Savvy Celebrities

By Melissa Tosetti

Open up a newspaper on any given day and there will be an article about an actor, athlete or musician who earned millions of dollars, and lost everything by overspending. Their stories demonstrate that no matter how much money you make, it's impossible to be financially successful if more money is going out the door than is coming in.

So, it was refreshing to stumble across this article featuring six financially responsible celebrities: Zooey Deschanal Never Pays Late Fees and 5 Other Smart Money Lessons From Celebrities.

From Kristen Bell to Mindy Kaling, read about their savvy money habits and pick up a few tips.

 

 
Taking Care...
By Melissa Tosetti
 
A key component to savvy living is to appreciate and take care of what you already own.  If your goal is to purchase a new car, while you work to achieve it, keep the car you already own clean and ensure it receives proper maintenance. 

The same goes for your house.  You may not love where you're living, but keeping your home clean and well maintained will help you like it a little more while you work to purchase a new home.
 
Taking care of what you have applies to all things in your life - your clothes, appliances, computer, gadgets and furniture.  Care for and appreciate what you already have and set goals to achieve what you want. 

While it's important to set goals, don't fall into the trap of living for tomorrow.  Taking care of what you already own will help you appreciate today. 

 
Keep It Simple

 
The Pantry Challenge

The 4th of July is over and the next major BBQ holiday is more than six weeks away.  Now is a perfect time for a Pantry Challenge!
 
By taking on the Pantry Challenge, you see how long you can eat using only the food you already have on hand - with the exception of purchasing fresh products like milk, eggs and produce. 
 
The Pantry Challenge was started as a way to encourage you to rotate through everything in your pantry and freezer within a three month period. The food in your kitchen should be consumed. Often, we get into the mode that a well stocked pantry needs to be static. If you see something sitting there for three months, either eat it or donate it to a shelter and don’t buy it again.

In addition to saving money, an added benefit of the Pantry Challenge is that it forces you to get creative. You’ll look at canned soup and dried pasta a little differently as you figure out how to make a meal from what you have on hand. Over the years I’ve received feedback from readers who have come up with new family favorites based on the need to get imaginative durng the challenge.

The longest any Savvy Life reader has gone without having to buy groceries (outside of milk, eggs and fresh produce) was three months!
 
Let me know how your Pantry Challenge goes. Drop me an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Note: This challenge does not include the food in your emergency kit. You should always have enough non-perishable food and water set aside to sustain you and your family for 3 – 7 days. Keep your emergency food and water supply in a waterproof bin along with your other emergency items.

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How Often Should You Dine Out?
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Our grandparents rarely, if ever, dined out. Our parents may have gone out to eat once or twice a month. Now, it's easy to eat just about every meal outside the home.  Unfortunately, the cost of those meals quickly add up and because of the frequency, dining out is no longer a treat.

One of the fastest ways to save A LOT of money is to cook more at home, but, that doesn't mean you can never go out to eat again.

Just how often can you give yourself permission to dine out? It really depends on your particular financial situation. With that in mind, if you have been able to create the habit of spending less than you make and are systematically paying off your debt, a rule of thumb might be to dine out just 1 - 2 times per week. That could entail going out to lunch on Wednesdays and a nice dinner out with friends on Saturday night.

Deciding in advance your "Money Rules" when it comes to dining out will ensure you spend within your means and that when you do go out, you can do so without guilt to spoil the experience.
 
 
 
What to Buy - 4th of July Holiday Sales
By Melissa Tosetti
 
As you know, planning and timing are key elements of  Living The Savvy Life.  You can save hundreds of dollars a year simply by timing your purchases around seasonal sales. 

FOOD
In anticipation of the 4th of July, most grocery stores will have the following items on sale:
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonaise
  • Mustard
  • Relish
  • Hot Dogs
  • Hamburger
  • Hot Dog and Hamburger Buns
The discounts on these items are likely significant enough to stock up. The trick is knowing what is a good sale and picking up one or two extra items and knowing what is an extraordinary sale and stocking up enough to last you until the next anticipated holiday blow-out.

CLOTHES
If your wardrobe is in need of an infusion, this weekend is also an excellent time to purchase:
  • Shorts
  • Tank Tops
  • Summer Shoes
There will be plenty of inventory and the sales will range from 20% - 40% off.

HOME
Just about everything "outdoors" will be on sale this weekend as well including:  
  • Lawn Mowers
  • Lawn Furniture
  • BBQ's
You'll be able to find items on sale from 20% - 40% off. 

Just remember to be picky and only purchase an item if you absolutely fall in love with it... no matter how good the sale.
 
 
 
Gift Giving Problem = Opportunity
By Melissa Tosetti
 
I’m working with a couple in Massachusetts that have a very common money issue – gift giving.
 
When I asked them to create a list of all the gifts they buy throughout the year, it came to 57!  That's an average of almost 5 a month!  They have a large family and between the holidays, birthdays and special events like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, they felt like they couldn't get ahead. 
 
With a new baby on the way and certain financial goals in mind, gift giving was getting in the way! However, the new baby gave them an extraordinary opportunity to remedy the situation. 
 
We devised a plan to have them contact their friends and family members and explain that they need to cut back on gift giving in order to be in a financially secure position for when the baby arrives.  
 
Instead of giving gifts to friends and adult family members, they plan to suggest a few get-togethers – allowing them to replace the exchange of knick knacks with the creation of memories. 
 
I’ve used this strategy myself and so have many of my clients. More often than not, family and friends have wanted to reduce their spending on gifts as well, but were hesitant to bring it up. 
 
In my case, I talked to my closest friends and asked if instead of exchanging Christmas presents, could we instead pool together and rent a cabin at Lake Tahoe over President's Day weekend.  That was 16 years ago and with just a few exceptions, has become an annual gathering.  Many of my very favorite memories were made on those trips, with more to come! 
 
 
Simplify Summer

By Melissa Tosetti

Is your summer schedule packed with social commitments?  Are there BBQ’s, drinks with friends and outdoor gatherings scrawled across your calendar?

We are lucky to have so many fun and wonderful events to take advantage of, but it can get out of control – especially during the summer months.  This season, consider setting aside at least one weekend-day a month to slow down and simplify.  Instead of running from event to event:

  • Spend the day reading.
  • Rent a handful of movies for your own personal movie marathon.
  • Cook that new recipe you’ve been wanting to try.
  • Putter in the garden.
  • Sleep in!

We often forget that ultimately, we have control of our schedule and it’s ok to say no to invitations. 

Take it a step further and set aside one night per week to enjoy at home.  You’ll be amazed at the positive impact one sacred night a week can make on your health and happiness! 

Living The Savvy Life isn't just about spending your money wisely.  It's about spending your time wisely as well.

 

 
Worthy Kitchen Investments
By Melissa Tosetti 
 
As you know, cooking at home increases your quality of life and saves you a lot of money.  The right tools can make all the difference in the world when it comes to food preparation. 
 
If you aren’t happy with your kitchen tools, consider replacing them over time.  Research and decide what you want, then wait for the items to go on sale. 

Invest in a quality set of knives, pots, pans and bakeware, and you'll have those tools for years to come - as long as you take care of them.  Just remember to only purchase what you'll actually use. 

You can also replace your plates, glasses and silverware if you aren't happy with them but, I would consider replacing your cookware first if that is on your list. 
 
 
 
 

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