Saving Money

Get Your Everyday Expenses Under Control: Mint’s Personal Finance Round-Up

photo: AMagill

These days, mindless spending and flashy lifestyles are out; saving money is in. The recession may officially be over, but many consumers find their newfound frugality hard to shake off. Here are some of the ways that we can incorporate the frugal mindset into our daily living:

Groceries

How is your food budget treating you? Your grocery bill is traditionally one area that could use some tweaking. While we can continue to stay hooked on fast, convenient foods, or live with the bad habit of consistently wasting food, in the long run, these practices are not healthy for our bodies nor our budgets.

Fiscal Geek shows us that some of us tend to throw out food too soon. Are You Throwing Away or Wasting Food Needlessly? shines a spotlight at some of the food disposal practices that are actually wasting our hard-earned money.

Sometimes, we end up wasting food in other ways, like allowing perishables to expire without realizing it. The Smarter Wallet points out that one of the best places to get food without going to the store is your own cupboard. How often do you stockpile a whole load of items in your pantry and end up forgetting what it is you’ve placed in there? How often do you reach into your cabinets only to find you’ve still got quite enough to sustain yourself for a while? If you keep your pantry organized, you may find yourself running a more efficient kitchen with a trimmer budget. Dig in and start Preparing Simple Meals With Store Cupboard Essentials.

Cleaning materials

You can also cut costs at home by buying the right cleaning materials — or even make your own. My Two Dollars teaches us How to Make Your Own Homemade All-Purpose Household Cleaner – For Pennies! See how you can skip on the Pledge and still get your house clean!

Books

As for fun, after a whole day’s work of cooking and cleaning, wouldn’t you love to be able to sit back, put your feet up and read a book with a cup of your favorite coffee or tea? While books are a pretty low cost way to entertain yourself, you can still get good value with smart shopping on this front. If you’re tired of reading the same old titles on your shelf over and over, check out some Bargains for the Bookworm. Tight Fisted Miser shows you where to find the best deals on books and reading material.

Utilities

Speaking of reading: electricity is one of the major essential expenses of a household. While we may think that there is no other way to lower the bills except to use energy efficient appliances or even turn them off completely, Out Of Debt Again shows us that we can minimize our utility bills by doing a few simple adjustments. Review your power provider’s plans, for example. The article Are You Paying Too Much For Your Electricity? shows that there are custom plans that may be a better fit for your usage patterns. There are programs that may be better suited for people who are only at home late at night versus for those who remain indoors all day long.

Transportation

One of the biggest expenses most of us have is in the area of transportation. If you’re buying a car, make sure you don’t visit a dealership by yourself. Out Of Your Rut advises: Never Go Into a Car Dealership Alone! The support you draw from a companion may be just the thing to keep you from making the wrong move when you’re negotiating your purchase.

Speaking of cars, according to Own The Dollar, How You Drive Your Car Is A Direct Reflection Of Your Risk Tolerance. Certain mundane things can have a bearing on your investment personality, including how you handle your vehicle. Identify your investment personality and build an investment portfolio that suits you best. That way, you’ll maximize your net worth.

Having a more efficient budget takes a good combination of knowing where to save, figuring out how to negotiate better prices, and even understanding your own investment personality so your hard-saved money can work for you harder.

Silicon Valley Blogger (SVB) runs The Digerati Life and The Smarter Wallet, where she writes about  general personal finance topics such as investing, budgeting, debt management and small business ideas.