The SmartyPig Blog

How Are You Using Your SmartyPig?

I was completely new to SmartyPig when the bottom fell out. I had been saving a very small amount in my typical bank accounts, but nothing notable. Then crisis hit. I had a medical emergency and follow up needs that completely drained all the money I had. It took a while to get back on my feet, but when I did, I knew I had to save so this type of heartache didn’t happen again. I’m now saving for two emergency savings goals. I hope I don’t need them, but they’re there if I do! Thanks SmartyPig! – Sandra

I’m saving for nothing in particular. I like the interest rate A LOT :) – Denise

I’m saving for car repairs. There is nothing more I hate then draining a $500 on car needs. – Sarah

Spring Break: The Older Years

Cheap Spring Breaks aren’t a difficult feat for college students; pack a car, over-fill a hotel room, enjoy cheap drinks for 5 days and you’re set. But how do you find a good bargain for a good ol’ fashioned, fun family time?  The Travel Channel brings you spring break vacations on a budget - so you can get some sun or fun and still pay like you’re in college.

If you aren’t signed up for some sort of travel rewards program, you should be. Convert your airline miles into hotel points, get free night stays, or discounted air travel. Make the vacation affordable once you get there by visiting free or low costing attractions like a national park, split a vacation home with friends, or buddy up with an out of town family and swap residences for a week.  And the big one; last minute deals. As you peruse this week, don’t forget to keep SmartyPig’s cash back retailers in mind, where you can receive money for booking your travel, dining out, and on entertainment, too!

Wishing you successful saving.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman

What Are Your Goals?

Our savers are the best. And when we ask them to share their goals, they always do. Check these out:

My Wedding! – Sarah T

Sundance Film Festival was the big one. I also put money away each month for car maintenance. – Brandon S.

Vision correction surgery, PRK, still saving for it. Having procedure in March. – Shannon

My vacation to Mexico for my family of 5! We leave on the 27th for two weeks. – Kasey A.

Mediterranean birthday cruise! – Venita D.

Banff ski trip for my husband’s 40th birthday. We leave March 5th.

Christmas gift for my boyfriend! I couldn’t put down all the money in one sitting, so I saved four months ahead of time. :D – Christine

6 Smart Solutions to Save Money for a Living Room Remodel

Does your living room need to be remodeled? Are you short on funds? If so, you don’t have to give up on the idea. Home remodeling projects can raise the value of your home. They can give you a way to express your creativity, make your living room cozier and give you a strong sense of accomplishment. If you don’t have enough money to remodel your living room right now, don’t despair. You just need to find a few smart solutions to help you save the money you need.

1. Never Buy Anything on Impulse

Impulse spending can drain your wallet, so make it a rule not to buy anything the moment the thought hits you. Give yourself time to think about the purchase. Do you really need that new crock pot or set of headphones? Or do you just want them because they look great? Can you do without them for a few months? Many times giving yourself the space to look at your purchases objectively can bring new alternatives to light. If you hire the neighbor boy to mow your lawn or buy a used model instead of purchasing a new mower, you can use the money you save for your living room remodel. Also, use SmartyPig to help you set specific financial goals that will be trackable online. You don’t want those goals to ever be out-of-site and out-of-mind.

2. Think About Purchasing a Warranty for Your Appliances

If you have older appliances that are consistently breaking down, you might want to consider purchasing a home warranty protection plan to guard against unexpected appliance repair bills. These types of insurance programs cover a wide variety of appliances and home systems. Often, your dish washer, garbage disposal, washer and dryer, air conditioner, refrigerator and furnace can all be covered under a single plan. When something breaks down, you simply call the warranty company and they will send out a repair man to evaluate and fix the problem. That can save you lots of money.

3. Smart Solutions for Saving on Groceries

Always use a grocery list when you shop. That might sound simple, but few people actually do it. When you work from a list and stick with it, impulse spending can be avoided. Pair your purchases down to groceries you really need. Basic items will cost less than highly processed foods. Convenience always costs more, and store design and displays are always created to coax you into spending more money. Cut up your own chickens, make the cheese sauce for the vegetables yourself and use a cake mix rather than a bakery cake. You can pocket the savings for that new living room.

4. Take a Good Look at Your Medications

You don’t want to stop taking the medications you need, but generic drugs and store-brand over-the-counter medications can save you hundreds of dollars per year. Find out if the drug you’re taking comes in a generic form and discuss changing your prescription with your doctor. Also, shop around for the cheapest pharmacy. Not all pharmacies charge the same price for the same medication. Discount stores, grocery-store pharmacies and online-pharmacies and drug stores often cost less than a traditional pharmacy does. It pays to be a wise shopper.

5. Evaluate Energy Costs

Most utility companies have inspection programs to help you reduce energy costs. Take advantage of that program. Often, they’re free. That audit can help reveal hidden sources of energy leaks you might not have thought about. Make sure your windows are properly sealed with caulking or weather sealant, use heavy draperies in the winter, insulate the attic and make sure all cracks and crevices are filled in and repaired. The savings can be added to your living-room remodeling fund.

6. Find Alternative Entertainment Ideas

Life would be boring without a social life, but you can find cheaper alternatives for your current entertainment style. Consider renting a couple of DVDs and popping your own popcorn on Saturday night instead of purchasing theater tickets, a jumbo bucket of popcorn and some drinks at the theater. The entertainment section of the newspaper often carries stories of local events for little or no cost. You can also make good use of your public library rather than paying full price for a new book. Some libraries rent DVDs for free. If you’re used to throwing parties or having family in for the holidays, consider switching to a pot luck instead.

Saving for a living room remodeling project takes determination and a little conscious effort, as most mindless spending is habitual, but it isn’t hard. You will have to readjust your priorities. If you turn it into a game, it can even be fun. Set up a fund or special jar in the kitchen where you deposit all of the money you’re saving, and in no time, you’ll quickly see it grow large enough to make that new living room a reality instead of a dream.

Guest post by:

David Glenn is a home improvement expert. He occasionally freelance writes about real estate tips, home maintenance and DIY home repair. 

How Are You Using Your SmartyPig?

I’m saving for spring break 2016! My senior year of college. Never too early! – Sara B.

I’m not saving for anything in particular other than a rainy day. It’s always a happy surprise when my SP email comes, and I’m all – oh, yeah! I forgot I had that money. – Dan J.

I’m saving for the biggest 40th birthday bash ever. – Donna

I’m saving for a new car downpayment. Even though I just bought a new car. I learned my lesson the hard way with a huge car payment several years back. Saving for one the second I buy one, seems easier to me! – Sarah

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