How to Build an Emergency Car Kit on a Budget

Emergency Car Kit on a Budget

September is national emergency preparedness month, and it’s a good time to get an emergency car kit together before winter comes. Since purchasing our new vehicle with cash this past year, I’ve been thinking a lot about compiling an emergency car kit just in case anything happened while we were away from our house. We had some of the needed items in our car, but there is definitely more things that would be important to have on hand in the case of an emergency or being stranded by the side of the road.

While looking online, I found pre-packaged Emergency Car Kits ranging in price from $25 to $70 or more. In order to save some money, I decided to assemble my own emergency car kit. Don’t feel that you have to purchase everything for your emergency kit right now. Start out slowly by purchasing a few of the items you feel are most important, then save your money for the other items that cost more. I started out and put together a basic emergency car kit and will continue to add to it as we have room in our budget or we decide we should have that specific item. At least we have some basic items we need for our emergency car kit, and that’s better than not having anything at all.

There were many items on the list that I had around the house that I didn’t need to purchase. I just had to take time to put them in the container in the car. And there were some items I was able to find for a good deal. For those items that don’t go on sale, you’ll want to set aside and save money each month until you can purchase them. Here’s how to build an emergency car kit on a budget.

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7 Grocery Apps that Will Save You Money

7 Grocery Apps that Will Save You Money

This past year I finally upgraded my basic cell phone to a smart phone. I know, I’m a little behind the times, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay more money for a data plan. After doing a lot of research, we finally found a cell phone carrier and data plan that was within the price range we were willing to pay, and that included being able to upgrade my phone to a smart phone. And I will say that I have loved it.

So now that I have a smart phone, I’ve been researching smartphone apps to find more ways to save money on groceries. These grocery apps have eCoupons or pay you money for purchasing groceries such dairy, produce, household items and more. I love saving money with eCoupons and earning money for products that I’m already planning on purchasing. And it’s nice that you don’t even have to hand clip a coupon. I have downloaded and used all of the apps, and the ones I use the most are Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, Checkout51, and Snap by Groupon. I enjoy sharing money saving tips, so I thought I’d share with you these 7 grocery apps that will save you money.

ibotta app1. Ibotta

Ibotta is a smartphone app where you can earn money by purchasing participating products. Ibotta’s product offers range from food and beverages to cleaning products, personal care and more.  Here’s how it works:

  • Register for an account, then download the Ibotta app to your phone.
  • Before you head to the grocery store, unlock Ibotta’s cash back rewards on products by completing simple tasks such as a survey question or watching a short video. The amount of cash back from each product ranges anywhere between $0.25 to $1.00 or more.
  • Head to a store on Ibotta’s list such as Walmart, Smith’s, Walgreens, Target and more to purchase the products you’ve unlocked.
  • Verify your purchases by scanning the product barcodes, then finish by scanning the barcode on your receipt.
  • Within 48 hours, you’ll have the cash deposited into your Ibotta account, and you can cash out via Paypal or an eGift Card once your account reaches $10.

In addition, Ibotta has a Teamwork Bonus, which is a monthly bonus where you and your friends work together to earn more money. Your team will consist of your friends on Ibotta who have connected their Facebook accounts to the app. And the more friends you have on your team, the faster you will earn. Each month, your team will be given a total earnings goal. Once you redeem one rebate and your team reaches the monthly goal, everyone on your team will earn a cash bonus. Join my team here.

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6 Ways to Save Money & Increase Your Savings This Year

6 ways to save money and increase savings this year

Years ago, my father passed away. It wasn’t totally unexpected. He had diabetes, his health had been declining, and earlier that year, the doctor said his kidneys were failing.

However, I was still shocked when my brother called me to let me know my father passed away. That week was stressful as we hurried to make funeral arrangements and clean out my father’s apartment. But the biggest stress was the financial burden of the funeral that fell upon me and my three siblings. (You can read the full post on on Money Saving Mom).

We had to come up with $7,000 to cover the funeral costs. Luckily, we were able to split up the cost between my siblings and uncles. That still meant that my family needed to pay $1,000.

Thankfully, my husband and I had an emergency fund to pull from to cover our portion of the funeral. If we didn’t have an emergency fund, the financial burden would have been placed on my siblings or we would have had to put it in a credit card and go into debt.

It was a huge blessing that my husband and I made the decision years ago to build up an emergency fund. You never think something will happen to you until it does unexpectedly.

It can happen to anyone at any time. It might be the death of a loved one, an unfortunate hospital visit, or a job layoff. What’s important is that you’ve planned for these unexpected events by having some savings. This is your financial cushion in case something goes wrong and you need to access money quickly.

If you already have an emergency fund, it’s still important to continue setting money aside in savings so you can pay for items that your family needs or even wants without having to use a credit card and go into debt.

According to a study by Bankrate.com, more than a quarter of consumers have no emergency savings. It’s recommended that you put away at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses. If you have debt, the first step is to save $1,000 in an emergency fund, then start eliminating debt. Once your debt has been eliminated, then you can continue to build your three to six month savings.

Here are ways to save money so you can increase your savings this year.

 

Tip #1 – Have a Plan and Set Goals

Think about what you are saving for. Is it an emergency fund? Is it extra money to pay off debt or pay down your mortgage? Or is it a family vacation? Once you know what you want to save for, then prioritize which one is the most important to you.

Now examine your financial situation, income, and needs. In other words, create a budget or a “spending strategy.” We all spend money each month, but a spending strategy will help you spend your money more wisely. Based on your spending strategy, figure out how much you can reasonably put towards savings each week or month and set some financial goals. These goals need to be achievable and have a time frame. And the goals need to be broken down into smaller goals.

For example, if you want to save $9,000 within one year (which would be a three-month emergency fund for your family), that breaks down to $750 per month, or $187.50 per week. So you would need to find an extra $187.50 in your budget each week in order to build a three-month emergency fund within one year.

Saving $187.50 each week, or whatever your goal is, may seem impossible because there are bills to pay such as the mortgage, utilities, groceries, a car payment, and possibly student loans. You may be thinking that you would like to save, but there’s just no money left at the end of the month. And that’s the problem. Most people save what’s left over after bills and discretionary spending. But by prioritizing, it’s possible to save that $187.50 a week or come close to doing it. This leads to Tip #2.

 

Tip #2 – Pay Yourself First

To pay yourself simply means that before you pay your bills, buy groceries, or spend any money, first set aside a portion of your income to save.

You can make it easy by automatically depositing an amount or percentage of your paycheck into a savings account. If you arrange to have the money taken from your paycheck before you receive it, then you will get used to managing living expenses with what looks like a smaller paycheck. Most importantly, stay consistent and treat the money you’ve saved as if it is off-limits, except in a real financial emergency.

One benefit of paying yourself first is that you are encouraging sound financial habits. Most people spend their money in the following order: bills, discretionary spending, saving. It’s not surprising that there is usually little left over to place in the bank.

If you turn it around and put it in this order: saving, bills, discretionary spending, then you are able to save the money before you spend it.

Almost everyone can save 1% of their income. Say your family’s monthly take home is $3,000. Saving 1% would be $30. Saving such a small amount may seem pointless, but it’s helping you to grow your savings. Plus, the process is painless. If saving 1% is easy, then try saving 5% or 10% a month. It depends on your financial situation and what you feel you can reasonably put toward savings each month.

 

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How I Saved More Than 50% On Eyewear

How I Saved More Than 50 on Eyewear Final

This past week, I had my yearly eye appointment with my eye doctor. As I was checking out, the office staff mentioned that one box of contacts, which is a 3-month supply, would cost $55. If I purchased a year supply the cost would be $220! Eyewear can be so expensive! I politely said no thank you and headed out the door.

I’ve learned not to order my contacts directly through my doctor’s office. Instead, I order online from VisionDirect.com. The exact same box of contacts costs only $34.99. Plus, since I ordered 4 boxes, which is a year supply, they gave me discount. And on top of that I was able to use a 20 % off coupon code that they e-mailed me, which brought my total down even more. And that coupon code came with free shipping. So instead of paying $220 for a year’s supply of contacts, my total came out to be just $101.16.

And to save me even a little more money, I went online Ebates, a cash back site, and clicked through to VisionDirect.com prior to ordering my contacts. Ebates gave me 8% cash back when ordering from VisionDirect.com. So I will be receiving $8 from Ebates. Before I order online from any store, I always check Ebates to see if they give cash back for the specific store I am purchasing from online.

So in the end,  I really will end up paying only $93.16 for a year’s supply of contacts, which is $23.29 per box. I just saved more than $125 just by ordering online!

For those of you who wear glasses and contacts, head over to this post to read more tips on how to Save Money on Glasses and Contacts.

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