97 Money Tips: Easy Strategies for Gardening, Investing, Remodeling, Couponing, and More

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Also, this week’s tip roundup offers some peace of mind. We’ve got simple ways to reduce stress brought on by financial predicaments, a list of financial mistakes that even intelligent people make (nice to know you’re not the only one), and wisdom regarding acceptance of the fact that somebody is always going to have more than you. And that’s OK.
4 red flags indicating a frugal tip might not be worthwhile. What’s a money-saving strategy that doesn’t save money? Potentially, it’s a waste of time and money. Watch out for “helpful” tips such as:

Be wary of any tips that introduce new costs. For example, if you need to buy something to save money, run the math. If you need to use more energy to save money, do the math first. Savings usually come from reduction, not from addition.

4 levels of couponing. It would have been awesome if couponing could go, a la “Spinal Tap,” up to 11. But at least here there are four levels, starting with level one (the Casual Couponer whose savings are minimal), up to the Coupon Deal Shopper, and then finally the Extreme Couponer at level four. What sets the average shopper from those folks who could be featured on the new reality TV show “Extreme Couponing”?

They take the same measures as the Coupon Deal Shopper but then they look for multiple deals. Why get just one deal when you can get three or four all at once? To this end, it’s not unusual for an Extreme Couponer to have 4 Sunday newspapers delivered to their home.

Before doing things like signing up for four newspaper subscriptions, however, see the previous link regarding red flags—and why you should be wary of savings strategies that require new spending.

4 common remodeling mistakes. If you’re doing a considerable renovation, it’s foolish to cheap out on the design:

The payoff you’ll get on a redo will diminish if the project isn’t well thought out, says Omaha appraiser John Bredemeyer, spokesman for the Appraisal Institute, a standards-setting organization.

If you’re building an addition or moving interior walls, it’s worth spending $1,000 to $3,000 to hire an architect (to draw a plan, not project-manage).

7 free ways to reduce stress caused by money and finances. Instead of focusing on negative outcomes—stressing and freaking yourself out more—picture the ideal scenario, says Martin Rossman, M.D., author of The Worry Solution:

Pro athletes know the value of this one. It’s similar to the golfer who lines up a shot, all the while thinking, “Don’t hit it in the lake,” he says. “The problem is there’s no mental image for ‘don’t hit it in the lake.’ The mental image is for the lake. And that golfer is more likely to hit it in the lake.'”

“So what you really want to do is pick a spot on the fairway where you want the ball to land and aim for that,” he says. “Don’t even think about the lake.”

10 weird ways to save. So long as they actually help you save, who cares how weird they are? On the other hand, many of these suggestions don’t seem weird at all, like using the library for books, magazines, and DVDs. Here’s a somewhat unusual technique that’s pretty easy:

“We have a dollar bucket. Any singles you have in your pocket go into it at the end of the day. There must be 500 bucks in it right now.”

10 tips on growing your garden.Gardening is an low-budget, money-saving activity, but there are ways to do it smarter, with less payout and more payoff. For instance, in addition to the usual plantings:

Add a few perennials
By definition, they’ll come back every year, negating your need to buy new seeds or plants. Frugal Foodie has another shot for success with her strawberries this year. Others to consider: kale, collard greens, garlic, sage, mint, thyme and blueberries.

10 stupid financial decisions even intelligent people make. Oh so many mistakes are possible, like:

They Buy Depreciating Items – There are necessities that will only decrease in value (cars generally fit in this category, as do clothes). Even if you shop frugally for these items, you know you will likely lose money on the deal and you accept that because it is a necessity. But then there are other items such as blue ray discs. You know these items will likely only decrease in value and that you may only watch them once ($20.00 per viewing).

16 harsh truths that make us stronger. We all do stupid things. (See above.) Also, here’s a thought that’s undeniably true, and that you must at some point accept and be OK with:

Someone else will always have more than you. – Whether it’s money, friends or magic beans that you’re collecting, there will always be someone who has more than you. But remember, it’s not how many you have, it’s how passionate you are about collecting them. It’s all about the journey.

32 ways you may be inadvertently throwing away money. Check out solid but mostly unsurprising basics to keep your money from wasting away through, for instance:

Minuscule yields
If you have a $50,000 emergency fund in a money-market fund paying the average 0.03% yield, you’re earning $15 a year. Open a no-fee, FDIC-insured savings account with a $500 minimum deposit at Discover Bank and earn 1.2% on your cash — or $600 a year. You access your account online or by phone and make deposits by check or electronic transfer.