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How To Save Money On Just About Everything

Welcome to My Saving Place where you will find an abundance of tips, tricks and good advice on how to save money on just about everything.

Happy Savings,
The Saving Lady

College May Not Be As Expensive As You Might Think

Even though tuition at a private college or university may cost as much as a Ferrari, the typical student won’t pay anywhere near the sticker price according to  MoneyTalksNews . In fact, with some due diligence, you could end up paying only a fraction of the amount.

Consider going to a community college for two years to get those basic courses out of the way for a fraction of what it would cost on a college or university campus.  And if you have the stamina and aptitude, you may be able to take certain college classes while you’re still in high school. These are only two of the many ways to bring down the cost of college.  Check out EducationPlanner   for more valuable information to make college more affordable.

And, of course, not going to college at all may be an option for some.  Just look at Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson. These billionaires never graduated from college yet they are some of the most successful people of our time. Forbes  has a few suggestions of alternatives to a college education. Would you be surprised to learn that plumbers and electricians can earn upwards of $100/hour these days.

Many young people and their parents are frightened by the cost of a college education, and rightfully so. It isn’t cheap. Nearly 71% of college graduates with a bachelor’s degree have an average student loan debt of $35,000. A good education will eventually pay for itself, but wouldn’t it be nice not to be saddled with so much debt right from the get-go. Some serious planning can go a long way to giving you that head start in life.

Best Back-To-School Saving Tips From Around The Web

back to schoolIt’s that time again. Kids are enjoying the last few weeks of the season before they head back to school. Moms are busy figuring out what’s useable for another year and what new things need to be bought. More and more, thrifty families are trying hard to make do with less, but some things just can’t last another year. Here are some ideas to help you keep back-to-school costs under control.

Did you know that 18 states have tax holidays for back-to-school shopping? Gerri Detweiler of Credit.com has put together a list of things to consider if you happen to be in one of the states that offers no tax of many back-to-school items.

WGME in Portland, ME offers up these back-to-school saving tips for those grammar school and college bound, noting that there is a difference in the needs between the two.

Sharon Williams, columnist for the Advocate Messenger, offers six practical ways to save on back-to-school shopping.

How Summer Can Cut Your Grocery Bill by 30% or More

When I was a little girl, I used to spend summers on my grandmother’s farm. It had everything an inquisitive child could dream of — a patch of evergreen trees to hide among; a creek to wade in; a swimming hole to swim in; railroad tracks to walk along; cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks and geese to play with; an apple orchard and a garden as big as a football field. It was heaven on earth.

My grandmother loved to experiment in her garden each year planting some new and exotic vegetable, squash or melon to compliment the tried and true tomatoes, sweet corn, peas, carrots, potatoes, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage among others. Each morning we’d go out and pick the day’s meal from the ripest of the crops. Once a week she’d slaughter a chicken to roast and eat with the veggies, usually on a Sunday. But for six days a week all we’d eat was fresh fruit and vegetables.

summer vegetablesI have never forgotten those summers on the farm, and to this day in the summer I still enjoy eating nothing but fruits and veggies for lunch and supper. A sinfully delicious zucchini casserole loaded with fresh sweet onions, tomatoes, garlic, and lots of cheese is as good to me as a T-bone steak. A big slice of watermelon or cantelope makes for a refreshing cooler or dessert. Ben and Jerry’s can’t hold a candle to fresh strawberries turned into homemade ice cream.

With this regimen, one of the things I noticed in addition to losing a few pounds every summer was the significant drop in my grocery budget. By all accounts, my grocery budget drops a whopping 30% during the summer. I don’t have a garden anywhere near the size of my grandmother’s, but I still manage to grow my own lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, green peppers and herbs. The rest of the fruits and veggies I buy at a local farm stand. Without meats to run up the price of groceries, I am able to pad my savings account a little bit more during the summer months.

Do I still have roast chicken on Sundays? Why break tradition. Of course I do, and if I don’t eat it all, I save it to add to some of my vegetable dishes so it never goes to waste.

Happy Savings,

D-Y-I Air Cooler Too Cool For Words!!

With over 2 million views you can probably expect more than a few of these do-it-yourself air coolers are being used somewhere in your community.  This is really “cool” in more ways than one. And for little more than a few dollars, it’s significantly cheaper than an air conditioner. You’ll also save on electricity. My hat’s off to whoever came up with this clever hack.

Will your emergency fund see you through to your next paycheck?

emergency fundAn emergency fund is the amount of cash money you would need to cover living expenses without dipping into savings if you lost your job or couldn’t work due to sickness or injury. The biggest question asked about an emergency fund is, “How much is enough?”  The answer is not an easy one because it is different for everyone. Many factors go into determining how much is enough among which is age, occupation and  health history.

A general rule of thumb is 3 to 6 months of living expenses, but as many people discovered during the recent recession, it took a lot longer than 3 – 6 months to find a job. A young person with a degree in engineering may be able to find a job a lot faster than someone age 56 that just got laid off.

Some people would find it relatively easy to cut back on expenses while others may not.  A young man living on his own could give up his apartment and move back in with mom and dad. A senior executive with a family and an expensive lifestyle might not find it so easy to cut back. Living with less means a smaller fund in needed.

Loss of a job usually means you also lose your health insurance. A major illness could put a person or family into bankruptcy. If you are someone that has to make chronic use of your health insurance and cannot be without it, the premium for individual health insurance could be a big chunk of your living expenses.

In a recent Bankrate.com survey, nearly 30% of Americans have no emergency fund whatsoever. Another 22% have a 6-month reserve. Most people don’t even think of an emergency fund until they need it and don’t have it. The lesson learned prompts them into a saving habit that can last a lifetime.

The saving habit is one that should be taught early in life. It’s importance can never be stressed enough. It is especially important for those on the lower rung of the economic ladder, but it is more often the middle class — that many times live beyond their means — that suffers from lack of savings, not only an emergency fund, but retirement savings as well.

Only you can determine how much is enough for an emergency fund, but in any case, something is always better than nothing.  No matter how little you make, there is most certainly a way to save something.  And there is no better time to start than NOW!

5 Ways To Lower Your Electric Bill This Summer

Electric MeterThe heat of summer is upon most of the U.S. For those of us that don’t enjoy summer all year long, a reduction in our electric bill is welcomed. Still, there is more that you can do to eke out even greater savings.

1. Unless the temperatures start reaching the 90 degree mark, try using fans instead of an air conditioner. Although a fan doesn’t necessarily cool a room, it does cool the people in a room. The circulating air helps to evaporate the moisture on your skin making you feel cooler. Fans are much less expensive to run than an AC, but don’t forget to turn them off when you aren’t using the room.  Also, if you’re using ceiling fans, make sure the air is blowing downward on you. In winter, you reverse the fan and blow the air upward.

2. If you do use an air conditioner, keep the temperature at 78 degrees. Most people like a temperature of 73 0r 74 degrees, but bumping it up to 78 degrees can mean a 20% savings on your electric bill. Also, make sure your AC is in top running condition by having it inspected. And don’t forget to change the filters often.

3. Run your dishwasher and dryer at night to avoid bringing more heat into the house. Use a microwave, toaster oven or outdoor grill instead of an oven for the same reason. If possible, dry your clothes outside, and air dry you dishes.

4. Unplug devices that consume vampire power. TV’s, DVR’s, computers, and most all electronic devices use electricity even when they aren’t in use.  A smart strip makes this easy. Plug multiple devices into a smart strip and it automatically cuts power when it’s not needed.

5. Take short showers instead of baths. Baths use more water than showers. Make sure you have installed low-flow shower heads, and set your hot water heater to 120 degrees.

Enjoying The Outdoors On A Budget

Camping GearBeautiful weather brings with it the desire to enjoy the great outdoors. For many that means getting out of the city and back to nature, sleeping under the stars. Camping is a great way to spend weekends wrapped in nature’s blanket. But unless you already have all the necessary gear, it could also become a really expensive weekend. Camping gear isn’t cheap.  Tents can run to $400 or more.  Good sleeping bags start at around $100. And that’s just the beginning.  If you want more luxurious accommodations, like a pop-up camper, travel trailer or motor home, you’re looking at many thousands of dollars.

If you’re on a somewhat tight budget, whether you’re a tent camper or a more luxurious camper, think used. All matter of camping gear can be purchased used.  Check out these 5 ways to buy used outdoor gear. Look at used tent trailers, travel trailers and motor homes that are at least 5 years old or older. Typically, this equipment gets minimal use except by the most rabid outdoors people.  And don’t forget online sellers like  Amazon.com and Ebay.com.

Before you buy anything, however, do your research. Know the retail price of what you’re looking for to make sure you’re getting a good deal when you find it. Remember, this is typically a one-time outlay unless you really get into camping and upgrade in years to come which certainly can happen. In any case, set a budget for this activity and stick to it.  Buying used will allow you to get more bang for your buck

Summer Travel Savings

TravelOfficially summer doesn’t begin for another few weeks. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to put your travel plans on hold. In face, if you’re planning on getting away this summer, you probably should have made plans, including booking airline and room reservations, in April or May. But for those who still haven’t made arrangements, here’s a round-up of some of the best ways to save on summer travel:

ABC News has some good advice on how and when to book travel.

Sometimes you don’t think about how you can save money at home when you leave the house. TravelSense.org reminds us that here, too, savings can be had.

Let’s face it. Hotels can be very expensive places to stay, and especially crowded for a family or two or more. It’s no wonder that booking sites for individual homes and apartments across the world are becoming some of the most popular sites on the Internet.  Get advice on the best way to arrange a vacation rental.

Do you need travel insurance? Maybe, yes. Maybe, no. Most people forgo travel insurance because they really don’t know enough about it and because it represents an extra expense. Here are a few tips from Today that may help you decide whether you need travel insurance or not.

Don’t forget to check out some of the travel deals on Groupon and Amazon. Both have highly discounted offers on places to stay and package tours. These are also good places to find discounts on dining, activities and events at the places you will be visiting.

Whatever your plans are for summer vacation, just don’t forget to have fun, even at the expense of spending a few extra dollars.

Find Freebies In Your Area

What’s not to like about free stuff? Most people know that shopping on Saturday at Costco or Sam’s Club can provide you with a free lunch with all of the free samples that are given away on that single day.  Of course, there are many more places that provide free sample, but until now it’s been difficult to find them all.

cup of coffeeNo more. Now there’s an app. SampleUP is a free app that locates free samples, demonstrations and tastings in your area. I just tried the app, and it works like a charm. For example, at any Baskin Robbins shop you can sample up to three different flavors. See’s Candy gives anyone a free piece of candy. Peet’s Coffee has free coffee samplings. One store is giving a free Feel Good Mini Facial.

Since this is relatively new app, there probably aren’t as many freebie sites as there will be in the future when stores get wind of this app and a new way to attract customers, but more companies and locations are being added all the time.