Your Questions About How To Live On A Budget And Save Money

Charles asks…

how did you save your budget during college or rough times?

I am planning on going to a school in Oregon. If I am able to get the resident’s tuition, I already have enough saved to pay for that. My boyfriend is a firefighter so he will help, too.

I have always been excellent with money management and I am doing a lot to live as green as I can and don’t buy disposable products so that helps. However, I do eat organic which can be pricey but I’m not willing to give that up.

What are little things you can do to save money?

richmama answers:

I don’t understand what living “green” has to do with saving money or being on a tight budget. As a matter of fact, in many ways living “green” is more expensive than living otherwise as you point out when buying organic food. Alternative “green” sources of energy are typically twice as expensive as traditional sources.

As far as having a tight budget, I have always lived under a tight one whether I needed to or not. During “good” times I would save more and during tough times save less. But I always tried to save. The key is not to buy things you really don’t need and not to live extravagantly unless you deserve it and can afford it. Buy things you only truly need and buy them on sale.

As far as living “green” it’s OK to conserve and use less energy. Turn the thermostat back, drive less and more efficiently carefully planning your trips, use only fuel efficient cars. But solar power, wind power, ethanol, organic foods, etc. Will all cost you more than traditional products.

Joseph asks…

Will I save money doing the prep work for new tile and carpet?

Hi all. My husband and I live in an 1100 sq/ft house with two bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 hallway, a laundry room, small kitchen and big living room. We want to have the whole house tiled with carpet in the two bedrooms. When our puppies were growing up they discovered the worn holes in the old carpet and decided to make them bigger, tearing into them like an Easter Ham. (The house is about 26 yrs old and the carpet is at least 10 yrs old)

We are on a budget and are looking for options to save money on installation and materials. We are looking at tile and carpet that costs about $1 per sq/ft and would like to get it installed by someone.

1) Would we really save money doing prep work ourselves? How much would this entail?: Im imagining pulling up the old carpet, pulling out the wood bits and nails, clearing out all the furniture, sweeping… cant think of what else. Is it worth the savings?

2) How much would it be to get it installed? We live in Bakersfield, CA.
BTW thats tile throughout the house and carpet in the two bedrooms (not carpet tiles)
We have thought about doing it ourselves. Maybe we need to revisit that. We have both laid tile before but not carpet. Id rather leave that to professionals cos I dont know it. The main reason why we wanted to get it installed is because it is the whole house not just one room and 5 professionals can come in and do it a lot faster and easier than my husband and I ever could. It would take us weeks and weeks. But maybe we can get relatives to help.

richmama answers:

Unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot of labor involved in pulling up carpet, so you really won’t save much. If you do pull up the carpet leave the tack strips in the bedroom where you are having carpet put down. Also wear a mask old carpet can be bad when pulling up. I did it once in a rental house I was fixing up to sell, just to get rid of the smell. I saved a whole hundred bucks minus trip to dump. Depending on the quality you looking at 2-4 dollars a ft. For carpet and about the same for tile especially if you want a diamond or brick pattern laid down

Mary asks…

How can I save up to study overseas for a year?

Any tips for saving money would be great. I study full-time, work casually as a waitress 2-3 shifts per week, more in the uni holidays, and teach piano as well.

I budget and try to save but have difficulty with unexpected expenses.

I want to study on exchange in Paris for a year in 2010, and will need to save quite a significant amount to live in central Paris and support myself for the year.

I cannot work on a study visa and would like to have money to travel in Europe as well.

richmama answers:

If you enjoy teaching piano, could you increase the number of lessons you give? The rate per hour is likely to be more than the waitressing. I know one person who had part time work on Saturdays but gave it up because he was earning much more from a full Saturday teaching music. And he did this right through uni.

If you can live on what you earn from waitressing, save every penny from the piano. There are lots of ways of cutting down yhour expenses. Google ‘Oprah Debt Diet’ for examples.

Good luck!!

Carol asks…

How to save money in this economy?

Unfortunately most of the people today worrying about the economy, sky rocketing gas prices and the cost of living, I think very simple things can have a big impact on our budget for instance using coupon each day you go for shopping. Anytime you can find a coupon for a product that you use, clip it and take it along on your next shopping trip. Some stores even offer double or triple coupon days once a month. Find out if your local store offers this service and check the newspapers you can save a lot in a month.

richmama answers:

In addition to the above I would also recommend putting any long term savings in a physical asset that will retain its value like gold or silver or other commodities, things you could potentially use for trade. Inflation will render cash or bank savings worthless.

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