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Cost Saving Tips And Tricks Jsfg

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Slides presented at 5/17/2010 Job Search Focus Group meeting, Cincinnati

Slides presented at 5/17/2010 Job Search Focus Group meeting, Cincinnati

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Cost Saving Tips And Tricks Jsfg Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Cost-Saving Tips and Tricks Ben Keeling Job Search Focus Group May 17, 2010
  • 2. Contact Info
    • My contact info:
      • Cell: 513-325-1425
      • Email: [email_address]
      • Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/benkeeling
      • Follow me on Twitter: @BenKeeling
  • 3. Opening Thoughts
    • There’s a lot you can do on your own that you might otherwise pay somebody to do.
    • Sometimes the extra quality or convenience may be worth paying for.
    • Ask, and it might be given.
    • There’s sometimes room for negotiation.
    • Being in transition may provide a better opportunity to learn new skills.
    • Good habits established during tough times can last a lifetime.
    • Healthy eating and regular exercise have many benefits, including lower overall expenses.
  • 4. Personal Development: Treat as an Opportunity
    • WIA (Workforce Investment Act) funds may be available to you. Check with your county, or with Sam Zonker from ProTrain.
    • Hamilton County Public Library in downtown Cincinnati has tremendous resources, or do from anywhere on your PC. You don’t need to be a Hamilton County resident to get a library card.
    • Some universities and other organizations have online or classroom opportunities for little or no cost: MIT free on line courses; Harvard@home; ITunesU; Academic Earth; Research Channel; Videolectures.Net; PowerPoint class at Cincinnati Arts & Technology Center at Longworth Hall near downtown
  • 5. Personal Development: Treat as an Opportunity
    • Software-specific training:
      • Hp.com
      • Microsoft.com
      • Download.cnet.com for free software (and others)
    • ProTrain is offering a special training smorgasbord: one-year access for $500.
    • StrengthsFinder 2.0: Northminster Presbyterian Church’s Family Life Center in Finneytown (Diane Kinsella, Mondays, 1:30-3:00) does offer as part of their series of meetings for job-seekers, plus an hour of coaching with Diane.
    • Scarlet Oaks Return-to-Work Center: Lisa Slutsky
  • 6. Age
    • AARP (age 50) gets you discounts, newsletters
    • Golden Buckeye (age 60) gets you even more discounts
    • Sometimes you need to ask!
    • Senior discounts are available for auto insurance – check on age 50.
  • 7. Ask, and It Might Be Given
    • Discounts may be available if you ask.
    • May be able to negotiate – not just for houses and cars.
      • Homeowners association negotiated for lower trash pickup cost.
    • May be able to barter with someone.
    • Investigate existing programs for people whose incomes have been reduced:
      • College financial aid
      • YMCA scholarships
      • School lunches for kids
      • Angel Food Ministries
  • 8. Reducing Services Can Save Money
    • Cutting back on cable channels can save big bucks….or check into a lower-rate, longer-term commitment (Time Warner). Or just drop altogether.
    • Cell phone bill: Text, data, number of minutes. Scrutinize your bill! Consider Cricket unlimited service for $60/month.
    • Drive a used car rather than a new one.
    • Fertilize your own lawn, or go natural.
    • Hair, nails, etc.
    • Magazines: many have much of their content online.
  • 9. Loyalty Programs
    • Kroger Plus card can get you discounts on gas at Kroger and Shell. At Kroger, you may need to use the loyalty card to get the sale price.
    • Staples sends rebates as coupons, plus has specials.
    • Speedway’s Speedy Rewards card provides a number of food, drink, and gas perks. Build points faster by putting cash on gift card.
    • Upromise – don’t have to use the accumulated dollars for college expenses.
    • Many others.
  • 10. Food
    • Eating in can save big over eating out. Use the preparation time as family time. Cooking your own can also be healthier than either pre-packaged or eating out. Plan your meals around grocery store sale items.
    • Kroger sometimes has specials such as: Buy 8 of certain items, get $4 back. Kroger and others double certain coupons.
    • Shop more than one grocery store ad. Stock up where practicable. Don’t shop for food on an empty stomach. Shop quickly and shop alone. Make a list and stick to it.
    • Try new things at the grocery. Somebody buys the other brands or the companies would go out of business. Aldi grocery stores have great products. You can save about 40% on your grocery bill just by shopping there. They do not take coupons as they have mostly store brands, but they are good.
  • 11. Food
    • Pack a lunch next time you’ll be out over the lunch hour, e.g. JSFG followed by Northminster; avoid the concession stand at your child’s sporting event.
    • Networking meetings: lunch is less expensive than dinner; mid-morning , mid-afternoon, or after dinner is less expensive still.
    • Restaurants often offer deals if you look for them. Check out a restaurant’s website, or just ask what deals they have.
    • Restaurant Week in Dayton offers a number of deals at Dayton-area restaurants.
  • 12. Coupons
    • Sunday newspaper has a lot, but watch quick expiration dates. Consider keeping coupons organized in the car (same with loyalty cards).
    • Coupons.com has coupons for groceries, household products etc. They also have online coupons to Barnes & Noble and other stores.
    • Groupon.com will send you a daily coupon if you want. Or just get on their site and you can get the deal of the day. It is good for restaurants, massages, and lots more.
    • Halfpricecincy.mediawebconnect.com has a deal of the week Fridays at 8:00 a.m.--’til they’re gone.
    • Cincinnati Rewards - Http://www.cityrewardsnetwork.com/local.php?city=cincinnati&locview=cpn_list&catid=69&cattype=main
    • GoodSearch - http://www.goodsearch.com/Default.aspx
    • Restaurant.com – watch for the minimum amount needed to spend
    • Couponmoms.com and yodeal.com are other sites.
  • 13. Potpourri
    • Convert credit card rewards into gift cards. Discover Card holders can get up to 100 retailers' gift cards worth up to double the standard cash rebate value. So if you use your rebate of, say, $25 to purchase a gift card, you can get a $50 card. Then use the card on sale items to save even more.
    • Combine trips. Or do you even need to pick up the dry cleaning today? Run errands mid-morning or early afternoon to save time, save gas.
    • Change the filter in your furnace monthly in the colder months. You will feel better and your furnace will use less energy.
  • 14. Potpourri
    • Use your manufacturer's coupon from Duke Energy to get a free 6-pack of GE Energy Smart 13-watt bulbs at Wal-Mart. The bulbs really do save money on your electric bill. Also, consider enrolling in the short-term air conditioner shut-off program to get a $25 credit.
    • Book flights early. Low-cost airlines have created a market in holidays for people prepared to fly to any destination provided it's cheap.
    • Plan your spending before you shop. Marketers get paid a lot of money to entice you to over-pay for impulse items. If you plan and wait, you can easily live on a lot less.
  • 15. Potpourri
    • Use your citrus and onion bags to make pot scrubbers. They work great and won't scratch the pots.
    • Stay away from electronic fads. They change so fast that when you buy them a better replacement model is already in the works.
    • Implement the 30-day rule. When you find yourself thinking about making an unnecessary purchase, consider holding off on the purchase for thirty days before making the decision to follow through. Most people buy on impulse, and adopting a waiting period (even if it is less than 30 days) allows you to think about--or forget about--why you wanted the item in the first place. If the waiting period expires and you still want to make the purchase, at least you know that you are not making an impulse buy.
  • 16. Potpourri
    • Larger sizes of an item are not always cheaper by the ounce. Check the shelf tag for the per ounce cost.
    • Buy good quality paint. You can use less, and it'll probably last longer.
    • Wear work clothes when you work, sports gear for play, and more expensive dress clothes only for special events. Many a good shirt has been ruined by gardening, painting, working on the car, or cooking in it. Sometimes the trick to this is remembering to change clothes when you change activities. When you finish your errands and start to do chores around the house, change into "chore clothes" and save the "errand clothes" for next time.
  • 17. Potpourri
    • Go to Google, type “ways to spend less money for services.”
    • Don't cut out all entertainment--it's important for emotional balance. But do look for free and low-cost alternatives (the local High School play can replace a night at the Aranoff, or a Florence Freedom baseball game instead of the Reds, etc.)
    • Replace that far-away family vacation with a "stay-cation" at a local hotel or resort. If you do take a vacation, rent a house instead of staying in a hotel and eating out. Stock up on groceries and eat breakfast and dinner in the rental house and pack a picnic lunch for day trips. www.vrbo.com is a good place to start; from there do your own research on private homes to rent.
  • 18. Potpourri
    • If in really dire straits, talk with the mortgage holder and the utility companies before they start proceedings. Many will work with you under your current situation.
    • Open the windows on cooler mornings. It can delay the point the air conditioner needs to kick in. Set your thermostat a little higher in the summer and a little lower in the winter.
    • Read the book Your Money or Your Life : although some points may be a little far-fetched (rinse out Ziploc bags and reuse), think about how much the typical person who works outside the home spends and how easy it is to get caught up in doing what everybody else does.
  • 19. Potpourri
    • If you were eating out for the socializing, invite a group of friends over for a meal. An added benefit is avoiding the huge markup in alcohol and not drinking and driving (offer to let them stay).
    • Plant a vegetable garden. One person’s parsley survived the winter and they've been using it all year. It's good exercise and very rewarding. Trade with neighbors - maybe they have way too many tomatoes and you have way too many zucchini.
    • Enjoy the free events Cincinnati has to offer. For example, the Zoo is free on Thursday nights in April for Blooms & Tunes. Great, free, live music. Park on the street for free.
    • Volunteer for events so you get in free. A Midpoint Music Festival volunteer received a pass for one night off to enjoy it.
  • 20. Potpourri
    • Carpool with a family member, friend, or a new networking connection to support group meetings and the like. Carpool time can be used to better get to know someone--and that someone may turn out to have just the connection you need!
    • Recycling: In Anderson Township, Rumpke charges for curbside recycling so may want to take it to the recycling center for free. Added bonus: Anderson Township uses the money from recycling for parks improvements.
    • Borrow movies from the library instead of renting from Blockbuster or Netflix.
    • Aveda in Hyde Park for hair.
    • Radio stations sometimes offer deals and discounts.
  • 21. Potpourri
    • Consider FreeCycle.org. These organizations (it's a national movement) pair up people looking to get rid of not-new but still usable items so that they don't end up in landfills but find a good home. There are daily emails from registered users, and it's free. A lot of the items aren’t pertinent, but someone got a very good scanner through them (an office in that person’s neighborhood was replacing theirs). The idea is that this is a "give" as well as "get" process. There are three different Cincinnati groups, based on geography.
    • Use seeds instead of buying nursery plants. Start out with two or three plants in a planter or flower box and then sprinkle flower seeds in the planter every few weeks to keep annuals blooming.
  • 22. Potpourri
    • Kids in college? For 2009 and 2010, thanks to the new American Opportunity Tax Credit (formerly Hope credit), you can claim a credit of $2,500 per student per year for their first four years of college. This credit phases out at incomes above $80,000 ($160,000 for joint filers).
    • Other higher education tax benefits available as well.
    • Keep track of your expenses, both from a budgeting standpoint so that you know what’s coming in and what’s going out and from a tax standpoint, as you may be able to deduct a portion of your job-search expenses.
    • Large medical bills may be able to be reduced if you explain your financial situation to the provider.
  • 23. Potpourri
    • Jobless benefits: If you qualified for them, the first $2,400 of your unemployment benefits were tax-free in 2009. This doesn’t appear to have been extended yet to unemployment benefits received in 2010, but stay tuned.
    • TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance) may be available if yours was among positions relocated overseas – talk to SuperJobs.
  • 24. Potpourri
    • Roll your spare change…how much do you have in those jars?
    • Pay with cash. If you can’t pay cash, you may not really need it.
    • Have a No-Spending Month. Clean out the freezer and pantry, buying only milk, fresh produce and generic items.
    • Switch to a Credit Union: Same services, better personal attention, fewer and lower fees. Some have narrow requirements to join, but others are surprisingly broad. GE’s gets good marks locally.
    • Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University training can help prioritize the various financial aspects of one’s life.
    • eBay has coupons for Lowe’s and Home Depot and probably many other retailers.
    • Visit garage sales and attend swap parties to get good deals. Use as well to get rid of what you don’t need.
  • 25. Potpourri
    • Think strategically and prioritize.....and do everything possible to keep a good attitude. Good attitudes are good for the soul and make a much better impression on networking connections and hiring managers. People hire happy!! (Bob Pautke)
    • Thanks to many contributors. Some items taken from AARP magazine and newsletters.
    • Specific companies and organizations cited for illustrative purposes; does not imply endorsement.
  • 26. Questions/Discussion
    • My contact info:
      • Cell: 513-325-1425
      • Email: [email_address]
      • Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/benkeeling
      • Follow me on Twitter: @BenKeeling