you might as well buy now and get it half price – your cash flow will even out over time.

Turn Down the Brightness on Your TV

Watching TV
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This is a simple tip that will hardly be noticeable, but actually it can save you quite a lot of money each year if you watch a lot of TV as it will cause your set to use less energy when you’re watching.

Use Bubble Wrap on Your Windows

Bubble wrap
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While we’re in the business of saving energy, another easy tip is to take some bubble wrap and to attach it around the edges of your window – particularly if it’s single glazing. Bubble wrap is made up of trapped air, and air is one of the best insulators out there: which makes this especially good at keeping more warm air in your property and more cold air out. It doesn’t cost anything, and if the window is out of sight (such as a small bathroom window) then you won’t notice the look of it too often.

Use Cashback Sites

Top Cash Back site
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Cashback sites are sites that pay you for using them to do your shopping. This is possible because they sell products that they get a commission for everytime you pay. Thus they get more money the more people use them, and so it’s in their best interests to encourage you to do so. And the way they do it? By sharing that commission with you. This way you will literally get the same products, but you’ll then get up to 30% of that money back.

Trade In


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Trading in is another thing that few of us take advantage of enough. This is particularly useful as a way to get technology more cheaply though and can save you a lot of money in the long run. For instance, if you want to change your mobile phone, then rather than just buying a new one outright you could take your old one back to the store and offer to sell it back to them in exchange for money off of the next purchase. Often you will get more money back this way than you would had you just sold it and you can get even more still if you plan this in advance and so treat your device in a way that will make it likely to survive the test of time. It may pain you, but leaving the sticky back plastic on the screen could just save you a lot of cash…

The author of this post, Andy Philip, is an avid blogger and tech enthusiast. In one of his recent articles for SmartClub, a company offering lifestyle rewards programs, he talks about the importance of scanning through local deals online before shopping and investing in products. You can catch up with him on Facebook and follow him on twitter.

Six Effective Ways to Learn to Start Your Own Savings

Did you ever ask yourself why you work? How many years have you been working now? How much have you earned in the total years? How much is your savings at present? Most people, if asked especially with the last question, would come to realize that they haven’t saved enough or nothing at all.

retirement piggy bank
own savings

Are you one of the many who do not have enough money left to spare for emergency funds, future needs or retirement, or just for a family vacation? In short, do you have no savings? Then read on and know how to be able to budget your money and then start saving.

Instructions on how to save Money:

First – Make a list of Monthly Expenditures

List down your monthly expenditures, these include utility bills (electric, telephone & water), home mortgage amortizations or monthly rentals, insurances payments, grocery & marketing expenses, transportation or fuel, and other necessary expenses you incur every month.  These items must be your basic needs and not items which you can live without, just like those reflecting in most of your credit card bills (shopping, dining, leisure items).

Second – Make a list of Debt Obligations

On a separate paper, list down all your debt obligations. Credit card bills go in this item; as well as car loans, salary loans, and bank loans or money borrowed from a friend.

Third – Make a list of Additional Expenses incurred

On another separate paper list down any other expenses which does not belong to the prior two categories. These items consists of expenses incurred for beauty treatments, shopping’s, dining’s, and even money spent on night outs with friends. In short, these items are not necessities, more of pleasure and waste of money.

Fourth – Make a Summary

Calculate all items in each category – monthly expenditures, debts, and extras. Add them all up then subtract from your monthly earnings. Do not be surprised if you will discover that you are spending more than what you are earning.  If that is the case, then it is high time to change your lifestyle.

Fifth – Make an Action

To start with, check again all your lists and take note of the items which you can omit. This means, stop spending on these items. For example, if you spend too much in dining out, learn to cook and pack your own meals. If you spend too much in late night outs, invite your friends instead at home.

Sixth – Start your Savings

All the unnecessary expenses that you have omitted will go and remain in your savings. Learn to start saving for emergencies, retirement, or a family getaway. Make a commitment not to be tempted to spend these savings for anything else other than its purpose. You can put it in time deposits if you like for safekeeping.

It is very important that each of us will learn how to save. All you need is to follow the steps above and a whole lot of discipline and determine. You may be surprised that you have already discovered various ways to lessen your monthly expenses, thus your savings increases.

Irina Webandyou is a financial assistant and a guest poster. She runs Logbook Loans from eMoneyBuddy. She loves covering news about finance and business.

Personal Finance Parents Should Teach Their Children

Teaching your children the ways of life is the essence of parenthood, and part of this is teaching them how to be efficient in personal finance management. Don’t worry; you don’t have to do an all-out lecture on finance and economics.

children personal finance
children personal finance

Here are six simple tips parents can do:

First is to set an example.  Children learn from what they see. If they see you taking charge and saving money for yourself, they will followit soon after.

Second is to patiently explain.  The kids may not get what you are doing, so it would be best to explain things step-by-step.  Take advantage of the child’s natural curiosity and make them understand why saving money is always best.  Have the patience to explain things on their level by using simple words or by showing them how to do it.

Third is to use tools.  Employ the use of coin banks or piggy banks.  A great way is to let them design their coin bank according to their preference.  Let them personalize it so they feel more motivated to use it and save money.

Fourth, harness the power of motivation.  Children are the easiest to motivate.  The trick here is to know what motivates them and to use that piece of information to your advantage.  If you see your children gets motivated by the prospect of a new toy, you can tell them they can use the money they saved to buy the toy they have been eyeing.

Fifth, let the children do it themselves.   As parents, it is always a struggle between the heart and the brain during times you need to teach your children a valuable lesson.  It is only a parent’s natural instinct to go in and help, but there are some times we should get a hold of ourselves for our children’s sake.   The temptation to add to their savings so they can buy their new toy is very huge.  Wouldn’t parents want to see that smile on their child’s face?  Yet, we should always put in mind the value we are trying to teach and refrain from doing so.  Later on, when we see the kids become financially-stable adults, then will we realize the importance of letting the kids learn for themselves.

The sixth tip is the most important.  Stay true to your word.  If you said the money saved will be used to buy a new toy, so be it.  Using it for another, other than what was promised will only give a bad impression.  This may result in your kid not wanting to save anymore.  Do keep your word.  Receiving their expected reward will only add to their drive to save more money in the future.  Plus, your children will come to learn that you keep your word, and that saving money has its rewards.

Indeed, teaching your children how to save money is the first step towards effectivepersonal finance management in the future, and ultimately results to financially-stable adults. Everything must always start at home, so make sure you will be able to teach your children well.

Irina Webandyou is a guest blogger and copywriter for many business and finance websites. She contributes towards http://martinbrook.co.uk and other financial websites.

8 Effective Advices to Manage your Personal Finance

Personal finance is managed effectively when good and sound advice is given as your guide.

Managing your personal finance is something each of us does differently.  Yet, one is common and that is the need to be effective at it. All of us must be aware of this fact. In order manage our finances very well, take a look at the following guidelines.

personal finance for everyone
personal finance for everyone

1) One of the oldest advices and yet still the most effective, Budget.  Ask anyone what to do to effectively manage their finances, and chances are they will answer the same thing—budget.  Making your own budget plan is a good way to track how much you are making each month and know how much is spent for your expenses.  This is a solid way to plan your spending in order to save money.

2) Employ the use of lists.  A good way to start is to first make a list of the things you have to pay per month. Include here utility bill payments, insurance, transportation, food, and mortgage.  Then see how much you have left to set aside for your savings.

3) Next is to stick to your plan.  With this in mind, it would be good to have an amount set aside for entertainment and leisure.  In this way, you avoid splurging and overspending; knowing that you also have a budget for fun.  No matter how tempting it is to spend money, control yourself and you will indeed reap the benefits later.

4) Hide your credit card.  That is, use it only for emergencies and the like.  Use cash instead and you won’t have to worry about the interest incurred with each credit card purchase.  A better idea is to use a Cash Card, this is a debit card that can be used to purchase.  Sometimes, these cash cards come with rebates for each purchase or discounts on certain items.

5) Pay off your debts.  If you have long withstanding debts, opt for debt restructuring or consolidation.  And before your decide, look into each carefully and see if it really helps you pay off your debt, or just adds to the things you need to pay for.  Consolidation and restructuring have certain fees to pay for the service, so analyze and evaluate if these are for you.

6) Plan for retirement.  Have a mindset you are going to retire early so that you will be driven to plan early and fast.  Pay for a retirement contribution regularly and you will never have to worry about retiring in the future.

7) Take advantage of your benefits from employment.  If your job has perks like medical and dental services, take advantage of these things and avoid having to pay for such.  If your medical benefit includes annual physical examination and check-up, take advantage of these to keep you healthy.  Being sick only means having to be absent from work, not have any pay, and spend for the doctor and medicines.

8) Spend less.  Even if you are already finished drafting a budget, it would always be better to look for other ways to even lessen the amount of money you are spending every day.  Simple ways to do this is to conserve water and electricity to reduce your bills and therefore add to your savings.

Effectively managing your personal finance is a sure way to provide a more comfortable way of living for you in the future and have financial freedom as well.

Mark Scott contributes towards https://www.swiftmoney.com. He likes writing about personal finance, mortgage and debt things.

5 Reasons to Have Multiple Bank Savings Accounts

Many people know that in the financial world, the standard accounts that most adults acquire are the checking and savings account. Checking accounts and savings accounts are the standard fare for financial product usage. Most people use the checking account as their day to day account from which they make purchases. From the savings account, many people save money that they prefer to have stashed away for a rainy day. However, you should be aware that it is advisable for you to have a checking account and savings account at multiple banks. Here are five reasons why you should open accounts with different institutions.

Bank Savings Accounts
Bank Savings Accounts

Exercise FDIC Insurance

FDIC insurance typically insures accounts that are up to 250,000 USD. If you carry more than that in any one account, you run the risk of that money not being insured if something was to happen to the bank. If you have more than the FDIC insurable amount, you should spread these amounts around into different institutions rather than keeping them together.

Making Banking Relationships

When you want to borrow money for a home or a personal loan, most investors will let you know that you should borrow money from the bank that holds your accounts. If you have a relationship with several banks due to your many accounts, you can shop around and find the most favorable terms. This will also help you gain leverage, as you can use one bank’s rate against another to see if you can get a better rate.

Bank Failure

As learned during the financial crisis, it is not impossible for a bank to fail and close for business. When this happens, your money may be held in limbo during a transition if the bank is merging with another bank. You do not want to keep all of your money in a limbo state and not have access during a period of bank crisis. To protect yourself keep assets at different accounts.

ATM Fees

Though fees may seem like as small part of what should equal a lasting banking relationship, fees are important. ATM fees can add up to hundreds per year if you use out of network ATMs. To bypass the network fees, if you have accounts with the many banks in your area, you are certain to find at least one in network ATM that will not charge you fees. This can save you hundreds in money lost purely trying to access your own money.

Ease of Transition

If something happens at your bank that you are not comfortable with, such as a fee being instituted or the bank merging with another, if you have another account with another bank, the transition will be easy. Simply wire transfer your money from one account to another then close the bank account that you no longer need.

Having several different bank accounts is a matter of protection for yourself. If you have the option, open a bank account with several banks and credit unions. Make sure that you read over the terms of each account so that you are getting accounts that you truly need.

This helpful and informative financial article was brought to you by Cambist.

 

Throwing Your Receipts in the Trash Could Cost You

receipt

You probably don’t think twice about tossing receipts right into the trash the split second following a purchase. Why burden yourself with such miniscule clutter? These aren’t miniscule, however. Receipts aren’t trash, especially when they can save you money, prove purchases and help prevent credit card fraud. Keep the following five reasons in mind next time you’re about to throw away a receipt:

Taxes

Save those receipts for annual tax reductions. From seemingly inconsequential purchases to big-ticket items, you may just be able to write off an expense for personal and professional purposes. It varies from job to job, person to person and expense to expense, but you never know how and when your receipts will come in handy when it comes to filing your taxes in April. Also, business owners and homeowners who’ve made significant home improvements, for example, can write off expenses. If you’ve claimed something, hold onto a receipt for seven years following a return in case you get audited, suggests Mainstreet.com.

Security

Receipts floating around can end up in the wrong hands — hands that un-crumple that small piece of paper and then conspire to turn your world upside down. An unwittingly trashed receipt can easily become the weapon used to steal your identity and destroy your credit. Even receipts tucked in your wallet can be a high risk for identity theft in case your wallet is stolen. If your wallet full of receipts ends up in the possession of a thief, you are susceptible to not only identity theft, but loan, bank, benefits and tax fraud, forewarns Lifelock services.

Proof of Purchase

Receipts can handily prove purchases without stress and frustration. Let’s say you buy a gift card and it’s non-redeemable; Without a receipt, you have no real means of recourse. A receipt can serve as a safety net for mistakenly un-activated gift cards as well as damaged purchases or purchases that you’d like to return. You’ll wish you had that receipt when you want a hassle-free refund, exchange or warranty.

Reimbursements

Receipts are essential for employees who file expense reports. As long as you have your work-related receipts safely stored, you’ll never have to worry about being questioned about a purchase. Unless you responsibly handle those receipts, be prepared to cover the costs from your own wallet.

Checking Against Your Credit Card

If you use your credit card for all of your spending, make sure no purchases slip through the cracks by checking your balances. Refer to your receipts while evaluating your credit card report to ensure that all purchases are valid. For instance, you’ll be happy for that one receipt to prove an extravagant unauthorized tip.

Balancing & Budgeting

Balancing your checking account according to your receipts helps organize your finances and sustain your budget. While adding up those numbers, you can gain a visual for how much you spend and on what, which may motivate you to modify your spending habits. The iPhone app Receipts can help you easily track your spending and quickly log purchases. Take pictures of receipts, back up and export information, categorize expenditures and use charts for organization— all conveniently on your smartphone.

5 Bad Money Habits and How to Beat Them

There are things we do regularly and we call them “habits”. Sometimes you don’t even think what you do just because you do it too often. Of course, habits can be healthy and unhealthy. And if your unhealthy habits impact your monetary life then you should learn how to beat them and how to change your spending style. Bad financial habits are very dangerous for our financial health. Small things can create you regular financial problems and they can prevent you from being a successful person. Let’s take a look at most popular bad habits and learn how to get rid of them.

shoppaholic
shoppaholic

Not Saving For Retirement

Some people think that they are too young to save for retirement and that they have a lot of time ahead for building savings. But time is running too fast. The earlier you will start building retirement savings the more confident you’ll be about your future. Stop giving yourself empty promises that you will start saving money next week/month/year. Regularly put 20% of your income to your savings account and make it your habit. Then you will have an opportunity to retire early and feel comfortable in your old ages.

Always Paying With a Credit Card

On one hand, credit cards can help you to buy something if you currently have no cash. Sometimes it really helps, for example if you’re counting days till your next payday. But on the other hand, paying with plastic cards is hard to control. Some consumers forget about using cash at all and can get out of a debt trap. If you pay off the balance in time then you will not pay the interest and that attracts lots of people. But are you sure that you’re able to control your debt and it will never become a problem for you?

Impulse Buy

Impulse shopping is an enemy of a healthy budget. The first impression is not always right and very often consumers complain on their spontaneous purchases. Try to shop with a list and plan your expenses. If you really like something but have doubts regarding making a purchase then take your time and wait for 1 month. If the thing you want to buy isn’t as important for you as you think it is then you will quickly forget about it.

Living in Debt

For lots of people making debts is a habit. They don’t live within their means and rely on short-term financing and credit cards. When you start thinking that there’s nothing special about living in debt and that all your friends have debt then it’s time to ring the alarm. Think how many things you could do in case there wasn’t a need of making regular payments. See the way debt stops you financial development. Make up a debt elimination plan and start making steps to your financial independence.