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Archive for July, 2013

25 Ways to Save on Groceries

July 31st, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Saving on whatever we spend on results in our life savings. Even is you save $5 a day that is very big saving if it is done for 20 years.
Groceries are our daily needs hence our daily expenditure. Once you learn to save on it, you have saved a lot on your life saving.
Check some ways of how you can save on groceries.
1.List your income and other monthly expenditures e.g. rental or mortgage, car installment, school fees ,committed savings etc
2.Estimate expenditure for your groceries and study your expenses for about three months. Stick to what you need not what you want by making a list of your groceries before going to shops.
3.After three months, you could be in a position to draw a budget of all income and expenditure including your groceries.
4.Buy in bulk as it is cheaper especially meats and toiletries.
5.Be on the lookout for Buy one and Get one Free.
6.Compare prices of items in different stores/supermarkets.
7.Buy fruits in season as they tend to be cheaper.
8.Do not hand around in shopping malls aimlessly as most impulse shopping results from that.
9.Plant a garden or buy potted herbs. They are much cheaper than buying then in bundles.
10.Get store cards as you gain points which can be converted into cash.
11.Look for sales
12.Buy what your family favors to avoid wasting food.
13.If possible leave children home as they influence you to spend unnecessarily
14.Buy a freezer or fridge for keeping your bulk meat packs.
15.Bottled water is expensive if there is clear treated water in your environment
16.Buy budget prices goodies within different brands.
17.Avoid premade foods as they are very expensive.
18.Make healthy choice by buying foods which are balanced. This reduces your cost of foods drastically.
19.Shop late in the day as some items are reduced prices e .g bread.
20.Take back any food product you are not happy with. Most supermarket managers will be more than helpful.
21.Most people suggest eating before you shop but I have a friend of mine who told me that that formula does not work in her case. When I was spending extravagantly, I also doubt whether it made an impact but when I started managing my finances better, it still does not matter whether I eat or not. I still buy my groceries according to the budget.
22.Investigate from supermarket supervisors about different brands. This has helped me a lot as some even show you cheaper brands than the two you were asking about.
23.Always check your pay slips as shop attendants/cashier are also people who can make mistakes and always count your money twice before giving it the shop attendant/cashier. There was a time when I paid in more money and the attendant was kind enough to give me the extra money back.
24.Do not throw away left over’s as your dogs or cats can enjoy some of that food. You can also keep it in the fridge and eat it the following day.
25.If you are a couple, and one is good at saving while the other is a spender, it is better to do the shopping list and the shopping both of you .This is likely to result in some common understanding which will make both of you save on spending.

Cannnot Afford to Pay for Your Mortgage

July 31st, 2013 at 04:16 am

We are in tough times when majority of people are struggling to make ends meet.
One of the challenges is to pay mortgage since we all need shelter over our heads. Do not despair. There are alternatives you can try to overcome your problem either as a temporary measure or as a permanent solution.
The alternatives are as follows:
1. The first thing you should do is to approach your lender and discuss alternatives which could include changing payment arrangements, postponing your repayment for a period and refinancing. Meanwhile continue to pay what you can.
2. Bring a tenant and you cannot imagine how this rental could help you out. I did it one time and it helped me a lot.
3. If you have mortgage insurance cover, you can use some of it.
4. If you cannot pay the mortgage because of unemployment, accident or sickness, you can apply for funds from your Payment Protection Insurance if you have one.
5. Use a budget planner to get a real picture of your income and expenditure. Hence take action to cut on your costs.
6. Speak to a free debt counselor or a Financial Advisor
7. Selling a house will be the last resort.

How I Started Accumulating Debts

July 30th, 2013 at 12:41 am

This is my personal story of how I started accumulating debts and I will serve as a warning to those who could be following some of these trends.
We normally start spending unreasonable because we are being led by answers of some of these questions or even more questions I did not ask myself.
1. Why should I not drive a good expensive car like my peers?
2. Why should my subordinates dress designer clothes and I do not?
3. Why should I not furnish my house like my sister or my friend?
4. Why should children of my friends or my brother wear designer clothes and my do not?
Those are some of the questions which were in my mind and each question I had the same answer that I should do all these things.
That was the very beginning of my spending spree and these are the things I embarked on:
1. I bought a SUV car on a 5 year payment plan where I was paying equivalent of $1000 per month..
2. I opened accounts in four department stores so that I could buy clothes.
3. I started buying my children designer label clothes.
4. I started entertaining my friends every week very expensively
5. I stopped packing sandwiches and every lunch time I was in a restaurant
6. I bought very expensive furniture for my house.
7. I forgot about the word called budgeting and I stopped making a list of what I need for my grocery. I was just buying what I wanted and not what I needed.
Those are my warning signs and I welcome any other warning signs of dipping ourselves in unmanageable debts.

Some Tips of Saving When Buying a New Car

July 29th, 2013 at 12:26 am

It can be very stressful when buying a new car. This car could be new or second hand car. Like any business the car dealers want to make as much profit as they can and they are likely to play all tricks to get the best profit out of you.
I thought these tips; some from my personal experience will help you on your next buy or your first buy.
1. First decide on your needs and then decide the type of the car you need to buy according to those needs. For example, take into account the size of your family or desired size of your family, your type of work, the distance between your work place and where you stay as this has implication of gas/petrol cost.
2. After deciding on the type of the car, do some window shopping among different dealers. Compare prices while doing some tricks on them indirectly. Show them that you are going to other dealers .e.g. get your note book where you have listed other prices. It is better to do this in the first three weeks of the month.
3. When you going to trade in. Do the same by visiting different car dealers and comparing prices. You need to be patient as this is the first rule of the game .At this stage do not mention to them that you are going to buy a new car.
4. Do not concentrate on monthly installment but total cost of the car.
5. Monthly installments can be achieved according to your monthly budget by increasing payment period which increases your interest drastically.Be aware of this trick.
6. Know that a vehicle is not an investment .Its value depreciates in two years from about 20% to 45%.You could also consider a very good second hand car of about two years instead of a new one.
7. Meanwhile shop around for your own financing .Compare interest rates.
8. After doing those preparations and by this time you know the most reasonable car dealer you are going to buy your car, it is better to go for the final deal in the last week of the month .Salesmen are chasing for their monthly quota so they are likely to give you a very good deal. For those who are trading in, negotiate the final deal first and after that tell them that you are now going to buy a car. This can be tricky and it depends on where you live. Your car might be very old and can be rejected by most car dealers unless when they know that you are going to buy another car from them. You can gauge that as you are shopping around .Remember, patience is the first rule of buying a car.
9. Bargaining a car on internet is cheaper and you can show up during test driving.
10. Timing is very important as I have already mentioned that it is best to buy a car in the last week of the month but it is also the best to buy a car in December, around Christmas time as most show rooms are not busy. Most people are busy spending on Christmas. It is also important to note when the new cars have arrived .Salesmen tend to give better prices when introducing new cars on market and they also sell demo-cars which have run few kilometers/miles very cheaply.
11. Avoid dealer adds-on as they are not very useful and they increase the price of the car drastically e.g. extended warranty ,over the top-alarm systems ,extended service contracts ,rust proofing.
12. Be aware and do not trust car dealers. One time I was going to pay far more on the car when the salesman told me that the car was going to be more expensive as it was going to be ordered in the factory. I found out this late as I was shopping around with another car dealer.
13. Do not sign the contract without noting the above mentioned adds-on costs and the price should include fees and charges. Remember the car insurance costs.
14. Pay as much as you can on deposit. Cash is the best but in most cases it is impossible to buy car cash.
I hope that some of those tips will help someone.

How to Save on Your Dog

July 27th, 2013 at 07:53 am

I love my two dogs very much, Tiger and Bruno. However, after struggling to overcome my debts, I do not want to over spend on anything.
Dogs are part of our families and we should treat them like family members. Some people go to the extent of buying them clothes, buying them expensive toys and sleeping in luxury. If you have that money, you can spend it.
I do not have that money .Hence ,I decided to visit a veterinary doctor who looks after my dogs to give me some tips of how I could reduce the costs on two dogs .I have felt that it is worth sharing these tips with everyone.
The first thing he told me is that dogs just need preventive care, exercises, love and nutritious diet.
In that light, he gave me these tips:
1. Most dogs are fine with grocery dog food. You do not have to go for higher-end bag
2. You do not have to over feed your dogs as it is also not good for their health.
3. Keep your dog healthy by keeping it on its vaccines and medications as it eliminates many diseases which could cause you to go in expenses for treatment.
4. He told me that I should always be free to ask him how to keep my costs low when I bring my dogs for treatment. So please do not hesitate to do the same with your dogs’ veterinary Doctor.
5. Some countries have Health Insurance for dogs. Please take it if available in your country.
6. Take your dog for daily walks
7. Start your dog saving account as a family.
8. Spend more time with your dog and always give him/her caring love. That keeps him happy than expensive toys.
I hope you will find this blog useful.

How to Handle a Spender Spouse

July 25th, 2013 at 11:15 pm

The situation of one partner being a spender and not a saver and the other one being a saver and not a spender is very common .I guess the opposites tend to attract each other.
However, this situation brings a lot of misunderstands and in some cases couples could even divorce.
These are some tips to handle a spouse who is a big spender and not a saver.
• Discuss with your partner openly and in a relaxed environment every month about your household income, the basic needs you have to pay for, how much to pay for your debts (if you have debts) and how much you have to save.
• If both of you are getting income, discuss each one’s contribution towards the budget
• Try to do shopping together as per budget and I could recommend the saver to have the responsibility of paying for utility bills as the spender could use this money for other things.
• If you have debts, both of you could be involved when paying them.
• Discuss your long term goals and discuss together how to save towards them. e.g. retirement years ,healthy problems and education of children.
• Every two or three months include some reasonable amount of money depending on your income to spoil yourselves. The saver might not spend his or her money; instead that money might be saved but that it fine.
• Alternatively, set one combined account to pay for the basics and also each individual account for each one to spend on some items independently instead of always being judged on your spending.
• Both the spender and the saver should keep a cool head as there are likely to be accusations and counter accusations and there should not be any finger pointing.
• In your budget discussions focus on the future and not the past.
Lastly communication and regular communication is very important in any relationship .Even if you have spoiled yourself, share it with your spouse

Please note that this blog is from my website:

Saving on Twins

July 24th, 2013 at 03:35 am

I had twins at a time when I was undergoing some financial problems and this resulted in my desperation finding out all possible ways where I can save on twins. I ended up spending far less than what I had spent on my single born children before.

Phase 1: Preparing for the birth of my twins.

When I was six months pregnant, I had started accepting that I was going to have twins and I have to find ways to support and feed them. It was a very difficult time for me as I was also recovering from many debts.
The first shopping I did for them was their baby clothing .I went for designer names and ended up using a credit card as I could not pay that full amount of equivalent of $500 cash.
This made me think twice as I was in the process of recovering from debts.
I decided to make a list of all the urgent things which I needed to have when going to hospital and after leaving hospital and how I would get them cheaply.
I was stark until after visiting my obstetrician at seven months of my pregnancy. On this visit, he advised me to join the South African Multiple Birth Association (SAMBA) and to also get in touch with the local members in my suburb in Durban.
I phoned SAMBA immediately and they sent me forms. I had to pay for equivalent of $15 as of now rate per year. This money saved me a lot of Rands/ dollars.
They immediately gave me contacts of about five members in my suburb and they started sending me their newsletters.
My first contact, gave me an appointment to go and have a cup of tea while discussing some of the challenges of bringing up twins and how one could address them.
After two days, we meet. It was a very relaxed environment .She had a pair of twins, one boy and one girl of five years. Hence I was bound to get the best advice at this stage of expecting twins.
While having a cup of coffee, she advised me on the following issues:
• To go for second hand things on things like sleeping baskets, prams, beds, toys etc--.She actually offered to sell me the double pram of her twins which I bought very cheaply.
• To organise a baby shower and ask everyone at least to bring a pack of diapers. You cannot believe that this was the best advice I got that day. I never imagined how expensive diapers where by that time as my younger child was about 10 years older than the twins.
• To always look at items where you buy one and get one free.
• To breast feed more especially in the first six months as it is free instead of baby milks.

These were very good tips and I had to put them into action. I had already got a second double pram from my first contact as mentioned above. I had to find out from some members of SAMBA or a charity shop in town which was selling second hand things for babies and children whether I could get some of the other items.
Fortunately, one SAMBA member had two bassinets and she also sold them to me at a very cheap price. By this time I had decided that the babies will stay in my bed room and I will delay to buy them baby cots. In any case they were going to be small until about four months.
In the charity shop, they were many second hand toys at cheap prices.
I decided to invite my friends for a baby shower and I asked each one to at least come with a pack of diapers.
This was a very exciting day. I had to buy some cool drinks, told my older children to help with decorations in the house. They all offered to bring a plate of eats as they were thinking about my expected expenses of the twins.
We ended up having a lot of eats and room was full of diapers plus a number of many baby items.
I did not realize by then than these diapers will get finished in two months.
I also realised that I spent a lot on my first shopping as most of the items I had bought were also bought by my friends.
I just did not have to spend any more money until the twins were delivered.


Finally, I delivered my twins on 22 July 2006.I delivered them by Cesarean section at eight and a half months. The first one to be delivered was 2.4 kg and the second one was 2.2 kg .They were both very fine and we spend three nights in the hospital.
The first week at home was very rough in terms of feeding them in turns and also have different sleeping and waking up times. I was also just recovering from a cesarean section.
I decided to breast feed my twins full time as I was on a four month maternity leave.
I started realizing how the diapers were going down very fast .In the first two months all the diapers I got on the baby shower were finished.
I decided on the following measures:
• I had to shop around for the cheapest place to buy diapers and I was just going to use them at night or when we are travelling. I was going to start buying them in bulk as it was still much cheaper.
• I bought cloth diapers/nappies for everyday use.
• Since I was working, I decided to employ a full time maid. It is not very expensive in South Africa as compared to many developed countries. If you are in a country where house maids are very expensive, it is better to make arrangements with your relatives/grannies to help you on twins so that you have enough time to do the washing or even have time for shopping or just to relax a bit. You do not only have to save money on twins but also on your energy.
• I decided never to buy designer clothing for babies who do not even understand designers.
• I started asking for shops which had coupons. These coupons started helping me a lot.
When the twins were four months, I was planning to go back to work as my maternity leave was over. Their feeding patters had to change drastically as they demanded more solid food and I was not going to be at home full time to breast feed them.
I decided to buy a food processor so that I would prepare their food instead of pre made food in the stores as they are very expensive.
I started extracting my breast milk but by the age of six months that milk was very little.
Their patrician recommended that I should start them on the baby power milks. This was going to be an expense.
I decided to buy these milks in bulk and it turned out to be cheaper.
Being a member of SAMBA helped also a lot .There are shops where you present a member card and you get some discounts.
Some of the shops which offer discounts to SAMBA members include:
2.Babies R Us
3.Baby Chair
4.Miracle Baby
6.Glumber Hub
For those in USA,they can get discounts at:

For those in different countries please find out from your local Multiple Birth Associations.
Through SAMBA,I also connected with three mothers who were having twins of nearly the same age as mine.
We started organizing diapers all together in a bigger bulk than individual bulk. This turned out even more cheaper.
One of the mothers advised me that I could even borrow some things from mothers who have bigger twins.
I did not want the idea of borrowing though.
As the twins were turning one year, they were a bit uncomfortable in their bassinets. I started contacting some mothers who are members of SAMBA to find out who was willing to sell baby cots.
One mother offered to borrow me her baby cots. I was hesitant but finally I agreed as I was really struggling to reduce my debts.
It is very surprising that the heavy burden you carry when you are told that you are expecting twins become very light by the support you get from everyone.
When my single born children were born very few people offered something.


At age two the twins had become very active in the house. Some friends of mine advised to take them to a Day Care Center.
The nearest Day care center was about $ 100 per month. Since I had employed a full time nanny. I decided not to take the twins to the day care center at this stage. As I pointed out earlier, nannies are very expensive in developed countries. An alternative is to get free child care like grannies if they are still around or if they do not live very far from you.
There is a town, where I know that there are three non working mothers who are helping out other four working mothers to look after their twin kids up to noon at very cheap fees. They all have twins.
By age two they had also overgrown their clothes and shoes which most of them were given to them through baby shower. It was mum’s turn to buy more.
I decided on the following:
1.I would buy over size clothing in order to wear them longer. At two years, I was buying for three or four year old age.
2.I would buy them either very cheap toys on sale or second hand toys. I realized that kids get fed up with toys quickly so there was no need to spend very expensively on toys. I also had to train them to share toys so that they could play with different toys at the same time. Hence I could buy two different toys.
3.I was always at the lookout for discounts for multiple births.
4.I had to continue cutting down on my other expenditure e.g. we were eating at home more often and I was buying most groceries in bulk and always looking for sales.
5.They could share their clothes hence I did not have to buy same clothes with same colour every time.
6.I had learnt to have two budgets, one for my house groceries and the second one for the twins which included their food, clothes ,diapers etc—
7.I could also use coupons where possible
8.There were twins’ club sales in Durban area. I acquired many cheap second hand items through these sales.
9.At the age of four years, I decided to take them to a nearby Day Care center which was very fair in prices. It was costing equivalent of $ 100 per month. Day care centers in developed countries are more expensive than this. The main reason why I decided to take them is to get used mixing with other children and to start getting used to holding pencils and crayons while colouring.


According to the system of education in South Africa, it is imperative that by the age of five years, a child start preschool year to prepare to Primary one.
It was time for my twins to start preschool.
Fortunately the Day Care center they were attending at the age of four had the preschool facility. I was very lucky because it was very good and very reasonable in price. The prices varied if the kids were there for eight hours or if they were there for six hours. Since I had a nanny, I decided on the six hours to keep my costs low.
By this age they had started being interested in books and pictures. Books were very expensive in book shops especially the hard cover books. Hence I decided to buy second hand books and it was cheaper than buying new books. I could get a book of $0.50.
I also decided to be a member of three public municipal libraries in my area so that I could borrow books.
You cannot manage the saving I made instead of buying new books .I never thought about all these alternatives when my single born children were growing up at this age. I was just buying them new books. I really spend far more on them than the twins.
The other measures I took included:
1.Signing up with Amazon to go for sales on clothes
2.Check for sales on Baby Gear for big toys
3.Sign up with eBay and check on sales on educational toys and sales on second hand items.
4.The charity shop in my area should also sell some good second hand educational toys.
5.I would buy t- shirts or pajamas where you buy one and get one free.
At the age of six they were ready to start formal schooling in Primary one. I selected a school which was not far from my work place to save on petrol/gas.
I would drop them on my way to work and pick them up on my way home. The school fees were also very reasonable.
The school had a second hand shop selling old uniforms. I decided to mix the old and new things. This saved me some substantial amount of money.
In this school they separate twins to be in different streams. This helped me a lot as one of them was always dominating the other one.
Each one had their lunch boxes and I could prepare them their sandwiches, drink and at least one fruit.
There was a truck shop at school but it was very expensive so I could give them pocket money for at least one day in a week to buy something in the tuck shop.
It was also not healthy for them to feed on snacks from the tuck shop everyday.
This routine has continued up until this year, 2013 when they are in Primary Two.


In conclusion, this eBook was outlining my personal experience of how I managed to keep my costs low on twins. However there are other methods which I might not have applied but I discovered later or other methods which could be used when residing in different countries.
In my conclusion, I am going to outline the various methods which could be applied broadly by parents even living in different countries.
The following are:
1.Create a monthly budget for food ,clothes ,baby milk ,diapers etc--
2.Buy in bulk
3.Do not go by expensive brands as babies and kids do not know the difference
4.Compare prices of different stores and go for sales
5.Borrow or swap items
6.With boy/girl twins, buy unisex clothes when they are still young
7.Join multiple births Association in your country, state or province as this membership will expose you to shops which offer discounts to sales, other mothers with multiples in your community where you could exchange items or buy second hand things.
8.Check for sales on baby gear for members of multiple births associations.
9.In the above interaction with other mothers of multiple births you can form a local club where you can buy items in bulk especially diapers.
10.Buy cloth diapers/nappies to use during day time. Only use diapers at night or when travelling.
11.Find out about stores or shops which has sales or coupons
12.Organize free child care e.g. grannies
13.Do not buy whatever you need once. Buy items of urgent need at a time .E.g. when the twins are still babies, they can sleep in bassinets and when they grow more, and you can then buy baby cots.
14.Organize a baby shower and do not buy anything until you know what they have not given you. Please you can ask each you at least to give you a pack of diapers.
15.Register with stores e.g eBay or Amazon and look out for sales or second hand items.
•Visit your nearest charity second hand shop which sales babies or kids things.
•In the first six months, breast feed your babies mostly. It is more health and it is free.
•Whenever you see sales especially on diapers buy in bulk and stock pile.
16.They are mothers who buy packs of chux and cut them in pieces and wet them with water. They use them as wipes instead of buying wipes or only using them at night or travelling.
17.Always look out for clothes where you see buy one and get one free.

18.Buy the twins different things or at least colours and as they grow up encourage them to share clothes.
19.Buy them different toys so that they share and first check in second hand charity shops or any sales.
20. As they turn the age of four years start buying them books but go to second hand shops. They sell the second hand books very cheaply in most countries.
21.Join public municipality libraries and borrow their books there instead of buying.
22.Take them more for picnics instead of restaurants and when you want to take them to restaurants take them on week days than weekend as some restaurants have specials during week days where they can even offer them free toys.
23.When they start eating solid foods, buy food processor and prepare their food as it is much cheaper than buying premade foods in the stores.
24.Pay close attention to any possible tax deductions that you may be eligible depending on where you live.
25Always browse newspapers ads for special bargains.
26.When the twins start attending school, look for second hand uniforms if that possibility is there.
27.During holidays if the baby gear cannot fit in your car, you can contact members of the multiple birth associations of where you are going to borrow one for some days. You will be surprised about the support and help you will get from these mothers whenever you are.
28.Teach your twins to put their needs first before wants and they should always stick to basics.
29.Generally on your side as parents of twins you should cut on your expenses and start saving for the education of your twins. Start the education insurance of your twins as early as they are immediately born. Most tertiary education facilities are very expensive worldwide.
I hope that my experience and some of these tips will help the future multiple births mothers to prepare better for their bundles of joy with less any stress and less surprises.
For the present multiple births mothers, I hope that they could pick some few tips which will help them to save some money and be able to put those savings on the upbringing and education of their loved children.