Some Tips on Balling on a Budget – Living Good For Less

We all like to live the lifestyles of the rich and famous. We see images everyday on TV of people living the good life. After you look at your bank account and reality sets in, you realize that you have to get more out of life while making less than you like.

In today’s economy in which money is tight, you have to be creative with your budget. Here are some tips on doing that while having fun while doing it:

Shop at outlets/Buy off season – I am a shopaholic myself. I used to spend up to $5,000 a month in clothes. I had so many clothes that I would find shirts with tags still on them three years after I bought them. This is why I am talking about this first.

Outlet malls are great for savings. After the season is up and the new line comes in for that fashion designer, the label sends the clothes to their outlet shop. You can get luxury designer clothing for 50% to 80% off.

It may be a season behind but who cares. You don’t bump into the fashion editor of Vogue Magazine everyday anyway.

Most clothing designers have an outlet store. You can go online to find the closest store. Outlets are especially good for buying your children’s clothes. Kids outgrow clothes really fast, so it doesn’t make sense to buy them at full price all of the time.

Buy clothes when they are about to change seasons. When the summer is over and Macy’s, for example, want to make room for the Fall/Winter line, they will mark down the remaining summer clothes at a deep discount.

I used to buy Polo clothes the minute they came out at full price to be the first one with it. I would go back three months later to see it on sale for half off.

Sell your junk on E-Bay – I heard a money expert on TV the other day say that every household has at least $100 worth of junk that they can sell. I started looking around my house and found $500 worth.

We all have some items in the closet, attic, or in storage that we don’t need. We tend to keep them around for sentimental reasons. In tough economic times the junk got to get going.

Look for clothing items, furniture, paintings, or even your ex boyfriend or girlfriend stuff you can sell on E-Bay. It is easy and very cheap to set up an account. Take good pictures of the items and don’t overprice. I posted a painting that I didn’t need anymore on E-Bay and end up making a profit!!

You can also set up a garage sale on the weekends. Post an advertisement on craigslist or put up signs around your area. You will be surprised how many bargain shoppers are out looking for steals.

Add the money you make from selling your junk into your “pay yourself first” retirement fund.

Drive wise, not fast – The higher gas prices go, the less we have to enjoy for ourselves. You have to learn small tips of driving that can make you car fuel efficient.

Stop drag racing down the block. Take it easy when you drive. Sudden acceleration eats up a lot of gas. Also you lessen the chance of getting a speeding ticket you cannot afford.

Keep your tires inflated properly. Low tires cause you to burn gas as well. The better you maintain your car, the less likely you will have to bring it in for costly repairs. So keep up your dates for tune-ups and oil changes.

If you have a co-worker that lives by you, try to car pool. This will save both of everybody gas and mileage on your cars. Take mass transportation sometimes as well. In New York City, I used to spend $20 a day just to park down the block from my real estate office. Recently I tried taking the train and sometimes walk on a sunny day. I saved $320 in one month and also lost some weight.

Use grocery store coupons – We get the circulars in the mail or in the Sunday papers. Most of the time they end up in the garbage can. Upon further inspection, we are literally throwing away money.

In a tough economy it is smart to find ways of stretching your dollar. Stores are doing everything they can to get people to purchase from them. They are doing more promos than ever to get you in the door.

I used to laugh at the old lady that would hold the shopping line up as she goes through all of her coupons.

Who’s laughing now?

Now I am like the old lady.

Look through the circulars for discounts and coupons on items that you use everyday. Office Depot sends me coupons to get printer cartridge at 20% off. Over a year, that saves me $50.

Many food products will give you half off or buy one get one free coupons. If the food product that you eat does not offer any specials, maybe you need to try their competitor that do. Using coupons on a regular basis can save you 10-20% off of your monthly food expenses.

A lot of large food chains like Kroger’s, Pathmark, and Tom Thumb’s have a shopping rewards club that you can join. When you buy a selected item, the savings will be automatically deducted at the register. While you are shopping you will see labels on the counter on which items are having savings. You can buy $100 worth of food to have it reduced to $89 after they swipe your rewards club at the register.

Department stores like Macy’s and Dillard’s have coupons as well in your Sunday paper. Selected items by brand name designers will be discounted from 25% to 50% off. This is helpful for back to school shopping. There are certain days that specials are done, like one day shopping specials. These are done on a slow day like Tuesday to get traffic to come to the store. If you do not look through the circular, you may miss when the one day special is. You will buy a pair of jeans on Wednesday for $75 that you could have gotten for $50 the day before.

Many sit down restaurants and fast food franchises are using coupons also. With tight competition and people eating out less, they are promoting more specials for you to come by and eat. If you do not know about the specials, they will not tell you when you get your bill.

So clip out your coupons, calculate your savings, and make sure you pay attention to the expiration date of the coupon so you don’t miss the boat.

Buy Bulk – Now that we are on the subject of saving money when you shop for food, the next step for you to do is to get a club card from Costco and Sam’s Club.

One thing I know is for sure is that you will always eventually run out of tissue. Instead of running to the store to buy two rolls, why not buy 50 rolls?

That is the concept of buying bulk. You can stock up on items that are necessities like paper towels, water, and condiments. You will save more over the long term because you have bought the items in larger quantities at a wholesale price. You can also buy other items at Costco and Sam’s Club like electronic equipment, hardware, and even tires. Because they buy large quantities from vendors, they are able to pass the saving on to you, the consumer.

Other tips on Balling on a Budget

– Never buy a luxury car new

– Buy floor model furniture and tv’s

– Use travel sites

– Go to lounges instead of clubs

– Eat out less per month, bring your lunch to work

– Shop around, compare costs

– Go to less movies and sporting events, go to more free places like parks, museums, and libraries

– Cancel memberships and subscriptions that you don’t use

– Combine your phone, cable and internet bills into one/use less features

– Avoid paying bank fees

– Don’t buy the latest fad!!

7 Good Reasons Why You Must Travel Far and Wide

Pick up a world atlas or simply browse one online. Turn to the map of your state or province and see how small your area is compared to the whole state. Now, go to a map of your country and while your area may disappear, your “big” state or province becomes a small part of the country. Continue to a map of your continent. This time you may not find your state or province, and your “big” country becomes a small part of your continent. To finish, turn to the map of the world and what do you notice? Your country may not disappear, but your “big” continent becomes a “fraction” of the world.

This exercise demonstrates that you enlarge more and more your worldview as and when you travel far and wide.

The headline events of the past century and especially the explosion of the internet in the last decades have made you aware of the diversity of the world. However, no matter how well-informed you are about the world from your couches or armchairs, nothing beats jaunts to those places for firsthand experiences.

So in the following headings, we are going to see some reasons why you must travel a lot.

1. You get not only to know but also experience great places

The media (newspaper, radio, television, the Internet), people and books show and tell you about great places. But only through travelling can you get to really “feel” the world’s great places like the Hawa Mahal at Jaipur, in the State of Rajastan, India; Venice (Italy) with its gondoliers and their crafts on the many waterways; the Pyramid of the sun at San Juan Teotihuacan, not far from Mexico City (Mexico); Downtown Casablanca (Morocco), the chief port, with the Place Lyautey in the foreground; Mt. Cook, New Zealand’s highest Peak, and the Southern Alps seen across Lake Matheson, on the South Island; the American Falls at Niagara Falls, New York; and a typical mosque in Port of Spain (Trinidad & Tobago).

2. You get to know many different people, and as they really are

Travelling is a great way to widen your circle of friends and increase your understanding of others.

My many travels have enabled me to make lots of intimate friends in many countries of the world. The close relationships we have couldn’t have been possible otherwise.

While living in Africa I hardly came into contact with white people (and never even thought of it) because we lived in different communities inherited from colonialism. But when I went to Germany for instance, I made many friends with whom I shared many loved moments. This made my perception of white people as aloof or all racist to crumble.

Some time ago, I watched a TV documentary of a French television crew which went to Mali (Africa) to film an illiterate mechanic completely dismantle an old car’s engine, repair it and assemble it again. As the roaring car disappeared into the fading distance, they concluded that the African was also capable of technological and technical achievements.

Many such instances exist to tear down barriers built by false perceptions and make people appreciate each other.

3. You get to experience more cultures and customs, and be better able to relate to different people

I once paid a visit to a friend in a rural zone in the north of Ghana, a neighbouring country. As custom demands, he had to take me to all the members of his extended family. I was surprised to have us well served at the first place. But greater was my surprise to be equally well welcomed at the other two places. We came back to my friend’s house with him disappointed with me and me too full and a big angry with him for not even giving me a hint about what to expect.

In effect, in my friend’s area it is an obligation to serve a visitor food and an honour when the visitor eats well. So I did honour to the first home and less so to the second. However my inability to eat at the third was viewed as my not appreciating their meal and my decision to cut the visits short a disgrace to my friend with his family members.

This custom exists in my area to some extent. Any visitor must be offered water to drink before asking them the reason for their visit. But you are not obliged to drink some or all of the water if you don’t feel like it. You simply take a sip or touch the container (cup, calabash, etc.) and your behavior will not be interpreted as snobbery. But to say no is tantamount to “insulting” your host.

4. You widen your horizon

An American friend came to visit me in Togo and I took him to Région des Plateaux, the famed tourist centre of my country. This is also the agricultural zone of Togo. We visited a farm where one can buy fruits harvested right before one.

“Is this a real pineapple?” my friend asked, staring strangely at the fruit the farmer had sliced from the plant and handed to him.

“Why?” I asked in surprise.

“It wasn’t harvested from a big tree,” he said lamely.

I laughed my head off.

“For its size and weight, I thought pineapples grew on trees,” flushed, my friend explained.

The curious farmer laughed his head off too when I explained our conversation to him. He offered to show my friend pineapple plants at various stages of development.

In the same way, you love mutton but I think you will appreciate it more when you visit a sheep herding region in Australia, for instance; the same is true for cotton clothes when you visit the cotton farms of Sao Paulo in Brazil; coffee when you see farmers drying coffee under the tropical sun in Colombia; chocolate when you witness farmers removing the nuts from the pods (the first stage of processing chocolate) at a cocoa plantation in Côte d’Ivoire (West Africa); canned pineapples when you see pineapples on their way to the cannery in Puerto Rico, etc.

5. You experience another environment

Germany was the first European country I had visited. My ardent desire in winter was to see, and especially experience, snow. One dark winter night, an excited friend called to tell me snow was falling. I jumped out of bed, rushed outside and arms outstretched tried to catch the flakes falling from the sky. A passing German couple walking their dog flashed me amused smiles.

While I hate the “harmattan,” the dry hot wind which blows from the Sahara right down to the coast of West Africa, bringing a lot of dust and making the mornings and evenings chilly and the day scorching, a French expatriate friend found it exotic because of the fog it brings in the morning and the hue in the evening.

6. You live “great” world history

You may feel awe on hearing about (from a person or on the radio) or seeing (in the newspaper, on the television or the Internet) the pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal of India, the ancient buildings (castles, cathedrals, chateau) of Europe, museums, the castles of West Africa (slave history), the plantations of America (slave history), monasteries, and the great standing tree sculptures of the Indians of America, but a visit to the places where they are found is a totally different experience.

7. You get hospitable climates

Well-to-do people in tropical climates often go overseas when the hot climate becomes torrid and it is not a secret for anybody that people in temperate climates also rush to places where they can enjoy the sun and the warm sea.

There are many other reasons why people should travel far and wide. But I think these 7 are enough to let you pack your luggage if you had never gone on a journey or pick up your baggage again soon if you have been on one.

You don’ have the money to travel?

Maybe you are not working yet (you’re a student or out of work) or you don’t earn much so you cannot go on a journey. Don’t worry. You can earn it through simple work from home opportunities you can do in your spare time. These include data entry, taking surveys, signing up for affiliate businesses, doing MLM, network marketing, freelance writing, call centre agent, etc.

Wondering where to stay?

Accommodation comes in all sizes and prices. The resource box below gives you a place to turn to when looking for a place to stay which suits your circumstances and your budget. The company cited has rooms for you at all destinations in the world.