Saving Money and Killing Debt Starts at Home


Far too often, debt is linked to a lack of income. That is hardly the case in most instances.

If you take a long look at your budget and what your expenses are, you’ll see that a lot of it is tied to day to day living, something as mundane and inconsequentially supposedly as a cup of coffee to examining your mortgage and how much you’re paying on a monthly basis.

The mortgage often is the biggest culprit, and it starts during the prequalifying offer you’ll get in the form of a max amount you can borrow.

Why exactly would you want to max out your borrowing capacity when it comes to buying a home?

The idea behind a mortgage as it relates to saving money is to have a monthly payment that doesn’t leave you nearly broke. Some say your mortgage payment shouldn’t be any larger than half of your gross income in two weeks of work. Others have tried to keep their housing payment as low as possible by simply going more economical when they buy. No matter which way you sway, staying well under that borrowing dollar figure that you’re pre qualified for is a smart financial decision. Once the newness of the house wears off and that large payment settles in, you’ll regret it immediately as you write that mortgage check every month.

In addition, you an always work diligently to cut down on your expenses at home, starting with the most obvious and least needed culprit: cable television. Not far behind, however, is your cell phone bill and that data plan.

Cable costs the average consumer nearly $2,000 per year. That money can be offset by simply signing up for Netflix or Hulu or taking advantage of new channels such as CBS and Showtime that want to give you access to their programming, a la carte style, for a monthly feel so you can pick and choose what you want to watch.

Seems like the days of paying for cable television on that level are coming to an end, but the issue is the lack of willingness of customers to change; they simply accept the fact that cable is a necessary expense. It isn’t.

Finally, convenience often is king, and that pertains to eating out for dinner, even if it is fast food, rather than cooking at home. Continually break in that kitchen on a regular basis, and you’ll save nearly $1,000 per year on food cost, enough to put in your savings account and build that nest egg you’ll eventually need.

The whole idea behind saving is to avoid borrowing, and that can be accomplished within the confines of the four walls you call home.

Satisfied customers: Why online coupons make consumers happy

Research is a thing of beauty. No matter what the subject matter at hand, you always get quite the viewpoint on, well, just about any topic that typically leads to discussion.

Including the use of online coupons.

That’s right, those online coupons and the sites that work directly with retailers and offer online coupon codes are actually responsible for making you happy.
A recent study showed that consumers who use online coupons and sites that deal directly in codes are nearly 40% happier while shopping versus those who don’t use the sites or perhaps still have a propensity to shop in the more traditional manner.

Seriously, though, who still likes the idea of clipping coupons the old fashioned way, particularly when you have sites like and that offer a slew of online promotions and deals that save you more than the paper copy variety, and make online shopping even easier than it already is?

And isn’t that really what consumers want?

Of course, any customer will tell you that they don’t walk into a store or buy online hoping to pay full price. The penchant for practicing the art of saving money is more important now than ever, what with even 30 something year olds worried about retirement and not having the means to do so at a reasonable age.

Saving money is paramount, so naturally online coupons and codes tend to push to the forefront when you’re about to buy a gift or start your holiday shopping. The real benefit of online coupons is not only the money saved, dollar earned or whatever phrase helps you sleep at night, but also the notion that you can save money, shop from home and have a variety of coupons from which to choose.

Far too often, coupons and savings are dictated in a manner that is take what you can get from only certain retailers. The beauty of, for instance,, is that you can search out which retailer you want and get more than just one coupon that is a take it or leave it endeavor.

Online codes often go above and beyond the norm, too, as far as the percentage off or dollar amount saved.

Simply put, the advantage of online coupons is vast, whether it is free shipping or the ability to compare the best deals for a retailer on coupon sites vying for your point and click.  The practicality of online coupons is you don’t have to lug around the paper version and are just a few steps away from buying what you want, when you want, at the deal you want from the comfort of your couch.

And, like studies show, you’ll be happier doing it.

Line by Line: Why exactly can’t we stick to budget?


How often do you hear someone clamor on about just how easy it is to stick to a budget?

In the simplest form, the budget is nothing more than tracking what you spend versus what you make, plain and simple. Budgeting really is not made to be complicated but truthfully taking your expenses and making sure that number is less than what you make, whether that means cutting your cable cord, saying so long to your data plan or eliminating that shopping spree you’ve allowed yourself to enjoy on a regular basis at your favorite department store isn’t quite as simple as some make it.

Yes, you can just go ahead and start hacking away, and that can get you so far, but what if there isn’t enough money coming in as far as income goes? Can you really begin to even contemplate saving money if you’re not making enough to pay even the essentials? At that point, the budget process is tossed aside quickly and with extreme prejudice and you instead decide to scrimp and save where you can and simply wait to pay bills when you have the money, which leads to lower than average credit scores and a reputation that lenders don’t exactly love to see.

Another budget breakdown that you often can’t account for are expenses that you really don’t take into consideration. That two a day coffee habit, stopping for lunch every day and spending money on something as simple as a newspaper or candy bar can lead to thousands of dollars spent per year and even as much as hundreds per month. Ask yourself, how often do you eat out at restaurants, is it breakfast, lunch and dinner some days, and if so, do you realize that accounts for nearly $500 per month in added expense?

When a particular bill or expense, like a gym membership or cable, goes up due to rate hike or added services, do you pay attention to that? Do you adjust your budget? Chances are, you don’t.

Not sticking to a budget is nothing new, but it also isn’t beyond the realm of expectation to not have one at all simply because you haven’t the slightest idea where to start. Sure, a budget can be set up rather easily but staying the course and examining it beyond the norm or not taking into consideration a lack of income or literally all the purchases and expenses you have daily is going to translate into a lot of effort and very little results or outcome as it relates to being able to save money or plan financially for any sort of future.

Asking To Double Stack

The coupons that have the most printed value are the ones that are worth the most to you, right?  Wrong!  Most retail grocery stores, including Kroger and Safeway brands, will typically double any $0.50 coupon you have to a full dollar and you don’t even have to ask.  Why would they do that?  The inventory records aren’t kept down to cents, just dollars so the rationale of making a coupon-using customer happy in exchange for “found cents” is always going to be worth it.

So where are the best places to score these fifty cent coupons?  In addition to the inserts in your local newspapers, these coupons can be found from sites like Redplum,, and RetailMeNot.  A good trick to using sites like Google or Yahoo is to run a query like inurl:fifty coupon storename so something like inurl:fifty coupon aldi and that will return pages that have to have the word fifty in the url so there will be a greater likelihood of finding these magic coupons.  The downside of this approach, though, is that a lot of coupons may be expired since Google and Yahoo don’t care about providing date-sensitive results.