Money Saving Tips

Money Saving Tips
Image Credit: Tax Credits

Love the leftovers

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If you find yourself throwing away spoiled food too often, take a little time organize your refrigerator. A picture is worth a thousand words, so just check Google Images for the term, 'organized fridge' to get some really-quick ideas that work for you.

Great Bulk Buys

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Buying in bulk can be a good way to save money, but knowing which products to concentrate on can also save you time. Here is a list of items that can offer very substantial savings when purchased in bulk:
  • Paper products like paper towels, etc.
  • Diapers
  • Dog food & treats
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Chicken & meat (See video below for freezing tips.)
  • Breakfast Cereal
  • Rice & dried beans
  • Pasta

Some common sense is required when buying in bulk. Obviously you don't want to buy food that will spoil before it is used, but also think of exactly where you will store these items.

Cash not Plastic

Cash not Plastic

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Cash not Plastic

If you have come to the conclusion that your personal-spending habits need a little work, consider keeping your credit cards out of easy reach. Pay for all of your purchases with cash instead. Psychologically, there is something very different about 'breaking a twenty' versus just 'swiping' your credit card or debit card. This will make you think twice about impulse purchases.

Some financial advisers recommend to certain clients with serious-debt problems that they actually cut up their credit cards with scissors. Other advisers recommend placing credit cards into a container of water and then freezing that container in the freezer. This institutes a certain 'cooling off' period before making a purchase. If your situation is less extreme, you can invent your own minor inconvenience that keeps credit cards out of easy reach. For example, you could simply create a paper 'envelope' for your credit card with paper and tape it shut; then write the current date on the envelope. Now, see how long can you go without opening it! Make a little game out of it. No matter how long you make it, it can only be positive on your finances.

If eating out...

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For the times you do decide to indulge in eating out, these simple habits can reduce the overall cost:
  • Make water your beverage of choice (the free kind that comes in a glass).
  • Get in the habit of making lunch your meal out. Lunch is usually cheaper than dinner.
  • Restaurant portions can be large. Don't overeat - get a doggy bag instead! This is a 'three-fer': it's a healthy choice; saves a couple bucks on groceries; and provides a quick, convenient meal.
Evaluate Impulse Purchases

Evaluate Impulse Purchases

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Evaluate Impulse Purchases
Image Credit: marcopako
Take the time to consider your small purchases and daily spending habits. For example, consider a ~$4.00 stop by Starbucks every morning before work. A person may justify this as either a convenience or just one of their indulgences; however, after crunching some numbers, that same person might opt to make a change. In either case, take the time to understand the cost of your small spending habits - and then decide which are worth it for you.
$ . per day,
  days per month.
Monthly Cost:

$80.00

Yearly Cost:

960.00

Compare Total Costs for Automobiles

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The Kelly Blue Book (KBB) has the 'Total Cost of Ownership'.
edmunds.com has the 'True Cost to Own'.

Both analyses look at the total cost of owning a vehicle for 5 years. Their analyses considers many factors like gas mileage, resale value, average-maintenance costs, insurance etc. In addition to the benefit of seeking two separate opinions, each site has their pros and cons with regard to navigation.
  • The KBB link jumps right in with their top-5 low-cost picks for each class of vehicle. As of November 2013, these classes includes:
    • Subcompact Car Compact Car
    • Mid-size Car
    • Full-size Car
    • Compact SUV/Crossover
    • Mid-size SUV/Crossover
    • Full-size SUV/Crossover
    • Entry-level Luxury Car
    • Luxury Car, Sports Car
    • Mid-size Pickup Truck
    • Full-size Pickup Truck
    • Minivan/Van
    • Hybrid/Alternative Energy Car
    • Hybrid SUV/Crossover and Electric Vehicle
  • The edmunds.com link allows for quick navigation to specific make, model and year for comparing new and used vehicles.
Coupons from ebay

Coupons from ebay

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Coupons from ebay
Image Credit: sdc2027
One easy source of coupons is eBay. You can search the site for coupons on anything from clothes to building supplies. To get you started, here are some examples:
Coupons from ebay ::: example of:

Coupons from ebay ::: example of:

Buying on ebay

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M.P.G. Tips

M.P.G. Tips

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M.P.G. Tips
Image Credit: Thomas Doerfer

Don't drive aggressively


Rapid acceleration and deceleration drastically reduces fuel economy and costs you big money. According to the DOE, aggressive driving reduces overall mileage by 5% to 33% which is like adding $0.12 to $0.81 per gallon to the price of gas[1]. In addition to the wasted gas money that could be better spent elsewhere, you are causing heavy wear on your vehicle including brakes, tires and drivetrain -- not to mention increased risk of traffic tickets and risk of accidents.

Keep it at 60 m.p.h. or below


The ideal speed to drive will vary according to vehicle. But overall, the ideal speed tend to be between 25 and 60 mph for most vehicles. According to the DOE, each 5 mph you drive over 60 m.p.h. is equivalent to paying an additional $0.24 per gallon! [1]

Drive like you ride a bike


If you where riding a bike would you race to a red light? Of course not; while on a bike you have a natural tendency to conserve your energy and coast to red lights and temporary obstacles. This same idea of conserving energy can be applied to increasing your gas mileage. The key idea is to get in the habit of looking far ahead and anticipate when you might need to slow down. If you see that a light has changed a full block or two ahead, or if a vehicle has its turn signal on, let up on the accelerator and coast. Every time you are forced to brake, you waste energy and decrease your gas mileage.

Avoid idling for more than a minute


Turn it off or leave it running? The idling time in question will vary by vehicle, but generally speaking time estimates regarding this question and idling time range from about 10 to 30 seconds [2][3]. As a general rule, if you think you are going to be idling for more than a minute it pays to shut off the engine when it is safe and practical.

Lose the junk in your trunk


The EPA estimates that each additional 100 pound of unnecessary items you store in your vehicle will reduce your mileage by about 1% - 2%; this is like paying an extra 2 to 5 cents per gallon of gas [1].

Use cruise control on the highway


Maintaining a steady speed will reduce your fuel consumption in most incidences. It may even help you avoid a speeding ticket.

Use overdrive gears


Using overdrive gears allows the motor to work at lower rpm's and thereby increases gas mileage [1].

AC on vs. windows rolled down


Of course the best mileage will come when your windows are rolled up and the AC is off. However, this is generally not considered practical on hot days. So, when you must choose between windows and AC, the higher-mileage option generally depends on if you're driving on the highway or if your driving in the city. The overwhelming consensus of opinions suggest that:
  • On the highway: the best mileage choice is to have the windows rolled up and the AC on. The decreased aerodynamics become much more substantial at higher speed with the windows rolled down.
  • In the city: the best mileage choice is to roll the windows down and leave the AC off. At lower speeds aerodynamic drag is much less of an issue.

Check your tire pressure


Make sure your vehicle's tires are not under inflated. Setting your tires to the recommended pressure can increase increase gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent. [4]

Replace dirty air filters


Changing a dirty air filter can have a significant impact on your vehicles gas mileage. Air filters are often fairly simple to replace. According to one source, replacing a dirty air filter can increase gas mileage by as much as 10%. [4]

Plan ahead


Think ahead; Combine trips; what could save more gas than not driving at all? If you find yourself making to many trips to the store for small 'must have' purchases, take some time to think about personal organization. Nothing beats a good list, and keeping a small list handy in your purse or wallet can be helpful too. Personally, I find that if the list isn't handy, I forget to write things down; this resluts in unnecessary errands. Planning your shopping trips with a neighbor or friend can also be a fun and practical way to share expenses.

References:
1. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.shtml
2. http://maine.sierraclub.org/cap_join.htm
3. http://www.swcleanair.org/pdf/NLSum07.pdf
4. http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/fuel-economy/how-to-get-better-fuel-economy1.htm
Money Saving Tips ::: characteristics
'A penny saved is worth ~1.39 pennies earned'

'A penny saved is worth ~1.39 pennies earned'

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'A penny saved is worth ~1.39 pennies earned'
Image Credit: Tax Credits

This very rough estimate is based on a person that is in the 25% federal tax bracket and a 4% state tax bracket. To state this another way, if this person made an additional $1,390 one year, they would only be left with an additional ~$1,000. So, $1,000 saved is worth an additional ~$1,390 in earnings for this person.[1]

The math for arriving at the factor of ~1.39 works like this:

  • Let F = Federal income bracket = 25%
  • Let S = State tax bracket = 4%
  • 1/(1-(F+(S*(1-F))))
Note that a portion of the formula calculates the Effective State bracket:
Effective State bracket = S * (1 - F)

Of course, each individuals personal tax situation is likely to be very different then the above example. There is also the issue of work related expenses, some of which may not be deductible. If your inclined to adjust the given '1.39' figure with one that more accurately reflects your tax situation, then just insert your own federal and state marginal tax rates into the above formula. If you don't have a calculator handy, here is a handy Google-based calculator for your convenience; just replace both tax rates (.25 and .04) wherever they appear in the formula.

Foot notes:
1. This is a roughly true but due to the complex nature of tax law, it is intended to be a rough estimate (hence the tilde slashes).

Money Saving Tips ::: is part of:

Money Saving Tips ::: is part of:

Personal Finance

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Face Value of Coins per Pound

Face Value of Coins per Pound

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Cashing in Spare Change - Balancing Time and Money

Cashing in Spare Change - Balancing Time and Money

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