There is really no reason for you to have to read hundreds of blogs, articles and e-zines and feeds. Thrifty News will keep you up to date on living a thrifty life.
Not every article in this newsletter will apply to you and your family. Our content will change monthly, so pick out the parts that work for you and skip over the rest.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Segment 1 - New Years Resolution
Segment 2 - Getting Finances In Order
Segment 3 - A Budget?
Segment 4 - January Fun
Segment 5 - Thrifty Travel - Really?
New Years Resolution -
Have you resolved to live a thrifty life this year? This issue will help you get started on a thrifty new year.
Now that the holidays are over - you may find yourself in debt. In fact you may find you are have far more debt than you thought.
While I would certainly advise you not to go into debt over the holidays, if you have or even if you were already struggling with debt visit our debt free page and start getting your debt under control today.
Getting Finances In Order -
It's the beginning of a new year and you are determined to live a more thrifty life. First thing to do is get organized. If you don't already have a paperwork system in place, you need to get one set up.
Here is a quick and easy example:
Get a box and place all of your old bills and receipts in it. Label the outside of this box with the year of those bills and receipts.
Using file folders, set up one folder for each company you pay a bill to each month. These are your payables. As each bill comes in, pay it, write the check number on the bill and the date paid, file the bill in the folder. If you want to be even more organized, place the most current bill at the front of the folder every month.
During the year if you start getting a bill from a company that you didn't set up a folder for - make them a folder immediately. The key to staying organized is not letting paper pile up.
Go through the mail daily if possible, throw out the junk mail, put unpaid bills in one place - an inbox - file anything that is paid.
One more box or file you will want to set up is receipts. Once you have recorded the payment of a receipt, file it in this file. If you paid with cash, just bring the receipt home and file it. If you paid with a check, record the purchase in your check register and file the receipt. If you paid with a credit card, keep the receipt in your inbox until the credit card bill comes in, match up the receipts with the charges on the bill, staple them together and pay the bill as usual.
Finally the last file you will want to set up is your tax file. This file will have anything during the year that you will need to file your taxes the following year. For instance: interest charged, interest paid, tax on vehicles, sale or purchase papers on any vehicles or houses, W-2's, investment and retirement funds, home office expenses you may be claiming, medical bills if you are going to be taking a deduction for them. If you aren't sure what to keep, ask your accountant. If you do your taxes yourself, you will be familiar with what papers you will need.
The real key to any paperwork system is - stay current. Don't let the paper pile up or you will soon be overwhelmed. Set aside time each day or each week to deal with all paperwork and stick to it!
A Budget? -
Making a resolution to live a thrifty life is a good start, but without a plan and a solid budget, your resolution will likely not succeed.
Here is a quick way to make yourself a budget:
- Get out your check register and credit card bills for the past two months.
- List all the bills you have for one month and the average amount you pay. Some bills are the same each month, so just write the amount, for the ones that are different each month, figure about what you pay and write that down.
Your list should look something like this:
Electric $ 100.00
Phone $ 60.00
Once you have a total of your bills, make a line for food/groceries, gasoline (or whatever your expense is to get to and from work), gifts or extra expenses.
Try to set a reasonable budget for each of these catagories and any others you can think of. Get a monthly total.
Now total your monthly income. Hopefully your expenses are less than your income and you now have a working budget.
The challenge is keeping your spending within your budget. Living thrifty means finding ways to do just that. Get creative if you hve to, but try to stay in your budget. There are plenty of tips on our web site, so anytime you are tempted to spend too much, go on the site and find alternatives.
January Fun -
January is such a great month.
It's the new year, time to start everything fresh. So have some fun!
Plan a day, weekend or even a trip. If you live in a cold climate and you like the outdoors, go skiing, ice fishing or sledding. If you live in a warm climate and you like the outdoors, go camping, to the beach, on a picnic. In either climate you can go sightseeing at your closest metropolitan area. If you live in or near a large city, visit the art or history museum.
Plan a special day with each member of your family. Make a big event out of it.
If you are spending the day with a child, tell them about it in advance, and start planning what all the two of you are going to do. Maybe go bowling or play a game of putt-putt, go sledding or swimming, have a special meal together, go get an ice cream cone or hot chocolate together. Take the child to something they would enjoy, a doll factory, a model train exhibit, a walk in the woods or along the beach, a historic walk through your own town. You probably know a lot more about the town than they do.
If you are spending a day with another adult, discuss what the two of you like and try to find something nearby that fits your interests. Even an afternoon movie followed by dinner can be a welcome break - especially if you can fit it into a weekday when you usually wouldn't have the time. Some jobs are flexible enough to allow you to make up work on the weekend. Do what you can, but make it something you don't usually do together.
And did I mention - HAVE FUN!
Thrifty Travel - Really? -
I was very pleasantly surprised recently when I booked a trip for my husband and myself.
I went on to one of the discount travel sites like cheaptickets.com or travelocity.com and started my search.
At first the four day, three night trip was going to cost as much as $2,000.00. This was out of my price range, so I started playing around with dates.
Since I was trying to book this trip as a birthday trip for my husband, I originally was pretty set on the dates, but what I found was by changing the trip to one week later I was able to get it down to less than $550.00 for two of us! That included two non-stop, roundtrip airline tickets, 3 nights in a very nice hotel, a buy on get one free certificate at the spa, and a roundtrip shuttle from the airport to the hotel.
Of course you can read up on all kinds of money saving tips on this page, but I would start by being flexible and spontaneous with your plans.
These THRIFTY LIVING TIPS should get you started on a fun and thrifty New Year.
Please be safe and enjoy your friends and your family.
See you in February!