Monday, July 19, 2010

Great financial websites and money-saving tips

Brace yourself. I have an announcement to make. Wait for it ...

Building a house costs money.

Shocking I know. Here I thought that money tree we planted was going to provide for us these next couple years. Ha! What a joke (we all know I would have killed that poor tree by now anyway).

Recently I picked up a copy of Money Magazine at the library and read a pretty interesting article on the best financial websites out there. Here's the ones that I looked further into:
  • Bill Shrink: This is a pretty cool site that analyzes your cell phone, your television, your credit cards, your savings and even gas. It's pretty personalized so you have to put your own info in but I found out where I needed to drive for cheap gas (it even took into account what kind of car I have and how far away I was from the station).
  • Nerd Wallet: By asking you what you want out of a credit card reward program as well as your personal spending habits (and paying off habits) this site shows you how each potential cardstacks up against each other. I did this and it actually reccomended the card we have (American Express Platinum Delta Sky Miles Card) but who knows what it will find for you.
  • Do it Yourself or Not: With lists of thousands of DIY projects this website compares how long and how much it would cost for a pro vs you to complete a job (accounting for location by zipcode). There's even a simple thumbs up/thumbs down icon that shows their reccomendation. It's a little clunky to navigate but once I figured out how they organized it things got easier. Ironically, building a home from scratch is not even an option ...
  • Neighborhood Scout: If you are searching for your own land to build (or a home that's already built) this website compares all sorts of things like schools, average home prices, real estate appreciation rates and crime. According to the site my chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in the state of Washington are 1 in 271. I feel okay with these odds.

Saving money is such a personal thing but I'll share a couple of tips that Mr. Nick and I have employed over the past couple years to get ahead a bit quicker.

  • I married my hairdresser. Well, not really, but he is quickly becoming one. When I just need a trim Mr. Nick can wield the scissors pretty well. Recently I cut off quite a bit to donate to Locks of Love, which I opted to go to the professional for, but for just run of the mill grooming I'm more than happy to let him hack away. (As a side note, when we were in college he cut my bangs for me and both of us learned that hair shrinks up once it's dry ... that was an interesting fringe I had for a couple months).
  • We very rarely eat out. Now this is where I get lucky again because I'm not the cook in our family so I can imagine needing a break if you are the only one putting meals on the table night after night. We always have a fresh pot of rice in the cooker so even on days when Mr. Nick doesn't feel like cooking we can throw some chicken on the Foreman and pair it with rice. When we do eat out we try to use a coupon.
  • I shop at Ross, Marshalls and Goodwill. Additionally, if I buy something and I haven't worn it in two weeks I return it because, lets face it, if it takes me that long to wear something I'm never going to.
  • I don't dryclean my clothes. Now I do dryclean Mr. Nick's shirts but this is where I balance the things I want to do and things I don't want to do. For me, I am willing to pay this price in order to have more time to actually hang out with him. Plus, I could never in a million years get his shirts as nice as they do. But for my work clothes I wash at home. I use Dryell when necessary and I bought a compact little steamer which has always been enough to get the job done.
  • I buy generic. Unless of course the name-brand is on sale because we are Proctor and Gamble shareholders, but in almost all cases I go with the generic.
  • I make my own coffee. At home, for .7 cents a cup (I put 2 spendas in each cup and yes, I figured it out because that's what we do in our house, we figure out how much things are costing us). For Christmas I was given a Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker that can brew one or twelve cups of coffee at a time. It would work out especially well if Mr. Nick drank coffee because it can do two side-by-side but he's a tea man.

So there you have it. I'd love to know, how do you save money in your life?

Photo: Here I am with my new short haircut, courtesy of the professional. I don't love it but I do love that I was able to donate it to a great cause.

If you enjoyed this post get free updates by e-mail or RSS.


  1. Hi...I was just reading The Newlywed Diaries and saw a comment about my kitchen. I just have to tell you that (of course) I love the open shelving, but it may not be for everyone. Everything in the lower two shelves I use daily (glasses, plates, mixing bowls, etc.), so they don't hang around long enough to collect dust. I do, however, dust the top and wash off cake stands on the top shelf before use. I like my art to be more utilitarian, so these aren't show pieces for me. Just had to give you my 2 cents! All the best, Julie

  2. Perfect! Thanks so much for following up. I love love loved your whole house, it's what we aspire to design my studio as. That's really great feedback though. We use most of our dishes daily as well but the rate I use cake stands (almost never since I'm a terrible baker) I would most likely be dusting them off even if they were in a cupboard!

    Thanks again I really appreciate your input.


Related Posts with Thumbnails