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Archive for the ‘Budget’ Category

 

This week’s installment of the Rich College Student series is probably a step that will have the biggest impact on being responsible with finances while in school. The best way to succeed is to come to college with the financial skills and knowledge already in practice. Unfortunately that isn’t as common as one might think. After reading Flexo’s post about this project and reading an article in the local newspaper, I decided to undergo the Green Panda Treehouse Challenge. (Alright, it’s not too original, but read on, it gets better.) I’m going through the pfblog.org’s Financial Literacy Challenge site.This week the money I save by not eating out for lunch will be donated to a charity listed on DonorsChoose.org. The Project I’m supporting is Future Philanthropists in Training. I can’t fulfill this class’s program by myself with my budget, but I want to give something towards a good cause. If you want to join me please go write ahead. If you have another worthy cause you’re saving up for, then by all means to do that. Leave a comment about what you plan to do with your money saved this week.piggy2.jpg

Photo Credit: vnysia

How does this program work? I’ll let the site explain:

DonorsChoose.org is a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack. At this not-for-profit web site, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund.Fulfilling Student ProjectsDonorsChoose.org performs a good deal of work to ensure the integrity of its philanthropic marketplace. Here’s how it works:

  • 1. Public school teachers create student project proposals at DonorsChoose.org. This consists of writing a one page essay and listing the exact resource(s) needed.
  • 2. DonorsChoose.org volunteers screen each project proposal before posting to the website. Volunteers verify that the teacher and project meet our eligibility requirements, emailing follow-up questions to the teacher if anything is unclear.
  • 3. Concerned individuals fund the student projects of their choice-in whole or in part-and are emailed immediate email gift acknowledgments from DonorsChoose.org which can be used for tax deduction purposes.
  • 4. DonorsChoose.org emails the school principal, alerting him/her to the funded project.
  • 5. Within the next week, DonorsChoose.org forwards the donor an “e-thank-you” from the teacher, which notes the date by which the donor can expect his/her full feedback package.
  • 6. DonorsChoose.org purchases the student materials and ships items directly to the school along with a disposable camera, guidelines for preparing feedback packages, and a stamped envelope in which to enclose the feedback.
  • 7. Students experience the project that the donor made possible! The teacher photographs the students participating in the project and writes an impact letter to the donor. Students write their own thank-you notes. This feedback is then mailed to DonorsChoose.org headquarters.
  • 8. DonorsChoose.org develops the photos, and compiles the letter and thank-you notes. This feedback is mailed to the donor(s) who completed the project or made a partial contribution of $100 or more.

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Photo credit: NessieNoodle

Sometimes as we try to budget everything and save money however we can, we need a reminder that being generous with our resources (time, skills, money, etc) helps us live happier lives and help others as well.

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Photo Credit: /kallu

September has come and gone and I was reviewing how I did with my gasoline budget for that month. My goal was to fill up once a week. With gas prices around $2.59/gallon and my tank is about 13 gallons my weekly goal was $34. Here’s what I actually did:

Date Where Amt

29-Sep

Kangaroo

32.68

23-Sep

Wawa

30.01

18-Sep

Wawa

32.38

12-Sep

Wawa

33.51

6-Sep

Giant

32.85

Total  

161.43

Good news is that I did pretty well with my goal. I tried to carpool with some people on the weekends, but it didn’t work out that way. I decided to reduce the time I spent driving and stayed home a bit more than I would’ve preferred. It wasn’t so bad and I managed to actually unwind a bit.

I’m going to reduce my need for the car from now on. I realized how dependent and lazy I am when it comes to going places. Trent had some suggestions on how to cut gasoline while commuting.

Don’t forget to check out my articles on what to have in your car and also how to minimize repair costs.

Any suggestions or how I can improve on saving at the pump?

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I can’t believe that October is 2 days away already! A lot of this week’s posts were interesting and I continue to like the variety that these bloggers offer.Free Money Finance has an article on how to save money while traveling. We’re going on vacation in November, so we’ll use some of the advice.Krystal at Give Me Back My Five Bucks already posted her October goals.Lazy Man and Money and The Simple Dollar were examining the benefits and cost of McDonald’s double cheeseburger and homemade cheeseburgers. The Simple Dollar’s examination and Lazy Man’s reviews are here. Get Rich Slowly had a link to RetailMeNot.com which has coupons for tons of stores.We’re In Debt reorganized their site and it’s better than before. Now you can see the posts in order. I like the design.lasso.jpg

Photo Credit: Williac

That’s it for this week’s weekly round-up. Yee-haw!!!

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Photo Credit: Jeff Keen

 

 

 

After last week’s post, I decided to look into ways that my husband and I save money on our grocery bills.

  • Sit down and make a shopping list. This seems really elementary, but it is the most important step. Can’t figure how to make a good food list? Try working backwards. Think of the meals you like to have this month. Do you like spaghetti, chicken wings, or tacos? Break the meals down until you have a list of items.
  • Buy for the month (or longer). Our goal is to go a big grocery shop once a month. We’re not crazy about grocery shopping, so we try to make this as less painful as possible. Wal-Mart typically has the cheapest prices on our core items.
  • The shopping list is king. A shopping list can be tedious at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll save money. You’ll buy what you need to and are less tempted to pick up extras along the way.
  • Buy meat in bulk and freeze. We try to get a huge chunk of ground beef on sale. That tip drops the cost per pound down. When we get home, I immediately portion the meat into several meal sizes.  Bags and freeze it.  I have broken it down for meatloaf, spaghetti, tacos, hamburger helper, etc.
  • Take advantage of sales that you’d actually buy without the sale. Sometimes I want to buy something because it’s on sale. It’s not something that we use a lot or even at all. When you do that you’re not really saving money, you’re spending more. It’s not bad if you do this once a shopping trip if you want to expand your menu, but since you’re on a budget, save it for after graduation when you have more income to work with.
  • Making it yourself can save you money. We do grab a few prepackaged meals for when we’re time crunch, but otherwise we just cook it ourselves.
  • Cut the junk food snacks down. Sometimes grabbing 5 cans of Pringles is a bit too much. Don’t completely stop getting them, just cut down. Your waist and wallet will be grateful.
  • Eat leftovers. Some of the best food I ate was leftovers; pastas taste better the next day. Be reasonable, though, and don’t keep things in the fridge until they grow stuff. Be safe and eat it within the next 2 days. If not, dump it.

As always, please leave your thoughts.

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This week was pretty hectic for me both at work and school, so I didn’t get a chance until today to look over some articles from my favorite blogs and a few others.

Relationships

Free Money Finance‘s guest post was about Discussing Family Finances.

Motivation

DINKS did a fantastic job reviewing the American Dream (it’s not riches, but the effort).

Gather Little By Little encourages us not to give in to peer pressure about finances.

Krystal at Give Me Back My Five Bucks is closer towards her goal of owning a condo.

Finances

Lazy Man and Money included his portfolio that is easy to maintain.

Jorge from My Adventures into the Street gave an update on the market’s reaction after the Fed lowered the interest rate.

Saving Diva at Saving for a Home of My Own includes a post about how your FICO score is computed.

The Simple Dollar shows how to save money on your electric bill by cutting electricity phantom.


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Photo Credit: Spcbrass

Many people in the Personal Finance blog community have shared their thoughts on living a less consumer-centric lifestyle. Some of the best articles I’ve seen are:

I’m trying to cut down on excess waste myself. I can be a packrat at times with things and I’m working on improving that aspect. So far, I’m learning ways to reduce the clutter in my life from Live Simple by John December.Today I was looking at the paper and I noticed an article about freeganism. I never heard of it but the title caught my attention, “From trash to treasure”. I decided to read it and learned about a culture that eschews capitalistic methods of acquiring resources. It seemed like simple living to the extreme. Some people mention in the article don’t shop at grocery stores for their food, they go through dumpsters in search of food. It’s definitely not my cup of tea but I was interested in finding out more about them.I decided to look up online a bit more about this lifestyle and thought it would be something interesting to share. The general idea I got reading some sources is that there’s no definitive means of identifying a freegan. Here are some major concepts within the movement:

  • Minimize their ecological and economic imprint
  • Communal lifestyle (share finds with others)
  • Live off of excess waste (dumpsters of grocers and restaurants)

There are some resources for anybody who wants to learn more.

My question is, Where to you draw the line in simple living? Please leave your comments so others can see.

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Save Money by Using Googe’s 411

 

I went through about a month ago my cell phone bill and noticed that Cingular charged me almost $2 for a single 411 call! My husband had reminded me that Google offered a free 411 directory service. I’ve used a few times and I like it better! I get a list of results and it does a great job finding what I want.

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Photo Credit: frogmuseum2

Here’s Google’s take on the service:

Using this service, you can:

  • search for a local business by name or category.You can say “Giovanni’s Pizzeria” or just “pizza”.
  • get connected to the business, free of charge.
  • get the details by SMS if you’re using a mobile phone.Just say “text message”.

Here’s the number.

1-800-GOOG-411(1-800-466-4411)

 

Save it to your cell phone and use it as much as you want. (Not really. You don’t want to waste your minutes..)

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