Tips for Building a Fabulous Wardrobe on a Budget

It’s Springtime, and one of the most popular seasons to shop for clothes and do some spring cleaning. This includes your closet. One of the first steps is to eliminate anything in your closet that doesn’t fit, flatter, or you simply don’t love.

Is it possible to build an amazing wardrobe on a budget? If you consider the following tips, absolutely.

1. Plan Out Your Ideal Wardrobe

Like any financial endeavor, a successful makeover starts with a plan—in this case, your ideal wardrobe. Make a list of 10-15 key items you’ll need for each season, not counting accessories or activity-specific items. Some prefer 33 items that mix and match into four 3 month mini capsules. Whichever plan you choose, here are two things to consider:

Follow your personal style – what you feel and look good in, your lifestyle needs, and the image you want to project. Think about your favorite clothes and what they have in common.

Choose colors that will blend well with one another. Mostly neutrals tones (black, white, gray, ivory, brown/camel, navy) with a few pops of color will allow you to create the greatest number of outfits with the fewest pieces.

2. Determine Your Shopping and Downsizing Strategy

Seeing what you have and what you need, will allow you to target your shopping. If you can only afford to purchase one new item a month, which items are the highest priority? Take your time making decisions, because you’ll want each new piece to last as long as possible. If you won’t be donating your old clothes, sell them through consignment, a yard sale, or an app like Poshmark – and channel the funds into your new wardrobe.

3. Choose Quality Over Quantity

Many of us mark a successful shopping trip by how far we stretch our money, failing to take into account the quality of the clothing we’ve purchased. Instead of replacing three poorly-constructed items purchased for $100 after a few months, it’s better to purchase one $100 item that will last you much longer. How do you determine quality other than price? Try things on, read reviews, and test things out until you find a handful of brands you can count on for the right mix of quality and value.

4. Go for Timeless, Not Trendy

You’ll probably notice that high-quality pieces tend to be classics — items that will always make you look fashionable, regardless of the current trends. If you want to ‘freshen’ your wardrobe, look through fashion magazines for ideas on how to create new looks with the classics you already have.

5. Be a Savvy Shopper

While budgeting and saving for quality pieces, don’t forget to look for great deals. Stay aware of what’s in the stores, but wait for end-of-season sales in June/July and December/January. Don’t be afraid to mix in a few cheaper pieces with more expensive ones by shopping consignment and vintage stores, but again — prioritize quality.

6. Take Care of Your Clothes

Paying more for your clothes will make you want to take better care of them. Always follow care instructions exactly, and when in doubt, hand wash and air dry. To avoid ironing disasters, replace your iron with a garment steamer.

And there you have it – creating an amazing wardrobe on a budget!

Article Source: Jessica Sommerfield for Moneyning.com

8 Ways to Save at the Grocery Store Without Coupons

Grocery shopping can be a hassle, and having to take time to cut coupons can make it even worse. Here’s how you can shop without coupons and still save money.

1. Pick the right store.

Try comparing stores by shopping for identical items and figure out which store has the best value. Keep in mind the distance you travel to each store, because that can add up too.

2. Stock up on sale items.

When there’s a sale, buy anything you can freeze or that has a long shelf life. If it’s an item that goes on sale often, buy enough to last you until the next sale. Compare your store’s weekly ads and plan ahead.

3. Take advantage of loyalty programs.

Some stores require a loyalty card to get sale prices, so definitely sign up for one. It only takes a few minutes and you may even get other discounts as you use it.

4. Check the unit price.

Occasionally, buying in bulk will save you money. However – at a lot of grocery stores, the smaller quantity packages actually cost less per ounce.

5. Don’t buy prepared foods.

You may think having to wash and cut fruit and vegetables is an inconvenience, but it’s also a great way to save money. You may enjoy the ease of using already prepared food, but you’ll pay for that benefit. Buy the ingredients uncut, and create your meals. You’ll pleasantly be surprised to see how much you can save.

6. Don’t waste anything.

Make sure you’re not buying anything you haven’t already planned on eating. If you buy on impulse, you may end up buying something that will eventually just get thrown away. Map out meals and snacks and don’t get anything you don’t really need.

7. Cook the right amount.

Don’t make more food than you need. If you follow the recipe on a package, you may cook too much food, especially if you’re only cooking for 1 or 2 people. Sometimes leftovers are good to have, but a lot of times they end up in the trash can. Make sure you figure out the correct serving size and adjust your purchases accordingly.

8. Shop less.

This one is easy. The more you shop, the more impulse buys you’ll make. Look at your store’s sale schedule and shop only as often as you have to.

 Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

3 Habits of Highly Effective Savers

When life changes, adjust.
Whether it is having babies, job changes, or the purchase of a new home, life is constantly changing. Every life changing event leads to an increase or decrease of your available funds. People who save effectively will look at these situations as opportunities to adjust the way they save. This may mean a temporary hold on saving, but always make sure you plan for a time when you can begin saving money again.

Play for keeps.
People who are great at saving don’t look at their paychecks as something to spend. They look at their paychecks as something to keep. Center your financial decisions around the question: How do I spend less, save more, and still obtain the things I need?

Set aside part of any extra earnings.
While your yearly income is (hopefully) predictable, we sometimes receive money we did not expect or budget for. This can be a tax return, bonus at work, birthday money, credit card rewards, etc. A great saver will put at least a percentage of each windfall they receive into their savings account.

If you’re looking to save, check out your local credit union like First Financial! We offer a great variety of options in savings accounts and savings certificates, which are Federally Insured by the NCUA.*

*A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the program. Click here to view full Rewards First program details. Accounts for children age 13 and under are excluded from this program.

Article Source: Robbie Young for CUInsight.com

12 Tips to Stay in the Money Saving Mindset

If saving money isn’t your strong suit, don’t worry. Changing your money habits will have its challenges, but with a little effort, you can stop making so many unnecessary purchases and start building a sizable savings.

The first step is to think about your goals and priorities. Why do you want to save money? You might be looking for the security of an emergency fund, hoping to spend less time working, or preparing to buy a new car.

Whether your savings journey is just starting out or you’re already a saver and want to keep it that way, these 12 tips will help keep you from backsliding into poor money habits.

1. Remember why saving is important to you.

Think about why you want to save money, and take every opportunity to remind yourself. Talk about it out loud, or write it down.

2. Hold yourself accountable.

Budgets, spreadsheets, and shopping lists are enough to put the average consumer to sleep, but don’t be afraid to give this strategy a try. People who are already in the habit of jotting down notes or lists will likely be successful making strict shopping lists and sticking to them.

Once you make a reasonable budget, don’t stray from it. Check it over every once in a while and try to eliminate or reduce any expenses.

3. When you get a raise, don’t increase your spending.

After you get a raise it might seem natural to spend a little more. The problem is that a more expensive lifestyle could jeopardize your saving behavior. Think of a pay raise as an effortless way to speed up your savings.

4. Create a vision board.

It’s easier to reach a financial goal if you can see yourself accomplishing it. One way is to create a financial vision board. Cut out pictures of the financial goals you desire to reach and put them in a photo collage together.

5. Separate needs from wants.

You may fall out of the money saving mindset when you spend money on wants instead of needs. The two can be easily confused, especially if you really want something – you might become so invested in it that you convince yourself that it is a need and not a want. Prevent this by taking your time with purchasing decisions.

6. Learn why you spend.

It will be easier to save when you get to the bottom of why you spend. Do you buy a lot of clothes because you want to impress someone? Are you always spending money on eating out because you don’t set aside time to cook? If you’re more focused on impressing others or you haven’t established financial discipline, it is time to start figuring out these bad habits.

7. Address lingering money problems.

If you want to stay in the money saving mindset, you need to take care of any destructive money issues. Maybe you’re not used to having a lot of money, so you tend to save your money and then find an excuse to spend it. Consider consulting with a financial therapist or joining a financial support group.

8. Ask for Help.

No matter how hard it gets to save money, stay committed. If you find it hard to continue saving money, ask a friend or family member to help you stick to your goal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

9. Make a game out of saving money.

Saving money doesn’t have to be a chore. Make a game out of it, so you can stay motivated. Invite your friends to join and try the 52-Week Money Challenge, which requires you to save a certain amount of money each week during the year.

10. Track your progress.

Don’t get too comfortable after reaching a big savings milestone. Once you’ve saved a certain amount of money, it’s easy to fall back into your old habits. Continue to keep an eye on how you are doing with your goals.

11. Keep educating yourself.

Continue to learn as much as you can about how to manage your finances. If you want to be a money success, it’s important for you to keep feeding on new financial information every day. The more you learn about money and how it works, the more you will commit to making savings a priority.

12. Celebrate successes.

Keep moving forward by giving yourself a pat on the back when you reach a goal. Every time you reach a savings milestone, celebrate – but don’t celebrate so much that you get yourself back into debt.

Article Source: Sheiresa Ngo for cheatsheet.com

 

4 Ways to Save in January

The holidays are over and that means most of us are strapped for cash. January can be a tough month for many recovering from holiday spending. Here are four ways you can save a little this month as you work to get your finances back on track.

Winterize your home.
This is the coldest time of the year, so make sure your house is ready for the cool temps. There are a variety of things you can do to save this month by lowering your energy bills. Check out these simple tips for winterizing your home. Your wallet will thank you.

Eat what’s in season.
After all the groceries needed for preparing those holiday meals, it’s no wonder you’ll want to cut down on food costs this month. Check out the various fruits and vegetables that are in season in January, many of which are sold at a lower cost. Surprisingly there are a number of yummy seasonal foods that are at their prime in the dead of winter, such as: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, grapefruit, kale, leeks, lemons, oranges, parsnips, tangerines, and turnips.

New year, new budget.
Take a look back at last year, what worked for your finances and what didn’t? Learning from the past is an excellent way to make smarter choices this year. This month, take a look at the year ahead, anticipate months that will be more costly, and plan accordingly.

Shop sales.
After holiday sales can be an excellent way to save on items you need for the coming year. Check out reduced prices on everyday household items (like household cleaners, soaps, and baking supplies) that are marked down simply because they come in holiday packaging.

Article Source: Wendy Moody for CUInsight.com

5 Tips to Saving on Your Gym Membership Before the New Year

With all the excitement, festivities, and of course food around the holiday season, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is the gym. Most of us probably eat to our heart’s content over the holiday season and wait until January to deal with the aftermath. However, it might be worthwhile to start planning ahead now to get the best deals at the gym.

Once the new year arrives, people seem to turn to “get in shape” mode, which means hitting the gym hard. You definitely see the best deals at the end and beginning of the year, so be proactive now. Here are some tips to getting deals at the gym in the new year:

1. Sign Up for a Trial

It’s hard to commit to a gym membership without testing it out first. Almost all gyms offer free trials, some for a day and others for up to a week. Use your trial pass to get a feel for the gym, what equipment they have and whether or not it’s the right place for your workout. Also, be sure to visit during the times you would normally workout, to see what the crowd is like.

2. Pay Upfront

Most gyms will bill you month-to-month with charges based on the level of access you want to the gym. However, if you offer to pay upfront, you might be able to score a better deal. Many gyms will have promotions that may include anywhere from one to three months free if you pay for a year in advance. Yes, it’s a large sum of money initially – but doing so can save you money in the long run.

3. Be on the Lookout for Offers

Of course, the biggest way to save money on your gym membership is to take advantage of offers and promotions. And the best time to do so is during the new year. January is the busiest time of the year for most gyms and they’ll be offering many different deals and incentives to get more people to join. Look out for discounted monthly fees, waived enrollment and processing fees, and other perks.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

As with almost anything in life, don’t be afraid to negotiate. There are so many gyms to choose from and all of them are competing for your business. There is almost always wiggle room to negotiate your membership. You never know until you ask!

5. Create a Gym at Home

Don’t worry if you still can’t fit a gym membership into your budget, because you can create a gym at home. All you really need is a set of dumbbells and an imagination. Look to Youtube for free exercise videos and tips, or on warmer days go out for a run. You can definitely accomplish a lot without having expensive equipment.

The biggest key to getting in shape is willpower, and you don’t need to pay for that.

Article Source: Connie Mei for Moneyning.com