Archive | October, 2013
Image

Happy Halloween!

31 Oct
Advertisements

All That Extra Change

31 Oct


IMAG1740

Happy Halloween Everyone!

I have a terrible habit of never using cash, just because it is so much easier to slide my card and not have to dig some bills out of my clutch and then make sure that I have the correct amount of change and then I have all this extra change with me.  What do I do with this extra change?

Well, when this happens to me I have a nice little jar that I like to store all my change in.  It once was a paper jar with a metal lid and held team but then I painted it with my handy dandy blue paint.  At one point i had saved like $15 dollars in change, that I then used but always save my quarters so that I had something to use in the parking meters.

This method of saving is definitely on the outs for me personally but it may work for you.  I still save the jar just incase I have some extra change but for the most part now it just has some pennies and every once in a while I add a little more to it.  However it does look pretty now!

Liquor Laws in Kentucky

30 Oct

IMAG0125In Kentucky and the rest of the United States there is this liquor law that says that people under the age of 21 cannot buy any type of alcohol.  Well for me this has always been so terrible, of course being in college this law is everyone’s most hated law.

IMAG1310

Well for me that is all about to change 1 week from today when I will actually be legal and I will be allowed to buy alcohol and then I will also be able to drink it!  However, the downside to this is that it can be a very expensive hobby and activity.

I think that most people already know this but before you head out to a place where you might have to buy drinks, you should probably prepare yourself, those drinks are going to be super expensive, like $5-$8 or more for each drink!  That is a crazy amount of money for a small amount of liquor.

Here are some tips that I will be using next week to have fun and save money.

  • IMAG0867If you like beer, go to pint night with your friends, the beer is the cheapest on that night and you can try all the speciality beers.
  • If you only stick to wine, before you go out buy a bottle or two of wine and drink that first that way when you go out you will only need one or two glasses.
  • If you want to do shots, again with your friends before you go out, take some shots then once you are at the bar/party/rave/whatever you will already be feeling the effects and you will not need to drink so much (or spend so much) while you are out.
  • Most importantly if you are going to be going out buy alcohol with your friends, this will give you someone to have a good time with and it will also provide you with someone to split the cost of the alcohol with.
  • Also, only take cash with you and only take the amount of  money that you wish to spend while you are out.  Once you spend all the cash then you are cut off from that point.  You even get bonus points if you go out and have fun but you don’t spend all the money that you brought with you.

IMAG1367

If you are going out for a night of drinking then you should always remember the safety tips as well.

  • Always have a ride home.
  • Never Drink and Drive
  • Don’t drink if you are underage (or just don’t get caught)
  • Always drink water between drinks

MOST IMPORTANTLY HAVE FUN!

Free Volleyball

29 Oct

Other than school and work there has to be some other fun things in your life that you do to keep yourself entertained.  I like to play a lot of volleyball and I like to swim.  However, both of these activities can cost a lot of money, of which I do not have a lot of.

IMAG2029

When thinking about the extra things that you want to do I would suggest picking and choosing very carefully, if you find yourself too wrapped up in different activities it can be hard to have fun at any of them and you might find yourself very broke.  To avoid this I like to pick things that I know are either free or cost very little.  The first thing that is nice about being on a college campus is that you should have access to your college’s rec center or gym.  There you should be able to find different activities to do that are already included in your tuition.  At my gym, there is a program that at different parts of the year they have different tournaments for different activities, such as basketball, flag football, soccer and other activities.  Once you get involved in one of those places it is easy to find more people and places with the same interests as you.

I did this and found some friends that both loved volleyball and swimming as well.  I then found churches that had open play and other venues that let you play for free or join leagues for little money.  This summer near me a volleyball center opened up where they have 2 indoor hard courts and 2 indoor sand courts and 4 outdoor sand courts.  It was amazing but then it started taking a huge toll on my wallet.  Each time you played it was $5 and for every league that you joined it was $40.  And then to top it all off, if you wanted to play more after your league game was over then you had to pay $5 more.  It was becoming so expensive!

Finally I took a step back and looked around more, which is when I discovered that there is a park very close by in a college neighborhood that has 2 outdoor hard and sand courts.  That is awesome!  However, the very best part about it was that it was free!

Being in college opens up alot of new opportunities to you as a student but it also helps broaden your old passions.  So instead of paying large amounts of money to play a sport that you love, look around a little bit and start getting involved in small groups that will lead to bigger and cheaper things!

In the end, having options to play at free venues even if it is just a few times a week instead of every night at the place with a cover charge, this will save you money!

I am totally a copycat!

28 Oct

If there is something that keeps me from the ranks for boredom, it would be crafting!  I love making things and whatever I find on the internet or come up with in my head I try to remake it.  Last night instead of writing a blog post for today I got way to absorbed in my crafting and it took over.

I decided to make envelopes out of old magazine pages, which is a very inexpensive craft, since I had the magazines already for a class that I needed them for.  Instead of throwing them away, I decided to make envelopes.  However, the even better part is that I decided to start selling them on Etsy in order to try my hand at making a little extra cash.   Since, I am not sure who will actually buy them I thought it would be a fun thing to try and if it doesn’t ever sell then I am only out $1.80 ($1.60 for the glue and $.20 for Etsy’s listing fee).

IMAG1739

When I see things on Etsy and then I look at how expensive they are to buy I usually try to see if I can make it myself for much cheaper.  In most cases I can!  That is the best part!  For the most part you will probably be able to too!  The first thing that I saw was a key holder which I can only describe to you as a painted board with a mason jar and hooks attached.  It was listed as $30!  SO crazy.  I decided instead to buy a 2×4 at Home Depot (small confession here:  I didn’t realize that they would cut the board for you there so instead I bought a saw from Walmart and then sawed the board into 3 pieces and returned the saw….saved me 8 bucks but I still feel a little bad about it).  Then I painted it with a mix of two different colors of blue paint, sandpapered it some (for that antique look) and then used polyurethane on it.  To finish off the whole look I attached a mason jar my mom gave me and added some hooks.  This all cost me less than $15, half the price of the one and I made two of them!  It was $6 for the board, $1.88 for the paint, $3.50 for the poly and $3 for the hooks.

My apartment for some reason does not have closet doors even though it is supposed to and because of that I have a large number of curtains that I need to hold back.  I had some of those white command hooks from when I lived in the dorms and they were perfect for this crafting project.  I simply paintedthem with my beloved blue paint and added some flare.  Then I attached them to my walls sideways so that they hold the curtains back!  Perfect project and was basically free because I already had all the materials for this! Now I have a beautiful key and clutch holder with nice flowers as a decoration!

If you even think that you have a craft or a skill try your hand at it and if you like to do whatever it is that you do.  Try it out and then start selling the things (or giving them as presents – to my family for Christmas some of you might be getting key holders and envelopes!) to your friends and family members, on Ebay or Amazon and see if you can get a bite somewhere. Then you might just be able to quit your third job and still be able to save money!

Who doesn’t love massive piles of dirty clothes?

27 Oct

laundryBeing in college is very difficult but there are some things are are harder than other.  Besides all the school work, I struggle to keep up with my laundry.  In my old apartment it used to not be such a huge problem because we had a washer and dryer in our apartment.  I could just throw a load in the washer when I left for class and then I could come home and switch it to the dryer.

clothes everywhereAs of right now I have moved to a place that does not have a washer and dryer in it.  Instead it has 3 tiny coin operated machines across the street and they are expensive it costs $2 to wash and $2 to dry plus the machines are so small that I can’t fit an entire load in them.  The first time that I did laundry there I decided that I should only wash my clothes and not dry them.  Big Mistake.  I spent $8 on the washers and then I didn’t dry them so they were soaked, which in turn lead me to have to call my neighbor so that he could help me carry the heavy bag up the three flights of stairs to get back to my apartment.  Then I tried to hang my clothes all over the apartment to get them to dry but after a week there were still a few pairs of jeans that had not dried (I have a large amount of clothes, because I am a shopaholic).  It was a huge mess.

jeansSo, how can you avoid this struggle?  First, plan out when you are going to do your laundry.  I reserve on Saturday or Sunday a month that I can just devote to laundry day.  Then I sort all my clothes, which is very important, into blacks, blues, reds and whites.  I have found that most other colors fit into one of these categories (such as purple goes with blues, pinks and oranges go with reds).  Next I make my way to the laundromat, which there is a very nice one by my place that charges $2 to wash and .25 cents for every 5 minutes of drying time.  I did 7 loads of laundry the last time that I went and it only cost me $11.

clothes on the deskWhen you put your clothes in the dryer do not put more than one load in at a time, if it is a big load then you can even separate it more so that it is in two different dryers.  There is usually not a limit on how many dryers that you can use at once, which is the one nice thing about a laundromat, you can do all your laundry while you are there.  This will save you time and money.  I usually put 25-30 minutes on the dryer (they are massive at the laundromat I go to, look for that feature when you are looking for one) and then if the clothes need more time, I take out which ones are already dry and which ones are still wet and do it by 5-10 minute increments.

more clothes

The less amount of clothes that you have the more money you will save but this will also help:

  • Do not buy detergent at the laundromat – it is very expensive
  • Make sure you bring a large enough bag or basket to put all your clean clothes into (they compact more if you fold them)
  • Bring enough quarters to do all your laundry or if you put money on a card to use in the machines make sure that you put enough on it the first time so that you can keep track of how much you are spending
  • Do not stuff more than one load or half a load into a dryer, this will only end up costing you more since the clothes will not dry and you will just have to keep running the dryer.

Look here on how to make the most of your clothes so that you have to do laundry less often.

How do you save money when you wash your clothes?  Do you wash your clothes?

My savings account

26 Oct

The saddest of my bank account is always my savings account.  I have an interesting way to try to keep my savings account at least with $50 in it at all times.  I have split my account into 3 different ones.  The first one is called a relationship savings in which I can put money in and take it out as much as I please.  This is very nice becuase I can do it online, so when my bank account is getting dangerously low to that $0.00, I can move some money over from this account to my checking account.

Next I have a tax savings account.  My second job is just a side job helping a nice little lady do her yard work and organize her house, she has me as an independent contractor which means that I have to keep track of how much I owe in taxes, she does not take it out of my paycheck.  This is terrible for me, I never remember to take it out of my paycheck either and since I mostly live paycheck to paycheck, I don’t really have any extra to spare to be saving.  Right now I only have $47 in there and it should be much higher.  At the end of the year I will let you know how terrible this is to not keep saving for this.

The last savings account is at times the worst and yet it is probably the best.  It is a savings account that I can only put money into and if I want to take money out of it, I actually have to go to a bank and request that some of the money be moved to another account.  This is terrible for me when, there is something that I want to buy or just to float my checking account for another week until my paycheck comes in.

I am really terrible at keeping the savings accounts up – I am not perfect by any means!  I go over my budget and do not save like I should, but it is a work in progress.

There are some things that i have learned to do.  If there is something that I really want to buy (check out how I shop) and it costs alot of money, I put that money into one of the savings account and decide if it looks better in the account or if the thing that I want to buy is really worth it.  Usually I decide that it is not worth it.

I have read many times, that if you just put a dollar or five dollars in each day, or if every time you get paid you put 20 dollars in your savings account you will eventually have a massive savings account.  However, when mostly every dollar that you make needs to be used to pay bills, tuition, buy books and support some fun for yourself this is extremely difficult to do.  Another thing that I have seen suggested is that if you buy something then take the exact same amount of money that you spend on that item and put it into your savings account.

I really need to work on my saving skills.  Is there anything that you works for you when you are trying to save money, or do you live paycheck to paycheck like I do?

My Shopping Technique

25 Oct

I am what I would consider to be a shopaholic however, I am a very frugal shopaholic.  There are some steps that I take every time I get the shopping craze in order to protect myself from overdrawing my small bank account.

Here is how I do it:

When someone invites me to go to the mall with them, I immediately have to think of an excuse for why I can’t go.  They are usually things like “Oh I’d love to but I am in the middle of a huge project for school”, “the mall? ummmm maybe, can we go at 8:30?” (our mall closes at 9), “I am actually feeling really sick and tired”, “sorry I just laid down to take a nap” or if all else fails do not respond and after the mall closes then text them back – “OMG I’m sorry, my dumb phone must not have gotten this text until now.”

If you do get suckered into going, this is my second step, unless there is something that I NEED, I take all my credit cards out of my wallet and I don’t carry more than $10 bucks on me (if I am that lucky to have that much).  This basically prevents me from buying anything.  If you feel nervous about this, then just start out by leaving them in your car and then after that becomes comfortable leave them at home.

Step three – go shopping with someone that you can help pick clothes out with.  Tell them that you should try on some of the ugliest dresses in the store.  This brings moral down, that means that they will get discouraged that they do not look great in the ugly clothes (because they are ugly) and you can get out of there quickly before you go clean out the shoe rack (that is my weakness!)  If you use this step DO NOT let your friend buy any of those terrible clothes!

Step four – Pretend that you are getting really bored of shopping, because if you have no money or any way to buy anything you will be bored.  Then go do something fun, like go into a costume jewelry store and try on all the crazy stuff that they have in there.  It will make you feel more excited!  Claire’s is my personal favorite for this.

When I actually do go shopping for myself, I usually like to go by myself and I like to go to places like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and Gabriel Brothers.  This is where I buy almost all of my clothes.  TJ Maxx is my very favorite store: they have so much name brand stuff for so cheap it is ridiculous!

I go to these places when I am in the mood to browse and to try on clothes.  I usually pick a bunch that will look cute on me but I pick them in the wrong size, either too small or too large that way I don’t really feel the love for them and I can have an easier time putting them back.

If I really do need something, I usually check out amazon and ebay for what I am looking for, especially if it is workout clothes.  Then I can compare prices and I always compare them to the same product sold by the actual brand so that I can see exactly how much I am saving.  Once I have found what I am looking for I wait.  Which is extremely hard for me to do.  I wait for two days.  If I cannot remember what it is that I was going to buy, then I do not buy anything, if it is something that I can remember but I feel “enhhh” about it, I don’t buy it.  I only buy things online if I cannot stop thinking about them for those two days and I really need them.

I probably spend at least 8 or 9 hours a week just browsing clothes and shoes on the internet.  What do you shop for the most when you go shopping?  What kinds of things do you use in order to save your money when you do go shopping?

Is Cable Really Worth It?

24 Oct

When thinking about cable TV, ask yourself, what is it that you most need from your cable TV?  Is it the weekly TV shows?  Is it the movies that you can get on HBO?  Is it the on demand option?  The chance to record and rewind your show as many times as you want?

What if I were to tell you that you can do all that, online for free without cable?  There are so many sharing sites out there that have so many different TV shows, even the most popular ones that you watch all the time, such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and Heart of Dixie.  These shows can easily be found online.

Most of the time, you can go to the channel that produces the TV show and the latest episodes for free online (sometimes they make you wait for a day).  But if you think about it, do you really need to watch your show the second it comes on every week?  Isn’t there something else that you could be doing such as studying for that bio exam?

television

Cable or no Cable?

I will admit that sporting events are a little more tricky to find online in real time at good quality but there are always local radio broadcasts (most radio stations even broadcast over the internet as well) so that is easy to listen to the game.  My suggestion is that you find a friend who is willing to throw away all his/her money on cable TV and suggest a tailgating party at their house 🙂

Same thing goes for Netflix and Hulu Plus.  If you are paying for either one of those services, stop it!  All they do is charge you to watch a limited selection of movies or TV shows each month.  If you have Netflix, each month they charge about $9.  If you stopped using it then you would have enough money to buy 9 packs of chocolate pudding (since they are only a dollar each but there are 4 in a pack – so 36 pudding cups!)  That is just one comparison but think of all the things that you can do with $9, when you can watch TV for free!

My favorite site right now for watching shows and movies that I love is Megashare.info and if that does not suit you, the other one that I use is Project Free TV, which uses plenty of other host sites to find the episodes that you want to see at varying streaming speeds.

If you already use the internet to watch TV what different sites do you use?  Do you have a favorite site?  Or are you a person that says that they can never give up their cable and Netflix?

COFFEE!

23 Oct

coffeeOkay, I love coffee.  I love coffee so much. Coffee is my best friend.  But sometimes coffee is way to expensive.  When I was in high school I used to love Starbucks because it made me feel like one of the “cool kids,” when I was a freshman in college, my dorm was less than 50 feet away from a Starbucks.  Now I work on campus less than 100 feet from a different one!  On campus alone there are 4!

I started spending way to much money at Starbucks just to get a regular coffee without anything special.  I finally reached a breaking point when I ordered a grande white chocolate mocha frappuccino, which somehow cost me over $5.00!!  That was when I said enough is enough.

white castle coffeeI had been given a coffee maker when I graduated high school but never really used it much, well that all changed.  I bought myself a $4 reusable travel mug from Kroger (less than that one cup of sugary, whipped, milk stuff that they should just call a milkshake), and a bag of White Castle Coffee.  If you have never had White Castle Coffee, I would suggest it.  For a 3 pound bag it is right around $5 (about the same price as 1 Starbucks drink!).

If it is the sugar, milk and whipped cream that you crave then you should invest in some of that too.  You can buy cool-whip for $1 a tub and it keeps forever in the freezer.  I really like coffeemate in my coffee so I have some Sugar Free French Vanilla powder, it is about $2.

Now that we have all our ingredients let’s add it up.  Coffee is around $.10 (if a 3lbs bag of coffee is 5 dollars and there are 48 servings in each bag 48 divided by 5 is .10), the coffeemate is around $.10 and then the mug is $4 but the more that you use it the less it costs.

kahlua

If I can make a cup of coffee for less than a quarter, why am I buying Starbucks???!!! Is it because I love their coffee?  No.  Kahlua coffee is by far the best that I have ever tasted, White Castle comes in a close second, then Maxwell House, Folgers, and 8 o’clock.  Is it because it is convenient?  Well sometimes that might be the case but if your coffee maker has a timer on it.  You can get it all ready before you even go to bed and then it can automatically make itself so that once you are ready in the morning so is your coffee.  Do I buy Starbucks because I am forced?  No.  The only reason that I can think of for buying it is that all my friends do it and I still want to be the “cool kid.”  Well that has all changed.  Starbucks will never again steal my money!

Now I challenge you to make your own coffee for a week and do not buy it from anywhere else.  If you feel like you like strong coffee do not put in 3 or 4 scoops of coffee, instead buy a darker roast that will be stronger flavored and you will not have to use as much saving you money.

Although this might not sound appetizingyou some of you my favorite drink that I make myself is Cuban roasted coffee, with 1 packet of sweet ‘n low and some lemon juice with a slice of lemon in it!  What are some of the speciality drinks that you like to make yourself?

%d bloggers like this: