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We’re continuing the 50/50 Challenge and it’s time for an update.

Money Earning and Savings Tips this Week

This week we continued with 4 more tips to help you save and earn a bit of money on the side.

This week I’m going to include information lowering your tax bill and increasing tax refunds. I spoke TurboTax’s Vice President and CPA, Bob Meighan last week and he had some incredibly helpful information.

We spoke about different scenarios for couples, whether they're parents for the first time, homeowners, or taking a new job. He then went over tax credit and deductions that you can take advantage of when you file you taxes next year. We also talked about free online tools that TurboTax offers to help you with planning.

Challengers Are Stepping It Up

I just want to say this again – you are doing a fantastic job with this challenge. So many of you are really hustling and I'm energized at how focused all of you are.

Last week I was speaking about changing up my credit cards and listed some options that offer cash back. I asked for some other suggestions and feedback. I got some open and honest responses; thanks!

Max from Maximizing Money:

I use the Chase Freedom card for most of my general purchases right now, just to get the 1% back on everything as well as the 5% in bonus categories.

Evan from My Journey to Millions:

About 18 months ago I switched over to the Gold Premier American Express Card – FREAKING LOVE IT! I treat it as a super debit card and put money towards the bill almost daily…and since it is a charge card I don't have any interest payments. First year is automatically free and I even got my second year fee waived.

Money Beagle also mentioned one I forgot about:

My wife and I each have a Citi Dividends to get 1% cash back (more on certain rotating categories).

It's my hope that this challenge inspires everyone to look for ways to earn just a bit more and cut back on needless expenses. It's not a one time deal – it's something we can all do.

Progress on the 50/50 Challenge

How are you doing with the 50/50 Challenge? Are you ahead or behind your schedule? What area do you need help with? Do you have a question or topic that you’d like me to cover this week?

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver


About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

7 comments add your comment

  1. looks like everything is going well with the challenge! Good luck on the last 9 days.

  2. WEEK ENDING 11/21/11

    My husband encouraged me to add this to the savings pot. If he ate lunches out when out on jobs he would have spent an average of $15 per meal! This is the savings I calculated that we’ve saved so far this month because I’ve made his lunches when he’s been out on jobs.

    CSA FOOD SAVINGS: $83.00
    This is the average monthly savings for canceling my pre-payment to our Community Supported Agriculture store. In addition to my weekly box I was buying extra produce from their ‘store’ by pre-paying and holding a credit on their books. I stopped doing this and am now purchasing produce, etc. from my weekly food ‘envelope’ budget account. I am now holding myself to buying only essentials.

    I live at the beach and drive an older model Volvo wagon and like to keep it in good condition. I typically have it washed and cleaned inside and out every two weeks. I cut this back to once a month for a savings of $46 per month.

    Wool trench coat

    Cancelled my monthly membership to as I haven’t had the time to use it much.

    I’m over my Challenge Goal by $98 and I am stoked! This challenge has really had me take a look at where I’m unconsciously spending my money. I’m now considering every purchase and making more conscious choices. It’s also helped me to ‘let go’ of clothing I probably will never wear. I’ve donated six 30 lb. garbage bags full of clothing, books, etc. It feels FABULOUS!

    Working toward generating more income. This week is slow because my son is out of school all week because of the holiday. I’ve billed for admin. income but have not yet been paid this week. Onward!!

  3. I know it’s been done on other blogs and maybe here as well, but I’d love an update on budget software. I use Mint and love it because it’s free. I used Quicken and QuickBooks for years and then bought an iMac and wasn’t happy with how either worked. I’d love to hear other Mac users thoughts. I also use the ‘envelope system’ that I’ve devised myself and LOVE it. Now if I can just get my husband on board . . .

    • Thanks for the suggest Darris. We’re going to be adjusting out family budget in the near future, so I’ll also review some budgeting options as well. Please look for that some time next month!

  4. This week flew by with the holiday and I almost forgot to post my update for last week!! It has been going very well. I have been focused on a couple of different ways to expand upon our savings and earnings. My husband and I actully got a chance to sit down and talk about our budget for Christmas!! We wrote down each person we were buying for and how much we were going to spend on them, and no more!! This gives us a goal to keep in mind!! In addition to budgeting for gifts, we budgeted for “other” Christmas expenses…going into NYC, a tree, etc.

    Together we came up with something reasonable! I also did some after Christmas shopping last year so some of my gifts are already bought, which makes me very happy!! We had also been putting away a little money each month for Christmas gifts through out the year. Because we have no credit card debt, and would like to keep it that way, we will be paying for all the gifts with CASH!! Things are looking good!!

    With the other things on my list…we have not been out to eat in the past week and again, I was able to put in a few hours at work to make some extra money without having to pay a babysitter because my husband was home from work!

    Another huge thing we have done is saved the check from my maternity leave till the last possible minute…for a whole month, we have been able to live without that money so far!! We are hoping to push it as long as possible!

    We have also spent minimal on groceries. I have only bought things that we need and we are living off of a stockpile I created with lots of staples such as rice, beans, pasta, frozen meats, cereals, etc. Only spending money on fruits and veggies!

    With the weather being warm out, despite being the end of november, I have saved some electricity by hang drying my cloth diapers and clothes!! Haven’t used the dryer in over a week! So the electric bill was actually down this month!!! In addition to the electric bill, I have also forgone use of my small space heater (money guzzler). Cut $50 off our electric bill by not using this and putting a few more layers on myself and the baby!

    Going well, we will see how the last week of the month goes!! It’s approaching the holiday season and that means lots of money spending, so it will be a challenge!!