Tag Archives: friday

Frugal Friday: Diversifying Your Income

This is my life now. It's a little nuts, but that's ok.

This is my life now. It’s a little nuts, but that’s ok.

How fancy does “diversifying your income” sound? Super fancy, huh? Like I should be looking at you from over my Wall Street Journal while sipping tea on my veranda?! Yeah, super fancy.

A lot of times people talk about stocks and bonds and diversifying your portfolio, but diversifying your income doesn’t have to be fancy. (Although we all should have some investments.) This semester I took on a teaching gig where twice a week I teach students about “how to succeed in college.” It has been a lot of work, but rewarding mentally and emotionally. It also helps that I get paid extra to do it!

There’s all kinds of ways to diversify your income from taking surveys, to babysitting to cleaning. I know we all have full plates but sometimes taking on those extra streams of income will get us to our financial goals much faster.

How do you diversify your income? Let me know in the comments!

love (and happy Friday!),
melanie

Frugal Friday: Bang for Your Buck

Dollar photo c/o Wikimedia Commons.

Dollar photo c/o Wikimedia Commons.

I’m a little late on my Frugal Friday post today. I was feeling a bit uninspired. Sometimes saving money is not so fun. It’s easy to think, well, it’s just a dollar (or 5 dollars or 20 dollars) I’ll spend it on this random thing that gives me instant pleasure. But we all know that instant pleasure isn’t going to help us meet our goals. It’s so much harder to see how much bang one buck can really make.

I stumbled upon this article today from The Morning News and it snapped me back into saving mode. The article, Bang for Your Buck, interviewed two dozen people and asked them what they would do with one dollar. The answers were inspiring. I’ve never thought about a simple dollar could transform into perennial vegetables, an adventure or help for a girl in West Bengal.

I feel so much more inspired in my money saving journey and thinking twice about my “Well, it’s just a dollar…” excuse.

Happy weekend!
love,
melanie

Frugal Friday: Use Little Reminders to Encourage Saving Money

I wrapped a picture of this little cottage around my credit and debit cards. It's kind of my dream house! Found via Tumble Weed Houses.

I wrapped a picture of this little cottage around my credit and debit cards. It’s kind of my dream house! Found via Tumble Weed Houses.

One of my favorite tips for long-term saving is to keep little reminders of my savings goals in convenient places. When I was saving for our trip to Key West, I wrapped a picture of the beach around my debit and credit card to guilt me into spending less.

Just yesterday, I printed out a picture of a small home and wrapped it around my cards to remind me of my savings end goal. Since saving for a home is such a large goal, I want to create constant reminders to help me stay on the savings bandwagon.

I’ve changed my computer’s background image to a picture of the mountains– where we’d love to have a little cottage (or cabin!). And I also love this idea via Two Cents of creating a paper chain to represent debt. Each time $100 is paid off, a link is removed. I don’t have the room for a giant paper chain in the Airstream, but I’m brainstorming ways to visually remind myself of my ultimate goal of owning a house.

Have you ever created little reminders to help you reach a goal? Let me know about it in the comments!

love (and happy 4th!),
melanie

Frugal Friday: How to Keep New Hobbies Cheap!

Knitting is one of my hobbies.

Knitting is one of my hobbies.

I can be a bit of a hobby addict. I love learning new things, exploring new crafts and discovering ways to use up all that free time I have 😉 But learning and exploring new hobbies can be expensive! I recently took up gardening and I was intimidated by how expensive gardening supplies can be. Here’s some tips I’ve learned to keep it frugal while exploring a new hobby.

  1. Don’t buy any expensive tools until you know if you like it!
    I’m all about buying quality items, but until you find out if you like the hobby, borrow a friend’s tools or buy used supplies.  Thrift stores, for example, can be a treasure chest of knitting supplies. After all, you might end up hating underwater basket weaving!
  2. Pick a cheap(er) hobby
    Let’s be honest, some hobbies are cheaper than others. I recently took up hiking which is good for my body and completely free! Something like horse riding on the other hand would be a bit more pricey. I’m not saying that you should totally give up on your more expensive hobbies, if you can fit it in your budget, but if you are looking to take up a hobby, I’d seriously consider a free hobby over a pricey one!
  3. Make your hobby useful
    My favorite kind of hobbies are those that are useful. I recently learned how to knit and I love giving my knitting as gifts. If your relatives are sick of getting scarves as gifts, consider selling your wares. A little side business could actually help your wallet and help balance out some of the expenses of your hobby.
  4. Lost interest in your hobby?
    There’s always those hobbies that we think that we’ll love and we end up hating. If you’ve lost interest in your hobby, consider selling your supplies to friends, family or through Craigslist. There’s no need to have that weaving kit taking up room in your closet!

Hobbies are important. They give us an emotional and creative outlet that reduces stress and keeps our minds sharp! But there’s no need to spend an arm and a leg on hobbies either. Let’s keep it cheap!

Got any ways to save money on hobbies? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

love,
melanie

Frugal Fridays: The Magic of a Dollar Store

c/o Wikimedia Commons

c/o Wikimedia Commons

I recently popped by my local dollar store to purchase hand sanitizer for work. I was never one to use hand sanitizer until I started working in a school. Believe me when I say the germs are out there and crawling all over public computers. Hand sanitizer is a necessity now.

I had totally forgotten about the magic that is a dollar store. My dollar store was chock full of goodies and it reminded me of how wonderful it is knowing that literally everything in the store is a dollar. Along with the hand sanitizer, I also picked up brand name Airbourne! That stuff sells in a drug store for almost $10! I also picked up canned pizza sauce, olives and banana peppers. I was tempted to pick up another set of wine glasses because the only ones that have endured my clumsiness have been the ones from the dollar store! Man, those things are hefty. Since my local dollar store is right across the street from Target (my budget’s nemesis) I’ll definitely be stopping there first before making any more purchases from the ol’ bulls eye.

Do you ever shop at a dollar store? Did anyone ever see the short-lived cooking show, Fabulously Frugal Feasts that used only food from the Dollar Store? It was pretty spectacular.

Have a beautiful weekend!

love,
melanie

Frugal Friday: Change The Way You Speak about Money

I’ve been pushing myself to learn more about how our mindsets and sometimes even our language affects our spending. The psychology of why we spend is so fascinating! On the way to visit my parents last weekend, I serendipitously heard this story on the TED Radio Hour. The speaker, Keith Chen argues that language can positively or negatively affect the way people spend or save money. People whose language uses the future tense are more likely to be spenders and people whose language do not use the future tense, like Japanese, are more likely to be savers. You can listen to the whole TED talk above.

What are your reactions to the talk? Will you change the way you talk about money? Let me know in the comments! And happy Friday!

love,
melanie

Frugal Friday: Check for a Coupon!

Photo c/o OOingle.com. Released through CC licensing.

Photo c/o OOingle.com. Released through CC licensing.

Although I’d rather not coupon for food (check out what I do instead), I do love to coupon for other items I might need. My favorite crafts stores, Michaels and Hobby Lobby and one of my favorite department stores, JC Penney ALWAYS has coupons on their website. (You guys, JC Penney has definitely stepped up their game lately.) There’s also a boat load of coupon clipping sites out there like Retail Me Not and Coupons.com. I don’t use clipping sites as often because in my opinion they can be cumbersome, time consuming  and a little spammy. The company’s site usually works just fine.

Michael, Hobby Lobby and JC Penney all accept online coupons, so all I have to remember is my phone! No clipping coupons or forgetting them at home! I don’t buy things just to buy them, but when I do even a savings of a couple dollars is helpful.

Do you remember to check for coupons before you check out? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie