When you’re thinking about buying a house, you don’t want to rely on a bank to tell you how much you can afford. Just because you qualify for a $100,000, $200,000, or $300,000+ mortgage doesn’t mean that you can actually shoulder that burden. There may be aspects of your budget the lender isn’t taking into consideration, for one. For another, if your monthly payment is too much of a burden, you’ll make yourself “house poor,” which isn’t a great situation. Luckily, it is possible to figure out how much house you can really afford. Here’s a house affordability calculator that can help.
Grocery shopping can be hazardous to your health…and wallet if you don’t follow these tips:
Mrs. O.G. is the usually the one who’s in charge of the shopping in our house, so when Joe asked me to write about how to save money, I had no choice but to rope her into this little soiree. So, sweetie pie, how exactly do we save money shopping?
Step 1: Make a list. The biggest mistake “rookie” shopper make is just wandering into a store, grocery or otherwise, without an action plan. In our house, we plan out our menu for the next couple weeks, take inventory of the necessary ingredients, and make a list of the remaining purchases. Nothing is more wasteful than coming home from the store with a fresh bundle of carrots, only to find the same amount in the refrigerator.
Step 2: When you’re buying fresh food, like produce, buy it during its harvest season. For example, it seems like strawberries are quite plentiful right now, while Honey Crisp apples seem to be running out. There’s plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables out there, just make sure you buy what’s in season.
Step 3: Generic usually tastes as good. I say usually because I abhor store-brand almonds, but absolutely adore Blue Emerald brand almonds. Don’t ask me why. But for things like black beans, pasta (which we’ll talk about in a second), tuna, etc., generic works just as good and it’s usually 30% less than brand name. In fact, some name-brand items will “private label” specific items for sale at certain stores – think the Kirkland brand at Costco. While I’m on the topic of Costco, they have a really sweet return policy, so you can always bring your Kirkland brand stuff back. If you’re family is picky like mine, ease into it – buy some generic items and substitute them slowly; see if anyone notices. They probably won’t. You can also check Costco’s new locations here.
Step 4: Be smart with coupons and sales. We used to get the newspaper each day, but realized the only thing we needed and wanted it for was for the Sunday coupons. Take 30 minutes each Sunday afternoon to breeze through the Sunday paper looking for sales and coupons and file them away. We make it a family affair since our kids l.o.v.e. to cut things.
Step 5: Shop healthier, eat healthier be healthier. Eating processed foods that have artificial flavors, colors, and tons of sugar is bad for you. It’s also bad for your pocketbook. Many people think that eating “healthy” costs too much, or is too hard to do, but in you stay away from the interior aisles, you’ll save money and be healthier.
Five quick and simple ways to save money while shopping, according to Mrs. O.G. What ways do you use in your household to save money while grocery shopping?