Saving Money in the New Year

As 2017 begins, you may be thinking about what you want to accomplish this year. If saving money is on your list, we think that is a great idea. However, saving money in the New Year is easier than it sounds. If you’ve already started your savings quest, but are looking for ways to give your savings account a boost, here are a few tips.

Saving Money in the New Year

  • Save unexpected money. If you get an extra bonus at work or come into some unexpected cash, use the rule of thirds. Put one-third towards your debt, put one-third into savings, and use the last third to pay for something you want now.
  • Ditch your plastic. If you find you don’t have enough willpower to avoid spur-of-the-moment purchases while at the store, switch to paying with cash. Only bring as much as you want to spend that day and leave your cards at home. You’ll only be able to spend a finite amount.
  • Pay for your future. Saving for retirement is something everyone should be doing. Experts recommend putting at least 6% of your income towards retirement. If your company offers a retirement plan program, enroll as soon as you can. They might even offer matching contributions.

What are your favorite ways to save money?

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How to Save Money in 2017

Save Money in 2017

If you have a resolution this year to save money, we’re here to help. Saving money can be a lot harder than it sounds. We’ll share a few tips to help you save money in 2017.

  1. Have a specific goal. Instead of just setting a generic goal, like, “Save money for a new car,” instead it needs to be measurable and achievable. Turn your goal into, “Save $5,000 for a new car.”
  2. Make a budget. In order to save money, you need to stop spending it. Look through your bank transactions for the past few months to see what you’re spending your money on. Then, see where you can make cuts and divert that money into savings.
  3. Save automatically. If you get a regular paycheck ask your payroll department if you can automatically divert a portion of your paycheck into a specific savings account. You could also see if you can do automatic deposits through your bank.
  4. Have an emergency fund. To avoid dipping into your savings, start an emergency fund that is earmarked for actual emergencies, like medical bills, big car repairs, home repairs, etc. Experts recommend to start with at least $1,000.
  5. Reward yourself. As your savings increase, reward yourself when you reach specific milestones, and, of course, when you reach your final goal.

What are your savings goals for 2017?

DIY Christmas Presents

DIY Christmas PresentsChristmas is fast approaching, which means that it’s time to start collecting gifts for everyone. While Christmas shopping can be fun, it can also be a source of stress for many, since the costs can add up quick. Here are some DIY Christmas presents to keep your costs down this holiday season.

Homemade Tote Bag – Make a plain canvas bag more exciting by adding a variety of holiday decorations. Hot glue some sparkles on the side or add a friendly holiday message with fabric paint.

Infused Drinks – Christmas is one of the most festive times of the year, which means that people tend to drink a little more than usual. Create your own flavor-infused drinks and wrap a bow on them to get the holiday season started off right.

Coasters – There’s such a wide variety of styles to make that you can please every type of person with these practical gifts.

Jewelry Box – Everyone needs somewhere to stash their most valuable pieces of jewelry. Consider putting together a decorative box with different sections inside for rings, necklaces, and bracelets.

No matter who you are getting Christmas gifts for, there’s no reason to break the bank. Creating your own gifts is a great way to keep costs down while also adding a personal touch to your gifts.

Fun Christmas Traditions

The Christmas season is the most festive time of the year. It seems like there’s always some sort of activity or party to attend. However, some of the most fun things happen in the home. Here are some fun Christmas traditions that you can continue for many years to come.

Chocolate Advent Calendar – Everyone’s counting down the days until Christmas, so why not have an official countdown? If you have children, they get really excited to be the one to mark down the day and eat the chocolate that hides inside.

Postcards – Another fun tradition is to send out postcards every year. You can take the serious route with just a nice family photo, or you can have some fun with a silly photo. Santa beards for everyone!

Ornament Exchange - Fun Christmas TraditionsOrnament Exchange – This is a great excuse to gather friends, family, and neighbors at your house. You also get a fun new ornament to hang on your tree every year.

Secret Santa – Get all of your best friends together to exchange gifts. They can be as expensive or as cheap as you want and it’s a great way to see how well everyone knows each other.

No matter what you decide to do this holiday season, the important thing is that you spend it with your friends and family.

Tips for Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday Shopping

Thanksgiving is almost immediately followed by Black Friday shopping, which has become an event in and of itself. Get the most with your money by following these easy tips.

Do Your Research Early: Black Friday once took place only one day a year, but now, many retailers will have deals all week long – or even all month long. Check social media pages, catalogs, and various other specials beforehand.

Compare Prices: There are tons of resources online like ShopZilla, PriceGrabber, FatWallet, and more that allow you to price check items that might be cheaper at certain stores.

Use Loyalty or Rewards Programs: If you plan to shop a lot at one location, research that store’s loyalty programs and take advantage of the benefits they give you.

Make a Budget: Black Friday sales, even though the prices are great, are designed to tempt you so you end up buying more than you originally intended. Avoid this sales tactic by making a budget ahead of time.

Check Mobile Apps: Apps like ShopKick and RetailMeNot offer exclusive or hard-to-find coupon codes, and you may also have a few online coupons sitting around in your email. Make sure your phone is fully charged when you take it with you, too.

Ready to go Black Friday shopping now? The world is at your fingertips online, where you can get great deals, compare prices, and find coupons you couldn’t get anywhere else.

Affordable Thanksgiving Meals

Happy Thanksgiving inside an autumn wreath

Want to have a great Thanksgiving, but looking to stay on a budget? These affordable Thanksgiving meals help you impress guests without breaking the bank.

Appetizers

Beer Cheese Dip – Who doesn’t love beer cheese? Dip everything from pretzels to veggies and more in this indulgent sauce.

Parmesan Creamed Spinach – Add a touch of unusual autumn flair to this yummy cracker dip by throwing in just a small bit of pumpkin spice.

Sides

Baked Mashed Potatoes – What would Thanksgiving be without mashed potatoes? Make them extra yummy with breadcrumbs, cream cheese, and bacon.

Green Beans – This Thanksgiving classic gets an upgrade with orange peels that grant it an extra burst of flavor.

Corn Pudding – Stop worrying if your soufflé turns out just right and opt for this yummy corn dish instead. Egg whites add a lighter taste.

Entrees

Herb-Roasted Turkey – Looking for healthier turkey options? With nothing but spices, olive oil, and low-sodium chicken broth on this turkey, it’s a great alternative to indulgent dishes.

Ancho-Scallion Roast Turkey Breast – Mix melted butter with garlic, scallions, and ancho chilis that you then rub all over turkey breast as it roasts.

There are many more affordable Thanksgiving meals that you can make, but these are just a few ideas to jumpstart your creativity for an indulgent but inexpensive meal.

5 More Ways to Help Save You Money

tips on ways to help save you money
tips on ways to help save you money

Saving money is something most people try to improve at over time. There are literally hundreds of ways to save a buck and some are more obvious than others. We’ve covered it before but here are five more ways to help save you money from us here at Gateway Easy Auto Credit Help!

  1. Appliances – Buying energy-efficient appliances might cost more now but they’ll save you energy for years to come. That’s a good amount of money saved. Research what you’re buying before heading to the store to avoid getting smooth-talked by a salesman.
  2. Air Filter – Cleaning your car’s air filter takes a few minutes assuming you follow the instructions in your owner’s manual. A clean filter can improve fuel economy by up to 7% which adds up to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars over the life of your car.
  3. Cancel Memberships – Do you really need that gym membership you’ve used once in the past year? Probably not. By cancelling memberships you don’t actively use, saving money can easily add up into the hundreds. You can always renew the membership later.
  4. Generic Brands – Nine times out of ten, a generic brand item is the same quality as the store brand. The main difference is how the product is marketed rather than the product itself. More often than not, a generic brand is cheaper than a store brand.
  5. Stay Home – If you find yourself eating out often, try to cook at home instead. You’ll be amazed at how much money you save in a short period of time.

5 Ways to Help You Save Money

Ways to Help You Save Money
Ways to Help You Save Money

Saving money is something everyone likes to do, especially if you’re running on a tight budget. Even small amounts add up over time and that can become a significant chunk of money in the long run. Here are some ways to help you save money from us here at Gateway Easy Auto Credit Help!

  1. Customer Rewards Programs – Free to sign up for, retailers often offer customer rewards programs. Create an email address specifically for those programs, sign up, and check the account for coupons, discounts, and other rewards before you head to the store.
  2. Make a List – Before you head to the store, make a list and stick to it. Doing so will help avoid buying unneeded food or other various items. You might end up eating less junk food as well!
  3. Turn Off the TV – Turning off the television will help lower your electricity bill as well as eliminate exposure to advertisements. You could take the next step and cut cable altogether to save even more money.
  4. Drink Water – A great health benefit, drinking water can help you eat less and spend less money on food. Eliminating soda is a great way to save money.
  5. Go Dark – Leaving lights on doesn’t have much impact on a bill-to-bill basis but it does add up over time. Turn out lights you don’t need and consider changing to more efficient bulbs.

Summer in St. Louis: Best Things About the City

Enjoy summer in St. Louis.
Enjoy summer in St. Louis.

Summer in St. Louis is one of the busiest times of the year thanks to a range of events and activities. Whether you love festivals, grilling, or simply the warm weather, there are multiple reasons to love the Gateway to the West in the summertime. Below is a list of some of our favorite things about St. Louis in the summer.

  1. Free Concerts. According to Riverfront Times, there are tons of free concerts during the summer, which is great for both adults and kids. This includes the stages at the Fair St. Louis to concerts at the Missouri Botanical Garden. You should also stop by downtown Kirkwood for monthly events, as well as simple street music that pops up during the summer.
  2. Cornhole. Also called “washers,” cornhole is an ever-popular summer activity in St. Louis. Deemed the official summer activity by many St. Louis residents, cornhole is a fun game where you simply toss either washers or beanbags into a target. Due to the easygoing nature of the game—including the fact that you can easily play while holding a drink—this game pops up across the city during the summer.
  3. Muny. Music lovers can’t get enough of the Muny. As America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater, the Muny always has some of the best shows around. Believe it or not, you’ll even be able to stay cool thanks to an outdoor air conditioning system. Plus, you can wander Forest Park when you’re not busy listening to tunes.
  4. Grilling. St. Louis is known for its delicious barbecue, making summer the ideal time to get some good eats. Fire up the charcoal or propane get enjoy some of the best food summertime has to offer. You can also stop by a number of premier restaurants like Pappy’s Smokehouse, Bogart’s Smokehouse, and Eleven Eleven Mississippi.
  5. The shining Gateway Arch. As the symbol of St. Louis, the Gateway Arch is almost always at the top of any list about the city. This monument is particularly noticeable in the summer sunshine, throwing off a sparkle that can be seen for miles. Drawing most of its visitors during the summer, the Gateway Arch is best experienced this time of year.

Share your favorite things about summer in St. Louis with your easy auto credit help team.

Free Events and Activities in St. Louis

Enjoy free events and activities in St. Louis.
Enjoy free events and activities in St. Louis.

St. Louis is one of the largest and most well-known US cities, making it buzz with fun activities and events. Even if you don’t have any money, you can still have a good time in the Gateway to the West. We’ve put together a list of free events and activities in St. Louis to ensure everyone knows how to enjoy this great city.

According to About.com, you can do just about anything in St. Louis. Residents are particularly proud of the local zoo, which is one of the best in the country. Also, admittance is completely free. Bring the family and friends to this world-class zoo, offering over 5,000 odd and exotic animals from around the world.

Kids love the St. Louis Science Center, a hands-on and kid-friendly museum packed full of information on dinosaurs, math, and more. Focusing on STEM-related fields, your kid can learn and have fun at the same time—without even realizing it! Although you have to get tickets to special exhibits, general admittance to the Science Center is free.

Finally, check out Forest Park. This is one of the oldest and largest urban parks in the country, as it was first created as home to the 1904 World’s Fair. The famous Muny outdoor music theater is still there, with a massive seating complex and even an outdoor air conditioning system. Catch a show at the Muny or simply enjoy the beauty of Forest Park.

Share with us your favorite free events and activities in St. Louis. And check in with us for helpful tips for easy auto credit help.