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In Budgeting, Guest Posts on
February 15, 2018

14 ways to save on everyday household expenses

Article written by Sarah Smith. Edited by Jessica Speer

People are always talking about how difficult it is to save money. But for me, with little guidance and self-control, I believe it is possible to save more than you think.

In this world we live in, saving is becoming more of a ‘should’ than a ‘have.’ It seems that it would make no such difference without saving, but in the long run, you will always find yourself either being happy you did or end up regretting why you didn’t.

One of the biggest concerns in our lives is how to save more and spend less. To accomplish this task, we will need to cut down our monthly expenditures for the best results. Some of our bills may seem to be small, but if you calculate their yearly effect, you may be surprised by what you find.

Allocating or saving money can be hard sometimes or seem unimportant in the moment, but saving just a small amount can do wonders for you in the long run.

Even if you are not mounting with debts right now, do not be the one who waits for the storm to hit. Be someone who is prepared to fight all the battles ahead of them.

Below are 14 ways to save on everyday household expenses:


Always and always, budget your money. I have always loved the 50/30/20 idea. It suggests spending 50% of your income on your needs, 30% on your wants and 20% on saving or paying off your debts. For me, this is the perfect balance. You can maintain your finances without depriving yourself of anything and saving up too. You just need to know what to do when.


Often times we forget the impact of an appliance or even a bulb, can have on our expenditure. Installing compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of standard incandescent bulbs can lower your monthly expenses and electric bill.


Now that our life without mobiles and internet is becoming impossible, it is so important that we pay close attention to our bills and the dates that we are due. Late bills can add up and are unnecessary if we are paying on time and in full at the end of every month.


To shop on better days means to look out for the sales (all year round). For instance, around Christmas or when a certain season is ending, most brands offer a clearance sale.

I suggest that you make up a list of things that you want, but not at that very instant. Wait for the sale to come and take advantage of the extra savings.

Also, keep an eye on the weekly brochures these superstores publish and buy from the one which is offering the best discount.


Buying a brand new product is exciting, until you see your bank account empty. Technology is changing almost every day and we need every new gadget on our shelf. Take advantage of Facebook marketplace or the Let it go apps, to find great ‘used items’ for cheap!

As Dave Ramsey said,

You can typically rebuild a car two or three times for the amount of money you save by buying used.

By buying something at cheap rate, we can always upgrade it at a lower rate.


We all get coupons every now and then in the mail, but let’s be honest- half the time we throw them out! Keep them tucked away in your car and use them next time your at the Dunkin Donut drive through 😉 These little savings add up big-time.


Most of us have to travel a lot, may it be for college or work. If you can take public transportation, that is great. But some of us are not a big fan of public transport. Well, in that case you can also look out for people on your route to carpool with.


You don’t have to go out every weekend. Now, I am not asking you to become a couch potato or anything. I am only asking you to keep it a little low, for a while at least. For all the extroverts out there, being home and doing nothing is scarier than anything else, after all, what is life without a little fun.

All I am saying for now is, if you are going out for two movies in a month- try to go for just one and you will see what impact that will bring to your finances eventually.


We all have been there, we all have done that. We have memberships to a gym or club that we never go to, so why do we even bother keeping it?

If you find that you are not using your membership fees to their full potentials, cancel them. You are basically throwing money down the drain.


When I was a student, I had no idea how to cook. Being away from my mother, I had no choice but to find a way to fill my belly. Those were the worst few years for my health and budget. I spent almost 50% more than my friends were spending on food, just because I used to order out all the time and they use to cook themselves.

Try to cook for yourself to live a healthy and wealthy life. Also, plan your meals ahead to make sure to stay on budget and to set a healthy lifestyle.


I know compromising on the room temperature can be difficult for some of us 😉 but to agree to change it (even just a little) can reduce your bill by so much.


Instead of going out and spending money, suggest ‘staying in.’ Grab a movie, some popcorn and make a night of it. You don’t always have to spend money to have fun. A game night even sounds like a fun option!


Sounds crazy? It isn’t. Trust me- growing some food-related plants in your backyard will not just give your garden or your terrace a pretty look, it will save you on spending money on herbs and now you may just have a new hobby 😉


Unhealthy habits are bad for our life and our financial life both. As smoking, drinking or any other habit of this kind can make us unhealthy, it can also make an impact on our budget. Take care of you body and mind and you will avoid unnecessary hospital and doctor costs.



Author Bio: Sarah Smith has been a personal finance author for the last five years. She is also an independent and very passionate finance and investment advisor. She regularly posts at


In Budgeting on
October 18, 2017

Age-Based Investment Strategies That Will Put You On The Path Toward Financial Success

Am I the only person who from time to time, googles how much money should I have in my 401k by age X?

I honestly wish there was someone to tell me the answer to how much money I should be investing by a certain age. But truthfully, there is no answer- everyone is different, every situation is different. There is no “secret number” as to how much you should have in your bank every time you turn a year older. I do believe however that there are simple strategies that we can take to set ourselves up for financial success at each stage of life and the earlier that we start, the better.

In your teenage years, lets be honest, you are not thinking about saving for your future. Your current worries are about what car to buy or where you are going to grab your next bite to eat. You have all the time in the world to save, so why start now? I am sure that this is what 90% of teenagers nowadays are thinking (and can you blame them?) I wish someone had sat me down at the age of 18 and told me what the importance of saving early really meant. It could be the difference between tens of thousands of dollars in your bank account. A little investment at this age can add up (with compound interest) to a WHOLE LOT of money later. Do not hesitate to start a secret stash- you will be way head of the game later if you have this mindset now.

Aged-Based Investing:

If you are a 20 something, like me, you are most likely focusing on school, your career and possibly marriage. At this age, I would encourage you to avoid debt at all costs. Try to pay in cash and only buy things that you need. Of course, have a little fun here and there- but keep your end goal in mind! I also would highly recommend starting to pay off your student loan debt NOW, if you can afford to do so. Don’t let the interest accrue daily to the point where you owe double the amount of where you started (yes, I know some people with this problem). You may also find yourself at the point in your life where you are considering moving out of your parents house and renting and/or purchasing a condo/house of your own. If you can set aside $200 a month from age 20 to age 30, you will have saved $24,000. This is a great start toward a great down payment. Lastly, open up a 401k- put aside whatever money that you are comfortable with. If your employer offers a match, take it (it’s free money!)

Now… fast forward- you just turned thirty. You are now shifting gear from focusing on yourself to the possibly of starting a family. It is important to try putting a little extra money aside each month towards an emergency fund. I would recommend having a safety net of around $10,000-$15,000 set aside in case of emergency. Hopefully at this point you have a place of your own or are looking into home ownership. Try to put down as much of a down payment as you can (while still keeping your Emergency Fund intact). The more money you can put down, the higher the chances of avoiding fees such as PMI. Believe me, I know it is hard to come up with a 20% down payment (I am with you). Try to think outside of the box. Is there someone who may be willing to help out financially? It will save you a lot of money in the long run if you can come up with more money now. 

If you are reading this and you are in your forties, you already know that it’s time to buckle down. You are at the peak of your career; your kids are growing up and now is the time to start thinking about college costs. Have you set aside some money for them? Consider opening a 529 savings fund, if you haven’t already. Being that you have been saving for a while now, you should have a little bit more of a cushion in your bank account. Now is a good time to open a good growth stock mutual fund or Roth IRA. Try to contribute 10-15% of your household income into it. Retirement should be at the forefront of all financial decisions that you make from this point forward. My husband and I started on this step early. We opened our first Roth at age 25- again, the sooner the better! 

Speed ahead. You are now fifty. Keep focused! Hopefully now you are investing the full 15% into your 401k and maxing out your Roth per year. You may be tempted to dip into your retirement savings, but hold off if you can- let that compound interest keep working for you. Now is the time to focus on paying off your mortgage faster.

60 onward. This is your time to relax, travel and enjoy all of what life has to offer. Hopefully you have saved up a large enough goose egg that you do not have to live paycheck to paycheck and can actually afford to give back. Have a little fun with your money, you earned itliterally. At this point, you might also consider purchasing long term care insurance. Prepare now for the care that you may need down the road.

You made it to the end, thanks for sticking with me. I hope that this article has helped provide you with a working guideline on how to be saving at different points in your life. Remember, the heart of investing is all about your attitude. No matter your age, it is never too late to start saving. The time is now and your future depends on it!

This post was written by Jess but first seen on at Ashlee & BinderFor valuable financial advice from Ashlee, be sure to check out her blog, Ashlee & Binder. Tell her I sent you!

In Budgeting on
August 30, 2017

Practical ways to cut back on overspending

prevent overspending

Do you ever think to yourself, “where did all the money go this month?” …I’m with ya sister. It seems like every day something new is popping up, a baby shower, wedding, birthdays and it feels like you can never seem to get ahead! Well, I am here to tell you that you can! It will take time, persistence and some patience but if you follow these simple rules you will certainly be prepared for the ‘next big announcement’ that is going to drain your wallet even more…(or maybe not!)

In a previous post, found here, I talked about setting up a budget system where you can track your monthly expenses. Creating a budget is so important because it allows you to see, first hand, where your money is being spent. I also challenged you ladies to keep a running list of your ‘miscellaneous spending’ for the month. Did anyone try this? If so, pull out your list and let’s compare. Having a list or document with your ‘misc.’ spending will become a helpful tool, so that you can look back and visualize where your money was spent each month. My husband and I have a column in our excel budget where we write down this type of spending. The only items on our budget that actually fluctuate from month to month are our food budget and miscellaneous, so it is important to us to see which month(s) we spent more or less, and find out why so we can make adjustments to make things better. This is an example of what your list might look like.


Once you have your list handy, take a look back and see if there was anything that you spent in the month that you didn’t need or something that you could have passed up on. When I started keeping track of my spending, my first few lists were so long (no, you are not the only one!) They were full of things we didn’t need and I realized how much I was spending on things that I should have said ‘no’ to. I also found myself spending almost all of our money in the beginning of the month (when we had it) and then realizing, “Oh crap, its August 15 and I have only $15 left for the month.” 

If you find yourself to be the type of person who is overspending and you want to change this habit, I’ve come up with four simple rules to help you SAVE money!


S– “Say no!” At some point, if you are trying to save, you need to be strict with yourself. Skip the impulse buys and stick to things that, when you look back at your budget at the end of the month, were buys that you found to be budget-worthy. For example; A trip to the movies with your kids, or a day out at the beach building memories with friends. 

A– Avoid temptation. Avoid stores or places that make you want to spend money or entice you to want to buy. If you’re a shop-a-haulic, avoid the mall….simple as that! Again, refer back to rule #1, say “no!”

V– Very important. Only buy items that are necessary. Do NOT skip on mom’s birthday gift; these are the things you should be spending your money on!

E– Earn your reward. Allow yourself one “splurge” item a month. Give yourself a ‘salary’ that you are allowed to spend each month that fits comfortably within your budget. Also, make sure you (and your spouse) get paid every month. To make it easier, you can “cash out” your money on the first of every month, and that is yours to spend without any questioning. GUILT FREE spending is the way to be!

I hope some of you found this post to be helpful and can see what I am getting at with all of this. I want to help you! My hope is that by taking some of this advice that you will be start to see some extra money left over each month. Once this happens, we can discuss what to do with it and how to wisely invest and save for your future.

This post was first seen on Society Letters here.