Three Top Tips for Staying Fit On a Budget

canstockphoto8279211Keeping in shape is not only good for boosting your ego, it is also good for your maintaining your health and longetivity. Many people choose to join gym memberships to stay fit. However, there are those that can’t afford to do so since some come along with a high price tag. In addition to exercising, you will also need to eat a healthy diet. Staying fit isn’t hard as long as you put in the effort. Below are Three Top Tips for Staying Fit On a Budget:

 

Buy Healthy Food

Staying away from those potato chips, cookies and processed food will help you save money in the long run. The best way to avoid purchasing junk food is to only shop in areas of the produce, dairy and meat aisle. This perimeter include all of the items in the food pyramid. You will most likely have to walk down the aisles to buy bread and cereal. If this is the case make sure you buy whole grain to stay on the healthy side.

Invest In a Home Gym

Instead of paying monthly fees at the local gym, why not get your own equipment for your house. Bowflex and Gold Gym have a variety of equipment that you can use. It doesn’t have to be brand new. You can look for used equipment that are in excellent condition by checking out the classified section of your local newspaper, garage sales, eBay, amazon and as well as craigslist. Oftentimes, the sellers will offer these items at a deeply discounted price to get rid of stuff they no longer need.

What if you don’t have room for equipment in your house? There are activities you can do without it. You can take a walk a few times a week. This is an excellent exercise that will work out most of your body without much effort. If you prefer to run , it is a great way to boost your cardio activity. Walking and Jogging  are great ways to get in shape. It will be great if  you can get your friends or family to go with you and keep you on track towards acheiving your goal.

Stock up on Fitness Books and DVDs

Buy some fitness books and DVDs if you are having trouble establishing a workout. There are many types of workout programs available for people of all ages. For example, Insanity Workout, Zumba, Jillian Michaels and Richard Simmons are some of the most popular workout programs out there. To get the best results, buy a variety of workout books and DVDs so you can change it up.

Buying healthy food, investing in a home gym and using a variety of fitness books and DVDs are Three Top Tips for Staying Fit on a Budget. Involving your family and friends in your daily workout will get you on your way to reaching your goals.

For more budgeting tips, sign up for the 10 Part Mini Course. If you like what you’ve read, share this with your Facebook and Twitter friends.

canstockphoto1496206Are you addicted to internet shopping? The internet has made it more convenient for consumers to do their shopping. There is no longer a need to take a trip to the mall. All you have to do is point, click and type in your credit or debit card number and the items will arrive at your door before you know it. This is a big time saver. Although there are advantages to shopping on the internet, there are also disadvantages.

The downside to online shopping is that many people become addicted to it. Some people get a rush from spending their money and become addicted for that reason. Shopping for items online make it easier to spend and get that buzz. This addiction is easy to hide from your friends and family since they are not around to see how its gotten out of hand.

When your credit card bill arrive, your heart drop when you find out the amount of the items that you purchased along with the high interest rates that you have to pay. For this reason it is impossible for you to deny that you have a serious problem. Here are 6 Simple Ways to Break Free of Your Internet Shopping Addiction.

 

 

1. Ask Your Friends and Family For Support. If your internet shopping has gotten out of control, sit down and have a talk with your family and friends and ask for their support. Admitting that you have a problem is a big step on your part. Ask them to hold you accountable for your  spending habits.

2. Use Your Credit Cards Only For Emergencies. You should keep your credit cards just for emergengies. It may be time for you to put your credit cards away so you won’t be tempted to make any purchases. You might want to consider cutting them up and cancel the accounts once you pay it off .However, it best to keep one just in case an emergency should pop up.This will force you to pay for all of your purchases in cash.

3.Get a New Hobby to Keep Yourself Busy. Whenever you’re trying to break a habit, it is best for you to replace it with something else. Participating in activities such as taking sewing classes, gardening or going out for a walk will keep you occupied and away from the computer. If there are certain hours that you are tempted to shop online, arrange to keep yourself busy at that time.

4.Set Up a Budget to Prevent Overspending. By planning ahead on how you will spend your money, you will be less likely to spend it frivolously. Refer to your budget before you make any purchases to see if you have enough money left over to pay for it once your household bills and other expenses are paid. If there isn’t don’t spend it.

5. Set  Goals For Your Money. If you are saving cash for a large purchase, this will motivate you not to spend money on items that you don’t need. In case you are thinking of doing a little internet shopping, keep your financial goals in mind. Remember, the purchase you are making now will take you further away from your goal of buying a new home, car or that much needed family vacation.

6. Seek Professional Help. Sometimes it is best to get professional help to deal with problems that’s beyond our control. If you are unable to break free from your addiction on your own, it’s time to see a counselor to help you deal with this issue. This will help you get to the root of the problem and overcome it.

If you are addicted to internet shopping you are not alone. Trying the above strategies will help you to break free of your internet shopping addiction and get your spending under control.

 

canstockphoto0826150Many people have fallen into the trap of consumerism in order to compete with their friends, neighbors, coworkers and even complete strangers. They often purchase material things such as luxury vehicles and expensive clothes based on the status symbol. Even though there are many items they can pay for without going into debt, they choose to purchase things that are beyond their means just because of the image that it presents. This behavior is the reason many people go into debt or file for bankruptcy in some cases.

Whenever you are watching television, have you noticed the car commercials promoting their luxury brand vehicles. They create ads that position these vehicles as being the best choice for people that are successful. These ads are working their magic since these vehicles are filling up school parking lots where parents and teachers are impressed of what their peers are driving. This is post-elementary peer pressure at its best.

 

This type of pressure has taken over so much that it often lead many people to get of thousands of dollars in debt. Here are five steps you can take to get rid of the Keeping Up With The Joneses Mindset.

1. Enjoy doing activities that will bring your family true happiness. There are many things that you can do to have fun together that’s inexpensive or you don’t have to spend money at all in some cases. Instead of taking an expensive vacation why not do things locally? You can go to local attractions such as the carnival, petting zoo or the beach. Some of these places give customer discounts on certain days.

2. Don’t Make Impulse Purhases. Think of how much impact the purchase will have on your finances. It doesn’t matter whether you are making minor or major purchases. Create a written plan on the beginning and end date that you would like to clear off your debt. Make your payments bi-weekly or on a monthly basis. Before you go shopping, determine what you will need to buy and always make your purchase in cash. Sticking to this strategy will double or even triple your savings.

3. Be grateful for what you have. Appreciate the things that you have in your life instead of what you don’t have. You may think that you want to drive a new sports car or get a big house. Would it really make you happy to struggle to pay for these things? The only winner in the end are the banks.

4. Take a deeper look at your home and career. Instead of getting yourself into debt by moving into a new house, make improvements to your existing home. This is a lot better than paying for a mortgage and it will also increase its value. If you are thinking about changing careers you can start a side business until you are able to make enough money to quit your day job.

5. Hang out with people who are responsible with their finances. Be very selective when it comes to the people that you bring in your family’s life. If your friends are wreckless with their finances then you should take shopping trips separately. Don’t feel guilty for turning them down whenever you’re asked to go to the mall. It will take time to resist your old habits and keep negative influences at a minimum.

Apprecitiating time with your family, being grateful for the things you have,  improving your existing home and career, staying in control of your spending habits and  having friends around that’s responsible when it comes to their finances are five steps you can take to get rid of the keeping up with the joneses mindset. These things will add real value in your life.

For more budgeting tips, sign up for the 10 Part Mini Course.

 

 

Simple Ways to Teach Kids About Money

canstockphoto9190651Teaching your children  money management skills and learning to appreciate what they have should be learned through example and life experiences on a daily basis. There are other ways they can learn how to handle finances besides putting away money in their piggy bank .Here are some simple ways to teach kids about money.

What is a good age to start teaching your children about managing money? They should start understanding the true value of a dollar when they are around seven years old. Real-life examples will help your children to understand why certain things have higher monetary value than others. They should also be taught the difference between wants and needs.

Taking your children on a trip to the supermarket is good way to teach your kids the value of money. You can start by showing them the price of apples by the pound. Compare the price of apples that’s sold by the bag to the ones that’s sold individually to find the cheapest price. You can also use other items such as fresh and frozen vegetables as well as laundry detergent.

You should explain to your children how much work goes into growing fruits and vegetables and making laundy detergent. The farmers and laborers often work long hours to grow the food that’s on our dinner plates and the household items we use on a daily basis. Once you have this conversation on what it takes to produce different products, they will learn to appreciate the value of different items in the marketplace.

Teaching your kids about money is not only limited to physical products. You should also explain to them about different services. Let’s use the family dentist for example. Explain  all of the services that the dentist provides and then let them know the price.

Compare the price of the hourly rate that the dentist charge to the amount of the cleaning service that clean your home for five hours. Let’s say you have to pay $200 for both services. Even though they are paid the same amount of money,  the individual that’s providing cleaning services in your home will have to work five times as long to earn the same amount of money as the dentist.

The example of the service will not only teach your kids about the value of money, but also the value of education. They will learn that the marketplace put more value on skills that require higher education and accreditation.

Your children should also be taught about major purchases and why people will sometimes have to pay for certain things over an extended period. The monthly mortgage on your home is a good example. This is a good opportunity to talk to them about the importance of managing their finances and maintaing good credit. Just as your children save their weekly or monthly allowance to pay for certain items, you can show them how you save money to pay cash for certain things such as their school clothing and flat screen TV rather than running up your credit cards. This will avoid you having to pay a high interest rate. Of course you’ll want to tell them that purchasing items using credit is sometimes neccessary, especially when it comes to buying a home.

Spending time together on shopping trips, comparing prices of the products and services that we use on a daily basis and having conversations on maintaing good credit are simple ways to teach kids about money. Be careful not to overburden your little ones with these life lessons, but explain how you make  decisions on purchasing certain items around your home. This will teach your children to be smart with their money in the long run.

Budgeting Tips: How to Cut Your Medical Expenses

canstockphoto8391981There will come a time when all of us will eventually need medical attention. Whether it will be for a common cold or for more serious illnesses, these medical costs will most likely burn our pockets, especially if you don’t have any medical insurance. According to the World Health Organization, Americans have spent more money on medical expenses in 2011 than any other country in the world. As prices are increasing, saving money on your medical care will be beneficial to you in the long run. Here are some practical tips on how to cut your medical expenses.

 

Get Fit

Prevention is a lot better than a cure. Getting Fit will cut down on your medical expenses. You don’t have to pay for a membership at your local gym. Find the time to go for a walk at the park, on the beach or in your neighborhood. Mowing your lawn and gardening work are also good exercises.

If you are a smoker or consume an excessive amount of alcohol now is the time to stop. There is a big risk that you will experience having high blood pressure, diabetes,  heart disease and other more serious medical conditions if you continue these bad habits. Quitting will not only make you healthier, it will leave more money in your pockets and you will be amazed about how much money you will save.

 

Go Generic

Taking generic drugs is the way to go when it comes to reducing the costs of your medications. Patents are used by the manufacturers so they are able to set a price to recover their costs in developing their products. These patents are only covered for a certain period. Generic versions of these drugs will be readily available once the patent expires. These drugs are the same as the popular brand name products in terms of quality. According to the National Association of Chain Stores, the average amount of a generic  prescription drug is $30.56 while the price of the brand-name drugs are $84.20. Imagine how much money you will save when you go generic.

 

Partner With Your Doctor

Taking the time to discuss things with your doctor can save you a lot of cash. Don’t be ashamed to ask him or her about the possible alternatives that you can take. Ask if there is a generic version of the medicine available if you’re prescribed a brand name drug. You should always take the prescription as directed by your doctor or that’s printed on the label.

It is really important to let your doctor know if you are taking over the counter medicine. You may be at risk of some serious side effects when you combine your prescribed medication with some over the counter medicine.

Whenever you visit a doctor other than your primary physician, make sure you take a list of medications that you are currently taking with you.

 

Getting fit, going generic and partnering with your primary care physician are some of the ways how to cut your medical expenses.The cost of medical care can possibly drain your savings if you are not careful.  However, staying on top of your health will boost your savings so you can do the things you enjoy the most. So Get Off That Couch and Get Healthy!

 

For more Budgeting Tips sign up for the 10 Part Mini Course. If you like what you’ve read, share this with your Facebook and Twitter friends.

Cheapest Ways To Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt

canstockphoto9786423Are you looking for the cheapest ways to pay off your credit card debt? If you have been struggling with credit card debt, it makes sense for you to pay it off really quick. The faster it is paid off, the better your credit score will be. The faster it is paid off, the faster you will be able to focus more on saving money. The faster it is paid off the sooner you will enjoy one less stressor in your life. However, paying it down fast may not be your primary goal right now. You may be looking to pay it down as cheap as possible instead.

 

It won’t be the same for everyone. It all depends on your balance as well as your interest rate. Finally, the cheapest way to pay off your credit card debt will also depend on your assets. Let’s take a look at a few possibilities to pay off your debt.

 

Use Your Savings

If you have a savings account, take a look at the amount of interest you are earning on your money. Compare it to the amount of interest you are paying on your debt. If you’re paying more on it than you’re earning, then you should consider cashing out your savings to pay off your debt. Once you wipe away your debt, then you can once again begin focusing on your savings. If you’re no    longer making any monthly credit card payments, you may be able to start rebuilding your savings quite quickly.

 

Debt Consolidation

Do you qualify for a debt consolidation loan? If so what is the interest rate? Compare the interest rate of a loan compared to the interest rate that you are paying on your credit card debt. Most often you are paying credit card companies much more than you would be paying a bank. For this reason, make sure once you’re through paying off your credit card debt that you cut up those cards. Once you run a balance on them, then you are paying back the loan and paying on your credit.

 

Home Equity

Home Equity Loans may be an option depending on the market, how much equity you have on your home and the interest rates. In addition, a portion of the interest that you’re paying on a home equity loan is tax deductible. However, like a debt consolidation loan, you will jeopardize yourself by running up  your credit cards again and paying two loans simultaneously. This should be used as a last resort.

 

Pay It Off

Finally, you should consider cutting back on your expenses and paying more than the minimum balance on your credit card each month. This is often the cheapest and the most cost effective way to pay off your credit card balance. There are other ways to pay it off such as getting a second job, selling your car or moving into a cheaper apartment if needed. The faster you pay off your credit card debt, the cheaper it’s  going to be.

 

If borrowing isn’t an option for you, and we didn’t mention borrowing from your friends and family and you don’t have any savings to pay off your debt, consider taking drastic measures. Get a part-time job, pick up some freelance work or sell some of your valuables by having a garage sale or use an auction site like eBay.

Using your savings, cutting back on expenses and debt consolidations are some of the cheapest ways to pay off your credit card debt.  You’ll be relieved once your credit card debt has been eliminated for good.

For more tips on  building your savings, sign up for the 10 Part Mini Course.

 

 

Earn Money In Your Spare Time

Earn Extra Cash In Your Spare Time

There are days when you may find yourself bored with nothing to do. You may decide that you would like to read a book, take an afternoon nap, watch your favorite television shows or to engage in your favorite hobbies such as sewing and gardening. Instead of looking for something to do where you don’t have to spend any cash, it is best to pursue things that will allow you to earn some extra money.  You should consider using your free time by finding a part-time job or starting your own business. Here are 3 top reasons why you should earn extra cash in your spare time.

 

Add More Money to Your Savings

Having a part-time job or your own business is an excellent way to add extra money to build your savings account. It is best to put away money just in case you run into an emergency such as medical bills, unexpected home and car repairs and to have enough money to pay your household expenses. There are times where you may experience having an illness when you will need to seek medical attention. Medical bills can get quite expensive especially if you have don’t have any medical insurance. You should also expect to pay for  ongoing maintenance on your car and your home as well since there will be a little wear and tear over time.

You should strongly consider having at least six months of funds put away if you happen to lose your job.

 

 

Make Good Use of Your Free Time

Instead of sitting around the house doing nothing you can use your free time by earning a paycheck. This will also enable you to learn new skills while meeting interesting people. You can utilize the skills that you’re learning from your  part-time job to transition into starting your own business.

Despite these uncertain economic times, there are still opportunities to start a side business from home. You have the option to work in the evenings or on the weekends. Many big and small companies are outsourcing different jobs to dedicated and hardworking people like yourself. It is a win-win situation because you will earn yourself some money while they (the company) will save money by not having to pay hourly wages and insurance for a full-time employee.

 

Do What You Love

You may be currently working on a job that is stressful or it just pay the bills. You may find a part-time job doing something that you are passionate about. Furthermore, you may get an offer for a full-time position where you’re able to do things that you enjoy the most while you’re getting paid for it.

There are opportunities out there that you can turn your hobbies into a business. For instance, If you are an animal lover you may want to start a dog walking business. You can also start a pet sitting or a dog pooper scooper service in your local area. People have busy schedules nowadays or they just have no desire to do these things. They are willing to pay you to do these tasks for them.

 

Adding extra money to your savings,  making good use of your free time and doing the things you love the most are 3 Top Reasons Why You Should Earn Money In Your Spare Time.  As long as you keep track of your savings, earning extra money with a part-time job or a side business will possibly get you on your way to building wealth for you and your family.

For more budgeting tips, sign up for the 10 Part Mini Course or if you like what you’ve just read share this with your Facebook and Twitter friends.

 

 

Does Being Frugal Have to Ruin Your Lifestyle?

Does Being Frugal Have to Ruin Your Lifestyle?

Does being frugal  have to ruin your lifestyle? You may hear people speak a lot about saving money and being frugal. Just because you choose to adopt the frugal lifestyle don’t necessarily mean that your life as you know it will completely change.

We all can start tightening the belt and spend a little less than we have. Oftentimes, if the money is available we  don’t make an issue of paying the full price. This is our mindset. When you start to live frugally, you’re changing that mindset instead of your lifestyle.

Some people associate living frugally with being cheap. This is further from the truth. With “cheap” There’s an old saying “ You get what you pay for” which is usually spending money on something that’s worthless. This is wasting money. It’s similar to paying for an item at the full price. Frugal is when you’re searching for another way to pay for a product or service that’s of comparable quality but costs less.

Always find the best deals that you can on all things in every area of your life. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Different companies offer deals in order to earn your business. Allow them to do the work in your favor while you enjoy the ride. You may even find that frugal living will teach you how to look at life in the long term instead of only focusing on the here and now.

Think of it this way. When someone pays the full price just because they have the money is not considering the financial mistakes they are making. For example, If you can get your medication for low cost or free of charge by using Medicare or looking into your private insurance, why shouldn’t you do it? All it takes is  a little research, but it’s well worth it since the savings can be used for something else.

Would you like to travel? Even in a recession, you can still travel if you tighten the financial belt. What has changed or what you’re trying to change here is your mindset. Have you ever seen the commercials for Travelocity? You can stay in four-star hotels and dine in fancy restaurants by taking advantage of travel deals.

Living frugally does take some investigating on your part. Look at exactly what  are some of the discounts and deals that are offered for travel, rental cars, dining out, and shopping for clothing and souvenirs.

Do your kids want money for a trip to the mall with their friends? Why not hold a yard sale? They will learn how to organize, make a decision as to what they would like to sell and also learn the value of a dollar. This will give you an advantage by having a cleaner house and they will earn  cash for a job well done.

Try your hand at frugal living. Being frugal doesn’t mean you have to give up on your favorite hobbies or the activities you are accustomed to. You now possess the skills to do it better.

For more Budgeting Tips, sign up for 10 Part Mini Course

How to Survive a Job Layoff

canstockphoto3494698If you find yourself among millions of people that’s been recentlty laid off, you may not be prepared for the loss of your only source of income. Hopefully, you will be able to qualify for unemployment benefits to assist in covering your bills for the next few months until you are able to find another job. There is no guarantee that you will receive the amount of money that you’re accustomed to, but it will help to relieve the anxiety of not having an income at all. Here are some tips on how to survive a job layoff.

If you are currently renting and you’ve come to realize that you may not be able to have enough money to cover the rent, you can contact your landlord and ask for a short-term reduction. You also have the option to search for another location that’s more affordable. If you are a homeowner and find yourself in a similar situation, you may be able to refinance if your spouse is still employed.

Reducing the cost of your monthly bills can go a long way when it comes to saving money. If you currently do not have a programmable thermostat in your home, you may want to purchase one as soon as you can. It will pay for itself in the first month. You can significantly reduce your electric bill by lowering your thermostat before you go to bed or before you leave for work if no one is going to be at home. You can reduce the bills even more by turning off the lights if no one is in the room, taking shorter showers and lowering the temperature on the hot water heater.

If your monthly cable bill is more than you can afford, contact the customer service department of the cable company to remove some of the channels or go with a less expensive package. You may want to go with the basic plan until you return to work.

Another bill that you can reduce is your cellular phone. Find out if you are able to reduce your monthly minutes and cancel any added features until you are more able to afford it. There is also an option to go for a prepaid or pay as you go plan.

Always check your junk mail for the weekly sales. You should always plan your meals in advance so you can write out your shopping list and always stick to it. Generic store brand products are a great way to save money on some of the products that you regularly purchase. Budget your shopping to the bare minimum.

Reducing your cable, cellular phone and household bills as well as negotiating your lease with your landlord are some of the ways you can survive a job layoff. Many of us make the mistake of living beyond our means and don’t think about managing our finances before it’s too late. By learning how to save money on your monthly expenses, you will be able to survive until you find another job.

For more Budgeting Tips sign up for the 10 Part Mini Course. If you like what you’ve read share this with your Facebook and Twitter friends.

canstockphoto5998338Whether you have recently retired or have been for quite some time, adjusting to a fixed income can be a challenge in the beginning. After years of earning and spending, it is time to create a budget that’s designed to not only stretch your dollars, but also to give you the quality of life that you deserve. The usual savings strategies will still apply such as turning off the lights and lowering the thermostat. Let’s take a closer look at other ways on how seniors can build savings and live comfortably after retirement.

Being a senior citizen does have its advantages. Many retail outlets offer senior discounts on certain days, which can get high as fifteen percent. Restaurants, broadway shows, movie theatures and even museums offer discounts to seniors. Since you are now retired, you have the advantage of being able to do your shopping at any time. This will give you time to make out your list before shopping and will allow you to visit all stores in a single day to achieve maximum savings.

Buy the generic brand products as they usually provide the same results at a lower price than the brand name items. Purchasing products such as paper towels and toilet paper in bulk when they are on sale is just one way to save you more money. In addition to the sales, clip coupons to boost your savings. Many supermarkets offer double coupons up to 99 cents, so be sure to ask the store manger or the cashier if they offer these great deals.

If you would like to enjoy the nightlife, why not check out the senior centers in your local area. The centers are made up of people that’s usually in your age group and have wonderful events planned weekly such as bingo, dancing, casino nights and movies. The best part is that you will  only need to pay a small fee for an enjoyable evening out. The most rewarding part is you will develop friendships with other seniors who have the same interests.

Living on less does not mean you have to be deprived of the things you enjoy. Open your mind to doing activities that cost less. Taking a walk in the park or a swim on the beach won’t cost you a penny. If you currently are not an active driver you can sell you car and rely on family and friends or take public transportation. The transit system in your area will most likely offer discounts to seniors. The upkeep and maintenance of a car is a hefty expense and so is the price of auto insurance. If you no longer need a car, you will have more money in your savings.

Taking advantage of discounts, living with less and enjoying your favorite activities on the cheap are some of the ways how seniors can  build their savings and live comfortably after retirement. Adusting to less can be a challenge in the beginning, but it will eventually become a way of life. There are many benefits you can enjoy being a senior so take advantage of them and watch your savings grow.

For more budgting tips, sign up for the 10 Part Mini Course.

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