7 Simple Steps to Start Getting your Green Back!
Before I clipped my first coupon or signed up for my first freebie, I took a few simple steps to set myself up for success. Here’s how I’ve done it:
- SET A BUDGET! I know you’re asking, “Do I have to?” (at least, that’s what I said!) Painful as it is, it is necessary. Your budget is a roadmap. Without it, you’ll never know where you are going or how far you’ve come! Start by figuring out how much you’re currently spending and set goals for where you’d like to be. If you can, start with small changes. The success you experience will help encourage you! If you’re like us and have found yourself living on less, bigger steps can get you off on the right foot.
- PAY YOURSELF FIRST! First, take your greenback and get out of debt. Then, channel any additional savings into savings for your family.
- GET A SEPARATE EMAIL ACCOUNT. Many coupons, rebates and freebies require a valid email address. Keeping a separate email account helps you stay organized and keeps your personal email account from getting cluttered. Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail all offer free email accounts.
- PICK A STRONG PASSWORD. When you set up your new email account, or when you register on a manufacturer’s website, you will need a password. I recommend picking a strong one with a combination of at least 3 of the following: upper case, lower case, symbols and numbers.
- MAKE A PRICELIST. Let’s say boneless, skinless chicken breasts are advertised at 2.29/lb. Is that a good price to pay? Do you know the answer to that? Or are you just buying them because that is what you do every week? (I know I’m a guilty party!) The way to know if you are getting the best price is to make a price list. The number one way to save on items you purchase everyday is to know the lowest price. Once the item hits that price, plan to buy enough to last 6 to 8 weeks, which is the next time it will go on sale. Consistently paying the lowest price saves your family the most money. This is before you even clip a coupon.
- SET UP AN AUTOFILL PROGRAM. Personally, I have the Google toolbar installed. The autofill button on the toolbar inputs my personal information with the push of a button. A great time saving tip. Plus, it is free.
- LIMIT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION. If it is not a company I know well, I never give my true phone number or date of birth. There are just too many scammers out there.
- CONSIDER A SEPARATE BROWSER. I have both Safari and Firefox. Why? I’ve set-up my Firefox page with the Google toolbar, the Shop at Home toolbar, and the Swagbucks toolbar. I’ve also set it up with all the bookmarks I need such as Shortcuts, Cellfire, Coupons.com and Redplum. Now, when I’m on the computer, I use the Firefox browser. However, when someone in my family needs the computer, they use Safari. On Safari, they have their own bookmarks set up and no extra toolbars. If you are sharing your computer with your family, consider a separate browser.