Lifelaidout personal finance blogger finds huge value in Cash Back
Roger Ma of lifelaidout.com, runs a personal finance blog where he shares tips on saving money on practically everything and resources on how to save. His money-saving spreadsheets help his readers gain perspective on where their money is going. He appreciates good value and getting the most out of his money, and that’s why we love his blog. Meet Roger …
Where I’m based: New York
How long I’ve been blogging: Two years
Blog/business basics: lifelaidout is about helping people identify value while saving time, money and energy in their everyday lives. I write about a variety of topics including personal finance, credit cards, deals, real estate and travel.
Other blogs I love: I like reading Making Sense of Cents, Are Ya Gonna Eat That? and Financial Samurai for personal finance. Microblogger for blogging tips, NY Food Journal and The Bitchin’ Kitchin’ for my food fix. And Million Mile Secrets and The Points Guy for making the most of my credit cards.
Guilty pleasure: Pizza has always been a guilty pleasure of mine and after recently returning from Italy, I’m now addicted to gelato.
Last thing I bought: I bought the Google Chromecast, which has made it pretty easy for me to stream Netflix and YouTube videos from my computer to the TV. And it was only $35!
What advice would you give to someone looking to save more money? Where do you start? I think the easiest way to save money is simply by signing up for a site like ShopAtHome.com and taking advantage of Cash Back shopping. It’s such an easy way to essentially lower the cost of anything you purchase online. Cash Back amounts typically range between 1 and 10 percent, but could go as high as 25 and 30 percent as well.
Aside from that, I also use Hukkster and Nifti to alert me when items I’m interested in purchasing have gone down in price. It saves me from having to go back to multiple store websites all the time to check prices. I simply save items I want onto those sites (Hukkster and Nifti) and then these websites will send me an email alert when the price of an item has gone down.
You make a lot of Excel templates, what is your favorite and which one do you recommend we start using? I think for those just starting to get a handle on their finances, a good one to start with would be the net worth spreadsheet, which gives you a framework to think about your various assets and liabilities. Another great one to use is the burn rate template, which helps you figure out exactly how much money you spend per year. And if you’re in the market for a house, the buy vs. rent spreadsheet could be a good one to play around with. I think that’s the latest one I made, and one of my favorites.
Is it hard to save money in New York City? I think the prices of most things are definitely more expensive in NYC than elsewhere. But over time, you get used to it and figure out where to make tradeoffs, where you can save and when you can splurge.