A walk outdoors, a fun puzzle, or a good movie can easily replace your regular mall shopping adventures. This keeps me from making impulse buys on a regular basis. Rent it out on a site like Airbnb. If you live near a popular or tourist area, doing so could bring in a lot of extra money. Just make sure you know the risks and are willing to take the steps required to protect your family and your possessions.
To put your debt into terms that are easy to understand, make a giant progress bar that starts with the amount of debt you have and ends with zero. Each time you pay down a little bit, fill in a little more of that progress bar. It can help keep your eye on the prize and lead you straight to debt freedom. Do you have a pile of unread magazines sitting around your house? Not only should you not renew that magazine, but you should give their subscription department a call and try to cancel for a refund.
You never know until you ask— they might even give you the prorated amount back. An app like TrueBill can even review your purchase history to find forgotten subscriptions and other recurring charges, and help you cancel or renegotiate them for a cheaper rate. Eating a healthy breakfast fills you up with energy for the day while also curbing your desire for a big, expensive lunch. Meanwhile, breakfast can be very healthy, quick, and inexpensive.
A bowl of oatmeal in the morning is often the one thing that keeps me from running out to eat an expensive lunch later in the day. We live in a neighborhood with dozens of families with young children. Because of that, there are a lot of parents out there willing to swap babysitting nights with us, saving us the money of hiring one for an evening out.
A few families even take this to incredible extremes. Try to find another set of parents or two that you trust, and swap nights of babysitting with them. Many people feel as if leftovers are just inferior rehashes of regular meals. My favorite technique? Chaining — using the leftovers as a basis for an all-new dish. If you have a regular urge to buy clothes, go through everything that you have and see what you might find. Take the clothes buried in your dresser and pull them to the top. Instead of going out to eat at work, take your own lunch — if not every day, then at least a couple of times a week.
With some thoughtful preparation and just a few minutes of time , you can create something quite enjoyable for your brown bag lunch — and save a fistful of cash each time you do. If you have five pants, seven shirts, and seven ties that all go together, you basically have an endless number of options already. This is exactly what I do in order to minimize clothing purchases and still look professional — I just mix and remix what I wear by using timeless, simple pieces that go well together. Then, pay attention to what they tell you. They might have some personal insights for your situation that will really help.
At the very least, they might understand your situation better. Years ago, it was far more difficult to find ways to fix everyday items we have in our homes. But today, it should be a piece of cake. You can find online tutorials and videos that show you how to fix almost anything, and all for free.
Learning a new skill never hurts either. Nowadays, I keep a small notebook with me to jot down ideas so that I never forget anything important. Often, having some extra freezer space allows you to buy in bulk and pay lower prices overall. Even better, you can store lots of meals prepared in advance, enabling you to just go home and pop something homemade and cheap in the oven.
Read this post if you need help determining whether a deep freezer is worth it. If you live in a truly expensive area, take some time to decide if the extra expense is really worth it. You may find that a move could mean the difference between having plenty of money and barely scraping by. My town has several wonderful parks, free basketball and tennis courts, free disc golf, trails, and lots of other stuff just there waiting to be used. All you have to do is discover it.
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Ask the attendant inside if they have a tire air gauge you can borrow most of them do, both in urban and rural settings , then stop over by the air pump. Check your tires, then use the pump to fill them up to where they should be. Gardening can be an inexpensive hobby if you have a yard. I like planting a bunch of tomato plants, keeping them cared for, then enjoying the huge flood of tomatoes at the end of each summer. We like to eat them fresh, can them, and make tomato juice, sauce, paste, ketchup, pasta sauce, and pizza sauce. Most communities have a ton of free events, although you may not know about them at the time.
When I lived in a larger city, I bought an annual transit pass that actually paid for itself after less than two months of use compared to using an automobile. This may not be a popular idea, but it works if you have a simple hairstyle. I cut my own hair with a pair of clippers , for example. Just put a garbage bag over the bathroom sink, bust out the clippers and scissors, and get it done. With a bit of practice, you can make it look good, too.
If you live near anyone you work with, you might both be able to benefit by carpooling to work. Doing so could save money and wear and tear on both of your vehicles. You can just dump in your ingredients before work, put it on simmer, and dinner is done when you get home. Maintaining your home can also keep it in better shape and improve the value of your property over time. For example, we buy trash bags, laundry detergent, and diapers in the largest packages we can find. This cuts down on their cost per usage by quite a bit and, over the long haul, adds up to significant savings.
Photo: bnilsen. That way, instead of stopping in the middle of the trip, driving around looking for a place to eat, spending a bunch of time there, and then paying a hefty bill, you can just eat on the road or, better yet, stop at a nice park and stretch for a bit. Not only do they drop in value the moment you drive off the lot, but they continue dropping in value with each year that goes by. If you want to save as much as possible on transportation, look only at used cars in relatively good condition.
If you focus on cars that are only a few years old, you may also be able to find one within its warranty period. Look at it as a free place to do all sorts of things. The real moral of the story?
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You can get a very good shave with some practice and save a lot of money over the long haul. Find something that makes you want to make positive changes, then use that person or thing as a constant reminder. Keep a picture of it in your wallet, in your vehicle, and on your bathroom mirror. Keep it in your mind as much as you possibly can. After sitting down with someone at my job, I gained access to free tickets to sporting events, free personal improvement opportunities, and an optional employee match on some retirement funds that maximized the money I was socking away.
This not only cut down on my own spending on things like sporting and community events and educational classes, but also improved my retirement plan. I like to make my own laundry detergent and my own Goo-Be-Gone , for starters. This is often a tricky thing to do, but there are a number of techniques you can try.
My favorite one is to be the first one to suggest something — that often gives you the power to steer the group towards things that are cheaper. If you can convince your friends to go to the park and shoot hoops instead of going golfing, for example, those greens fees are going to stay in your pocket. Not only is speeding inefficient in terms of gasoline usage, it also can get you pulled over and cost you a bundle between a ticket and higher insurance premiums, as I discovered a while back.
Reading is one of the cheapest — and most beneficial — hobbies around. Most towns have a library available to the public — just go there and check out some books that interest you. Then, spend some of your free time in a cozy place in your house, reading away. There are plenty of reasons to buy less house than you can afford. I currently live in a 2,square-foot house with my wife and two kids. We often find ourselves in the same room in the house, just surrounded by empty space.
Any time you sign up for a service of any kind and there are sign-up fees, ask for them to be waived.
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Sometimes but not always , they will be — and you save money just by being forthright about not wanting to pay excessive fees. I did this with my last cell phone sign-up and got them to wave the fees, lowering my bill significantly. Most people would probably find that inexpensive hygiene products work just as well as the expensive stuff. Personally, I just buy whichever toothpaste is the cheapest, and the same goes with deodorant and the like.
Meat is very expensive when you consider its nutritional value, especially as compared to vegetables and fruits. And in almost every case, protein-packed staples like beans offer a much better value. To save as much money as possible, use the coupons in conjunction with your grocery store flyer and shopping list. Doing so can help you save double — both through the initial sale savings and through the use of the coupon.
Most homes have some air leaks that make the job of keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter that much harder — and that much more costly for you. Spend an afternoon air sealing your home and keep your energy dollars from leaking out. The DoE has a great guide on basic air sealing. If you enjoy an occasional drink, this is a great way to enjoy some of your favorite beverages at a steep discount.
This is especially true of your entertainment center and your computer equipment. A power surge can damage these electronics very easily, so spend the money for a basic surge protector and keep your equipment plugged into such a device. Many student loans offer a small rate reduction if you sign up for their automatic debt repayment plan. Instead of going on a big, extravagant trip, pack up the car and see some of the sights in your surrounding area. For a weeklong relaxing vacation, it was incredibly cheap and quite memorable, too.
For the longest time, my wife and I were subscribed to HBO, Starz, and Cinemax, yet we would only tune in once a month at best. We argued that it was worth it because we could watch a movie or a great drama whenever we wanted, but it would have been far cheaper just to rent a movie. Go for a walk or a jog each evening, practice stretching, or partake in some light muscle exercise at home. Just set aside some time each day to get some exercise, and your body and wallet will thank you. This serves two purposes.
Second, it saves you money on stamps and paper checks by allowing you to just fill in an online form, click submit, and have your bill paid. Some of the best free online checking accounts offer this perk. So, if you have your workstation hooked up to this, every time you power down your computer, your monitor powers down, your printer powers down, your scanner powers down, and so on. This can save you a lot of electricity and significantly trim your power bill. If you make a big mistake and realize it , think about why you realized it now instead of then, and try to apply that later on.
The memory of that mistake can end up being very valuable, indeed. Instead, look ahead to the future. Learn to see past mistakes for what they are — lessons that were meant to teach you something. Promising to do better and setting goals can help keep mistakes where they belong — in the past. Read around through the archives and learn some new things — and perhaps get inspired to keep going, no matter what. With some providers, transactions complete in a matter of hours. Dedicated foreign exchange FX or forex companies are increasingly offering an advanced range of transfer and exchange services to compete with traditional methods of international money transfers.
Some benefits offered by FX brokers include free transfers, online money transfers, better exchange rates, hour support, and access to online tools such as foreign exchange alerts and the ability to set your own desired exchange rate. In general, this is usually done online, although other options exist such as direct payment from your bank. After this, they exchange your money and send it abroad. However, this will typically be the cost of a local bank transfer or free if you use a broker who has a bank account in the same country, or if it is a euro transfer within the EU and qualifies under the SEPA agreement.
Foreign exchange providers can typically provide better exchange rates and lower fees than banks because of the high volume of transactions they conduct. Most online FX brokers have calculators on their websites that show you the total estimated costs, exchange rate, and exact amount you will receive after the transfer.
These providers typically offer more transparency than other transfer options. Another benefit is that you can often find better support services; FX brokers are specialist firms focused on foreign exchange, such as currency advice and-real time exchange rates. For regular payments — for example, if you pay a mortgage abroad, transfer a salary, or pay international school fees — foreign brokers may offer benefits on transfer fees.
They can also let you lock in an exchange rate to regulate the amount you pay in a foreign currency. For one-time payments, locking in exchange rates can also be useful if you need to make a large transfer at an upcoming given date and the market is unstable. This essentially lets you nominate your ideal exchange rate, and you will be contacted when the currency hits that rate. Using such services also allows you to protect your transfers from currency risk and stabilize your regular payments.
In most cases, when you transfer money abroad, you are undertaking a spot trade. This means your funds are transferred at the current market rate. However, if you are transferring large or regular sums e. This involves locking in the current market rate for up to two years. The result is that you know exactly how much money you need to cover the required amount of foreign currency, regardless of the market situation.
Other useful tools include stop loss orders and limit orders, which are set minimum and maximum rates at which you are willing to trade or send your money. This means you can wait for better exchange rates. At the same time, you ensure your funds will be transferred at the rate set by your stop loss order should the market unexpectedly fall, protecting you from further losses.
All foreign exchange providers buy their currency from the private inter-bank market. They then add a margin on top of this when they sell it, the same way retailers do with physical products. Companies offer different exchange rates because they use different profit margins. Exchange rates can greatly affect how much money you receive at the other end. It can also have a particularly notable impact on larger transfers. The foreign exchange market is incredibly volatile, so knowing how to protect yourself from risk is key.
Exchange rates can fluctuate on a second-by-second basis. Political, economic, social and environmental developments can all affect the value of a currency. A sudden rise or fall in an exchange rate from an election outcome, for example, could make a significant difference to the total funds you receive from one day to another, as British expats everywhere found out after the Brexit vote.
For this reason, timing does make a difference to your transfer. There are many online tools and alerts to help you get the best exchange rate; you can also lock in an exchange rate. The fees to transfer your money vary greatly between providers; it can be free, a set fee, or a percentage of your transfer. Thus, an attractive exchange rate does not necessarily mean you will get more money.
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For example, a forex provider might charge a zero-transfer fee but the exchange rate might be lower. On the other hand, others might promote highly favorable exchange rates but charge higher transfer fees on top. Determining how to send money abroad is easier when considering the pros and cons of each service. When you need to decide the best way to transfer money abroad, a little research and planning can go a long way. Each money transfer option has benefits and downsides. Pick the right provider for your needs and you can enjoy simple, fast and cost-effective international money transfers.
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The mid-market rate You may wonder why you need to find the best exchange rate.