Tag Archives: saving money

4 Big reasons to fix meals at home instead of eating out

Right now in the US we’re all at a certain level of sheltering in place at home. While we all love to eat out, it might not be as easy to do depending upon your location and what phase of reopening your community is in. So besides the obvious obstacle, what are some other reasons to eat at home or at least put eating at home in a positive light?

Spending some precious quality time with your family.

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

In a lot of homes, family dinner was a thing of the past prior to this global pandemic. We were all just too busy doing other things outside of the home. This can be a good time to reconnect with your family, not just around the dinner table but in the kitchen during meal prep.

So many mothers in particular are sharing their frustration with having to make a never ending series of meals during quarantine. Get your kids to get in there and help. As the good book says:

 If anyone does not want to work, neither let him eat.

2 Thessalonians 3:10

Cooking with kids gives you an opportunity to teach them to make healthy food choices. It also allows them to have hands-on learning with fresh, affordable foods. Just call it Home Economics! (Remember that class?)

Getting a refill on your drink as soon as it’s empty.

We’ve all been there. Even with the best waitress or waiter in the world, you end up sitting for a minute or two looking at the bottom of an empty glass. At home there’s no need to sing like Elle Varner; just get up and get your refill.

Another benefit is if you partake of alcoholic drinks, no worries over whether the drinks are being made with a really light pour. You know what we’re talking about; the barely there tequila in your margarita or the mostly Coke & a whisper of rum in your Cuba Libre. You know exactly how strong (or weak) the drink is going to be when you make it at home AND you don’t have to buy another drink for a refill.

Avoiding that restaurant markup.

Each ingredient at your favorite restaurant has a markup. (Obviously – otherwise they wouldn’t be in business very long.) But how much do you think they mark up their meals? 50%? 100%? Nope. The average markup for each ingredient at a restaurant is 300%! A $9 hamburger (that’s right – without cheese) at a diner would cost you less than $2 to make at home. If you’re trying to stretch your dollars, cutting back on restaurant-prepared meals can make a big difference.

Cooking at home can improve your health.

A recent study conducted by the University of Washington found that those who cooked at home 6 times per week met more of the US Federal guidelines for a healthy diet than those who cooked meals at home 3 times per week. In other words, if you’re eating at home more often than you’re eating out, you’re more likely to be getting in your fruits, veggies, and other essentials of a balanced diet.

Taking better care of your health and saving money? Now that’s a reason to fire up the backyard grill!
Wishing you wellness!

Sources:
Plate IQ: “Should You Get the Guacamole on Your Burrito? A Price Analysis of Your Favorite Foods.” 4.3.2018
ScienceDaily: “Cooking at home tonight? It’s likely cheaper and healthier, study finds.” 3.14.2017

Healthy Financial Habits

Consistency is essential for anything, and the key to consistency is habit.

Habits are behaviors that we do so frequently that they feel second nature. So your friend who’s woken up at 5:00 AM to work out for so long that it seems normal to him? He’s unlocked the power of habit to wake up, get out of bed, and make it happen.

Healthy money habits are the same way; they open up a whole new world of financial fitness! Here are a few great habits you can start today.

Begin with a Budget
Developing a budgeting habit is foundational. Consistently seeing where your money is going gives you the power to see what needs to change. Notice in your budget that fast food is hogging your paycheck? Budgeting allows you to see how it’s holding you back and figure out a solution to the problem. The knowledge a budget gives you is the key to help you make wise money decisions.

Pay Yourself First
Once you’re budgeting regularly, you can start seeing who ends up with your money at the end of the day. Is it you? Or someone else? One of the best habits you can establish is making sure you pay yourself by saving. Instead of spending first and setting aside what’s left over, put part of your money into a savings account as soon as you get your paycheck. It’s a simple shift in mindset that can make a big difference!

Automate Everything
And what easier way to pay yourself first than by automatically depositing cash in your savings account? Making as much of your saving automatic helps make saving something that you don’t even think about. It can be much easier to have healthy financial habits if everything happens seamlessly and with as little effort as possible on your part.

Healthy financial habits may not seem big. But sometimes those little victories can make a big difference over the span of several years. What financial habits do you have that are making a positive difference in your life?

Mediocre Money Mindsets

Healthy money habits start with mature money mindsets.

Even though it’s not always obvious, we carry lots of assumptions and attitudes about money that might not be grounded in reality. How we perceive wealth and finances can impact how we make decisions, prioritize, and handle the money that we have. Here are a few common money mindsets that might be holding you back from reaching your full potential!

I need tons of money to start saving
It’s simple, right? The rich are swimming in cash, so they’re able to save. They get to build businesses and live out their dreams. The rest of us have to live paycheck to paycheck, shelling out our hard earned money on rent, groceries, and other essentials.

That couldn’t be further from the truth! Sure, you might not be able to save half your income. But you might be surprised by how much you can actually stash away if you put your mind to it. And however much you can save right now, little as it might be, is much better than putting away nothing at all!

I need to save every penny possible
On the other side of the coin is the notion that you have to save every last penny and dime that comes your way. There are definitely people in difficult financial situations who go to incredible lengths to make ends meet. Just ask someone who survived the Great Depression! But most of us don’t need to haggle down the price of an apple or forage around for firewood. And sometimes, the corners we cut to save a buck can come back to bite us. Set spending rules and boundaries for yourself, but make sure you’re not just eating ramen noodles and ketchup soup!

I don’t need to budget
There are definitely times when you might not feel like you need to be proactive with your finances. You don’t feel like you’re spending too much, debt collectors aren’t pounding down your door, and everything seems comfortable. Budgeting is for folks with a spending problem, right?

The fact of the matter is that everyone should have a budget. It might not feel important now, but a budget is your most powerful tool for understanding where your money goes, areas where you can cut back, and how much you can put away for the future. It gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your finances!

Breaking mediocre money mindsets can be difficult. But it’s an important step on your journey towards financial independence. Once you understand money and how it works, you’re on the path to take control of your future and make your dreams a reality.

Money Mistakes to Avoid – 2

It’s been two weeks (and a few days – sorry about that) so it’s time for our next money mistake to avoid. Last time we talked about not saving from as early as possible. Hopefully if you weren’t saving before you read the last post you are now.

Mistake #2: Locking away all your savings.

safe

‘But Ms. ME didn’t you tell me last week to open a Roth IRA? Once the money is in there I can’t touch it until I’m retirement age.’

Yes, yes I did tell you that last week. But I did not tell you to put ALL of your savings in there. Let me be clear and restate this comment from the last post.

“Once you have a couple of hundred dollars in that savings account it’s a great idea to go ahead and open a Roth IRA at an early age.”

Notice I said “a couple of hundred dollars” and then I reference opening an IRA with only $100 of those dollars. The remaining funds should stay in your savings account. You never want to lock away ALL of your savings in any account that restricts you from accessing it. In the context of the last post, we were encouraging parents to start savings accounts & then IRAs for their children. From that point on split your saving for your children between the two accounts. If you desire to earn a higher interest rate, using some of the funds from the savings account to open a certificate of deposit can be a valuable option.

Once your children become independent, these initial savings accounts can serve as their emergency funds for when life happens. That way instead of calling mom & dad for help immediately, they can first turn to the help mom & dad have already given them by getting their savings started early.

For everyone who started saving since the last post, the basic advice is don’t put it all away in an inaccessible savings instrument just for the higher interest rate. The trade-off isn’t worth it if you end up having to resort to using credit in an emergency situation.