Budgeting, Money Management, Saving

Save Money at the Gas Pump

Rising Gas Prices

We have all noticed in the past week how much gas prices have gone up. It hasn’t been this high since 2008, and frankly, we are not liking it. With the everyday stress of trying to save money and pay off bills, while staying out of debt, an increase in gas prices isn’t good for our wallets. Unfortunately, we cannot change the prices, but we can alleviate some of the burden by a few simple adjustments to our lifestyle.

Driving Alternatives

If you are fortunate enough to live in the city, you can get anywhere by foot, taxi, bus, subway, etc. Take advantage of these options when you need to get somewhere. Even in more rural areas, public transportation is still available. If you don’t want to resort to these, then try carpooling. You won’t only save on gas and money, but you’ll get a chance to catch up with friends/colleagues/family.

Don’t make unnecessary trips

Instead of going to the grocery store after work every day, simply go once a week and stock up. You can also make dinner at home instead of going out to eat. You won’t only save on gas, but you will save on money from the added expense of fancy dining.

Opt for a car that is good on gas mileage

If you are in the market for a new car, consider buying a hybrid or one that has good MPG (miles per gallon). There are SUV’s out there now that offer decent MPG if you need the extra room that a sedan or compact car can’t offer.

Do your research

It is so easy to go online or download an app that will provide you with the cheapest gas prices in your area. Instead of going to the same gas station all the time, shop around for the best deal out there. A few cents here and there might not sound worth it, but over time those pennies will accumulate and you will be glad you put in the extra effort.

Ride your bike whenever possible

This is not only a great alternative to driving your own car or using public transportation, but you will be doing something good for the environment. You will also get some exercise and maybe even reduce some stress! Who knew going green could be so easy?

Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

    Full Name (required)

    Email (required)

    Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

    Type the code below in the text box. (required)
    captcha


    ​Read More
    Budgeting, Holiday Tips, Money Management, Saving

    Loving on a Budget for Valentine’s Day

    You and Your Valentine’s Budget

    The day is quickly approaching. If you have been procrastinating on getting your sweetheart a gift, totally forgot, or feel like you don’t have the money to spoil your loved one, you still have some time before the big day. Remember, it’s the thought that counts, so as long as you put a little bit of time and effort into it, you should have your loved one feeling like the luckiest person in the world.

    A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

    With the ease of taking your photos on your computer and saving them to a memory card, you have no excuse to say you don’t have time for this. Pick some funny/romantic/memorable photos of the times you have shared together, save to your memory card, and head to the nearest photo kiosk at Walmart, Target or CVS. You can upload your photos to create a personalized card or a photo book. Most places can do this in an hour or less, and you will have a one-of-a-kind gift to give.

    Chocolate….need I say more?

    Who doesn’t love chocolate? Unless you are allergic–then I understand, but if you’re not, then…well…I’ve got nothing. Chocolate releases endorphins that make you happy, and who doesn’t want to make their partner happy? There are so many different chocolates out there to choose from, try to go for something a little unique. If it’s a little pricey, maybe opt for the smaller package, or just get a few pieces for your loved one to try. It isn’t everyday they get to indulge on fine chocolates, so it will be sweetly memorable.

    See’s Candies, Ghiradelli and Godiva,

    “Love” Coupon Book

    Pamper your loved one. A great idea is to create a personalized coupon book. You can have coupons such as: good for one half-hour massage, breakfast in bed, movie night or dinner of your choice, a big smooch, etc. Tailor the coupons to what you know your partner will actually enjoy. This is probably one of my favorite ideas out there, because not only are you showing how much you care, but it allows you to spend more quality time with your loved one, not just on Valentine’s Day.

    Here are some pre-made coupons that you can print out: Free Love Coupons

    Romantic Dinner

    You don’t have to go out to a fancy restaurant to have a romantic evening. Cook your partner their favorite meal, and have a nice quiet evening at home. You can set the mood with candles and music, and avoid the hustle and bustle of finding parking. You can also buy their favorite wine, make dessert, and serve your special someone as if they were in a fancy restaurant. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so ladies; this might be the perfect way to celebrate this year.

    The Food Network Valentine’s Day: Cooking for Two

    There are many way to show someone you love them without breaking the bank. Just remember that as long as it is special and coming from your heart, your valentine will appreciate the time and effort you put into it. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Valentine’s Day! Go out there and spread the love!

    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

      Full Name (required)

      Email (required)

      Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

      Type the code below in the text box. (required)
      captcha


      ​Read More
      Credit Cards, Debit & Your Credit Score, Goals, Investing, Money Management, Personal Goals, Saving

      Setting Good Financial Goals

      S.M.A.R.T Financial Goals

      If you are keeping up with the Newsletters, you know that last week we decided to open up the New Year by presenting you with the “S.M.A.R.T.” tactic; a great tool that you can use as a guide when setting your goals for 2011

      The aim is to set good financial goals.  You will want to write them down, consolidate and refine them, prioritize them, make them measurable, and keep them visible.  Set good goals and keep them in front of you—you’ll be surprised at how much more productive and focused you’ll feel as you start living with a clearer purpose.

      The second common denominator of all good financial plans is a spending plan (i.e., budget). You may not like it, but it’s an absolutely essential tool for everyone.  Without a spending plan, you cannot implement saving and investing strategies because you don’t know if you have any extra money to save or invest.

      Keep an eye out for next week’s newsletter about priorities!

      Financial GoalsTip

      Don’t procrastinate!  Just sit down and get started.  It does not have to be perfect, nor does it need to be complete.  You will find things along the way that will need to be added and/or changed; that is ok. The most important thing is that you make a set PLAN.

      “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.”

      Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

        Full Name (required)

        Email (required)

        Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

        Type the code below in the text box. (required)
        captcha


        ​Read More
        Holiday Tips, Money Management, Saving

        Saving Money During the Holidays

        Holiday Money Saving Tips

        The holiday season is officially here! While money is tight for many of us this year, there are some ways to save a little bit of money.

        Reuse wrapping paper and gift bags

        Even though it’s too late now to go back and save the wrapping paper and gift bags from earlier in the year (although you can start saving this Christmas/Hannakuh for next year!), recycle the wrappings from any gifts you get between now and the holiday from work parties or friendly gift exchanges. Sometimes even the bag from the store in which you purchased the item can be fancied up with a little tissue paper and ribbon!

        Get creative with your wrapping paper

        When I was little, my mom would wrap presents in the comics from the newspaper. If you don’t get the newspaper, you can always use magazine pages, decorated paper bags, or by decorating computer paper or butcher paper if you have access to some.

        Give homemade gifts

        This is especially appropriate for co-workers and/or a boss. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t enjoy getting some homemade baked goodies! Parents and grandparents also love homemade crafts from their children, especially if there is a picture of the child involved (such as a frame ornament made out of popsicle sticks) or the child’s handprint. For tons of great ideas for things that children can create, visit Amazing Moms.

        Christmas Postcards

        Postcards require less postage to mail, and spread holiday cheer just as well!

        Use a Smartphone App

        Check out apps such as ShopSavvy or Coupon Online Codes, both free. ShopSavvy allows you to scan the barcode of a particular item and then tell you where else it is being sold (including online) and how much it costs, saving you a considerable amount of driving all over town to compare prices. Coupon Online Codes allows you to search hundreds of retailers for coupon codes to use towards your online purchase.

        Give up Starbucks

        If you cut out your coffee, lunches, and dinners out for a month, the extra money can be put towards gifts at the end of the month. You can do it – it’s only a month!

        Split the Cost of Gifts

        For example, go in with your siblings to purchase something for your parents. Chances are that you can get a decent gift for less of a contribution than you would have shelled out on your own.

        Set a Dollar limit

        Talk with your family members/co-workers/friends ahead of time and agree on a set amount that you will spend on each other. This way, everyone knows what to expect and no one has to worry about “outspending” anyone else.

         

        Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

          Full Name (required)

          Email (required)

          Are you a current client of Christian Credit Counselors? (required)

          Type the code below in the text box. (required)
          captcha


          ​Read More