Save the Earth - Don't Do Laundry!
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Today is Earth Day, a global celebration of the environment.
 
Saving money and sustainable living are two of my favorite subjects to study. Coincidentally, they support each other.
 
Here in California, we’re suffering from a terrible drought. Many of my close friends are farmers and they’re struggling. Across the state, we’re doing what we can to save water such as:
  • Turn off the tap while brushing teeth.
  • Only run a full dishwasher (on the energy efficient cycle).
  • No more baths and very short showers.
  • Use a pitcher to capture water while waiting for tap to get hot and use that water in the garden.
One of my favorite ways to save water, money and time is by only washing our clothes if they’re actually dirty.  
 
We often throw something we’ve worn for just a short while into the dirty clothes pile. Break the habit by hanging the item immediately after taking it off. If you’d like, you can let it hang outside the closet for awhile to air out. You can also give it a few sprays of Febreze.
 
In addition to saving water, and the energy to run the washer and dryer, you’ll also save wear and tear on your clothes making them last so much longer. The next time you clean out the lint catcher, it will remind you of how rough the dryer can be on your clothes.
 
 
 
Staying Motivated
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Defining a goal and doing the research for what it takes to make it happen are actually pretty easy.  The challenge comes over the next few months as "shiny things" start to distract you. 

That doesn't mean you're never going to spend a dime on anything again until you reach your goal.  It just means that you're going to stay focused and make sure that you don't fall back into the trap of spending mindlessly.  It's the mindless spending that is one of the major factors for not making your goals happen.

One of the most powerful ways to stay motivated is to give yourself visual reminders of your goal.  

Let's say your goal is a new car.  Start, by putting a Post It Note in your wallet with the word "New Car" on it. Every time you pull out a credit or debit card to make a purchase, you'll have a reminder of your ultimate goal.  Through this process, you will start getting a lot more picky about how you use those cards.
 
Next, find a few pictures of the car you want to buy and tape them next to your computer and on your refrigerator.  Put them where you will see them on a regular basis.  Pictures are highly motivating and will help you do what it takes to achieve your goal! 
 
You may even want to start a Pinterest board for each of your goals to help keep you on track.
 
 
 
Use That Tax Day Stress!
By Melissa Tosetti
 
I hope yesterday was painless for you, but from what I saw posted on Facebook, it was pretty ugly. 
 
You could pour yourself a drink and celebrate the fact that there are 364 days between now and the next Tax Day, or you could use the stress from yesterday to spur you into action to make next year so much easier.
 
Track Your Spending
April 15th is when tracking and categorizing your spending really pays off.  Using programs like Mint.com and Quicken will allow you to easily find out how much you spent on tax deductible items like  your car registration.
 
Set A Date
Did you wait until the last minute to do your taxes... again?  Set an appointment on your electronic calendar for February 1, 2015 that says "Do Taxes".  Include a note reminding you how much this year sucked because you waited until the last minute.  If that isn't enough incentive, be willing to bribe yourself with a reward such as, if you finish by February 7th, you'll take yourself out to dinner.
 
Adjust Your Withholdings 
If yesterday was painful because you had to pay, talk to an accountant to see what adjustments you can make to minimize or negate "the damage" for next year.  Even if you have to pay for one hour of their time, it will be worth it.  But do it now while it can still make a difference.  There are only 8 months left in this tax year!
 
As human beings, we're driven by two things - pain and pleasure.  Take yesterday's pain and use it as a catalyst to make next year, if not pleasurable, then much more tolerable.
 
 
Movies & Train Travel

By Melissa Tosetti

Last week I was in Wichita for the second of a series of Savvy Life presentations that I'm giving there.  The focus of Thursday's talk was Savvy Travel and Entertainment.  Two questions popped up after the presentation that I thought were worth sharing the answers.  

The first question stemmed from a comment I made about how much I love trains.  I talked about the phenomenal experience we had in Alaska on the White Pass Railroad.  There was another train aficionado in the room and he asked if I knew of any good resources for train travel.  His timing was excellent.  A few months ago I stumbled on a fantastic travel website focused on trains.  Vacations By Rail has the largest selection of train vacations in the US, Canada, Europe and beyond. 

The other question came up when I mentioned that you can save 25% or more on movie tickets by purchasing them at Sam's Club or Costco (if you are a member).  When one of the attendees mentioned that he had not seen movie tickets at his local Sam's Club, I offered to do a little research for him.

I found that he could actually order the movie tickets through Sam's Club's website and the shipping is free.  You can also order movie tickets at Costco's website.

 

 
Savvy Shopping for April

One of the aspects of Savvy Shopping is the habit of timing your purchases to coincide with seasonal sales.  During the month of April, there are plenty of opportunities to save on Food, Wardrobe Items and more. 

Food
All things baking will be on sale this week.  It's likely that prices won't be this good again until Thanksgiving.  Depending on how much you bake, it might be worth stocking up.

Ham will be at the best price of the year.  Consider picking up an extra ham and putting it in the freezer.  Last year, I did just that and we enjoyed a beautiful ham dinner and then sandwiches with the leftovers the week after 4th of July. 

You'll also see great prices on some canned items. 

Clothing
According to DealNews,  retailers began stocking spring items in February, so mid-season sales are starting now and you can save 25% - 40%. 

This is one of the best times of the year to purchase dress clothes and shoes for men, women and children. 

Yard and Garden Supplies
By watching the sales ads, you can purchase just about everything you need for your yard at a discount. 

Cleaning Supplies
Spring cleaning items are still at great prices. 
 

 
Farmers Market vs. Grocery Store

The Farmers Market is one of the best sources for fresh produce.  Just be careful not to assume that the fruit and vegetables offered are always the most affordable.  If you're trying to keep a close eye on your food bill, be sure to compare the prices of the Farmers Market to that of your grocery store. 

The easiest way to compare prices is to take the grocery store's sales ad with you to the Market.  You will be able to quickly and easily see who is offering the best prices. 

 
Savvy Travel & Entertainment Webinar

Learn easy ways to find the money for your dream vacation; where to get those great travel deals as well as smart spending tips for dining out, seeing movies, visiting museums and more travel tips.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
9:00 am PST / 11:00 am CST / 12:00 pm EST
or
3:30 pm PST / 5:30 pm CST / 6:30 pm EST
 
Presented by: Melissa Tosetti
 
Hosted by: Evelyn Dinkins, II, CFP®, CFS®, CRPC®, MSFS®, CAS®, Private Wealth Advisor
& Angela DeLion, CFP®, Financial Advisor
Dinkins, DeLion & Associates, A private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
 
To RSVP email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Space for this event is unlimited.  Please invite your family and friends.
 
There is no cost or obligation.  Melissa Tosetti is not affiliated with Ameriprise financial, Inc.  Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Servies, Inc.  Member FINRA and SIPC.
 
©2013 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.
 
 
Shop Your Bathroom

Tired of the cosmetics in your makeup bag? 

Before heading to the drugstore or department store, check your makeup drawer and look for loved, but forgotten items.

You can do the same for shampoo and conditioners.  When you find that you're not getting the same results from your favorite hair products, swap them out for something else you already have on hand.

 
Smart Spending Advice...

 

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