Here's a neat budgeting idea from Lucas Carroll.  It will help you keep to your budget and prevent you from over spending.  With some tweeks I'm sure you could modify it to suit any budget goal.
 
 
Inspired slightly by a couple of suggestions made by A.J. and Yana in my Facebook Suggestions posts, I found this interesting video that shows it is possible to shop at a thrift store, save money, and look good after doing it.
 
 
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Here's a simple way to find a few extra cents every day.

I was enjoying the summer sun down on the Halifax Waterfront one day when I noticed a woman who took an empty bottle sitting on a bench and she placed it in a plastic bag she had in her shouler bag.

I saw this and it gave me an idea.  From this point on I would always take a plastic grocery bag with me every day and I managed to find three to five bottles every day just sitting there, for a whole year. 

Now, I'm not saying I got rich that summer, but I managed to save up a tiny "bottle fund" that my brother (who was living with me at the time) and I would use to have a guilt free "pizza night" or to rent a movie or eat some fancy ice cream, etc.  Plus, I felt good about myself because I was helping the environment at the same time.

 
 
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To continue on with my last post from Sunday, here are some of the rest of the great practical suggestions from the query I posted on my personal Facebook account asking for budget and saving tips.

5)  Tomas linked me to a fantastic website called Budget Bytes, which contains a lot of very delicious and very cheap recipes for those of you trying to save money on meals.

6)  Yana echoed AJ's suggestion - urging us to run to work when we can and shop at second hand/thrift stores.  She also added that we should do a type of self-consolidation by transferring high interest credit card ballances to lower interest lines of credit.

7)  Matthew gave a great tip for saving on electricity.  He shared his own personal method of plugging all of his electronics in a room into one single surge protector/power bar.  At night, or whenever he leaves the room, he unplugs the bar.  On average the TVs and other electronic devices in your home increase your power bill about 10% just by being plugged in over night.  That is quite a few pennies!

Again, thank you to all of my friends who contributed.

 
 
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Recently I put a request out on my Facebook page for some savings tips from my friends.  I received a lot of great ideas.  Here are some of the best.

1)  Tasha suggested doing your budget based on how often you get paid.  For example, if you get paid bi-weekly create a bi-weekly budget.  All of your excess/spending money should be taken out in cash which will help keep everything straight in your head.

2)  Lindy added the timeless wisdom of preparing your lunches in advance and packing your own Thermos of tea or coffee instead of going to Tim Horton's or Starbucks.

3)  A.J. suggested stocking up on sale items you know you will use regularly, and only buy clothes from second hand stores when possible.  She also suggested riding your bike as often as possible in the summer.  (Editor's note:  I suggest if you want to do this that you save all of your gas receipts and compare them at the end of the year to see how much you saved during the months you rode your bicycle.  I did this personally last year and the result was quite eye-opening.)

4)  Julian reccommended adding a "savings" heading in your budget.  Treat it as an expense and go through your budget and look for any unneccessary extra spending you can cut to increase the amount you can "spend" on savings. 

For time and space reasons I will stop here for now.  Look for the second set of reccommmendations coming soon.  Thanks to everyone who contributed their ideas.

 
 
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The government places a lot of taxes on us that take money out of our pockets.  Here's a tax that will put it back in your pocket.

I came up with this idea a few years back when I had just moved to Halifax and was trying to live on a budget and save money for any unforseen emergencies.

The first step of course is to determine your budget and use the envelope budgeting system to keep yourself on budget.

Every time you make a purchase though, instead of recording just the price you paid, also record a second entry titled "savings tax."  Set your tax at whatever you feel comfortable with.  For me, I added an extra 10% at first, and later changed it to 5%.  It's your choice.

The result will be two benefits.  Not only will you have some extra savings building up that you can take out of your bank and save elsewhere in multiples of $20, but you will also limit your frivelous spending because you won't want to go through the hastle of making all of those extra budget entries.

As always, check out the A Penny Saved... Challenge page for more savings ideas.

 
 
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Have you ever had a business "round up" the change and save you a pocketful of
pennies and nickels?  Doesn't that feel nice?  My first easy saving tip is to do
the same thing with your pocket change.

Every time you make a purchase with cash, keep all of the change.  When you get home  and empty your pockets at night put all of the pennies, nickels, and dimes into
a jar/piggy bank (or just the pennies and nickels if you want).  Not only will your piggy bank get heavier, you won't have a dresser full of loose change -  just the quarters, loonies, and twonies that you actually want.  It's a win-win!

For more great money savings tips check out the A Penny Saved... Challenge page.

 
 
Before I started helping people "find north" in their financial lives and get on the path to financial indpendence, I was a school teacher.  One day a student came up to me and asked me if I had ever heard of the proverb, "a penny saved is a penny earned."  Of course I had, but I had always just assumed that the proverb meant that saving a penny is the same as making a penny.  The student told me his take on the saying, which amounted to, if you save a penny and invest it, eventually it will earn interest or some return and you will someday have two pennies.  I thought that was a brilliant understanding and it got me thinking about all of the pennies we carelessly let fall on the ground or down our seat cushions.  Watching the Gail Vaz-Oxlade interview yesterday reminded me about the importance of practicing the skill of saving.  Watch the short video and then read further for an exciting special anouncement.
Okay, so the challenge is on!  Get yourself a makeshift piggy bank (or an actual piggy bank) and let's start saving up some money.  I have been doing this for the past few months, and I've noticed that the saving habit is like a muscle - the more you exercise it the stronger it becomes.  I am posting a collective challenge to the Finding North readers out there, to save $1,000,000!  I will be adding tips from time to time, as I come up with them or readers send them to me, and I will also be adding "A Penny Saved... Challenge" page to the website to keep everyone up to date on our progress.