5 Fast Ways to Save Money in February

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Can you believe that it’s already February? 2019 is well underway, and February is the shortest month of the entire year. So, if you find yourself with a full to-do list, you may find yourself very busy this month, as February has the smallest number of working days.

The good news is that when it comes to money, lots of tiny little steps can add up to a BIG difference. Whether you’re dealing with a job loss, or celebrating a promotion at work, or just holding steady with the same-old-same-old, consider five fast ways to save money this month:

Check Your Payroll Deductions

In this new year, your take-home pay may be different due to personal circumstances. Your tax situation or your relationship status may have changed. Maybe now you’re a parent with a new baby! Maybe you’ve gained income from a side hustle or maybe you’ve lost income from the only job you’ve ever had in your entire life. Regardless of the changes, check all your pay stubs and make sure there are no mistakes. If you’re receiving unemployment income, verify that the amount you’re receiving matches the amount the state has awarded to you. Human error happens, so make sure you’re not losing out on anything!

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Buy Some Candy- After Valentine’s Day

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying wait until February 15th to buy a sweet for your sweetie! What I am saying is that I personally can never have too much chocolate, so I will be watching the stores for the post-Valentine’s Day sales to stock up on extra chocolate. I don’t care what kind of packaging it comes in – chocolate is chocolate to me! If you have a sweet tooth, the day after Valentine’s Day can be a clearance paradise, so you too can stock up (unless your significant other has loaded you down with so much chocolate that you have no room for more).

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Love-Themed, Heart-Themed, I-Love-You, I-Like-You, Anything Sales

Going hand-in-hand with the candy that gets marked down on February 15, you might see other items marked down after Valentine’s Day. Think items like cups, napkins, paper plates, guest towels, hand towels, candles, coffee mugs, pencils, pens, random things like that. Anything seasonal in the Valentine’s Day area will probably be marked down the day after. These types of things could be great to pick up and you could score a great deal on them. If it’s a cute hand towel with a heart on it, you could potentially use it year round in your bathroom (if it’s a good quality and it holds up). If you’re planning a wedding or an anniversary party, you might even get lucky and find supplies you can use (that are cheaper than items marketed as “wedding”).

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Saving Money on Energy Costs

Another area to really think about with savings is your energy bill. If you live in a part of the country that’s impacted by extreme cold this time of year, you know how much of a connection there is between the weather and the energy bill. If you can just do a quick walk-through of your home, you may be able to assess the opportunities to save energy. Are your windows, doors, or other parts of your home allowing cold air to pour in? Are there unfinished rooms of your home that you might be able to insulate? Would a space heater make you more comfortable when it gets really cold? Just thinking about a problem won’t fix it, but it’s a starting step.

Use Your Christmas Gift Cards

Do you still have gift cards left over from Christmas? If so, now is the perfect time to use them. A lot of brick and mortar stores are doing their final markdowns – clearing out the winter stock to make room for spring items – which can give you some nice deals to start with. Combine that with a gift card, and you can get an even better deal. Thinking through a list of items you need or want in advance can help you make the most of it.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

How to Stay Sane During Unemployment

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If you’ve experienced a job loss, you might have been excited at first to have some time off from the daily grind. But, when the newness wears off, you realize that the effort of finding a new job takes some time. Finding your dream job, or even just your next job, can take more time than you bargained for. And while many well-meaning people will say that “finding a job is a full-time job”, there are only so many new jobs posted every day. There are only so many job applications you can submit each day. Only so many prospective leads you can chase in a week. The more experience you have in your field, the more selective you become with your search. You can’t just sit and stare at your computer all day, waiting for an email from a recruiter. You can’t just wait all day for your cell phone to ring with a phone call from your favorite company. That kind of waiting can be monotonous and never-ending.

During times of unemployment, there are some strategies you can use to help you stay patient. While some of these won’t apply to you, hopefully you will find at least one thing that may work for your unemployment situation. In this economy, it isn’t uncommon for people to lose a job through no fault of their own. So, even if you are gainfully employed today, it isn’t a bad idea to have a back-up plan too.

Going through a job loss can be a blessing in disguise for some people, enabling them to take on things they never otherwise would have done. But many others grieve it as a loss of finances, identity, and the chance to socialize with work friends. Here are some things that might help you in your unemployment, regardless of your position.

Temping

Signing up through a temp service could help you be contacted for opportunities or interviews. Temp agencies are middlemen that are paid for their ability to recruit new people. The benefit of this is that some agencies will allow you to take tests for various skills and see how you place. You can pick up assignments, and if you don’t care for the work, you can end the assignment without burning bridges. Because you’re working for the agency, your payment is from the agency, not the company where you’re working. These agencies often offer short-term assignments to fill the needs left by employees out on vacation or medical leave, so if you only need a week or a month of work, that could be an opportunity. It can also allow you to try a different type of work to see if you like it. If you’ve always done office work and you’d like to try manual labor (or vice versa), you can. If you don’t like it, nothing lost.

Seasonal Jobs

With Christmas coming, some stores will hire help just for the holidays. In the spring, other companies will need help just for tax season. In the summer, still others will need help due to the outdoor nature of their services. Seasonal jobs can be a great way to make some extra money without making a long-term commitment. These gigs are understood to be short-term and for people that just want to make a few extra bucks. Seasonal jobs have not only given me extra money but fun times, great experiences, and even good references for the skills I’ve been able to demonstrate on the job. Your mileage may vary depending on the industry you’re working in and the gig you land.

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Volunteering

If you’re so short on money you can barely afford to put gas in your car, this one won’t apply to you, but if you have enough savings, you may want to consider volunteering during unemployment. Experiencing a job loss can shake up your sense of identity if you tie your worth to what you do. Volunteering can provide you with a positive answer if you’re feeling a major confusion or distress around the question of “What am I going to do this week?” You are more than what you did or do for a living. We all have to remind ourselves that our dignity and our worth do not come from our occupations (or lack thereof). But if you need a reason to get up and get dressed in the morning, think about volunteering for a cause that you think is important. It could give you a sense of purpose, importance, and accomplishment. And, when you land your next interview, it can also give you something interesting to say when you’re asked what you’ve been doing since your last job ended.

Start a Side Hustle

If you’re still waiting on someone to hire you, why not hire yourself? I love the TV show Flea Market Flip. Contestants shop flea markets and pick up items that might otherwise be mistaken for trash. They take their own inspiration, work on the items, and add some updates to these items, to flip the items for a profit. The improvement is often stunning. So, if you have the same kind of ingenuity, why not create your own opportunity for yourself? You may not be crafty or good with a hammer, but perhaps you can create your own opportunity to make money while you’re waiting on a 9-5 gig.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.