Category: saving money

8 Fabulous Date Night Ideas for Those on a Budget

date night ideas

Date nights don’t have to be all about extravagance and expense. In fact, some of the sweetest romantic gestures cost absolutely nothing.

If you’re looking for fresh date night ideas for you and your partner, and want to keep things to a minimal cost, we’ve got some excellent suggestions for you.

Whether it’s a cozy night in or you want to get out and about for an evening low in cost and high in romance, these suggestions are bound to give you plenty of great date night ideas.

1: Classic Movie Night

It may be a tried and tested idea, but simply staying in with your partner and snuggling up to enjoy a movie together is a cost-effective, romantic way to enjoy a date night.

But make it extra special by getting the throw rugs and pillows out and cuddling on the sofa together. Light candles and set the mood. Bring in a cooler for whatever you and your partner enjoy drinking on ice – beer, wine, even their favorite soda.

Once settled in, no-one should need to lift a finger. Make sure all your nibbles, drinks and anything else you might need is ready and waiting in the living room before you hit play on the TV.

Choose wisely when it comes to the film you watch. Different couples enjoy different genres. If classic romantic comedy is your thing, go for that. If a horror gets you cuddled up and hiding under the blanket, find something spooky for your night in.

2: A Midnight Date Night

Wait until the clock strikes 12 and head out together into the night, when everyone else is tucked up in bed.

Taking a moonlit stroll under the stars, somewhere quiet and serene, can be a lovely way to unwind and spend some romantic time together. Find somewhere you know is quiet and safe and head out together.

Take a walk around a moonlit lake, cycle around a quiet track or drive along the coastline. If it’s summertime, enjoy the warm evening air. If it’s winter, wrap up and enjoy the crisp chilly night.

As long it’s just the two of you, alone in the night, this can be one of the best date night ideas.

3: Friendly Competition

Date nights don’t have to be all serene and tranquil. In fact, getting a bit competitive can spice things up in a relationship. So why not break out the board games and enjoy a night of friendly competition together.

Battle against each other and set a forfeit. Maybe the loser has to do the dishes for the next month, or cook a fancy meal at the weekend, or wait on the other person hand and foot.

It’s a fun and low-cost way of enjoying a night together and injecting fun into your romantic time alone. And if you’re playing things right, you’re bound to become his secret obsession.

4: A Night of Planning

Perhaps you’re watching the pennies because you’re saving up for something like an expensive vacation or a wedding.

Make a date night out of researching and planning this together. Get the laptops and the magazines out and snuggle up by the fire, with wine and snacks, while you do some research for the event you’re planning.

If you’re traveling somewhere, take a look at the websites and brochures together and start planning. If your wedding needs arranging, begin looking at venues online and menu ideas.

These things are meant to be romantic. You’re planning these things together for an exciting adventure, so do it as a date night.

5: Ice Cream Night

Date night ideas that incorporate ice cream allow you the option of either staying home or going out. There’s something very cute about enjoying a sundae together. It’s very Danny and Sandy from Grease. And it’s not an expect way to pass an evening together.

If you fancy staying in, hit the local store and collect some different flavored ice cream and an array of sauces, sprinkles, fruits, whipped cream, and candies to decorate them with.

Enjoy a fun night experimenting together with different sundaes. It’s sweet, delicious, creative and fun.

If you’d rather gaze into other’s eyes over a Rocky Road, find the closest ice cream parlor and order your favorites. Sit back, allow yourself to be served, and enjoy an evening in each other’s company.

6: Open Mic, Karaoke or Improv Nights

Find a bar that hosts open mic, improv or karaoke and go there.

These places are often relatively cheap and the entertainment is light and fun, with a sense of group participation in mind.

Either use this as an opportunity to try something new or discover new things together, or see it as a way to get involved yourself.

Make sure no-one else you know is likely to be there. Plan to get up on stage and sing a duet. Or maybe one of you would like to dedicate a romantic ballad to the other.

7: Babysit Together

Not only is this free – you may even get paid to babysit someone else’s kids. Although this perhaps won’t be the case if you’re no longer a teenager!

But babysitting together is a cute way of spending some quality time with one another. Interacting with the kids you’re looking after can often bring out a sweet maternal or paternal side in you or your partner. Depending on the stage in your relationship, being around children can be a sweet way of getting to know one another better.

Then, the kids go to bed. And you’re left with a cozy night in front of the TV together, where you can simply relax and enjoy each other’s company.

8: Spa Nights

Treat one another by bringing in luxuriant items (not too expensive though) and have a spa night together at home.

Give each other manicures, pedicures, massages, face masks and so forth. This can be done cheaply. You can even make home-made remedies or face masks, adding to the fun.

Take a bath together with bubbles and candles, get into comfy robes and enjoy these treatments together for a relaxing date night at home.

Date Night Ideas

We’re sure that these date night ideas will give you and your other half plenty of chances to spice up your relationship and enjoy one another’s company trying something new.

The best thing about them is that you can have a fantastic evening without breaking the bank.

Have you got any suggestions to add to our list? If so, leave a comment below and share your favorite date night ideas with your fellow readers.

How To Save Money On Your Wedding Photographer

wedding photographerGetting married? Thinking about hiring a wedding photographer to get professional-quality pictures you can thumb through years down the line?

The one obstacle that prevents couples from hiring a photographer is the expensive fee they demand. What’s worse is that this fee continues to rise as time passes on.

As a matter of fact, the average cost of a wedding continues to increase each year. In 2016, the average wedding cost shot up to $35,329. A large portion of this goes to food catering, the wedding dress, and the photographer’s fee.

The good thing is you can reduce the cost for a photographer, saving that cash for something else like your honeymoon! To start, you should book a photographer ahead of time.

Book a Wedding Photographer Early

One good tactic to reduce the costs of a photographer is to book early. By doing so, you’ll have a monopoly on the schedule.The more you wait, the higher the demand becomes and photographers will charge a higher fee if their schedule gets too tight.

Most photographers will also give a discount as long as you can pay some kind of down payment. This discount seems small at first.

However, you’ll see how vital the discount becomes when you consider how you can use the savings to avail other photography features or to pay other wedding expenses.

How early should you book a wedding photographer?

Book as early as six to nine months ahead. If your wedding is in January, for example, book the photographer in July.

Limit the Coverage

Some people can afford a photographer for 10 hours. This often covers everything, from the preparation in the hotel to the wedding ceremony and then the reception dinner at night.

Do you need that much coverage?

If you don’t, discuss with your partner which part of your wedding you’ll need a photographer. Friends could take pictures of the reception but you might want a professional to take photos of the ceremony. Maybe you prefer it the other way around.

Limiting the amount of time you need a photographer will cut down the costs by a big margin. They often charge by the hour and according to the features you request. Take advantage of this and hire a wedding photographer only for a short period.

List People in Your Budget

When budgeting a wedding, you need to start with the costs for the legal procedures first. Got all that done? Work on your budget for the reception, gowns, suits, and floral arrangements.

Once you finish up listing the essentials, you’ll have a better idea how much money you can allocate for the photographers.

The next step is to look for photographers that fit the finalized budget. It’s always a good idea to start locally before broadening your options to photographers out of town. Local photographers won’t charge for their travel fees and accommodation, meaning you get to save cash on that front.

From that point, it’s a matter of looking at their work and seeing which wedding photographer gives you more bang for your buck. They may all cost relatively the same but some might offer better options or more experience and skill in the field.

Ask for Referral Discounts

If a friend or relative referred a photographer, make it a point to ask for referral discounts.

Some photographers will knock off $100 to $200 thanks to a referral. Make it a point to tell them who referred them to you and, if possible, refer the photographer to another couple getting married soon.

This referral system guarantees the photographers that they stay in business. Giving a discount is their way of thanking you and your friends for helping them stay afloat and build their brand.

Reduce the Extended Features

You also want to reconsider getting features like Same Day Edit (SDE) videos. An SDE is a video made using footage taken previously in the day. These videos often play during the evening reception dinner as a way to celebrate the event while the guests are still present.

They’re getting more popular nowadays, especially with social media platforms giving people the opportunity to share content in an instant. As a matter of fact, videos are so popular that over 500 million people watch videos on Facebook per day.

However, SDE videos are expensive. There’s a lot of effort put into these projects, hence the high fee. If you’re on a tight budget, you may need to remove it from your photographer’s to-do list.

While SDE’s are the most popular, there are other extra features you can eliminate to reduce the costs. Some of these include:

  • Group photos for each table
  • Getting both monochrome and color photos
  • Photography with special effects
  • HD video coverage
  • Printed photos

The last bit is one of the most important to consider. If you want to cut down the costs by a significant margin, keep things digital.

Staying Digital

Printed photographers aren’t as popular as they once were. Many film printing shops closed down in the past ten years and even Kodak stopped releasing their brand of cameras in 2012. You’ll only find a few shops that print traditional film.

This means hiring a photographer and asking for printed pictures is going to cost you a hefty amount of money. You can cut down your costs by keeping things digital. Let them send the photographs and videos through the Internet or on a memory card.

If you want printed photos, print them on your own when your budget lightens up. You can also invest instead in turning photos into paintings. You can check here for more info on how this works.

Discover More Tips Today!

With these tips, you can still get a great wedding photographer while saving money for other expenses. Don’t wait further and book a photographer today.

But a photographer is only the beginning.

If you’re looking for more tips to save cash and still have a memorable wedding, visit us today! We can show you how to find the right theme or help you decide if you want an extravagant destination wedding.

5 Types of Clothing to Look out for While Thrift Shopping

thrift shoppingThrift shopping isn’t just for hipster college students and extreme penny pinchers. Getting clothes and accessories from thrift stores can be a fun scavenger hunt that will save you a significant amount of money.

But not all thrift store clothes are going to be gems or ones that are going to save you much in the long run. There are certain items, however, that are almost guaranteed to save you money in both the short and the long term.

Keep reading to learn about the 5 types of clothing that you should look out for when you’re thrifting if you’re looking to save money and look stylish.

1. Brand Name Clothes

High end and brand name clothes are usually quite expensive if you buy them new. Thrift shopping for brand name clothes can save you hundreds of dollars if you can find the brands you’re looking for.

Certain brands are quite trendy nowadays, like Ralph Lauren and Adidas for example. However, brand new clothes from these brands can start at $50 for a t-shirt or even hundreds of dollars for sweaters and jackets. You just can’t justify those prices if you’re on a budget.

These same brands can be found in thrift stores for a fraction of the price. Usually, t-shirts can be as little as a few dollars and even jackets can cost less than 20.

Looking for and buying brand name clothes while thrift shopping can save you hundreds of dollars while still giving you the high-quality and trendy brands you want.

2. Jewelry and Accessories

What outfit is complete without some jewelry or an accessory like a watch or a hat? But nice accessories, especially jewelry, are expensive.

Thrifting for jewelry and accessories is a great way to elevate your style while staying on a budget. While the jewels and metals might not be super high quality, it is often hard to differentiate. That means you can stock up on cheap jewelry and accessories without anyone really knowing that they came from a thrift shop.

Thrift shops usually have huge stocks of jewelry, which gives you access to a wide variety of styles and products. The jewelry at thrift stores is also exceptionally low priced because of the high stock they have.

You can find necklaces, bracelets, watches, vintage pins, brooches, hats, rings, and more all at one location. Take your time sorting through the large selection to find pieces that really stand out and that can add an element of style to any outfit.

3. Men’s and Women’s Clothes

A mistake a lot of beginner thrifters make is only looking in either the men’s or the women’s section. Women tend to avoid the men’s section and men definitely steer clear of the women’s section.

But the fact is, each section has certain gems that would be missed if you didn’t look in both places.

The men’s section is usually home to many interesting graphic t-shirts, sweaters, and athletic wear. The women’s section, on the other hand, is usually much larger than the men’s section, which might give you a wider variety. It is also home to what’s seen as “women’s only” clothing items like skirts, dresses, and more form-fitting and feminine t-shirts.

Check out this website to learn more about women’s t-shirts and clothing items.

4. High-Quality Fabrics and Materials

Besides brand names, another thing you can save big on by thrift shopping is clothes made of certain expensive materials. Real leather, cotton, denim, wool, and linen are all durable and high-quality fabrics that can be expensive if you buy them new.

Getting thrifted items made of these materials will save you a lot of money while also giving you items that will last. Buying cheap, thrifted clothes made of cheaper material might be good in the moment, but chances are those clothes won’t last very long.

You’re better off buying clothes from thrift stores that are made of good quality materials. You’ll save money on the price of the item and you’ll save by getting a product that will last a long time instead of needing to be replaced soon after it’s purchased.

5. Shop Seasonally

This tip is true for both thrift shopping and “regular” retail shopping. You’ll usually get great deals and discounts on seasonal items at the end of that season.

For example, the end of summer would be a good time to go shopping for shorts, t-shirts, and swimwear. The end of winter will be the perfect time to look for thick winter sweaters, winter boots, and jackets.

If you think you get great seasonal deals at retail stores, then you’ll be amazed at the types of deals you’ll get at thrift stores. You’ll be getting huge discounts on already discounted items. You’ll be paying a fraction of what you would at a retail store and getting even more of a break because of the seasonal discounts.

A word of caution on this tip: the end of a season usually will bring a lot of people looking for seasonal deals. You want to get out to the thrift stores sooner rather than later to avoid everything being cleared out by other thrift shoppers.

Thrift Shopping Can Save You Money

Living on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t have great style. Thrift shopping means that high-quality and brand name clothes can be yours for a fraction of the retail price.

Thrift shopping isn’t always easy. You’ll probably have to go to a few different thrift shops many different times in order to find some things that are name brand, high-quality, and your style. It can take some dedication, but getting high quality and stylish clothes for a low cost is definitely worth it.

Check out our blog to find more tips on frugal living. You can also find lists of helpful deals, freebies, giveaways, and coupons on our website.

How to Buy a Timeshare Cheap in 6 Easy Steps

how to buy a timeshare cheap

The timeshare industry is a multi-billion dollar market, and it’s only expected to grow in the coming years.

If you’re interested in investing in a timeshare for your family, now is the time to buy.

If you want to know how to buy a timeshare cheap, read on for six great tips that will help you save money and find the perfect place for your next vacation.

Benefits of Owning a Timeshare

There are a number of benefits that come with owning a timeshare and using it as your primary vacation spot. Some of the main benefits include:

Amenities

Timeshares offer a lot more space than hotel rooms. They also come with extra features that make them more suitable for long stays. For example, even studio timeshares feature fully stocked kitchens so that you can save money by cooking your own meals.

Larger timeshares may also come with living rooms, bedroom suites, and fireplaces. You’ll also likely have access to a washer and dryer.

The resorts themselves also typically come with several other great amenities. There are usually pools, hot tubs, gyms, and game rooms to keep your family entertained all day long.

Easy Access to Attractions

Most timeshares are located close to popular attractions. For example, timeshares in Las Vegas make it easy for you to get to the strip, and Orlando timeshares give you easy access to Disney parks.

In some cases, the timeshares also have shuttle services that will help you get to the attractions you’re interested in seeing, so you won’t have to worry about dealing with traffic when you’re in a new place.

Value and Flexibility

Timeshares allow you to save a lot of money on vacations. There’s no worrying about the cost of hotel rooms, so you have more funds to allocate toward attractions and activities.

There’s also a lot of flexibility with timeshares. If you belong to a timeshare exchange, it’s easy to swap units and explore new locations. It’s also easier to change the timing of our vacation to fit your schedule or group weeks together for a longer trip.

How to Buy a Timeshare Cheap

When you start shopping, be sure to keep these tips in mind if you want to know how to buy a timeshare cheap.

1. Understand the Different Types of Timeshares

First things first, it’s important to understand the different types of timeshares you have to choose from.

Some of the most common types include:

  • Deeded timeshares: This is an actual real estate investment, and after your purchase, you own 1/52 of a specific unit.
  • Right-to-Use timeshares: There are no rights of ownership; you only have the right to occupy the unit at specific times (typically one week out of the year).

Right-to-use timeshares also vary when it comes to the times during which you’re able to use the unit.

Some work according to a fixed time model — this designates a specific time when you’re able to use the unit. Others work on a points-based system. This means you can purchase points and redeem them for stays at a specific time and place.

2. Know Where You Want to Vacation

It’s important to pay attention to location and choose a timeshare in a place you and your family will actually want to visit on a regular basis.

For example, if your family loves beach vacations, you might want to consider these timeshares.

Or, if ski trips are more your thing, you’ll be better off finding a timeshare in the mountains.

Once you figure out where you want your timeshare to be, look for resorts that are just a little off the beaten path. If you buy a timeshare at a resort a few blocks away from popular attractions, you’re more likely to get a better deal than if you buy one right on the oceanfront.

3. Don’t Buy From a Developer

One of the best pieces of advice out there for people who want to know how to buy a timeshare cheap is to avoid buying from a developer. If you buy through a development company you’ll almost always end up paying more than the unit is worth.

4. Check Out Resale Sites

Instead of buying from a developer, check out online timeshare resale sites. People who own timeshares and want to sell them post advertisements on these sites. They’re often the best places to go if you’re looking for a good deal.

Some resale sites broker the sales for a timeshare owner, and others let the owners list the timeshares themselves. You can also check out online auction sites and online classified ads, too.

5. Look at All the Costs

Remember, the price of the unit isn’t the only number you should pay attention to when you’re looking for a timeshare.

Other costs you need to take into account include:

  • Assessment charges for renovations
  • Maintenace fees
  • Transfer taxes for deed timeshares
  • Transfer fees if buying on the resale market

Factor all these costs in before making a purchase. This will help you get a better idea of how much you’re spending and allow you to find the best timeshare deal, not just the timeshare with the lowest listing price.

6. Pay in Cash if Possible

Finally, if at all possible, it’s best to pay for a timeshare in cash. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First, interest rates for timeshare mortgage loans are significantly higher than traditional mortgages. They usually fall somewhere between twelve and eighteen percent.

Second, timeshares typically depreciate in value. This means, if you decide to sell it later on, you’re less likely to get as much back as you paid for it.

Bonus Tip

Since you’re saving money on your timeshare by following these tips, you have no excuse not to hire an attorney to review your contract. This is an essential step for people who want to avoid a timeshare scam.

An attorney will help you make sure you’re actually getting a good deal. They will also be able to thoroughly review the fine print. That way, you’ll be aware of any conditions that could end up costing you later on.

Want to Earn Extra Money to Put Toward Your Timeshare?

Now that you know how to buy a timeshare cheap, it’s time to start saving your money.

If you’re looking for some easy ways to earn extra money to put toward your timeshare, check out these tips today. There are tons of ways you can earn passive income to help you take the vacation of your dreams!

How to Save Money While Searching for a New Job

searching for a new job

As of February 2018, the American unemployment rate sat at approximately 4.1%.

Being unemployed and searching for a new job can feel undoubtedly overwhelming and stressful.

If you’ve been recently laid off, you may be scrambling around, trying to set your finances order, apply for new positions, and doing what you can to keep sane in the process.

You may also be stressed about all the upfront costs, such as interview clothes or gas mileage, that come with searching for a new job.

We’ve got you covered on the best tips for saving money during this stressful process. Let’s dive in!

Cut Back on Living Expenses

This should go without saying, but when you’re searching for a new job, money will probably feel a bit tight. This is especially true if you are supporting your family or experiencing a major wage loss.

Fortunately, there are several areas that you can cut back on. For example, can you reevaluate your grocery budget and eliminate or cut back on eating out? What about finally committing to cutting the cable cord?

When you’re jobless, every cent counts. You don’t need to be buying any luxuries or indulgences right now.

The only expenses to continue focusing on? Ones that are related directly to a job. This can include headshots, resume-building services, gas, your cell phone bill, and the Internet.

Anything else? Wait until that first paycheck comes in.

Upgrade Carefully

So, you’ve landed a few interviews, but you have nothing to wear? You were diligent and followed the guideline to cutting back on living expenses, but what if you desperately need a haircut and some clean shoes?

As we know, interviews are your first (and sometimes only) impression to show off what you got to your potential employer. If you look shabby, this may reflect very poorly on your potential performance.

With that in mind, you don’t need to blow hundreds of dollars on an expensive interview outfit or makeover.

Check out the local Goodwill or consignment stores near you. Many people outgrow their work clothes (weight change, pregnancy, change in styles), and so many of these stores have plenty of business casual clothing in stock.

No luck? Check out online retailer or apps like eBay or Poshmark where you can score some serious discounts. Or, just ask your friends and family if you can borrow one of their outfits!

As for your hair? Check out a local cosmetology school. You’ll get a polished new look at a fraction of a salon price.

You don’t have to worry about major hair disasters either. All students receive supervision and monitoring from trained, licensed professionals.

File for Unemployment

Before searching for a new job, take care of the financial matters from your last job.

You’ll need to file a claim with your state’s unemployment program to receive benefits. This means you should contact the program immediately after you become unemployed.

When you file your claim, you will need to provide information about your job, such as the dates you worked and the facility address.

It may take between 2-4 weeks after you file your unemployment claim to receive your first check. Some states work faster than this, but it’s important to realize that it won’t happen instantaneously.

And, remember unemployment benefits aren’t just for employees who get laid off. Many states offer benefits for fired employees, as long as the firing wasn’t due to intentional misconduct.

Get Your Healthcare Appointments

Were you procrastinating on that dental exam or a yearly check-up with your primary care physician due to a busy schedule? Well, now is the time to make those much-needed appointments.

If you are on an employer-sponsored insurance plan, you’ll likely receive your health benefits until the end of the month. Take advantage of the coverage and make it a point to schedule any needed appointments.

If you need to extend your coverage, you’ll want to apply through the COBRA federal program.

Hang Onto Your Receipts

Did you know that the IRS will let you deduct certain job-hunting expenses? Even if it’s not a ton of money, every little cent helps, right?

A few helpful deductions to keep in mind:

  • employment and outplacement agency fees
  • preparing and mailing resume or application copies
  • travel expenses related to looking for the job

You cannot deduct any job search expenses if there is a significant break between the end of your last job and the time you begin searching for a new job. You also cannot write off anything if you’re looking for a job for the very first time.

Furthermore, you need to itemize your expenses to receive a deduction. Currently, your miscellaneous expenses related to searching for a new job must exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to hang onto any receipts related to your job-searching expenses. Consult with your CPA to determine if you will qualify for any tax breaks.

Commit to a Disciplined Schedule

The best way to stay sane while searching for a new job? It’s all about the discipline and motivation that you hold onto.

Listen, it’s easy to feel burnt or discouraged in a tough job market. It’s easy to feel depressed or anxious and give up hope.

But, these are all traps! They only keep your spirits down, and guess what? They don’t put any more money in your pockets. Instead, commit to landing yourself a job by putting in a dedicated hustle.

Reach out to your network. Got outdated documents or cover letters? Follow the complete guide to creating your resume.

Set daily and weekly goals for yourself for applying to X amount of positions. Stay active and stay on track.

No, this doesn’t mean you have to grind it out all day. In fact, you should take routine breaks. But, if you treat your unemployment like a job- with disciplined hours and goals- you’ll be well on your way to landing a job in no time.

Prioritize (Cheap) Self-Care

It may seem counterintuitive to allow yourself to relax while searching for a new job, but stress reduction is critical for maintaining a positive mindset and attitude.

When you do land that dream interview, you want to go in feeling assured and confident, right?

Make sure that you’re still taking care of yourself in the meantime. This means eating a healthy diet, working out regularly, engaging in pleasant activities (like art, movies, outdoor activities), and spending time with people that you love.

You want to stay sane during this process. It will help you in both the short run and the long run, and you’ll be thankful that you took care of yourself once you land that dream gig.

Get Your Side Hustle On

Did you know that more than 44 million Americans have an active side hustle? As you’re searching for a new job, it’s important to think outside the box.

You may want to focus on a creative pursuit or other job opportunities that you’ve “pushed aside” because you haven’t had the time.

In today’s increasingly digital age, you can essentially start a side hustle with very little to no money.

In fact, many people find their passion and niche in working from home, and this may be just the time to plunge in and start your own business!

Whether it’s blogging or crafting, photography or cooking, you may want to consider investing some time and energy into your own side hustle. Who knows? It may end up becoming your next successful career move.

Take What You Can Get

If money is especially dire, you may need to jump on the first opportunity you can land, even if it’s not the ideal career.

Yes, this may mean working in a position that you’re overqualified for, but it’s important to say open and avoid being picky- especially when the bills need to be paid.

Look for businesses that are hiring for seasonal help, such as restaurants or amusement parks during tourist seasons and retail stores and malls around the holidays.

If you can only secure part-time work, take whatever you can. It’s always better to make some money than none at all.

With that said, it’s important to stay active and on top of your job search during your downtime. Your “what you can get” job is a temporary gig, and it should be treated as such.

Final Thoughts on Saving Money While Searching for a New Job

Nobody likes the frantic feelings that come with unemployment, but most of us will face the distress at some point in our working lives.

Stay focused, and stay the course. If you do just that, you’ll be back in the working world in no time at all.

Interested in learning more ways to live frugally no matter what your circumstance is? Be sure to check out our blog today!

How to Save Money On Groceries And Still Eat Well

save money on groceries

A friend once told me: “You get what you pay for.”

I took this to mean cheap products aren’t good, and good products aren’t cheap. If you want high quality you have to pay a high price.

But when it comes to the products you put in your body, you don’t have to break the bank to eat well.

There are many ways to save money on groceries while also eating a balanced diet of quality foods.

Skip the McDonald’s Dollar Menu. Keep reading to learn how to cut costs but improve your eating:

Save Food to Save Money on Groceries

One of the fastest ways to lose money is buying food you don’t need and throwing away food you never used.

Always make sure to take stock of what you have in your fridge already before grocery shopping.

Check how much longer all the food in your fridge is good for so you don’t buy too much of the same thing. Buying too much of the same perishable food is a recipe for waste. If you can still use leftovers from the last time you went shopping, do it!

Make sure to only buy what you know you’re going to eat. Some items look great on the shelf in the store, but if you don’t have a plan for that food, don’t buy it!

It may help to create an organized meal plan at the beginning of the week. Try to choose meals made with mostly the same ingredients cut costs. Choose meals you know you’ll love and will also have time to cook.

If you plan a dinner for yourself and don’t finish it, save the rest in the fridge. Use it for a snack or lunch the next day. That’s one less meal for you to buy and prepare!

Done with that chicken? Use the bones for soup or meat broth! Use as much of the foods you buy as you can.

Throwing away good food is throwing away money. When you save as much food as possible for later, you’re getting the most out of every dollar spent.

Make Your Own Products

The concept is simple: if you don’t really need it or you can make it at home, don’t buy it!

Did you know there are simple ways to make your own beauty products at home?
There are hundreds of online tutorials for DIY deodorant, toothpaste, body butter, face and body scrub, etc.

For most people, the $5-$20 spent on one bottle of shampoo or soap every few months doesn’t seem like much. But by the end of the year, what you save by no longer buying these products in store will add up to hundreds of dollars!

To figure out if something is worth trying to make at home, add up the cost of all the necessary ingredients. Divide this cost by how much use you’ll get out of all those ingredients.

For products you can’t or don’t want to make at home, figure out the best deals when buying them. This might include buying in bulk or accruing loyalty points with your favorite store.

Cleaning products can also be easy to make at home to save money on groceries. Many families make their own laundry detergent. And many moms have discovered they don’t need a different cleaner for every surface in their home. One high quality, all-purpose cleaner should do the trick.

Are there spices you consistently use that you can grow in your backyard? Not only is food grown at home certified fresh, it costs nothing for you to pick it yourself.

The best way to save on groceries is to shorten your shopping list! If you can make it or grow it at home, you don’t need to buy it– and you’ll have an easy way to refill it right there at home.

Buy in Bulk

Food in plastic packaging will always cost more than bulk bin items, or large containers of the same item.

Companies take the cost of their packaging and pass it on to you, the buyer. Skip the packaging altogether. You pay less per ounce of a product by buying from bulk bins at your grocery store.

Always be looking for more tips to save money. When bulk bins aren’t possible or aren’t available, you can still buy many staple items in bulk to save money on groceries. Costco and Sam’s Club are excellent examples of stores that help you do this.

Here are some items that are easy to buy in bulk:

  • Herbs and spices
  • Beans
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Dry pasta
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Nuts and legumes
  • Cooking oils
  • Honey and sweeteners
  • Lentils
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Cheese
  • Canned goods

Buying in bulk will appear to cost more up front in the moment, but when you divide by use over time it’s way cheaper!

Preparing in bulk can save money on groceries and time in your week as well. Cook foods that perish quickly in large amounts at the beginning of the week. This makes their shelf life much longer and cuts meal prep time. Freeze any extra cooked food when necessary.

By planning meals that all roughly use the same few staple items, you can keep several containers of the same foods in the fridge cooked in one day and use them throughout the week for a variety of meals.

Stay Consistent

It’s not as hard as people think to eat well and eat on a budget.

The best way to save money on groceries is to plan the use of your food carefully, eliminate items you don’t need from your list, and buy/prepare in bulk as possible.

Skip unwanted costs by skipping packaging and pre-cooked items.

There’s no downside to more money and better quality food. It just takes careful planning and avoiding impulsive buys.

And of course, it never hurts to keep hunting for more ways to save. Save money in other categories of your budget to give your grocery budget an extra boost.

10 Tips for Interior Design on a Budget

It may come as a shock, but some people pay up to $150 an hour for an interior designer. For families on a budget, that figure is out of the question.

Fortunately, the DIY approach to home improvement has caught on in recent years. People are now deciding to tackle jobs on their own instead of paying inflated prices for professional services.

The great thing about taking on design projects yourself is that you maintain total control. You’re able to express your creative side and transform your space exactly the way you like.

However, trying to pull off interior design on a budget can get out of control if you don’t have some techniques in mind. You may need to do a little homework first.

To help you out, we’re going over 10 tips for giving your home a makeover on the cheap.

1. Have a Game Plan

Lack of preparation is an easy and fast way to go over your budget. Before making any purchases, you need to figure out exactly what you’re going for.

You probably have an idea of what aesthetic you want, but it helps to pinpoint it. Look at interior design websites and magazines to fine-tune your vision. You can then start pricing items and materials you’ll need for the job.

It may help to break down your projects one at a time instead of trying to do everything at once. Working in phases helps keep your finances manageable and allows you to save up a little between each project.

2. Second-Hand Stores

Doing interior design on a budget means you’ll need to avoid high-end brands. The best way to do this and also get unique, stylish furniture and accessories is to visit second-hand stores.

Look at local thrift stores, antique shops and even estate sales for low-cost, used items. Just because it’s used doesn’t mean it’s low quality.

Keep an eye out for furniture with sturdy construction. Remember, you can reupholster an old chair or couch and turn it into a great looking piece.

A good tactic is to find a second-hand store you like and ask when they usually get new items in.

3. Paint is Your Friend

Painting is one of the most cost-effective ways to give a room a completely new feel. After you decide what furniture or accessories you’re adding to a room, choose a complementary color for the walls.

Take your time and go over some color palettes. Narrow your options down two or three of your favorite colors and get samples from your local home improvement store. Then, paint a small area with each color.

Paint color changes as it dries, so give it few days before choosing a winner.

4. Go Minimal

The minimalist aesthetic has been in style for some time, and it doesn’t show any signs of letting up. This is perfect when performing interior design on a budget.

Going minimal means cutting back on accessories and creating an open, clean environment. It also means focusing on neutral colors and natural fabrics and materials.

Instead of many pieces of furniture in a room, choose only a few items to decorate a space and accentuate them with good lighting.

5. Get Creative with Your Decor

Decor refers to items used to add style instead of serving a specific function. This is an area where you can really express your creative side.

If you like taking pictures, try framing your own photography. Or, a custom painting by you or a local artist is a great addition to a room.

Look for used rugs at second-hand stores to add a classic feel to your living area or study. You can also find interesting items like globes or vintage bottles to adorn shelves and end tables.

6. Keep Your Eyes Open for Sales

You can’t pull off interior design on a budget if you’re not constantly looking out for sales. After you find your favorites showrooms, ask when their next sale is. You may have to wait a little longer, but you’ll save money in the long-run.

You should also look for discontinued models of specific furniture. These can sometimes go for as much as half off.

Antique reproductions look authentic and go for much less. English Georgian American has a great selection, so check it out!

7. Buy Naked Furniture

A great way to save on furniture is buying pieces that haven’t been stained or varnished. Then, finish them yourself and get the exact look you’re going for.

When doing this, you’ll want to make sure and know what type of wood you’re dealing with. Certain woods take stains better than others, so ask the seller before buying.

You’ll also want to educate yourself on the finishing process. This means sanding and applying a stain or paint evenly. Do a little research and become an expert yourself.

8. Treat Your Windows

Another great design element that totally changes the look and feel of a room is window treatments. And there are actually inexpensive yet high-quality options.

Try to avoid buying curtains from an interior design store. Instead, look at fabric stores and choose quality materials, then have them cut. This saves you money and doesn’t look like you skimped on something cheap.

9. Transform What You Already Have

The best approach to interior design on a budget is making good use of what’s already there. This is where you really have to think outside the box.

An old chair that looks like it’s heading for the trash may just need a new finish. Slipcovers give new life to a worn out couch. Apply your cross-stitch talents to your drab throw pillows.

10. Mix it Up

Buying complete matching furniture sets is expensive. Instead, mix up your approach and create a compelling aesthetic using different styles. This gives your space an eclectic look and doesn’t break the bank.

You can also perform DIY updates like reupholstering chairs and applying paint to create a more uniform style with preexisting furniture.

Interior Design on a Budget: Wrapping Up

When making interior design renovations yourself, your biggest asset is your imagination. Don’t think of a strict budget as a limitation. Think of it as a way to get innovative.

Remember, always start with a plan. Then, pick and choose which of these interior design tips work best for your home.

If you’re renovating your home and are looking for more great DIY ideas, check out our blog today.