Wednesday, December 31, 2014


- Avoid borrowing from your credit card or bank if it is not really necessary. Especially for buying things that are not necessary and beyond your budget.  I understand the joy of shopping, but it comes with a price and it can be addictive too! It is a bad habit that can be dangerous especially when you spend with the money you don't have.

- Consider before buying anything. I always ask myself: do I really need this? Am I going to use or wear it? If the answer is not definite yes, I won't buy it.

- Keep all the receipts and take notes of how much you have spent. Checking your expense every week is better than every month because if you overspend, you can stop it while it is still under control.

 - Put aside some money every month however little it is.

- Set a budget of your expense. Setting a limit of how much you spend for food, clothes, mortgage, gas, etc is important.

- Read your bill and set auto bill pay to pay off your credit a few days before the credit is due.

7. Saving in Food

 - Buy in bulk or big quantity whatever you eat a lot if possible. Many things are cheaper if you buy them in bulk. For instance, I always buy rice in 25 or 50 pounds bag because I eat rice quite often. Therefore I don't need to go buy them often and it is much cheaper. It seems like I have to pay more at first, but in the end I would save money.

 - It also makes a difference to buy what are on sale and in season. Because most of the fruits or/and vegetables that are in season are abundant in market  and usually on sale.

 - Buy ready-made food. Do you want a nice dinner but don't want to cook so much. Most dinner cost from above $10 per person. Why not buy a ready made food from Trader Joe's or get a takeout? You can combine it with your own cooking. For instance, recently I combine ready made chicken teriyaki with rice or potatoes and steamed broccoli and corn. One package of Chicken teriyaki ($4.99) can be extended into 4 dinners or even 6 lunches.

 - Cook your own meal. You know what you put in your food and how you want to cook it. It is easy to learn how to cook. All you need is an interest to have fun doing it.

Cooking is basically mixing 3 things together: main ingredient (meat and/or vegetables), spices, and cooking oil. The subtle things you need to learn is how to mix the right ingredients with the right spices in the right way. If you do it for the first time, try a simple recipe. And don't get discouraged if it doesnt turn out so well. Simply try again. Nowadays I like my own cooking compared to the food from a restaurant. Because I know what I put in there and I can cook it the way I want it. You also don't need to tip anyone, eat at your leisure, and... you can put your feet up while enjoying your meal! Sometimes I go out too to a restaurant. For special occasion like birthday or get together with friends in a chilly day in winter. I usually go to an Indian buffet restaurant, because I can enjoy food that I cannot or would not make it myself.

-  Grow your own produce is very good, especially if you enjoy gardening and eating organic food. Gardening is good for your body and soul, also benefit your pocket. : )

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

6. Get only what you need.

Now sometimes you have to ask yourself: do I really need more? Do I really really need it? If you can not answer with definite yes, this is what I've been looking for and I really need it for this and that, it is a sign for you to let that thing go. Even if it is inexpensive or free. The clue is  YOU DON'T NEED IT!

How many clothes, shoes, perfumes, bags, tools or gadgets do you really need? Some people have so many stuff that they don't even know many of what they have, let alone wear or use them all. Not to mention, you need to provide lots of space to keep them all. Some of you even need to rent a storage unit. It's a pity that you pay for somethings that you don't use! All just because you cannot let go.

I used to buy clothes/pants for using them later. Not a good idea! We change. Our size changes.  I have several new pants that I bought in Asia. I bought those so I have some new ones ready when I need them. At least that's what I thought. But.... when I want to wear them, they are too small! Darn! I have thought about keeping them so I can wear them after doing lots of exercise and slim down to my previous year soze. Never going to happen! Plus by the time it happens, those clothes/pants are out of style already.

However there are certain things that you can have more than one just in case. Shoes. If there are shoes that you LOVE and wear all the times! Buy another pairs! Your feet are more likely stay in the same size. Towel maybe in the same case. But don't overdo it! Towel usually lasts a long time. And one towel can last 1 year. So 1or 2 extras would be enough.

Monday, December 29, 2014

5. Get what you need from thrift store(s), donation,  friends/neighbors or swap. 

The first good reason for doing it is reusing whatever it is that is still good to be used and save those that otherwise got thrown away and fill up the waste mountain. However you need to be selective, get good quality of clothes and product. Household stuff can be very useful too. The fun thing of shopping at a thrift store is you can find all various kinds of style. As a person with small size body, it's easier to find the right size at a thrift store rather than at a commercial dept store. especially in America where many people are commonly big.

The second good reason is if you are bored with your clothes, or if your clothes get stained or damaged, you won't feel so bad to toss it away because you didn't pay so much for it in the first place.

You might also want to watch out for some stuff put out (for recycle) by your neighbor(s) or other people (in the neighborhoods). Many people put out what they don't need in their front public lawn (many with a note that it's free -- that means anyone can take it). A dresser, an air conditioning unit, a humidifier, or even a table or a kettle. Many are still nice, some you can fix and make them like new again. It might not feel like much, but if you don't need to buy for many things you need, you can save quite a lot. My husband is very good in fixing stuff, and we like reusing stuff. So many of our furnitures are actually from used goods that have been fixed or just reused.

Craigstlist or Recycle Group is a good alternative to look for used or inexpensive stuff. From a pickling jars to a couch or bed sometimes. Though for the last two things, you have to be careful. Make sure they come from a clean home that have no bedbugs! If you are allergic to pets, make sure they come from a no-pet home.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

4. Efficient Transportation. 

Make a list of your groceries ahead of time, plan your day and route for doing everything you need to do that day efficiently can make a difference. If you pick a grocery store and pharmacy close to your work,  you can swing by on your way home. If not, then you can still do a weekly or biweekly grocery day. If you have to drive special to a grocery store everytime you need something, think how much time, gas, and energy you waste.

I usually get my groceries in one store close to my work on my way home on bike, so I don't need to go back there again until another week or even month. I get my other needs from the other store on my walk way to meet my friend. Combining (all possible) tasks within the same route makes everything simpler.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

3. Buy what is on sale and in season. 

Either it is vegetables, groceries, fruits, clothes, or most other things. Most of the time brand is not important. Quality and price is important. I know you say brand means quality! Not necessarily! I have "unknown" brand clothes that have really good quality. Choose what is most reasonable (not necessarily have to be the cheapest one), but choose a product or produce that have good value. And most important, what you can afford.

Now once in a while,  it is more reasonable to buy an expensive product. I know a friend of mine (who is a teacher and has to stand on her feet most day) bought a pair of expensive Morgan shoes because she knows she would wear them every day for maybe 10 years. That is a good purchase. Eventhough she bought them also after knowing that she can afford them.

You also sometimes have to check the price of products or produce in two or three different stores. Sometimes you will find out that one store sells the same product for half price than the others.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

2. Pay off your bills.

It is important to pay off what you owe from your credit card or your other bills (gas and electrics, phone, insurance, and others) before its due date. It is easier to do it by staying within your budget and keeping track of your spending. I always keep the receipts of all my purchases and take notes of how much I spend every week. That's how I know if I overspend my budget and compensate for next week. If you use your credit card, then you can probably keep track of it from the bill. But the bill usually comes monthly, which too late. For myself, I find it quicker if I calculate all of my weekly expense from the receipts.

If you decide to do it from the bill, you can do it every month. But DO read your bill! Your debt won't just go away because you don't see it. Pay off your debt before its due time so you won't have to pay any interest. If you don't pay off what is due, then you will have to pay more from what you spend. Now that is wasting money! You work more to pay for that. The more often you do it, the more you have to pay. The more you have to work just to pay for the interest. All because you're not discipline enough to keep track of your spending and pay your bill. Because you're not discipline enough to stay within your budget or patient enough to wait until you have enough money to spend. The choice is yours. Work more for nothing or get just enough for what you need.