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Link Love 11/21/14

Happy Friday!

Hope you had a good week and that you’re not too cold :)

In case you’re in need of some weekend reading here are some of my favorite posts from the week!

Have a great weekend!

12 Ways to Save $50 a Month {Part 1}

ways to save $50 per monthIf you could find a way to save a recurring $50 each month in a total of twelve months you’d be able to cut your budget by $600 in one year!

While it might feel overwhelming to find 12 different sources of income to save in one month doing these tasks one month at a time is a pretty reasonable plan.

If you’re ready to drastically reduce your budget here are the first six ways to save $50 a month!

# 1 – Switch Your Auto Insurance

As an ex-insurance I can vouch for the fact that you should switch your auto insurance carrier every three years. If you don’t your premium is just going to keep rising.

Call an independent agent and have them quote your current insurance policy with several carriers in an apples to apples manner. You might be really surprised how much you can save without lowering any of your coverage’s.

# 2 – Ask for Lower Interest Rates on Your Credit Cards

If you have any credit card debt you should immediately call your credit card companies and ask if they’ll lower your interest rate.

I did this years ago when I had a credit card balance and had about a fifty percent success rate. The worse they’ll tell you is no but you could potentially save hundreds of dollars per year!

# 3 – Only Eat Out Once a Month

My biggest budget buster is always eating out. I do really well for a month or two and then when I get busy I resort to my old ways spending way too much money on takeout.

Challenge yourself to eat out only once a month. This saved me more than $100 a month!

# 4 – Make a Menu Plan & Start Strategically Buying Your Groceries

The best way I’ve found to save money on groceries and to prevent myself from eating out all the time is making a menu plan and then strategically buying my groceries.

Start your menu plan with what you already have on hand. Then make a grocery list for any of the remaining items you need and stick to the list!

# 5 – Only Buy Secondhand Clothes

Since shopping with ThredUp I don’t think I can ever buy brand new clothes again!

Find a thrift store, consignment shop, or online consignment shop you like (I love ThredUp) and start buying your clothing there.

Buying secondhand allows me to get nice, quality clothes for a fraction of what I’d pay for brand new off brand clothes.

# 6 – Turn Your Thermostat Down

This is not going to save everyone $50 a month but I know it can for many.

For instance, like I talked about last week by heating bill used to be $500/month! One of the things I did to lower this was to turn my thermostat way down when I wasn’t home.

If you’re paying too much in heating costs try turning your thermostat down a couple degrees and then turning it even farther down when you won’t be at home.

Six More Ways Next Week

There’s the start of the twelve ways to save $50 a month. I hope you found something that can help you! I’ll be back next week to share six more ways to save!

How to Get More Done When Working from Home

get more done when working from homeI’ve been on a big time management kick lately.

It all started when I set the goal to triple my income in six months. Since then I’ve made steady strides and have been able to dramatically increase my productivity.

For those of you looking to earn more income, whether that be from a side hustle or your work from home job, or for anyone who just feels like they’re not making good progress on their goals I wanted to share what’s really been working for me.

Here’s how to get more done when working from home.

Create a Specific Work Space

I work from home. For the past year and a half I’ve had this horrible habit of working from my recliner.

The problem is this is where I also sit to watch TV, hang out on social media, or read to my kids. When I’m working it’s very easy for me to lose track of time doing unimportant, non-work related tasks.

To correct this problem I decided to give my little office area a sprucing up. Really all I did was clean off and clean out my desk. I then vowed to start working from my desk and I can’t even begin to tell you how much more I’ve accomplished.

Make your work space for work only. You’ll be able to keep your focus and get so much more done!

Create a Daily To-Do List

I start each day by writing down all of the things I must accomplish for the day. This is usually a list of six or seven tasks. There’s a lot more I’d like to get done but by only writing down what must be done I’m guaranteeing that I knock out all of those tasks first.

After I get those done I make a list of all the things I’d like to get done and start working on those.

Do the Most Dreaded Task First

Doing your most dreaded task first sets the rest of your day up for success.

Whatever I’ve been dreading I do before I even open up my email. By getting that task over with the rest of my day is smooth sailing.

Install Rescue Time on Your Computer

Rescue time is a program that tracks how you spend your time online and then breaks it down into categories for you.

I can look at rescue time at any given time and see what I need to change. Having it running in the background has been a huge help!

Stay Focused

Combined all of these things have helped me to keep a much greater focus than I had just a month ago. Now I feel like I’m making real headway on my goals each and every day. Tripling my income in six months is definitely feeling possible!

Link Love 11/14/14

Happy Friday!

Hope you had a good week. Has anyone had snow where they live yet? We got out first round of flurries on Wednesday and I was so not ready for that!

If you’re staying in inside this weekend to keep warm here’s some reading to keep you company!

Have a good weekend!

3 Ways to Save Energy in the Cold Winter Months

ways to save energyOnce upon a time I didn’t worry about saving energy. My electric and heating costs never fluctuated much, even in the super cold months.

Then after getting divorced I moved into a trailer.

I went from having $150 heating bills in a 1400 sq. ft. home to having $500 heating bills in a 900 sq ft trailer! Those bills stretched my budget to the max.

I remember the first time I got my heating bill for the trailer. I almost cried. I couldn’t fathom paying that much money to heat such a small place. But the bill wasn’t a mistake. I was wasting some serious energy!

Through that crisis I learn different ways to save energy and just how important it is.

Make Sure Your Home is Well Insulated

The biggest culprit for me was a lack of insulation. When I bought the trailer it had been sitting for a while and animals had gotten in it and tore holes in the wall.

I paid a contractor to rip the majority of the walls and ceilings out and put regular drywall up instead. While that got done, the contractor missed a pretty vital step – he didn’t reinsulate the walls or ceiling!!

He pulled all of the old insulation out and never put anything back in.

After figuring that out I had to get someone to blow insulation in the ceilings and walls. A big part of my energy wasting was fixed.

Caulk Any Leaks in the Windows and Doors

My next problem was the horrible windows that come standard in a trailer. They’re thin and very leaky.

I fixed this by caulking around the windows and went a step further to put plastic up over each window and around the fireplace. This was a cost effective solution that really worked!

Turn Your Thermostat Down When You’re Not at Home

Immediately after getting my whopping $500 bill I started turning my thermostat down when I wasn’t home.

Truth be told I kept it pretty cold in my house but just warm enough that the pipes wouldn’t freeze. I also do this in the summer with the air conditioning.

There’s no point in keeping a warm and toasty house when you’re gone for the majority of the day.

These Three Things Will Help

If you’re paying too much on heating your home this winter I would highly advice you to find out if you have adequate insulation.

Also make sure that you’re covering any potential leaks in your windows and doors. By following these three tips you’ll see some substantial savings.