The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Cost Of Living

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By making smart choices, you can save money regularly, which will reduce your everyday cost of living. Life gets expensive, and sometimes everyday costs can add up to a lot of money. Between utilities, groceries, child care, and other expenses, Minnesotans from Angle to Albert Lea face a lot of bills. Luckily you are here reading this, to learn a few new ways you can get the most bang for your buck.

In this post you will get a glimpse on some topics that have personally helped me and my family go from 2 Adults and 2 children living in a rental apartment, to a single earning household living in a converted duplex in south Minneapolis. Below these bullet points we also added a function that will tell you your family’s cost of living average per county please use this tool and push it to its limits

1. Stick to a budget
2. Plan your grocery trips
3. Know basic Tax Law
4. Conserve, Conserve, Conserve
5.Make it yourself
6.Open a Single person LLC

1. Stick to your budget

If you have a budget and you’re having a difficult time following it, there are many ways you can get back on track. If you’ve had a change in expenses or income, you need to re-evaluate your budget. Most people’s budgets no longer work because they think they can continue to perform the same debit to income tasks even when life events change or prices go up. We all net to make realistic expectations: if you budget too little, you won’t be able to stay on track, and you will get frustrated. If you budget too much, you won’t save as much as you should.

Saving money on daily costs is amazing and it makes you feel good, but unless you have a well detailed budget, you will still have many opportunities where you are overspending. Take time and be careful when reviewing your bills, as well as budget for unexpected bills and emergencies too, but don’t forget budget for fun too. Try a budget template if you are new to budgeting. Certain habits can easily get a budget off track, like eating out too often instead of cooking a home cooked meal that last til the following lunch and obtaining unnecessary late fees by not paying those credit cards, loans, or bank fees.

There are so many ways that you can save money on everyday costs i.e coupon/Groupon, Craigslist, Facebook Market, etc. Each money saving tip requires careful planning and quick and deliberate execution. So sit down with a pen and paper and determine how you can conserve more water, turn off more lights, be more careful at the grocery store, make some items yourself at home, save money on child care.

2. Plan your grocery trips

We’ve all know the Saying, Never go shopping for Food when you’re hungry. Another great bit of advice is to when ever possible go grocery shopping with a list, because without it you will spend money in ways you did not intend to. Meal plan ahead of time, and take an list of all the items you need to get. Use coupons from manufacturers if you can best bang for you dollar and some you can use all month long — even if you don’t have time to check every Sunday news paper or ad use the web before you go.. If you always shop at a one store regularly, planning your daily meals by what is on sale for a coming week will save you money your fridge may not always looked stocked but you will save but not wasting money on junk that will just rot in the back of a cabinet or your fridge.

Plan to eat your meal by month groups of 4  because you’ll save you by eating in season, because fruits and vegetables that are in harvest are more affordable. Also, consider buying items that you use the most in bulk: Try purchasing at a bulk store like Sam’s Club or Costco, or just buying multiples of something that stays good for a long period of time when it goes on sale like 100% juice that usually last for well over 6 months its worth buying 20 half gallons for $21.00 at your local Cub when its in stock and the specials are in high gear.

3. know basic tax law

A lot of rules and laws have changed for this coming year with the new tax law, but don’t be fooled Minnesota is one of the states out of the 50 that still has old ways and methods of claiming your return when it comes to deduction and what is or is not still your income bracket. Renters if you are on a lease with your land lord or property management company you get a form every year called “Renters Property Tax Refund“, utilize it. (Click the words for link to the MN department of revenue site on it)

If you have a hobby and you’re not writing off the items you sell on Etsy, Amazon, Ebay, or other online markets including your own (if you have a site write that off too) then check below to see the amazing benefits of a Single person LLC.

Students you too get a little something for paying back those interest amounts on your student loans never forget to keep your email updated with your college collection departments or loan servicing company if you financed outside of your school. Its very easy to turn your obligations to benefits and this includes your business workshops but that will be for another post in the future.

Here is a small screen shot of the new federal brackets,
For the site I use
——>Click Here<——

My family Dynamic: Married filing together

 

4. Conserve, conserve, conserve

Utility expenses can be very expensive, especially if you have or plan on having a large home or a big family. People who even live in a smaller apartment or home can experience the sting of a non cost effective utility bill. but don’t be too worried, there are some very simple changes you can do that will add up to some big savings very quickly. One of the most obvious changes is to turn things completely off when they are not in use (Keep the alarm clock on we know you don’t want to wake up early its okay to feel that way). Turn your lights off  when you are not home or out of the room and when in use dim them if possible. As comforting as a well-lit house may feel, a chubby wallet is also not to bad to have.

Set a sleep timer if you often fall asleep to all electronic devices. That also goes for water; turn your water off while brushing your teeth, and then back on when you begin to rinse. If you are washing dishes, only use the water you need, it is proven that if you wait for a full load or roll up those sleeves and wash your dishes you save a lot not only on water but electricity used. Lastly, if you work away from home during the day, program your Central cooling and air so that the heat or AC is lower during the day when you don’t really need it, trust me this one really helps.

5. Make it yourself

If you have the time and energy, like me and my wife but are running short on funds learn how to turn to your best resource for DIY, the internet. Researching “How To” videos on Youtube  can change your life, when me and my wife moved into out new place to save 1600 dollars on our dream table we looked up designs on Pintrist, purchased the lumber needed to along with the rest of the prep and finishing items and customized it to our length and height and installed two bench style seats on each long side. Now what would of cost 1600 plus shipping and taxes; don’t forget interest on our payment plan at HOM, we ended up spending roughly 350.00 and some well needed wife and husband bonding time.

You can tons of common items yourself that you would likely buy at the store. Making baby items at home can be especially cost effective; baby wipes, burp cloths, and baby food are fairly easy to make and will save you money.

Many household items can be made at home like soaps, cleaning supplies and even some foods that you would normally buy at the store (like granola bars, marinara sauce, breads, and so on.) Homemade gifts will also save you money, and may mean more to the person receiving the gift. you could also sell the left overs or make money teaching your close friends and family just let them know they are paying for their own supplies and helping some one they love.

5. Open a Single person LLC

A LLC enjoys the limited liability of a corporation, and the potential tax benefits of a disregarded entity. State law regulates LLCs and determines whether single-member LLCs are allowed. Single-member LLCs may enjoy tax benefits, and they offer owners a great deal of control. On the other hand, the informality of an LLC may create difficulties when establishing credit. A single-member LLC has the choice to be taxed as a sole proprietorship or corporation.

MN Small Business Assistance Office
Information on Single Member LLC

———>PDF here<———–

If you have any hobby or interest and i mean any! Look into getting a LLC and beginning your life at a higher level, im talking to Musicians, Artist, Knitters,Models, Producers,Bloggers, wood workers, and scrappers etc, utilize write offs for gaining equipment  to do the things you love and have some form of income from it. In this unpredictable world you can’t have just one income diversify. Trust me, my wife has been retired for almost 5 years and she is only 26

 

View: Cost of Living Minnesota The Cost of Living Tool below provides a yearly estimate of the basic-needs cost of living in Minnesota by county, region, and statewide.

James Morris Written by:

Minnesota Local and Global War Against Terror era Army vet, James "Manny" Morris Developed the concept of an artistic entrepreneur network in the heart of Minnesota's hottest district for art and community collaboration. Teaches small business concept and provides consulting to fellow Minnesotans in the Arts industry and associated trades. Loves Music, Art, Fashion, and most importantly his family. Not know for being a foodie but also loves the Twin Cities' diverse cuisine that accommodates a wide range of ethnic foods from the BBQ of Texas to the Pho Bowls of Asian tastes.

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