September 2009 - Posts - The Dollar Stretcher
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The Dollar Stretcher blog will explore people and money.

September 2009 - Posts

  • Food Savings Can Be BIG Savings

    Often I'm asked where is the best place to try to reduce spending. And, my answer is always the same. You'll probably spend the most on housing and transportation. But, the best opportunity to affect your expenses is in the area of food and groceries.

    That's true for 2 reasons. First, because most families spend a lot on food. Generally between 15 and 20%. So, if you're able to save, it's enough to make a difference.

    Second, because you're making purchasing decisions often. Not just the trips to the grocery store, but decisions on using restraurants and daily snacks and workplace food purchases. So there's many opportunities to save.

    Finally, the savings doesn't have to negatively impact your lifestyle. Skipping the takeout window could actually make your life better.

    To help you reduce your food/grocery bills we've accumulated a variety of resources (and we're working on more). The "Groceries and Food" section of the library contains dozens of helpful articles.

    You'll find free downloadable price book pages that you can print out at home. Or if you prefer to use something fancier there's a nice little iPhone price book app.

    And don't forget to use your coupons. We have printable coupons available from Smart Source  and from MySavings.

    Using a variety of techniques we hear of readers who have reduce their grocery bill by 20%. That would be the equivalent of reducing your overall expenses by 4%. And, that's a major savings!

    Keep on Stretching those Dollars!


  • Dreams and Goals

     If you ask people what the word 'dreams' means you'll probably get two different definitions. The first will be practical. It'll relate to what our mind does while we're asleep. I freely admit to knowing almost nothing about those dreams.

    The second will relate to what we commonly think of as 'daydreams'. Those I'm a little more familiar with. To me a daydream is thinking about something that you'd like to see happen. It could be something big or something small. It might be easy to make the daydream a reality. Or it could be something that's highly unlikely to happen in our lifetime.

    But regardless of what forms daydreams take, I believe that they're good for us. They give us a chance to think beyond ourselves. An opportunity to consider how our life could be different (and quite possibly better).

    That's another reason why I believe in goals. It seems to me that goals are a little bit like dreams taken a step further. A daydream isn't fully formed. But a goal is. It has been thought out. Plans have been made. A commitment, too. In short, you've decided to make that dream into a reality. And, the goal is just a step along the way.

    So enjoy your daydreams. Savor them. Some might even make good goals for you.

    This post originally appeared in Financial Independence. FI is a daily message designed to help people take control of their financial lives. To find out more check out the Financial Independence page.

    Posted Sep 03 2009, 02:53 PM by Gary with no comments
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  • Does Money Make You Mad?

    Does anger ever cause you to go shopping? After a fight with a spouse or co-worker do you ever spend money impulsively? Almost as if you're going to show them something?

    If so, you'll want to go back and consider what was happening with a few purchases. Often an argument will make us feel a specific emotional need. For instance, if we feel that our boss doesn't value us we may feel that we need to prove to him and the world that we indeed valuable. One way to do that is to purchase something flashy and expensive. I bet quite a few dresses and cars have been bought in just that way!

    The sad thing is that the purchase will not prove our value. To ourselves or anyone else. It's only a temporary feeling that quickly dissolves after the shopping and purchasing are over. Then we're left with the same feeling of not being valued plus the credit card bill or car payment. And, that can even make us feel less valuable.

    If you notice a pattern of angry spending you'll want to take care of it. Perhaps even seek professional help. At the very least know the pattern and have a plan for stopping it as soon as you recognize what's happening.

    Keep on Stretching those Dollars!


    This post originally appeared in Financial Independence. FI is a daily message designed to help people take control of their financial lives. To find out more check out the Financial Independence page.


    Posted Sep 02 2009, 11:24 AM by Gary with no comments
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Gary is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who edits The Dollar Stretcher website <www.stretcher.com> and newsletters. You can follow Gary on Twitter.com/gary_foreman
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