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Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Eating well on a budget

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 20, 2010

With food costs rising during these hard economic times, it is often difficult to purchase good, wholesome foods while on a budget. Supermarkets today are filled with food
choices, but many of them are not so healthy. With a little planning, it’s possible to purchase a variety of healthy foods and not go over your budget. Here are a few suggestions.

• Make a shopping list. If you stick to the grocery list, you are less likely to purchase items you already have. You are also less likely to forget any necessary food items.

• Review supermarket advertisements. This helps ensure you are spending less by purchasing more items that are on sale.

• Don’t shop when you are hungry! You are much more likely to make impulse purchases on less nutritious items that may cost more.

By: Camila E. Fletcher, Dietetic Intern, Bureau of WIC and Nutrition Services, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Contact: Linda S. Rellergert, MS, Nutrition & Health Education Specialist, RellergertL@missouri.edu.

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10 ideas for entertaining without breaking your budget

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 15, 2010

Damaris Karanja, MA
Nutrition & Health Education
Specialist
University of Missouri Extension, St. Louis County

As the holiday season approaches, opportunities to plan entertaining gatherings increase. In these tough economic times, we face the daunting task of keeping our family traditions without breaking our family budget.

The good news is that by being creative and planning carefully, you can still make this season fun and memorable. Saving money does not equate to missing out on all the fun.

A good part of the budget is spent on purchasing food for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Passover or other religious holiday. The following budget-friendly tips can help you to save money and have fun at the same time.

1. Planning comes first. Establish what your budget is and how much you can afford to spend. Design a menu around your budget and what is on special and seasonal at your grocery store. Next, write a list of who will be invited. Your budget will guide you on the number of guests you can comfortably invite.

2. Keep a grocery list. Having a list makes it less likely you’ll make an impulse purchase. It also saves gas for extra trips to the store in case you forget to purchase an item. Stick to your list for added savings, but stay flexible if you encounter a sale.

3. Plan ahead for how to use leftovers. We lose money whenever we toss food because it spoiled. If leftovers go bad because they’re left out too long, we’re putting money into the garbage can. Make planning to avoid tossing foods a priority.

4. Coupons, coupons, coupons! In most cases, grocery stores have great sales on holiday staples such as turkeys and hams. Their goal is to lure you into their stores with the hope you will purchase lots of other products that are not on sale. Use this to your advantage, but only buy items you need. It doesn’t hurt to visit more than one grocery store. Check for online coupons as well. Start with the Web site of the store where you shop or of products you use. Shopping on double or triple coupon days can save you a lot of money. Word of caution: Use coupons only for foods you plan to use, rather than for “extras.”

5. Buy in bulk. If the price is right and the larger size fits your criteria, go for it! Prices can be deceiving, so pay attention to unit prices to ensure you are getting the best deal. Bigger is not always cheaper. Make sure you will use the food while the flavor is still good.

6. Save on store brands. Buy generic and you could save up to 40 percent a year on your grocery bill. In taste tests, most consumers cannot identify the difference between generic and store brands.

7. Shop high and low. Bargains are usually on the top or bottom shelves. The worst deals are at eye level (kids’ eye level if you’re in the cereal aisle).

8. Pay attention at the checkout. Don’t lose out on a great deal because an item scans incorrectly.

9. Ask for help. If you are hosting a holiday gathering, ask for help with meal preparation. This will help relieve some of the financial burden. Contact everyone on your holiday guest list and see who can bring a dish to share. Guests traveling from out of town may not be able to bring perishable items, but they can grab some nonperishables on their way in. Make sure you coordinate who’s bringing what to avoid an overlap.

10. Include a variety of meatless dishes. These are usually cheaper and, as a bonus, generally healthier, too.

Finally, save by serving the poor. How about serving some homemade food or giving a grocery store gift certificate to a family in need? This is the greatest investment you can make for your money during the holiday season.

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10 Ways To Make (or find) $1000

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 1, 2010

1. Start a pet sitting business. If you live in a large metropolitan city or even the suburbs, pet sitting and boarding can be a good way to earn extra cash.

2. Provide daycare/aftercare for children in your neighborhood. The best way to go about doing this is to research the costs into getting licensed (if necessary), set up costs (turning the basement or sunroom you never use into the child care area) and determine what your competitors are charging then undercut them but a few dollars while adding a bit more with regards to the services you offer.

3. Secret Shopper. EPMSOnline.com is a great way to get started in secret shopping. It’s really easy. You go to their website, sign up, get verified and then sign up for different “shops” in our near your home or workplace. What yo’re doing is providing secret shopping services for apartment companies that utilize EPMS to help them determine if their employees are providing great service. The typical pay out is around $40 and now most if not all of the paperwork is done online.

4. Reduce your budget. Drastically. Eating out. Shopping for unnecessary items. Limit yourself to 2-3 trips to the grocery store, buy what you need not what you want. Several trips = spending more money you don’t have and don’t need to spend. Cut the happy hours. Personal hobby shopping sprees. Review your budget and cut out the WANTS and leave the NEEDS in place. See how much you save. For some this may be less than and for some more than $1000.

5. Start a blog. This may take you at least 6 months to really start seeing a return but I believe it’s well worth it. Your topic? What are you passionate about? What could you talk about for days and not get paid to do so? That’s it! Find a host, pick a blogging platform, choose your theme and get started. For starters, join this challenge: ProBlogger 31 Days to Build a Better Blog | The Secret to Success.

6. Start an Ebay business. Check out sites like Tradekey.com and Alibaba.com for great prices on wholesale items. Make sure it’s something that you research and know a good deal of information about before you start selling. Customers like sellers who can troubleshoot issues as they arise.

7. Sell unwanted/unused furniture. You might be surprised as they add up once you start listing on sites like Craigslist.org, Ebay.com and Backpages.com. If you have furniture in storage or in a basement somewhere, that $1000 might be calling you!

8. End of summer garage sale. Every weekend in September you can have a themed garage sale. One weekend you sell clothes, another furniture, then antiques or random unwanted items. You choose your theme, make sure the items are clean and presented well. Have your neighbors join you in the fun by hosting garage sales along with you to bring out even more people.

9. Start your own business. This may not be in an area you love or are passionate about but do some market research and figure out where the need lies in your area or online. Where does your expertise lie? What do people need but don’t have? Start there.

10. Add yours here. Share with us in the comments area, how to make or find $1000. You can also share on our Facebook page and Retweet ways to find or make an extra $1000.

About the Author

Girls Just Wanna Have Funds is for the woman that wants to take charge of her personal finances. We value budgeting, investing, frugality and remain mindful of our spending habits. Move over and make way for women who are in control of their financial destinies and not afraid to say it. We’re armed with a positive net worth and not afraid to flaunt it while breaking financial ceilings one stiletto at a time!

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