What I saved today

How I saved money, time or the environment today or recently. Relevant comments or questions are appreciated.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Advice I hope my college student will follow

Congratulations, you are now in college and responsible for your own decisions.  But you've encountered one little problem, you don't have enough money to pay all your expenses, even though you've worked and applied for all the aid you're eligible for.
If you came from a middle class family, don't expect to live the way you are used to living.  You probably had a lot of comforts at your parents' home that you can't afford any more.  This is not the end of the world.  You're at college primarily to get a good education, so your main focus should be on learning and studying, second of course to God.  Second, if you're able, bring in as much income as you can.  Socializing should take a back burner to these things.  There are lots of free or low-cost things to do on or near college campuses.  Find out about them.  Another way to feel fulfilled and fill up your leisure hours is to spend time serving others.  Colleges offer lots of ways to do this and meet other students at the same time.
Keep the amount of loans you take to an absolute minimum.  Carry a reusable water bottle or travel mug so you won't have to overpay for beverages.  Cook some of your meals instead of always eating at the cafeteria or at restaurants.  Don't buy anything unless you really need it, except for allowing yourself a small, set amount of "fun money" each month.  If its causing a problem for you to be with your friends because they don't respect your frugality, you probably need new friends.
Another thing you can do is buy in bulk when its cheaper.  If you don't have space to store large quantities, try to find friends to go in on a purchase with you.  If you see your relatives often, maybe they can store nonperishable food items for you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Reward Cards

If you have a Discover Card, you can earn 5% back (on up to $300, so it seems you're limited to $15 total) on gas, hotel, movie, theme park, grocery store and drug store purchases, but only if you opt in on the website or by phone.  October through December it will be restaurants, department stores and clothing stores.  I absolutely do not recommend having a credit card if you won't pay it off in full every month, because the resulting fees are very high.

Lexus Visa allows you to rack up points toward service at Lexus dealers. Amazon.com has a Visa which allows you to use points to purchase items, including Amazon.com gift cards.  There are lots of other rewards cards which are free and worth it if you can pay them off in full every month.

Now, even some debit cards are offering rewards.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

freeze the leftovers for later

Today I'm making homemade pasta sauce in the crockpot.  I'll freeze half the batch for later use, with some of it in single serving containers to give to my college student next time I see her.  I'll also give her some toaster tarts out of a case I bought because its so much cheaper to buy in bulk, but she can't because of lack of space to store much.