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Frugal Friday

Can you believe that Christmas is less than three months away? I sure can’t! As I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the fact that this year is almost over, I have been giving a lot of thought to coming up with ways to save more money.

Photo Credit: financialsoft

My family has tried various tactics in the past to save a few dollars here and there. But, we have not been successful at saving money on a consistent basis. That is why I have decided to start a new series called Frugal Friday.

For the next 12 weeks, I will post tips and hints that will hopefully save you a little bit of money. Maybe you need to pay off some bills, or you don’t know how you are going to pay for Christmas presents this year. Perhaps you are like me and you are tired of paying full price or too much for some things.

If you knew you could save a few dollars by just doing a couple of simple things, wouldn’t you try it? That is the whole idea behind Frugal Friday. Each post on Friday will show you simple and effective ways to save money. Whether it’s eating out, buying groceries, getting clothes for a lower price, or even lowering your utility bills, you can find easy ways to save.

So, let’s get started! Each week I’ll share an idea or two then offer a “homework” action item to help you put the idea into place. One thing I ask is that you comment on the blog post and let me know how that idea is working for you.

This Week’s Idea

Before you can start saving money you need to know where you are spending it. My husband uses Quicken to keep up with our finances. He is very detailed (he’s a CPA) and has categories for just about everything.

Tracking your expenses for a few weeks will help you get the feel of where your money is really going. Just like writing down what you eat each day when you are trying to lose weight, writing down your expenses can be very eye opening. You should begin to recognize patterns and will be able to see how you are spending your money.

Once you’ve identified where your money is going, then you can determine which areas you need to cut your spending.

Homework

Keep track of your income and expenses for the next few weeks. You don’t need a fancy computer program to do it either. A simple notebook will work just as well. Set up general categories such as food, clothing, mortgage/rent, fuel, and whatever normal monthly expenses you have. Log in your notebook every time you purchase something.

If you do want to try software there are excellent resources available online for free such as Mint.com. Just see what works best for you.

Give it a try! I can’t wait to hear what surprises you will uncover!

Don’t forget to comment on this post and share how this is working for you. I’d also love to hear any ideas you may have about saving money. And, if you have a specific topic you want me to cover, let me know!

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