Melcar Group

Budget Guru

Coffee a Day..

Coffee a Day..?

Find yourself rushing for the morning java rush? Or the mid-afternoon energy boost from your favourite caffeine drinks? Buying and drinking coffee has become the norm. With so many café’s, coffee shops, specialty coffee chains, how can we resist? Many people believe that they can’t truly operate until they get their “morning” coffee into them. Well that is fine (financially speaking, maybe not so medically) just be cautious on how you get that daily coffee.

Depending on where you purchase your daily coffee, it can really add up to real savings (or spending) over one year.
Refer to the following graph for an illustration

Regular Coffee $1.50 * 365 = 547.50
Cappuccino $3.50 * 365 = 1277.50
Lattes $4.00 * 365 = 1460.00Savings

Find yourself with the situation that most resembles you, and realize that ONE coffee per day, really does add up. I am not saying you can’t treat yourself, but you have to be smart about your choices. Maybe a good way to treat yourself is allow yourself to buy two coffees per week. Depending on your work schedule maybe you find Monday’s to be the most challenging day to get going, but if you allow yourself that “treat” on a Monday, it might motivate you more. You will notice that the less you have of the product, the more you will begin to really enjoy it, while saving some money at the same time.

Don’t forget, there is always the traditional method, such as making your own coffee at home. This way you can enjoy what you make, with the people you want to be with.

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Savings | | Leave a comment

Grocery Shopping Tips

Grocery Shopping

How many people really enjoy grocery shopping? For some it can be enjoyable, for others it is just another item on the “to do list”. During this difficult time period, many companies have raised their prices to fend off their decreasing profits. This places a greater problem on many consumers since it is becoming more and more complicated to live off their current income, let alone putting money away for savings.

Below are helpful tips that I recommend to consumers while grocery shopping.

Create a Budget
First and foremost; you should create a structured budget for grocery expenditures that ensure enough quantity of food is purchased to last for the budget period. For example; if you shop on a weekly basis, ensure your budget is substantial enough to last for the entire week or if you shop bi-weekly, ensure you purchase enough groceries to last that time frame. Without a budget, there is no guidance or structure and as consumers it is too easy to over spend when we are faced with not knowing what is a need compared to a want.

Read your local Flyers
A fast, simple and logical method to see what local vendor is offering their products at a more reasonable price.

Collect Coupons
Coupons are a great way to save an extra 1$ per item here and there. It might seem like a waste of time or that is really won’t make a difference, but common sense really shows that it does pay off. Take for example a coupon that is valid for 1 dollar off a loaf of bread. Over one year, if purchased weekly with the coupon, this amounts to a savings of 52 dollars. Coupons can be found on many online websites, as well being delivered through the mail. Keep your eye open for these savings.

Make a List
This is probably the most cost saving tactic one can use. Many consumers feel that they know exactly what they need and want when they are grocery shopping, however this is not the case. Marketing departments have become so intelligent and so advanced that they know exactly how to catch your attention, and make you buy! Think of all the items that are located right by the cashier, that is meant to be last minute items that you think will come in use. Personally, I can not go grocery shopping (or any kind of shopping) without a list made. It provides that sense of structure that allows me to purchase exactly what I will need for the entire week.

Brand name Products?
Brand name products are clearly more expensive than private label items. Why? Well there are many causes of this, firstly advertisers assume that people will fall into their trap believing that their product really is that much better than their generic competitor. Also, brand name products have to build an extensive marketing and advertising campaign that will attract and retain their loyal customers. In all seriousness, there are some no name products that don’t measure up with their brand name competitors, but overall I don’t feel there is a need to spend more money on a specific brand. In times like this, I feel it is more important to buy the right food at the right price.

Price Match
Did you know that some companies offer what is known as price matching? This simply means that they will match the price of a product if they sell it for a greater amount than their competitors. Usually all you have to do is bring in the flyer to illustrate the lower price and that price will be granted. This can be go a long way when purchasing staple items, and it allows you to complete all your shopping at one main store.

February 20, 2009 Posted by | Savings | 1 Comment

Introduction

My Roots

Recently graduated, I am just stepping foot into my career path with hopes of a successful future. I became interested with finance, specifically personalized budgets when I was quite young. I always had a natural ability to budget the money I did have (even if it was only 20 dollars) and realize that money is something that is earned, not granted. As a child I delivered the local newspaper to earn a small amount of money, this really taught me at a young age the value of money. My parents illustrated to me that a portion of my money should be saved, and a portion can be spent. Of course, at such a young age there was really nothing I would purchase other then the odd gumball or hair accessory.

 

This is the basics of money; you analyze your income, distribute it to the appropriate place and create a balanced budget. This really provided me the foundation required to manage money, I then went on to a real part-time job while I was still in school, and now I am employed Full Time, yet still practice the foundations of my childhood.

 

Since I have been exposed to the financial world, my observations scare me. We, as a society have become what I like to call “void fillers”. We buy “things” to fill our void within ourselves that feel empty. Sure it may be a generalization; however it is accurate for the greater part of the population. Mixed with the role models that we have today for younger people, the celebrities that have the ability to buy essentially anything that they want, we fall into this path of trying to live a life that is not meant for us.

I do not live an expensive life, I purchase the essentials to survive comfortably, and I save/invest to create a brighter future for myself and my family. I collect coupons, I search for deals, I buy items that are on sale 90% of the time, and I usually do not buy brand name articles. If I did the opposite of what I am doing, of course I would be in a situation that would cause me stress, anxiety, and a bleak future. It is my interest in life to analyze and create personalized budgets that are sustainable and enable the person to save a substantial amount of their money for their future.

 

 

 

 

 


February 18, 2009 Posted by | Introduction | Leave a comment

Foundation of Money

Money–Something we can’t live without, yet it seems we can’t operate even if we have money. Why? As a society we have taken the basic principle known as “Money earned – Money spent = Balanced Budget or Debt”.

When we take a closer look at our financial situation, it may seem overwhelming, so many people would rather not even open the book in hopes to avoid a scary situation. In actual fact, letting the problem build over time, will only create more financial stress, which can begin to effect every aspect of one’s life. Sure one can get on the right path again simply by paying off their minimal accrued debt, but if you don’t analyze your lifestyle you will end up in the same situation 5 years down the line. The problem is, as consumers, we feel that we are entitled to buy whatever we want, while ignoring the price tag until the monthly statments come in. We have become a society that purchases “things” even if we don’t have the money. It is only common sense that we would end up in a financial meltdown, both as a nation and as individuals.

The solutions may be easier than first anticipated, simply spend what we have and eliminate all credit cards for mass purchasing. This enables us to really understand what we can “afford” and simply what we can’t. Some items we just can’t afford, for example, personally I can not afford to purchase a 200 dollar pair of earrings. When I say I can’t afford to, it means that I really don’t have 200 dollars of disposable money for earrings, and I would rather save the money and get an average pair of earrings that will suit myself and my budget.

One of the most essential aspects of my personal finances, was to create a very structured budget and truly live by it. The outcome for myself has been very positive while I continue to learn more about saving money!

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Money Basics | Leave a comment