July 31, 2007

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Review Your Calendar

Filed under: Uncategorized — sandilarson @ 11:49 am

Review your calendar for August, and budget how much you will be spending for each gifting occasion.  If you normally purchase a Christmas present for those same people, plan on purchasing the Christmas gift at the same time.  Remember to record the purchase in your book.

July 30, 2007

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Look for Gardening Stuff on Sale

Filed under: Gardening,Save Money,Shopping Tips — sandilarson @ 7:16 am

In most areas, garden tools, supplies, seeds, and flower pots are being marked way down.  If you have a gardener on your Christmas list, go out and buy an attractive, (on sale) garden pot, a few inexpensive tools, maybe a pair of garden gloves, and a few packs of flower seeds.  When you get home, put everything in the pot, wrap it up, and you have a wonderful gift that should have cost you under $10.00.  You can also write down the names or links to a couple local seed companies so the recipient can order a seed catalog.

July 23, 2007

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Use Envelopes

Filed under: Debt Reduction,Save Money,Shopping Tips — sandilarson @ 6:37 am

Plan on grocery shopping no more than once a week, If your budget says you spend $100 (or $???) a week on groceries, but you find you are always spending a little more you need to use a list and the “envelope plan”. Here’s how it works. Each week put the cash you have budgeted for groceries into an envelope. Write your list on the outside of the envelope. When you go to the store, leave your check book, debit card, and credit cards at home. Take a small calculator to the store with you. As you shop, add up the amount of each item you put into your cart. You’ll be able to make a pretty instant decision about whether to put those impulse items into the cart. Get only what you need, and if you accidentally overspend, you’ll have no choice but to return some items when you get to the check out.

Our clients tell us that this is the most effective method of sticking to a budget, and use the cash and envelope plan for all their spending, including entertainment. We often challenge clients to have one “left-over” envelope. Each time they get home from shopping, they take any leftover money and put it in the envelope. If they get to the end of the month, and haven’t spent all the money in their entertainment, fast food, clothing or ??? envelopes, the extra cash goes into their leftover envelope. At the end on each month, they take any accumulated cash in their leftover envelope and put half into debt reduction and half into savings. You could do the same and use the leftover envelope for gift and entertaining money for Christmas and other holidays as well.

July 22, 2007

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Get Healthy

Filed under: Save Money — sandilarson @ 7:08 am

Make a plan to get healthy.  If you smoke, stop.  If you drink a few beers or glasses of wine each day, drop that back to one every other day, or stop all together.  If you weigh too much, get started on healthy eating and daily exercise.  The benefits of strengthening muscles and dropping 20 to 50 pounds are much more than just the obvious.  Many people, especially as they age, are too heavy.  Many are also too sedentary.  We have diabetes, high blood pressure, acid reflux, high cholesterol and numerous other health problems.  Losing the extra weight and living a more healthy lifestyle will have a positive influence on so many diseases.  If you do find that the new lifestyle helps “cure” some of your medical problems, be sure to have your life insurance company re-evaluate your premiums.  Most companies offer a lower premium if you are a normal weight non-smoker.     

July 21, 2007

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Budget for Back to School

Filed under: Debt Reduction,Save Money,Shopping Tips — sandilarson @ 7:03 am

Sit down with your family and discuss and set a budget for back to school clothes.  Unless they have out grown all of last year’s clothes, they really only need a few new items.  In earlier posts I suggested garage sales and thrift shops as excellent places to find good, name brand clothing at very low prices.  Teach your kids how to bargain shop and how to stay within a budget for all their needs.  When our kids were in Jr. High, we began allowing them to choose all their own clothes but had a set budget amount.  When they reached that amount, they were done.  Of course, we shopped with them and offered advice, but the choices were theirs.  The first year, they made mistakes.  One HAD to have a very expensive pair of shoes which used most of the clothing budget, then wanted an expensive name brand outfit.  That combination used the entire budget.  We held firm, and a good lesson was learned.  The following year, the same child found much lower priced items and had a more extensive back to school wardrobe.  By the time our children were in high school, we would give them their clothing allowance and drop them off at the mall or clothing stores of their choice.  They made all their own purchases.     

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