Reader suggestions for fixing finances

One goal of the Financial Fix-Up is to help all our readers improve their finances while closely following three families through the process. Reader Doreen was excited to share some ideas she and her husband have put into practice while tuning up their finances through the Dave Ramsey “Total Money Makeover” program.  Read her suggestions below, and feel free to share your own in the comments section.

To increase income, consider taking on a paper route for an extra paycheck each week. You do need a reliable car and it can mess up your sleep schedule, Doreen says. Another way to earn extra money is to donate plasma, she says. While the amounts they pay vary, she currently receives $20 for the first donation and $40 for the second donation in a week. You do need pass a physical that checks your weight, blood pressure and protein and iron levels.

To save money, Doreen suggests shopping a store called Cheep Foods on 45th Street in Fargo, which sells discounted groceries. “All of their groceries are damaged, so they sell them at a discounted price,” she said. “Even though the box may be torn and taped back up, the contents are safe and secure. I have been shopping there for years and have not had a problem yet.” One downside is you cannot be guaranteed a specific product you are looking for will be there.

Another thing she suggests to save money is to donate clothing and other items to the for-profit thrift store Savers, and shop there, too. “When you bring in a donation, Savers will give you a coupon good for receiving 20% off your total sale when you purchase $10 or more,” she said. “Also, Savers has their items tagged and color coded. Every day a certain color of tag is 50% off the original price, and the original price is never that high to start with.” She also likes that the store donates money to the YWCA.

Doreen also said people with medical bills to pay should try calling the business office of their medical provider and ask for a discount. She said she’s gotten a 10 percent discount on bills by doing this, but you have to know to ask for it.

So how do YOU earn extra income or save money? Please leave a comment sharing your advice.

Save Big Through Small Changes

By: State Bank & Trust (Member FDIC)

Trying to save money seems to be at the top of everyone’s New Year’s resolutions list, so we figured we would start out by offering some tips to help these three local families and all of The Forum’s readers get on track with saving.

First off, remember that you can save big through small changes. One way to do this is to set up a savings account. Like other banks, State Bank & Trust offers savings accounts with several balance and interest options. When choosing an account, look for the account type with the right minimum balance for your needs. Also be aware of any service fees, check-writing availability and when interest is compounded.

Some people may be thinking they don’t have any extra money that can be put aside; however, every little bit helps. If you can put aside even $20 per month, it will add up quickly. A great way to ensure that you’re constantly depositing money into your savings account is to set up a direct deposit from your paycheck. This way, you don’t see or touch the money that you plan to put into savings. To set up direct deposit, simply talk to the payroll department at your place of work.

Another saving technique is to open a certificate of deposit (CD). CDs usually have a minimum deposit, and terms normally range from 3-month CDs to 5-year CDs. Flexible CDs, on the other hand, give you greater flexibility with your funds. If rates go up, you may increase the interest rate once during the term of the CD. If you need cash, you may be able to withdraw some of the balance. To view the latest rates at State Bank & Trust click here.

One more way to add to your savings is to collect all of your change. You can place it in a canister, plastic bag or even a piggy bank! At the end of every month you could bring in the change and deposit it into your savings account. You will be surprised at how much you can save by doing this. And, if you’re a State Bank & Trust customer, you can bring in your change and we’ll count it for free.

Remember that you can save big through small changes. Pick one of the ideas suggested above and see where you’re at in 6 months. Chances are, you will be on your way to saving.