Afraid you’re spending way too much money on groceries?
You’re certainly not alone. In 2014, Americans collectively spent a whopping $638 billion on groceries!
In an economy where most people are surviving from paycheck to paycheck, taking steps to cut back on your grocery budget is a prudent thing to do.
But how easy is it to forgo some of your favorite food stuff? In truth, it is not an easy task. You need the right strategies and, importantly, strong financial discipline.
Read on to learn how to save money on groceries.
The first step to reducing your expenses is to have a good handle on how much you’re currently spending on groceries.
The best way to know this is to record every single grocery expense in a span of one month. Next, ask yourself, how does this amount compare to my monthly income?
According to CNBC financial experts, you should spend a maximum of 14 percent of your income on groceries.
If you’re spending more than 14 percent, it’s time to head to the next step.
Grocery items range from essentials such as bread and fruits, to ‘luxury’ products such as wine and exotic beverages.
Now, there is no doubt everyone wants to lead a fine life. But we can only do this when our finances allow.
If you’re looking to save money on groceries, you have to give your shopping list a second look and identify all the items you don’t really need to lead a healthy life.
Are you, for instance, a wine aficionado who buys 3-5 bottles a week? You need to cut back on the wine to 3-5 bottles a month! That’s how you save money without significantly changing your lifestyle.
Impulse shopping is the all-time greatest destroyer of budgets.
Going to shop for groceries without a clear picture of how you would want your menu to look like in the next one or two weeks exposes you to impulse shopping. It’s not uncommon for consumers to buy items that will stay unused in the kitchen for weeks.
As such, take time to craft your menu at least two weeks in advance before shopping. This way, you’ll know exactly what you need to buy for your needs.
Ask any vegan what was the motivation behind embracing exclusive plant-based diets and they will tell you it’s all about saving animals and leading a healthier lifestyle.
Well, that’s mostly true, but there’s another reason people never reveal. Going vegan saves money!
According to research, you could save up to 750 bucks a year eating plant-based diet cooked with oil instead of lean animal protein!
This is a no-brainer.
You should also check out local magazines and visit your local grocery websites to know when they’re having a sale. Identify the items that will be on sale, and use the opportunity to grab some of them.
One thing, though. Never buy an item you don’t need because it’s on sale. Buying a $15 item you barely consume at $10 doesn’t mean you have saved $5. It means you have unnecessarily spent your $10.
Really, the steps you can take to save money on grocers are only limited to your will to do it.
Monitor your grocery spending, take out things you don’t need, and then craft a minimalist budget and stick to it.
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Everyone wants to be able to travel, but sometimes the expense makes it a challenge.
To help make this the year you finally go on your dream vacation, we’ve created this list of the top 5 summer travel tips! Get ready to pack your bags.
First up on our list of summer travel tips? Make sure to use hotwire.com to help you find the best deals out there.
With everything you have to do in a single day, you often don’t have time to comb through airfare and hotel listings to find the best deals. Luckily, hotwire.com does it for you!
They’ll send you personalized tips on travel deals that no one else knows about, help you find great prices on flights and rental cars in your dream destination, and even track flight price changes.
It’s easy to find the best time to book, or discover a destination that’s in your budget!
Did you know that Groupon, the famous online coupon website, has a travel section?
This way, you’ll be able to browse listings, read reviews, and see stunning photos of your potential vacation destinations — all for a fraction of the cost!
The deals make is very clear what is and isn’t included in your stay, and which dates are available. It’s easy to find the perfect vacation for you and your friends to book!
Roadtrips aren’t just tons of fun — they’re also a great way to save on your summer travel plans.
Plus, driving allows you to see tons of different destinations — and to discover ones you didn’t even know existed! They’re a great way to bond with friends and family members.
If you’re going to be traveling for a long period of time, you might consider renting an RV to save on hotel costs. To that end…
These days, there are so many more places you can stay other than a hotel. Airbnb, Couchsurfing, even housing swap deals…the list goes on.
Hotels are expensive, and most don’t include kitchens — which means you’ll be forced to eat out a lot. This can drive up the cost of your vacation quickly.
We suggest doing a social media blast advertising a house swap or asking if your Facebook friends know of anyone you can stay with.
Most cities offer museum and other activity passes that allow you to visit multiple landmarks for a fraction of the cost.
If you plan on seeing lots of sights on your vacation, be sure to keep your eye out for these deals! Always ask about multi-day passes on transportation, as well. Especially if you’re going to Europe, many cities offer discounts to tourists that take the metro or bus.
As you can see from this post, it’s completely possible to book the trip of a lifetime without wrecking your credit or going into debt.
Looking for more advice on how to make smart financial decisions and save money? Spend some time on our website!
When used correctly, credit cards can be a great tool for building your credit rating. They can also help out in the case of emergency, when you need something now but don’t have the immediate funds to purchase it.
Credit has to be used responsibly, however. With the Federal Reserve raising the interest rate recently, it’s more important than ever to understand how to use your card properly.
Here are 5 credit card payment mistakes to avoid.
Paying the minimum monthly balance on your card is akin to throwing stacks of money into a wood chipper. Credit companies make their profits by charging you interests on your purchase.
By only paying what they say you owe each month, you are lengthening the amount of time that they can charge you interest. This means that you pay far more in the long run than you should.
A lot of consumers think that if they are just one day late on their credit card payment, it’s not a big deal. The problem is that when your credit card reports your payments late, they only do so in 30-day increments.
From there, anyone that pulls your credit card report can’t tell if you paid the day after or 29 days after your bill was due.
Don’t take this to mean that if you are one day late, you can just hold off until day 29 to pay either. If there is a problem with processing your payment or an emergency pops up, your payment enters the dreaded 60-90 day late period.
This can be disastrous for your credit score.
This will hurt you in a number of ways. For one, a company that pulls your credit will see what is called a “high debt to income ratio”. In other words, they will think that all of your income goes to paying off balances.
Second, these payments add up. Even if you don’t listen to the first piece of advice and only pay the minimum, those payments can snowball out of control quickly.
You also run the risk of getting your cards and payment dates mixed up. Remember, one day late on your credit card payment is the same as thirty. There’s no need to risk that.
You will have a lot of people telling you to close your account and cut your cards in half. While this might seem like sound advice, it’s actually terrible for your credit.
This will reduce your available credit limit, which will lower your score. The best thing to do is keep the account open but keep your card somewhere so that it’s hard to get to and only can be used for emergencies.
If you find yourself using your credit card for things such as gas or groceries, it might be time to hide your card.
If you fill up your car twice a week, you aren’t paying the 70 bucks back. You are paying over 100. Multiply that times 52, and you are spending a whole lot of extra money that you shouldn’t be.
If you find yourself in the middle of the dessert and your debit card is missing, then it’s reasonable to buy gas on credit. Otherwise, you are just hurting yourself.
Information is power. If your credit card debt has gotten the better of you, we have all the information you need to take action now.
Use our website’s resources to learn about how to repair your credit. We also provide guides and a blog that will help you stay out of financial trouble and fix whatever damage might have already been done.
American credit card debt is expected to reach over 1 trillion dollars this year. Don’t become a part of that statistic. Check us out, and let us help you take back control of your financial future!
Your business’s online presence means everything today. Having a well-maintained website and active social media pages is a must.
Some new entrepreneurs would think that establishing and maintaining an online presence would be difficult. As it turns out, they couldn’t be more wrong. It is more than possible to build your business online on a budget.
You just need to know which resources you should rely on as you build your business’s online presence. From affordable hosting to marketing outreach, here are 5 tips to help you build your business’s online presence on a budget.
There are several host providers on the market today. Few, however, are cheaper than Bluehost. Not only that, but Bluehost arguably offers customers a fair amount of functionality for the cost.
Further still, Bluehost has been especially kind to small businesses lately. The web hosting company teamed up with Google Domains earlier this year to allow Google Domains customers to use Bluehost’s site to create new accounts.
Almost everyone who has done 5 minutes of research on site building has heard about WordPress. The company has certainly earned its reputation. It allows people to build websites quickly and cheaply while providing them with tons of cool tools.
It’s also extremely compatible with several hosting platforms. Bluehost just happens to be one of those platforms, which makes WordPress and Bluehost a super duo of sorts.
Investing in your future is always good on any budget. Investing in expensive email hosting, on the other hand, is not.
We don’t doubt that expensive hosting offers some of the best premium features. You don’t, however, need pricey email hosting to have relatively good email hosting.
That said, look into free email hosting before you even think about purchasing premium email hosting services. You’ll be doing your wallet a favor.
Some business owners dream of having their own warehouses which are stocked with their businesses’ goods. Unfortunately, though, that’s just not plausible for small companies that haven’t gained much traction yet.
Dropship products are a great solution if you want to build your business online and don’t have the capital to deal with stocking and shipping items to customers.
There is no doubt in our minds that marketing specialists know what they’re doing. They have the necessary skills to navigate the data-driven market.
Despite that fact, small businesses have to be realistic about what they can afford. Not many small companies have the capital to hire seasoned marketing professionals, and that’s okay.
You can focus on marketing outreach by yourself. You likely won’t be amazing at it, but you’ll get the job done. When you reach the point at which you can afford a marketing specialist, then you can splurge on one.
Make no mistake here. While you can build your business online on a budget, it won’t be a cakewalk. Furthermore, you might eventually have to shell out some serious cash to get things going.
Having said that, if you find yourself in debt, take a moment to center yourself and then begin working on getting yourself back on track.
If, on the other hand, you’ve successfully avoided incurring debt, drop a comment for your fellow entrepreneurs. They’d love to get their businesses off of their feet without taking on too much debt.
Paying debts can be a difficult thing to do if you get behind. It can feel overwhelming and can soon become that if you aren’t careful. For many people, they reach a point where the only solution feels like filing for bankruptcy.
While it is a last resort for many people, others tend to file without realizing that there are many alternatives available to them. There are several steps you can take, even when things look bleak, to resolve your debt before filing.
If you find yourself trying to avoid bankruptcy, read on to see what steps may be right for you before making the final choice.
In order to avoid these consequences, it’s best to avoid bankruptcy if possible.
The first thing you need to do is get control of your monthly spending and weed out any unnecessary things. Most people have certain luxuries they buy. Having a daily cup of coffee, a cable subscription, or going out for a night on the town each week are some examples.
Cutting these luxuries out will let you keep more money to use for your debts.
If you are looking for an instant infusion of cash, selling things you don’t need or are no longer using can be an effective means. Think about what things you own and what you can depart with. You may need to be willing to make some hard choices.
Start with the big things. Perhaps consider selling a car, bike, or another big piece of equipment. If you have more than one thing, part with one. Eventually, work your way down to the small stuff that will add up.
Most creditors will want to help you avoid bankruptcy so they will get paid. Since bankruptcy will affect them as well, you can try working with the creditor to settle or renegotiate your debt.
The best thing to do is to be upfront and honest with them. If you try to deceive them or leave anything important out, they will be less likely to help. Simply explain your circumstances and try to explore the options they can provide to help you out of the situation.
It’s important to remain vigilant when it comes to avoiding bankruptcy since bad habits can undo any work you accomplish. If you follow these tips, you can increase your chance of success, but only if you stick with them. Avoid the temptation to spend your money on unnecessary things.
Racking up credit debt is easier than ever. Today, with the click of a mouse or the tap of a screen, you can literally purchase to your heart’s desire within milliseconds.
On the flipside, there are trustworthy resources, like us, where people can educate themselves and adopt better planning and consolidating decisions.
However, not everything you read on the Internet is true, as you probably know. Credit facts can be skewed or misleading, so we wanted to clear up some of the biggest credit myths out there.
Don’t give up before you’ve even started!
If your credit score needs help, it’s not a hopeless situation. Every situation is different, but we can guarantee that there is a strategy we can build to help you get your credit score where you want it to be.
Pro tip: Instead of adding to it, stop the problem now. Start paying with only cash, and ditch the credit cards altogether. If it’s not in your checking account, don’t spend it.
This is possibly the biggest credit facts myth we want to debunk. There are two types of credit checks, hard and soft. Soft credit checks, which you request (personally), are only shown to you and will not affect your credit score.
Pro tip: Keep tabs on your credit reports with a bi-annual check up through Experian. That way, when you need to make a big purchase, a hard credit check (from a third party vendor) will be worth the cost.
Closing out a long-term credit card account is actually kind of foolish. Having a long history with a balanced credit card can work for you, not against you. Don’t close out your accounts for no good reason.
Pro tip: If you want to get rid of some cards, speak with an expert first to decide which ones are the best ones to get rid of.
If we were to do a credit facts check, this fact would come up as totally false. Although it can be messy, it is not impossible to create a credit score you’re proud of.
Pro tip: Every day you wait to get help is another day you could be working toward good credit.
This is not entirely true. Just because you have bad credit doesn’t mean you’re a bad person! You deserve to enjoy the finer things in life, just like anyone else. Loans are still within reach, you just have to know where to look.
Pro tip: Consider a personal loan. Lenders created this option with borrowers who have bad credit in mind.
Chances are, you have a full-time job and you’re probably really good at it. You’re skilled in what you do, and you’re the best fit for it. Right?
So, why go outside of your scope and try to handle your credit dilemma on your own? Let us help you get your credit facts right.
At CreditZipper, we are a skilled team that can help you achieve the credit repair you deserve. We focus on reporting errors and improving credit scores at the fastest rate possible.
We are here for you, and we believe that everyone should have peace of mind when it comes to their credit.
The global economy is slowly starting to rebuild itself. Even if it hadn’t crashed, it would still be important to maintain a high credit score. But the fact that it did crash makes it all the more important that you build credit.
Having a high credit score indicates that you’re responsible and reliable. With a higher credit score, you’re much more likely to get a loan or successfully rent a property. Additionally, some places of employment won’t hire you if your score is low.
But let’s face it: Life happens.
Sometimes your situation spins out of your control, and your score drops as a result. When that happens, you need to start utilizing ways to build your credit back up.
Here are five easy tips for building credit:
One sure-fire way to drop your credit is to skip out on your bills.
Paying them even a few days late could affect your score in negative ways. Businesses that require monthly payments often sell bills to collection agencies.
Internet companies, phone services, utility businesses–these are all organizations that bill you monthly.
And let’s not forget your insurance, rent, and car payments.
Make sure you pay them on time every month.
When your credit score is low, it’s awfully tempting to just cancel most or even all of your credit cards.
After all, not having the cards removes the temptation to use them. Unfortunately, having credit cards presents a catch-22:
If you have too many of them, you increase your chances of lowering your credit score.
But if you have too few of them, you also increase your chances of lowering your credit score. Because fewer cards mean fewer opportunities to raise your score.
One way to get around this situation — check to see if you have cards from the same company.
If you do, you can call and ask about consolidating them.
If you’re already sinking in the bad credit pool, one thing you can try is negotiating.
This entails communicating with your creditors for missing payments. Explain the situation and ask them to work with you.
For example, let’s say you were laid off from work and missed a few utility payments. After you found work, you started paying on time again. Highlight that fact when talking to them.
Creditors may be creditors, but they’re also people.
In some situations, this one is easier said than done.
But to build credit, you’ll have to pay off your debts.
Talk to your creditors. See if they’re willing to arrange a payment plan with you.
Again, you shouldn’t give up on using credit cards because using them does help build credit.
Plus, if you don’t use your cards, they may become inactive.
A good compromise is to use them sparsely. Use them to pay for only certain items, such as food and gas.
As for paying for the rest? Depending on what you want to do, you may not have to pay anything!
There are plenty of free forms of expression and entertainment. Draw! Write! Read! Shamelessly sing karaoke at the top of your lungs with your friends!
If you need additional tips or want a consultation, feel free to contact us!
Now that you have left the ranks of renters, it’s time for a new approach to your financial budget. Being a homeowner brings a new set of financial challenges to navigate.
If you have not yet made the switch, this read will help prepare you. (And if financing is standing in the way of your home ownership, you might benefit from credit repair.)
If you’ve already been making a mortgage payment, this article will keep you on track.
You will be responsible for various repairs and replacements in your home. These can include minor water fixture repairs or new appliances. They could also mean more high ticket items like a new roof, a new driveway or plumbing fixes that require exterior excavation.
You should also account for regular seasonal maintenance such as lawn care/landscaping (unless you are in an HOA) and regular biennial servicing of your furnace/air conditioning unit.
You will also want to periodically update the home to enhance its resale value.
The “1% Rule” is a good guideline for how much to allocate in your financial budget. For example, if your home is worth 100,000, you would set aside $1,000 per year for repairs and improvements.
A $1,000 per year allowance for your home’s “depreciation” comes out to be about $83 per month. This money should be placed into a special bank account earmarked for home repairs and home improvement.
This account is separate from the emergency cash fund that you should have as part of your financial budget.
You may have had renters insurance as a tenant. Some landlords require this as a condition of moving into a leased dwelling, while others recommend it but make it optional.
As a homeowner with a mortgage, your bank will require you to have a homeowner’s insurance policy. Even if and when your home is paid off, homeowner’s insurance is something you do not want to be without.
Homeowner’s insurance is not necessarily something to go cheap on, either.
Having good insurance can protect you from financial disaster. It is extremely important to read your policy to see what it might exclude. For example, some insurance policies will cover damage resulting from a tree landing on your roof and others will not. Some policies will cover flood/water damage, and others will not.
As a homeowner, you will be responsible for all utilities. Some landlord-tenant agreements make renters responsible for all utilities, but many cover at least part of them.
As a homeowner, you will be responsible for all water, trash, wi-fi, telephone, cable, electricity, gas (or other heat sources). Some energy companies will put you on a “budget” so that you pay the same amount every month and aren’t subject to seasonal fluctuations.
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Debt is a real downer. You get your paycheck only to see all of your hard-earned cash disappear within a day or two.
And, given the amount you owe, this is probably what life will be like for years to come.
Fortunately, there are debt solutions out there that can ease your load.
What exactly are these solutions? From good budgeting to bankruptcy, we’ve got a handful of tips for you. Stay tuned.
We know: This is exactly what many of you have been trying to do.
Still, how much actual planning have you put into paying off your debts?
Do you know how much you owe and to whom you owe it? Have you estimated how much time you’ll spend paying off the debts?
After you’ve done those things, you need to put a budget into place. The budget should be specific, and you should hold yourself to it.
Of course, holding yourself to a budget is not always easy. That said, don’t hesitate to enlist professional help if you really need it.
And if you can’t afford professional help?
There are cheaper alternatives. Budget planner apps, for instance, are a valid option for those of you who are on a budget.
See what we did there?
Paying off your debt is arguably one of the most effective debt solutions in existence.
You have to, however, make your payments on time for the solution to be effective. If you fail to do so, you risk paying more in the long run.
To be fair here, you’re already paying interest on some of your debts. This technically means that you’re paying more in the long run anyway.
Even so, late fees are a beast that you don’t want to tackle. They’ll only make paying off your debt more difficult.
Quite a few people misunderstand what bankruptcy really is.
Some people just assume that filing bankruptcy means that you’re low on cash. Even millionaires and billionaires, though, opt to file bankruptcy sometimes.
So why do they do it?
Well, to improve their financial situations.
There are multiple types of bankruptcy that you can consider. Some are geared towards business owners. Others are designed to suit the average person’s needs.
Keep in mind, though, that there are some debts you can’t eradicate by filing bankruptcy.
If you want to find out more about bankruptcy, check out this piece about filing bankruptcy.
No, we’re not trying to be funny. The fact of the matter is that some people are serial borrowers.
Sometimes you need to borrow money. We understand that. Before borrowing money, however, think about whether or not you really need it.
Don’t just take our word for it. Others have already warned the general populace about the dangers of borrowing.
There are several other debt solutions we haven’t even touched on here.
If you’re looking for more solutions, take a look at our much longer list of solutions.
Consider getting your free credit score at Credit Karma. Your score will no doubt come in handy on your journey to paying off your debt.
There’s a difference between living frugal and living cheap. Living cheap means denying yourself. Living frugal means being smart about money.
It means living below your means so that you can save or invest money. If you’re looking to start being smarter about your money, we’ve got the best frugal living tips to start you on your way.
You want to start saving money by living below your means. Great! Where do you start? Try these tips to kickstart your frugal living lifestyle:
Keep reading to learn how these tips can help you live frugally.
When you buy name brands, it’s probably because your parents or someone else you trust told you those are the best products on the market. Or maybe it’s because you saw them in a commercial.
Before you buy name brands though, check out the generic labels. In many cases, generic products work just as well as name brands for a fraction of the price.
If you’re going to use a credit card, make sure you’re getting the most out of it. Want to travel? Look for cards that offer frequent flyer miles.
Are you a foodie? Find a card that provides extra points for dining out. If you’re on the road a lot, look for cards that let you double or triple points at the pump.
Don’t jump at the first offer that comes your way. Take the time to find a card that will help you save in other areas of your financial life.
Credit card debt makes it hard to save. This is a fact–so staying out of debt, to begin with, is one of our best frugal living tips
The average household in America has $15,310 in credit card debt. If you have credit card debt, you can still achieve a frugal lifestyle, but you should avoid racking up more.
Budgeting is crucial if you want to live frugally. If you don’t know what money is coming in and where it’s going out, how can you live below your means?
Creating and maintaining a budget can be tough, especially if you’re new at it or on the go a lot. The good news is that there are many budget planning tools you can use.
Remember when we were talking about buying generic? Sometimes the name brand is better. For those products, coupons can bring the price down.
Cheaper products aren’t always better, but sometimes you can get what you need for less if you comparison shop. Whether you’re looking for the best price for a type of product, or you’re looking for the store that offers the lowest tag for the same product, comparison shopping can save you money.
Planning meals before you go to the grocery store not only helps you save money, but it can help you eat healthier too. It also makes the question, “What’s for dinner?” a piece of cake to answer.
By planning meals ahead, you can go to the grocery store with a list. This can keep you from buying things you don’t need. 53% of shoppers plan the foods they will buy before even setting foot in a grocery store.
For more help with achieving the frugal lifestyle, contact us today.