Thursday, December 29, 2011

Interesting article...

I found this article on Yahoo! this morning and I found it to be VERY intersting. Click HERE to read about different shoppers. It was kinda funny :)

Which one are you?!

I personally have been guilty of being all of them at one time or another.

I buy things that I know I don't need, then take them back out of guilt. I buy one for me, and save the free one for a friend. I stayed up late before Black Friday to get deals, and carefully mapped out my plan for Black Friday (which only consisted of 2 items.)



WHICH ONE ARE YOU?

I keep asking because it's healthy to KNOW! Just like it's important to have a budget and to stick to it, it's important to know what kind of shopper you are and what your "Triggers" are for buying more and MORE and MORE!

WHICH ONE ARE YOU? Take the time to figure it out before the new year starts. :)


(Kinda graphic if you think about it... but SO true. This is the time to save money. In this tough economic time with so much uncertainty, this is the time to SAVE, not SHOP.)

FREE PANTIES AT VICTORIAS SECRET!

Tomorrow, get a FREE pair of New Years panties when you make any purchase at your local V.S. store.

Click HERE to view and print your coupon :)

HAPPY SHOPPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My room make-over challenge

I rarely get magazines in the mail or buy them. Actually, i NEVER do that. The library gets EVERY single magazine and I can go read them for free there. Ya know me... cheap is good--free is SO much better. BUT, if I can get a subscription for free than I ALWAYS do it. Even if it's just so that my daughter can have a magazine to cut up and make collages out of. ANYWAYS--I get Better Homes and Gardens for free which is awesome. I usually read it in 2 seconds and chunk it. Or attempt one of the "Fat burning" workouts they have in the back. But last week they sent January's edition and it was all about getting organized in the new year. I have known I needed to do that but i didn't even wanna THINK about it. BOO on organizing. I love it when it's done, but I HATE the process. So I knew that I had to make it fun.

Let me explain... my husband and I are both in school. We both work. We both have kids. We both have bills. We BOTH have crap that somehow ALWAYS ends up on the kitchen counter. (Grrrr....) So I KNEW that I needed an "office" type space. We now have a much bigger house and actually have the room for it so I knew at some point i'd have to transform the guest room to contain at least a desk for studying, bill writing, etc. But when i got this magazine i got SUPER inspired to start early.

Here is the picture that gave me the idea in the first place... (WARNING--my finished product will NOT look like this)





I challenged myself to do this in $100 dollars or less. So I set out on a journey... I found the desk first. KNEW I had to start somewhere... I bought this bargain for $25 bucks. It's not big, it's not small--it is PERFECT!!!!!!!


Then it was time to look for something to hang over the desk. Not a regular old peg board kinda thing, but something different. Something that could look like art, but could also allow me to tack things to it... so i headed to Michaels. I bought 2 pieces of styrofoam then went to Wally World and bought some fabric.


So fun, SO easy!! buy styrofoam of whatever size you are wanting. (This could serve as wall art, or as a board to hold memos, or a board to hold bows... it could really be ANYTHING you want it to be.) Then buy the fabric. Pretend you are wrapping a present. That's how you get the clean lines, pull the fabric tight and staple away!


It's not complete. I still have plenty of things that i need to find to go on the desk for organization purposes and some cute things just to have. :) But i am SO pumped at what I have so far!!!



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

CHRISTMAS!

How did you do with your Christmas budgets? did you blow it?

REMEMBER THIS... NOW is the time to start shopping for next year!!!! If you start now, you can be finished early and save stress AND money. If your family draws names... what BETTER time to do it then right now when Christmas is fresh in everyones mind?!?!?!

Begin making your new years resolutions involving budgets and finances. Share them with me if you can :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When making a budget...

It's that time of year when make resolutions... AND it SHOULD also be the time of year that we focus on revamping our budgets!

When you are making your annual budget (i encourage weekly and monthly's as well to make sure you stay on track), you need to remember a few things!

1. Don't forget about credit cards. If you are sticking to your budget but using credit cards all the time then you HAVE to consider that. DON'T pat yourself on the back just yet... if you made the budget but credit cards are still covering every day costs then you need to re-vamp it...again!

2. Birthdays and holidays. You know that christmas rolls around every year JUST like your husbands birthday does... so BUDGET for that! Budgets are not meant to include only monthly bills with nothing extra attached to them. That's not the purpose.

3. Don't forget to save! It's GREAT if you are paying your bills on time and cutting back on exepenses but that does not give you a free card to spend all that extra money! The point is to get out of debt, then BUILD wealth and you can't build it if you spend every dime you make.

4. Don't foget ANYTHING! If you have to buy a new filter for the fridge once every 3 months, then budget for that! Dont let the little things escape your mind because they will also take your money with them!

There ya go...you ready for that budget????

Financially Responsible

Content by Sol Rosales

Being financially responsible wasn’t something I grew up learning how to do, unfortunately. When I graduated from college I had tons of credit card debt and student loans on top of it and I’m just now working my way out of that hole. I’ve been really responsible since I learned how to but man, what a change that was in my lifestyle. I looked into utility providers (who knew I had the power to choose?) to get the best rates and I talked to my landlord about coming down on rent. There were just so many ways to save a few bucks at a time that I eventually paid off most of my debt and I’ve been living on an all-cash budget since then. I don’t want to make the same mistakes or get myself into any trouble. I have a clean slate now and I’m working hard to build back up my credit so I can buy a house at some point, although that’s a long ways away. One can only dream about it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Understanding finances

There are so many aspects of finances that I simply do NOT get. I understand couponing (finally) and I understand that sometimes you just have to cut back... but the overall BIG picture of the financial world has always gone over my head.

I'm a firm believer in doing your "homework" so to speak. If you want to be successful at anything--fighting a cold, winning an argument, getting the raise you want, or making millions--you MUST do your research. :) I'm a google fantatic. If it can't be googled, I don't want to know about it. lol. Okay, not REALLY but you know what i'm saying. Getting info and learning everything you can in life is important.

So WHAT ABOUT THE FINANCIAL WORLD? I just simply don't get it... let's take chemical investment banking for example. Without the help of the Valence Group website I wouldn't know a thing. I had NO idea that there was a team of experts out there that could help me invest in things such as chemicals and materials. These people are TRAINED to help me get the best bang for my buck,. Who woulda known?

Have you considered these type of investments. If so, you are going to need a chemical m&a advisory team! You will need advisors that can help you every step of the way. From the beginning when all you have are just questions, to the actual steps of investments and you will need someone to advise you every single step of the way!

I don't know much, but I DO know that I need to start investing NOW when I am just 27 years old.

what about you? Does the world of finances make perfect sense to you or do you find yourself totally confused?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

When you HAVE to start over?

Every person in the world has had times in their life when they SO desired to press the reset button life. Or maybe just on a particular situation. BEEN THERE--done that. Did NOT want a t-shirt. We can switch jobs, make new friends, move, or change vehicles, but when it comes to finances it's just not that simple.

In today's hard economic times it's no suprise that bankruptcy numbers are up! When the economy goes down and people lose money and the things they used to throw away money on are no more--stress happens. Financial stress is one of the TOP reasons for divorce. Think about that for a second. Money can effect EVERYTHING. Not just your credit, or you ability or inability to shop or buy something, but it can take a toll on your marriage. On your family. On you.

If you are in a situation right now where you are looking for the reset button, then i encourage you to take a second to go through a credit counseling course. This may be something that has the BEST impact on you. Your financial situation may not be as bad as you were thinking, OR you may have been right all along. Pressing the reset button and filing bankcruptcy may be your best bet. I am not down on bankruptcy. Sometimes in life you HAVE to press that button even if it means facing consequences afterwards.

know your options. Feel confident about them. Do NOT let money and financial stress WRECK your life! Take control. Take a course that helps decide what is best for you!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Island

Guest post by Gerard Mcdaniel

My sisters and I spend our summers in the island home that was left to us by our parents. Our husbands and one sister’s boyfriend come and see us on the weekends when they don’t have to work. Man this is the life I always think. I wish I could live here all the time, but it gets very cold in the winter and there are not a lot of conveniences. We shop mostly on the mainland and have the caretaker bring us groceries about every other day. We just added Get Wild Blue so we can get good internet service. Before, we didn’t even have any service. Sometimes I miss being able to run to the mall for a new bathing suit or pick up my favorite bottle of wine for the evening’s cookout. But now I can just plan a little more thoroughly and order everything online. Of course, we still have to wait for things to be delivered on the ferry. That is what makes this place so wonderful and private. It is like my secret place where I can still have the world at my fingertips.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

While living debt free...

or ALMOST debt free, there is still financial things to contemplate.

Do you pay off your credit cards and pay them off like Dave Ramsey suggests? I love that man, and I can't stand that man. read more of my love-hate relationship with the Ramsey man here and here.

My point... if you are working to build credit, mantain good credit and keep a constant run on your credit then you MUST use credit cards. i know Dave Ramsey would die if he read this, but I hate to tell him that I am right. Take it from someone that is credit conscious and keeps an eye on my credit often, you have to use them some.

So while you are paying off debt, be careful before you throw the cards away or in the shredder. Pick one thing a month that you charge. For me, it's been my water bill. I charge it every month, get the bill from my credit card and then pay it. No interest charged, but for that month i got a "1" on my credit report. That's a GOOD thing.

Live debt free. do NOT be chained to the chairs of debt, but be smart about keeping your credit looking sharp and clean. you don't want to pay off debt, and then stop using any form of credit for 10 years and then go try to buy a house. the bank will NOT lend you the money because of the lapse in your credit report (that and other reasons like how the banks aren't giving money away period these days).

Be smart about it.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm feeling good about Christmas

What about you? I'm feeling like I am on schedule and on top of things which is SUCH a good feeling.

remember--this year my husband and I agreed to only spend $50 dollars one each other AND the items had to be used OR bought at a consignment type shop. (Ex: he could buy be a shirt with tags on it that is technically new but has to buy it from a second-hand type shop). This definitly made Christmas more of a challenge but that was the point.

My point for this challenge:

spend more time searching for gifts that would make each other smile vs. running into a store and charging $100 bucks just to get it out of the way

save money this holiday season

have less STRESS during my favorite time of the year

not feel overwhelmed on Christmas morning

This may seem silly to you and that's ok. i'm okay with you feeling that way. Christmas is my fav time of year. no questions asked--hands down--I LIVE for some Christmas time!! But--it's always stressful shopping, overspending and then thinking you will worry with it later (later ALWAYS comes around). And then tehre is the whole challenge to try to spend about the same amount of money on each other so there can't be any suprises. I always LOVE what I get, but it's always a let down when its over. ya know what I mean? kinda like okay here, we did it. We went, we bought, we charged, we are in debt, and now we have to clean up this mess. I wanted to eliminate that.

Also, i'm so bad about going over board on Ava. Not that she doesn't deserve everything in the world b/c she DOES... but she has so many Christmases. She gets so much stuff EACH YEAR! And the very next day she will ask if we can go get a toy, or a treat. I want to control my child's wants, and if by making the festivities of Christmas a bigger deal then the present opening experience--maybe I can accomplish that. That's my plan anyway. That's my prayer.

So, i'm going through my list in my head of what all I have bought and i'm feeling so excited. I stayed within budget (except for well, a little bit over. But even then it was on something secondhand.) :)

I'm ready for the FUN of the holidays. Not the stress. I'm so ready. Yay!

Keeping track!

One of the hardest parts of living on less, making budgets, saving money, etc... is KEEPING TRACK OF IT! I try--i mean I write down my checks in the checkbook, I keep up with my receipts, yet somehow I ALWAYS struggle to keep up with everything like I should. There is always an extra bill I forgot about, or I forgot that I ran by Sonic... SOMETHING!

I've written before and asked my readers for tips on how to keep up with everything. I follow a ton of blogs just hoping to get all the right info. I've heard of several sites that you can use that will actually keep track of things for you but i've been leery of trying one of those. I finally found one that I love for personal use. it helps me keep up with EVERYTHING and actually links itself to my bank account so when I get on this site, it is 100% accurate! How nice! When I forget things I know I have a back up that will NEVER let me forget. :)

it comes in so handy but after talking with my husband about it we realized that it wouldn't keep up with his store expenses the same... so I went on the search!


Then I heard about outright.com. this is the handiest site that allows you to keep up with loans,bills, payments, expenses and more using a bookkeeping software! This software allows you to see if you are on track for taxes, how much you are spending, and can link everything together. This site allows you to know your BOTTOM line. What you are spending every month can be tracked by using outright.com.

If you own a small business and are struggling to keep all of your numbers together--then this is for you!

Enjoy! :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

CHECK THIS OUT :)

It's ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
http://angelabarton.com/blog/

Let me know what you think! i am SO pumped!

The best laid plans...

of mice and men.. and of me :)

When it comes to finances i am SUCH a planner. If you only could see my "MY BOOK" as I call it, you would see what I mean. I budget down to the cent. I designate where every dime and dollar is going at any given point. When I get paid there are no suprises or no excuses for me to not know where that money is going.

lately my focus has been on paying off my car. It is due to be paid off on September 21st, 2014. My plan is to make my last payment on August of 2012. That's 2 years early!!!!!!! That is my plan... now again, plans don't always work out.

I was looking over my plan for paying off my car yesterday and got very excited when I refigured and realized i'd have it paid off sooner then that.... I got so excited!!! THEN... i realized I was wrong. :( And i got very discouraged. I kept thinking like why in the world am I spending every extra dime I have on paying off a car when it's still taking me forever!??!! I just need some money to fall from the sky so I can stop stressing over it.

Sometimes you have to look at your plans and just be happy that you made a plan. That's HUGE! Most people don't take the time to figure out where the money goes and where it NEEDS to be going. So pat yourself on the back for having a plan. I'm one of those that gets so excited when making plans but when I realize how LONG it's going to take I get so down on myself.

time to be happy with those best laid plans... be happy that you made the plans and stay determined to follow through!

Updates to follow on the car payoff process. :) I'm so excited!

How NICE it's gonna feel to NOT have a car payment!

How I spend $100 dollars a month on groceries

This post is LONG over due. I have had several requests to write about how I only spend $100 dollars at the grocery store and just actually taking the time to sit down and write about it has been tough... because i am usually sitting down planning how in the world I am going to make it on $100 each month.

IT"S NOT EASY! Okay... hear me say that... and it doesn't ALWAYS happen, but 10 out of 12 months it does. Get ready for some work.

It's trial and error. It's practice. It's dedication. It's determination.

If you are a couponer then you get how much work it takes to do this. Let me say this... I can ACTUALLY spend all of my $100 dollars on FOOD because I have a stock pile of everything else. I do NOT keep my household item, personal items, beauty items, etc in the same money pile as my groceries. make sense?

Let's get started....

MEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meat is such a bulk of most families(I would assume) food budget. It's expensive. I don't eat deer. I shoot ducks but don't eat them. So I am actually buying ALL of the meat that I have. I became friends with the butcher at my local Kroger. He sees me coming! :) He is the one that told me that Tuesdays are the BEST days to come get bargains on meat. I don't know if has to do with when trucks come in or not, but I do know that Wednesdays at Kroger starts the new sales week. SO, on Tuesdays they mark down meat. I have gone in on Tuesdays MANY TIMES and left spending $30 dollars on meat that lasted us for a month.

But what if that doesn't happen? What if there are no mark-downs? How can you get meat for less money??? by PLANNNNNINNNGGGG... that's always the key word.

Plan your meals a month out. Now I realize that you may change it up, but that's not the point. The point is to write out 30 meals, figure up what you need for each of them, then get your calculator out and head to the store. It's ALWAYS cheaper to buy the bigger package. Well, at least in my experience. If you buy your hamburger meat in the tubes, buy the 5 lb tube, not 1 lb at a time. That's a WASTE!

does your town have a Save a lot? Or Save you more? Check out those places for meat! Their meat tends to be way more fresh than Walmarts meat and is actually quite comparable to Kroger's meat which I think is the BEST!

You can't spend $100 dollars a month on groceries and think that you make elaborate meals, however I like to say that we eat like royalty because we NEVER do without.

Bottom line with meat... check for discounts. If the meat is about to expire, FREEZE IT! It can last up to 6 months if it is frozen. And those were words from my butcher friend.

Plan to spend half of your budget of $100 on meat.

I buy chicken strips instead of chicken breasts in the bags. Kroger brand is usually on sale, but occasionally the Tyson brand is cheaper. Look for the best deal. Not just price, but check the pounds. I prefer the strips because I can get more meals out of them. If meat is taking up half of my budget then I need it to LAST. So if we do strips instead of breasts then I can make more other things to go with the meal. Such as we cook 5 chicken strips (I get 2, the husband gets 3) I still have a full bag of chicken left! Doesn't sound like a ton of meat does it? It's not. But it's plenty. But then I can make 2 sides. Maybe red potatoes and a can of corn?

A good rule of them for ME is this... $3.00 a meal. That is my goal. I try to make each meal cost us $3.00. Not always easy to do, but it IS possible. So I look at the bag of potatoes(which is a staple item in our house), the amount of meat I used, and the price of the canned veggie I purchased. I have finally gotten it to where 99% of our meals cost us under $3.00 a piece or right at it.

VEGGIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you can't buy fresh, then frozen is next best, then comes cans. Just keep that in mind.

Because of the way I shop(I try not to do it very often b/c then I tend to blow my budget) I can't buy a lot of fresh veggies. I always have red potatoes on hand, an onion or 2, and that's about it. Now let me say this... I love love LOVE salad!!!! My husband is not such a big fan. My daughter can't stand it. SO I eat a salad every single day at lunch(which is free and also helps me keep the budget where it is) but that way I don't have to buy salad for home. Every time I buy it it goes bad, BUT, again... check with Kroger on Tuesdays. They are always marking salads down. So if salad is something that you have to have, get it on sale and make sure that you can eat it that day or the very next day. It will NOT keep and you will have wasted your money. I don't want to see anyone waste money on food.

Onions keep for a long time. That ones easy. Just buy a good size and you can work on it for a while.

Our main fruit in the house is bananas. My daughter loves them, I love them, and so does the hubs so this works out great. They are also very inexpensive which helps. BUT, you can buy them when they are still green and have them on hand.

I've wasted money on so much fruit in the past... my daughter will be hollaring for grapes, i'll buy some and she will eat a handful and the bag sits in the fridge and rots. Gross. So when buy something you need to have more than one plan of what you are going to use it for. Example: the grapes. Know that will be your snack that evening, put it in your lunches the next day, and plan to have a fruit salad or some other use. I think that's the problem these days is that people buy something for a meal having no backup plan so a lot of money gets wasted and thrown out which is such a bummer.

Milk, OJ, Juice, Cheese

Holy cow we eat a LOT of cheese! I sprinkle cheese on just about anything. yummmyyyy! I've got to buy it on sale though. You HAVE to look for the bargains. Check the expiration dates on it and you can get a big bag which is generally cheaper.  Sliced cheese. Shredded cheese. Velveeta. Look for the sales. If it's not on sale, do NOT buy it. Plan a different meal. Cut back on things... we used to buy Velveeta every time we went to the store. Now it's a treat to buy it. I plan our taco nights around when Velveeta is on sale. I've learned to give up things that I once considered "staples" in our house.

OJ--drop the name brand! I had to break my husband of this habit and it took about 2 years but he finally gets it. He was spending a fortune on orange juice because he had to have the name brand because he thought it tasted better. I couldn't tell a difference. He finally gave in and now we save over $14 dollars a month because I switched to the gallon jug of the store brand. HOLY COW that's a lot of money. That's 2 extra bags of chicken, or a splurge on some pork chops...

Milk. Look for the sale. Know how much you will use. On the weekends that my daughter is at her dad's house we don't use any milk. So I don't buy it. I have it when I need it but i've learned that we can buy on a half gallon jug and that has saved so much money! My daughter is not a fan of water so I had to get creative. We bought her a cool little work out type cup that has the top that opens and closes and now I have convinced her to drink water. And that is ALL she can drink out of that cup. She needs the water, it's good for her, plus when we drink water we are saving money.

Juice. Gotta look for bargains. Frozen is 99% of the time less expensive. I'm not a fan of juice. It's so loaded with sugar and they make us think it's awesome because it will say "made with real fruit juice" but try to avoid it. That's just a side note. :) But if you have to have it... stock up when it is on sale. TRY to buy frozen. It's better for the environment. But for those lunch boxes... Walgreens runs GREAT sales on Capri-suns around once every 6 weeks and that is when I stock up. And, Kroger has a GREAT off brand that's like the same thing and usually cheaper. Let those be JUST for lunches so you don't find yourself running back to the store to get more.

I hope this was helpful. That's how I do it. I make a list of meals, I figure out what I will need, look for coupons to match up the stores discounts, and run in OFTEN to check on bargains on meat.

You can do it. When I started this little project it was just simply to see... and now i'm addicted. I'm addicted to the fact that I have money left over every month! :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bargains on scrubs!

You know me... I am ALL about bargains, so I have to pass this one along.


http://www.blueskyscrubs.com

Check out this website! Whether you are looking for lab coats, scrubs, green scrubs, pink scrubs, nurses scrubs, doctor scrubs... this site has it all! They also have accessories, scrubs hats and so much more!

This company has been around for a long time. They are trusted, reasonably priced and have more selection than any place around!

Whether you chose to have scrubs with prints, or to have some cool blue ones like the team on Grey's Anatomy... this is the place to go! :)

There are days i wish i had the luxury of wearing scrubs. Instead, I have to get up every single day and plan my outfits from head to toe! I love what I do and I do enjoy wearing different things but MAN OH MAN it would be nice to get to wake up and put some scrubs on! They look so comfy! :)

I know there are not a lot of scrub choices around here at least and I doubt there are many around the states so I wanted to pass this info along.

take the time to check out blueskyscrubs.com. Very cool website with LOTS of options!

You can get money for that too!

You can get cash advances these days for everything! I've never taken a cash advance but I know plenty of people that have.

one of my favorite tv shows ever is "Til Debt do us Part." That show is AWESOME! Gail is an amazing financial guru that has the BEST ideas at helping couples get out of debt. She goes through all the steps and it follows progress over a month on these couples. If they complete the tasks they are asked to do then they get 5k to help them pay down their debt. I've seen couples do AWESOME and win the money, and i've seen couples think she was nuts and get NOTHING. What a waste? They had such a great opportunity and they dwindled it away...

Anyway, my point is that she talks a lot about cash advances and the percentage rates that come with them. Now some times, you just have to do what you can do and I get that, but I encourage you to be smart.

You can get cash advances to pay bills, and I think some credit card companies offer these as well. Anyway, you can get cash advances to pay bail, for lawsuit cash advances, and money just to get by on. Look into it though...beware of the fees. If you can't get it paid back then don't do it, but if you are in need of some cash NOW then look into it but BE SMART!

Know your stuff. Knowledge really IS power.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

BEWARE OF PAYPAL!!!!

I got an email this morning stating that pay pal's new policy is to hold your money for 21 days!!!!!!!!!!!That is INSANE! I get a LOT of money sent to me through paypal every single week and I am NOT happy about this.

JUST A HEADS UP!

Making it easy---taking your money?

I've said before that there is SO much we can all get caught up in! Everyone is looking for the "easy" way to do everything. Diet pills that are gonna make you lose weight over night. Colon cleanses that make you sit on the pot all week and make you skinny. The "Shake weight" that makes your arms look like a models with just 5 minutes a day. Shampoo that will make your hair grow at lightning speeds (tried that....didn't work). Electric can openers (b/c the kind you twist take SOOOOO long). Hair dryers that make you look like you are getting a face lift because the air is coming out SO fast and it ends up just matting up your hair.

No matter WHAT it is...we are ALL looking for that quick fix. Something to save money, something to save time...

Now i'm not saying there are not products out there that can't accomplish this. And they are not ALL over priced. But considering that you can buy products from cell phones that work on voice command to physical therapy billing that is light years ahead of what most of them use, the world is looking for ease, convience and moving saving tips.

How do you decide which ones work and which ones waste your time? It's hard, isn't it? i have invested in many things that I thought were gonna be awesome and then had to send a letter to the company DEMANDING my money back. Be smart about it.

I think the smartest thing you can do is research ALL of the products and services out there and weigh the product/service against the money and time you ACTUALLY save or spend.

Personally, I say buy a calendar and work your hardest to make TIME to do everything... like opening cans on your own. If you could squeeze in 3 more seconds you could save $30 bucks...just saying!

CHRISTMAS PROGRESS?>???

You realize that I have been harping on this for MONTHS now... and now...you are down to the wire.

have you made your list? Have you checked it twice? have you made out a budget? Have you kept up with what you MUST get done in time to ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS??

i hope you are on it! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Increasing $$ in your business and in your life

If you own a business, especially in todays time, it is CRUCIAL that you can take more than one form of payment. Checks are out dated to some people but being able to accept those will increase sales because you will ALWAYS have those customers that will pay only with a check. Cash, of course, but that is a liability because you are more apt to get robbed, but you KNOW you have to accept cash. It's part of it.

But one thing that I have noticed lately that some businesses don't have is a credit card machine. As a business owner you HAVE to have one of those. If you are looking for a credit card processing services then look no further. You have found the company to use!

You can also increase traffic in your store by having  ATM machines.  Think about how many times you ran into the gas station to get money out of the ATM and you turned right around and spent some of it right then! Money you hadn't planned on spending. It's a GREAT way to bring in more traffic which in turn will bring in more revenue.

And if you are needing a new POS system then check out this link!

Great quality products from a company that you can trust. And from a company that wants to find the right products to help increase your business sales, money in your store AND money in your life.

Use a trusted company.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

BUDGET BLOWN!

I'm so mad that I am writing this blog in black, bold, big letters. I blew my budget for the month. And I don't have anything super fabulous to show for it!

I blew my budget because of LACK OF PLANNING! I am so irritated at myself. :(

We live in the county and we have to PAY for trash pick up which is so dumb, but we do. Well we have had problems with that bill since we moved into our old place last July. We moved in and had lived there 2 days when we got a bill for the past 90 days and it was for $90 dollars. It's around 30 bucks a month. I called and was like "WAIT A SEC... I can't owe for the past 90 days if I have lived here for 2." She tried to explain that the trash pick up doesn't necessarily follow the person but the location. Well, I have two letters to say to that and the first letter is B. That is not even right. So they prorated it whatever and it was lower. But not enough lower. So i told her that I would pay what I felt was right. I would pay my 30 bucks a month starting from the day I moved in. And that's what I have done. But because of that we have been behind. They had been tacking on late fees and i'd still call and gripe about it.... the bill was NEVER the same amount and the dates of service were always screwy. so I just kept sending in my money and never thought much about it.

now it's time to pay taxes. you can't pay taxes if you have a deliquent trash bill. I shouldn't have one, but I do. So i said fine i'll come pay it. It was $176.99. I had her pull up every single bill, every single check I had sent and because I never paid that first 90 dollars they said I owed, plus the fees, plus the month in there that I forgot to pay... that is what I owed. I couldn't refuse to pay it because I couldn't pay my taxes until it was taken care of.

So yesterday i paid $180 in trash bills and $100 in taxes. i am so mad. Not happy about that at all.

I may never get over this....

Vacation on a budget?

I have been MIA from this blog for a while and I HATE that. I'm so sorry. I still see people clicking to read daily and I hate that I have nothing new here. Read HERE to catch up on all the chaos in my life!

Okay but I am back...even if its not with a handy coupon for you. :) I am planning a vacation. Jere and I have yet to go on a honeymoon. We have had a few weekend trips here and there but we haven't been on a big vacation in so long. We have been saving our money (because I am paying cash for this trip, and anymore trips from here on out.) and we want to go somewhere AWESOME.

I have $2500 dollars saved. Now that may sound like a lot but I CHALLENGE you to find an awesome vacation for less than that. I have looked at going...:

1. To Hawaii. I have family there that I could stay with. So all I'd need is plane tickets and some meals out. Hawaii is divine, and i'd love to see my family as well. That vacation (plane ride, meals, souvenirs, tours, etc) came out to $2500.

2. Cabo all inclusive resort. I LOVE CABO! It's one of my favs and was my initial place I thought of to go. It comes out to $2500 almost to the cent. That is airfare, food, drinks, the WORKS and we wouldn't need very much money for extra stuff b/c we have both been before and I don't need another t-shirt.

3. Gulf Shores. i have NEVER been. So I thought about renting a house for a week down there. Cook most meals in, and eat out at night. That one came out to about the same amount.

4. NYC. Jere has never been and LORD knows it's my favorite place ever. That trip came out to the same amount BEFORE buying tickets to a show... so it would actually be a tad bit more.

5. Disney world. I considered going ahead and taking Ava and enjoying a week in a fairy tale land... that trip came out to a tad bit more than $2500 as well.

6. a Cruise. I have never been on one and I am TERRIFIED of getting sea sick... I get sooooo car sick and I just worry that I couldn't do it. But all in all that one is probably the best value.

Where else am i missing? How can I do a terrific vaca on my budget?

Financial ups and downs

There are times that I am SO glad that I don't have much money to manage. Although there are times that I retract that statement... i'd give anything to have money to manage. :) it's a catch 22. If you don't have money all you can think about is getting money. If you DO have money (i'm talking LOTS of it) then you have to decide how BEST to manage it. Each person in the world has some type of financial goal. Whether it is buying that first home, a teenager saving money for a prom dress, a 7 year old saving their allowance for the upcoming fair....everyone has some type of goal. And for some, it may simply be the goal of paying bills this month.

What about this individuals and companies that have LOTS of money to manage. Lots of people deal with corporate finance issues every single day.  I have ran across a company that quotes THIS as their mission statement.

"Our mission is to help individuals and corporations to determine and achieve their financial and fund raising goals through a comprehensive financial planning process. "

This seems pretty cut and dry and shows me that they have a mission, a goal, a plan and when it comes to MY money I need a person or company that I can trust.

If you or someone you know is needing help with financial goals and wants a trustworthy company, please forward them this blog. Or visit globalprivategroup.com




Friday, October 7, 2011

Fair labor acts

This is one of those constant problems. Years ago I worked for a company that refused to pay me overtime and I worked an average of 50 hours a week. I did this for almost a year. When I finally quit the job I was so frustrated and angry. I made good money while i worked there, but think about how much MORE money I would have made if I had gotten paid fairly.

Evidentally something happened with the company and they got caught because about 3 months later I got a letter from the IRS including a check in the amount of $762 dollars for overtime that I was owed! How nice was that check!??! Someone reported someone evidentally....

California Overtime laws must be going through the same thing. They are offering to help those that are not being paid fairly. There are laws that protect you from taking this kind of mess. If someone works hard, and does their job, they deserve to be treated fairly. BUT , if laws say you must pay overtime, or must give an employee a break and the company doesn't do it then THAT is grounds for action! Take the time to look at this website and see if any of this applies to you. It pays to be informed... and in my case someone caught it for me because I never thought to pursue anything on my own. But this kinda stuff is wrong. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! take the time to learn what you need to know to protect yourself, your finances, and your future.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

4 PRESENTS LEFT TO GO!

It is with GREAT, TREMENDOUS joy that I write this blog....


I have only 4 PRESENTS LEFT TO BUY FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Tada... i'm so pumped.

What about you? How far along are you? What is your best gift purchase so far?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stopping the harassment

One thing that is VERY unfortunate when financial times get hard is the COLLECTION CALLS! They can be so annoying. And the collectors want their money (rightfully so), but they have no respect for time or days. I have heard of people getting collections calls late in the evenings and on Sundays! I understand that collectors need their money but they don't handle it properly. There are laws that protect you from getting these harassing calls.

If someone is calling you and using your first name and being ugly and talks to you about coming to your house to collect property to pay for your debt--then that is WAY to extreme and you must get that stopped.

You need to know how to stop collection calls. You need to know what your rights are and how to handle them properly. Why I do believe you have a duty to pay back the debt that you owe (to the best of your ability), I also believe that a person should always be treated with respect. Even when it comes to finances and financial obligations.

If someone is calling you to collect money and does not identify who they are with, you can fix this. If someone is threating you, you can fix this. You must know your rights. Handle it the best way that you can and be polite, but you have to protect yourself and your well being.

Visit creditlaw.com today if you are experiencing harrasing phone calls that are damaging your life. Dealing with the debt is bad enough, you do not have to deal with harassment on top of it all!

Know your rights. Visit creditlaw.com today to learn how to stop collection calls!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pennypinching

The Author of this post is Herman Barry
Since the beginning of the economic crisis, my mother has steadily become more and more obsessed with saving money. At first she made simple changes that normal people were already doing, like keeping a close check on her gas mileage and making every effort to take public transportation, walk or carpool whenever possible. She then started keeping a strict household budget. Mom used a cable tv advisor to decide that we could actually spend less money for our television service each month and still get the channels we love. My mother then decided that we were spending too much on food, eating out when we could eat in, and paying too much for our groceries. Mom went to a couponing class, and from then on, she became the ultimate bargain hunter. She spends her time reading couponing blogs, she buys multiple Sunday papers, and she has subscribed to just about every type of online one day deal site there is. Now I’ve grown so accustomed to pinching my pennies, if we ever get out of this economic crisis, I think it would be difficult to go back to our old ways.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Business owners take note!

In the past year I have done lots of research on owning your own business. For starters my husband owns his own, and I have toyed with the idea of opening my own business at some point. Problem is that I can't decide what KIND of business.... but either way, I have done my research.

I watch my husband owning his own business deal with crazy amounts of decisions. From what type of product to have in the store, what pricing to use, delivery fees, advertising and even something that sounds as simple as Credit Card Payment Processing, I have seen him deal with it all. It is overwhelming, stressful, but rewarding all at the same time.

Let's take a look at the credit card payment processing. You would think that was simple. NOT! Well, it CAN be, but it can also be a pain. You have to take into account what the fee is for swiping that card. You also have to know what the company's fee is. Then you have to decide what cards you would like to accept, and the whole time you are doing this you are trying to be a business that makes it easy on the customer. With a company like MPS you are eliminating the headache. They pledge fast, quality, low pricing service. They pledge customer service that cannot be matched!

Take the time to look at your options at mercurypay.com. You will be GLAD you did!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Update on Christmas

I have spent to DATE : $120 dollars and I am WAY more than half way done.

I am finished shopping for my husband
I am finished shopping for my brother in law
AND I am finished shopping for my neices.

I am almost done shopping for my daughter. She is so much fun to shop for and I have found some great baragins.

One thing that I am TRYING to do better on is this:

Last year Ava had over 20 presents to open. Now in my defense I spent less than $100 dollars. But I don't want to her open that many gifts. Even if I get them super cheap, I don't want her to expect that much. It was overwhelming for her, and for me well...it was hard to stop buying when I found such great deals. But I don't want to raise a spoiled child so I am trying to do better.


What about you? what is your progress on Christmas?

Bargains on clothes UPDATE! my cheap outfits!


Okay so this outfit was FREE! Let me explain...well, I kinda already did HERE. I wrote about my GROUPON deal. So this is what I spent it on. Jeans and a top. Here ya go :) What do you think?   

This was my Goodwill bargain that I wrote about HERE. I found this for $3.00 WITH the price tags still on it. It was a Target brand but still, I was pumped. I love tops like this because they are perfect for between season items, but then when it DOES get super cold I can wear this over a turtle neck. It's very versatile.  

Same goes for this one. This was a Forever 21 brand that I bought at Goodwill for $2.50. I LOVE it. I plan to wear this over jeans, skirts, pants, whatever I can find! I'm so happy about it!

These are the BUTT of the jeans. My husband was obviously the photographer. :) But they are cute detailed FREE jeans that I scored and I am VERY happy with them!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today I will find goodwill bargains. I just KNOW it!

Today i have to go to Little rock for work. I have a few places to go on the way there and ONE of those stops is not work related. I MUST stop at the Little Rock Good-will. :) I'm so pumped!

What about you? Do you look forward to visiting other towns and finding THEIR bargains? Or is that just me.

I figure since I am a year long ban of buying anything brand new I better take advantage of the few chances I will have to go shop at a different store. :)

So far, so good with the nothing new shoppin ban is a success. i did make a list of exceptions and I will update that shortly. :) But since June, with the exception of underwear, I have not purchased any clothing item that was NEW.

I look forward to sharing with you my bargains that I PLAN to find today :)

OUT of MONEY?

I'm not an advocate of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul...however, sometimes you have to do what you gotta do! And in the case that you do need to borrow some extra money, i have a good suggestion for you.
There are lots of payday loan options. You can go to a local payday loan store, or you can borrow money from a friend, or take an advance on your credit card, or dip into savings. You HAVE options. But let's look at them.
If you go for the advance on your credit card you are literally shooting yourself in the foot. You will pay through the roof interest on that and if you are already behind you will NEVER be able to catch up now.
If you borrow money from a friend then you will either pay them back, or not. But no matter if you intend to pay the money back or not, you KNOW that it will be totally weird between the two of you until the issue is resolved. You will either have the best friend ever that doesn't want you to worry about and its never brought up again---OR--you have the friend that will constantly be worried about every little dime. oh AND if you borrow money from a friend and you are working on paying her back but you stop off at Starbucks, or buy some new shoes... she will look at that as though you chose to do THAT over paying her back. Don't do that.
So it comes down to getting an easy payday loan. This is the only way to not have crazy interest amounts, not make a friend mad and not mess up your credit card bills.
Be sure and check out cashstore.com before you do anything!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Money Money!

Planning a super awesome vacation over seas? Then I know of something that you MUST have. It's a money counter that can actually count money from another country and tell you the value of it in American dollars. This is so cool! :)

And if you are NOT going over seas... how nice to have one with you? I mean, it may make me seem lazy but i'm thinking at the end of the day to empty my pockets and read a machine that tells me who much money I have...?? That would be pretty darn cool!

In reality, this would be an awesome item for a business to have. It would be a great way to double check your deposits, to double check your work at the end of the day, and also a way to provide vertificiation that you did it right. There are lots of gadgets in the world and some of them are not worth investing in, but when it comes to this money counter I highly reccomend that businesses and even some individuals take the time to look at this item and decide if it's right for them.

Noteandcoin.com is a great website that allows you to get more information, look through tutorials, contact sales and support, and get a better look at what all products this company offers. At least take the time to give it a glance.
Thanks for reading--go count your money! :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My SUPER Bargain of the week!

I HAVE to share this with you... it's just too good.

Saturday morning when I woke up I had a big ol' G in the corner of my phone which meant there was a Groupon available. I looked at it and saw that it was the Puff's Store that had the deal this week. For $10 dollars you could get $25 dollars worth of clothes. Sounded great, right? But--I haven't shopped there in years, I rarely even go in the store, and I had kind of gathered in the past that they had changed from being quality clothes to being cheap-o not so good clothes.


Then I got an email reminding me that I had $10 dollars in Groupon bucks to spend. (I got that because I purchased 2 at a time of something a few weeks ago). SO, I bought the Puff's certificate with the bucks which means I spent NOTHING out of pocket and I got $25 dollars to spend!


So yesterday I went to the store and partly I was right... the store HAS changed. They used to have nice, popular brands in their clothing and they always had nice home accessories. Well the accessories were gone and the clothing was a lacking, but they still had some super cute things. I bought a new pair of jeans and a cute little leopard print sweater for fall. And it cost me NOTHING! I know I am on a "nothing new" ban right now, but if you can get nothing new for cheaper than  you can get something used... I think it STILL constitutes a bargain!

I had to share. What about you? Any good bargains this week?

Monday, August 29, 2011

When we get to financial pitfalls.

I've harped a LOT on finances. That's how this whole blog got started. I decided to begin couponing (which has saved me HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS already), and I wanted to write about my husband and my journey through getting out of debt and building wealth for the future.

In this day and time bankruptcy is at an all time high. People are having a harder time mantaining their lifestyle since the cost of living has gone up. We've talked about getting an extra job for additional income, "snowballing" your debt payments, and working on a savings.

But sometimes, it IS too late. What is a person to do? I think the first step comes from getting educated. Knowing your options.

Maybe you should consider taking a online bankruptcy course. Obviously bankruptcy is scary, but in a lot of situations it is the only way to get that clean start. It's important to know all that you can so that you make the best decision. You need someone to talk to and get advice from on how to handle your financial future. Taking a bankruptcy class online or a credit counseling course. Getting educated is the BEST thing you can do and the first thing that you should do.

Take the time to know your options.

If you do decide that bankruptcy is right for you then you need to get a few things in order.

*Find out the cost. You will need to begin saving for that.
*Figure out your total debt. Compare with your income. (Debt to income ratio.)
*After doing that decide if you DO have an option of lowering some other bills to help cover your credit card bills.
*Don't do anything until you have taken a course to help you understand the process.

It's scary financial times out there right now. Guard yourself, and make wise financial decisions for your future. If you do have to file bankruptcy it is NOT the end of the world, but it is a new chapter. And it's a chapter that some people have to turn to. Be prepared to make changes in your life so that you don't fall into debt again.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Christmas so far...

I am so PLEASED to say that we are ALMOST done buying Christmas presents!

i have been doing lots of writing on the side to make extra money and we are well on our way to having Christmas paid for. I have 2 people left, and my husband has, well, me left to buy for :) But I don't expect him to finish that until Christmas Eve! :)

What about you? Are you making good progress???

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Extra ways to make money!

In this day and time it's hard to make a living. The cost of living is going up which also means debt is rising in individuals due to the fact that things are going up while income stays the same. In this day and time it's just plain rough.

I've talked before about other ways to make money. Do you have a skill that you can use to make some extra money? Maybe you can detail cars, teach piano lessons, write, babysit, mow lawns, or maybe you are looking for a new career or a nice career to supplement your income.

Have you thought of becoming a tax preparer? This would be a great way to supplement your income even if you only worked during tax season. Lots of tax companies hire people for tax season every year. If you chose to be a tax preparer you could work simply 3 or 4 months out of the year, even after your every day job, and make a good bit of extra money! You can typically set your own hours! This would be a GREAT way for any family to bring in some extra cash during these hard times.

Fastforwardacademy.com offers a program that you can buy online. It comes with all that you need! Course and study guide are included PLUS you can even take practice exams online before you take your final test. By doing this you would be investing in your FUTURE. The future of your family and the future of your finances.

If you are looking for something to do to supplement income OR if you are looking for a new career, I highly recommend looking into being a tax preparer. At your fingertips you could learn, practice and prepare for your exam.

Spend time thinking over ways to earn extra money. I highly recommend that you at least take a moment to check out Fastforwardacademy.com to see if becoming a tax preparer is right for you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

We waste our money on stupid stuff

My friend Diana has been begging me to write this blog.

She recently spent, what I consider, to be a good amount of money on make-up at Walmart. It's Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind.

Not only did it NOT rewind her. (That sounds bad, I know. I don't mean it to. She is BEAUTIFUL, and hilarious, and so smart, and has become one of my dearest friends, but she didn't instantly look 10 years younger.) BUT she spent more money on something with LESS ounces in it then the cheaper stuff.

Why do we get sucked into this stuff? Here is my beautiful friend who doesn't look a day over 40, if that, and she is trying to "rewind" herself? That's just crazy folks. We are all beautiful. And we will ALL age. And what's crazier than aging? People that DO NOT age. They look hysterical. You can't even smile b/c your face is frozen. You raise your eyebrows and nothing happens. Your lips couldn't look more swollen and ridiculous.

Don't waste your money to look younger. Age gracefully and put your money in an IRA.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Car payoff plan!

I am SUPER DUPER PUMPED! I have an awesome plan to pay off my car really fast!

Already I have been paying more every single month. Sometimes a lot more, sometimes it's just 5 bucks more... but either way that is what I am working my little heart out to pay OFF! I HATE having a car payment. There was a time in my life when all I could think about was new cars. I HATE the car business... the sales people...the squirly people that sell the cars, but I LOVE trading my car. Or I should I love having a different car but i DESPISE the entire process.

Anyway, I finally reached the point in my life when I don't care. I have a nice car and I like it. It's good to me, i'm good to it. We get along well. But I DESPISE having a car payment. Hate it. don't want to do it anymore. And i'm breaking this viscious cycle.

I started doing the math and I have had a car payment since I was 18. Now my first car only had a car payment of $156 a month (MAN do I miss that civic), but it was STILL a car payment. After that my car payments doubled(when I traded in) and have remained the same ever since. So I did some math.

For two years I drove that awesome little civic. My payout: $3744

Then I turned around and traded it in but still did good on the trade... but frankly that statement is ALMOST an oxy moron. No one does "well" on trades.

Next car the payments were $336. So for 1 year I paid: $4032
NEXT car was $385. I had it 2 years: $9240
NEXT car IS $372 a month. I've had it 27 months: $10044.
That comes out to $27000. and I own NONE of these cars. It makes me sick at my stomach. WHY WHY WHY? Why was in this viscious cycle?

That is TOO much money to now OWN something. Good LORDY! I could have bought that first car 3 times over by now! AGGGHHH!!! I want to scream.

I realize that some people may pay TONS more for their cars. I know my own husband does. "To each his own"...but MY "own" is now to OWN my vehicle. I am on a crunch plan.

I have some student loan money that charges 3% interest AFTER I am done with school. Currently I am paying 7.6% interest on my car loan. And I have 3 years left on it. So my plan is this...

Take the student loan money and PAY DOWN my car loan. Continue to make car payments at the same time. My car will be paid for in 21 months instead of 36 which has me paying off my car a year early. Now I KNOW that doesn't sound like much early but that is ONE WHOLE YEAR!

But what about the student loan money,  you may be asking.... WELL, when I get out of school I will have 3% interest on this money. But as long as i'm in school I have no interest which means EVERY SINGLE dime that I pay down will go STRAIGHT to it and not interest. I have 4 years left of school. That means I will have plenty of time to pay it off before ANY interest occurs.

Yes, it's kinda like taking from Peter to pay Paul or whatever the phrase is. BUT if the math makes sense... why not? Why not take advantage of a HUGE difference in interest and get the car stinkin' paid for!!!

What are your thoughts? Is there anything like that in your financial situation that you could do to save money, interest, and time?


Monday, August 22, 2011

Wanting to make more money?

I harp a LOT on how you need to cut back on your expenses, AND make more money! That's a lot to do at one time especially when most of you work full time anyway! BUT--there are some extra ways you can make more money on the side.

Babysitting a friends kids, helping plan parties or events, garage sales, waiting on tables on the weekends... LOTS Of ways! And a lot of you have shared with me how you make extra money! Way to go US for saving and making money! :)

There's another money maker out there that I want us to talk about. Have you ever thought about getting your tax preparer certification? This would be a great way to make some extra money and do a LOT of it from home! With this online program you can get your certificate online, learn all the skills that you need, plus take practice exams online before taking your FINAL test. Taxes tend to be seasonal so at least for a few months out of the year you could make some significant extra money! OR--you could get really into it and try to mantain a few clients all year. Business owners AND individuals have to have someone they trust to help them do their taxes. Even if it's only a one time a year meeting... the world needs GOOD people to help with taxes. If you are a business owner you may not someone that can help you ALL year long! That would be a great way to make some extra money and get back in the work force a little bit more.

Places like H&R Block and Liberty Tax services are always hiring seasonal help. That would be a great way to get your foot in the door, learn that particular companies protocol, and get your feet wet! Hopefully it will turn into something that you would want to do ALL year! Maybe you have a friend that works in the tax business? You could shadow them for a week and see if this is a good fit for you.


I'm all about convenience and getting your tax preparer certification online from home would be AWESOME! It also could open a door wide open to help out with YOUR financial future while helping others with theirs.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Christmas update!

I have only 7 presents left to buy! I'm so excited!! I LOVE Christmas, and I LOVE getting it done early and saving so much money! I know to some it seems extreme since there are people in the world that still have Christmas lights UP at this moment from last year, but I say leave em up! It's Arkansas afterall, and it's gonna roll around here again before too long! :)

What kind of progress have you made on Christmas so far? Have you decided if you will draw names? Have you set a budget for each person? Have you decided to try something new this year?

I have so much going right now that I honestly can't remember if I have posted or not about our "recycled" Christmas for this year. We have decided to only buy used things. OR, at it can be brand new if it was bought at a re-sale shop. Sometimes you DO run into those great buys that still have the tags on them but they are for a fraction of the cost! That counts :) I'm so excited! It's been so fun! I have enjoyed shopping for nice, gently used, items that will make up our family Christmas! Unfortunately we got on the ball too late so the only ones this affects are those that LIVE in my house, but I plan to branch out next year if it comes off successful.

This makes it a challenge. It makes it a challenge to find great items without breaking the bank. Oh and our budget is $50 bucks a person. So for $50 bucks I have to provide a Christmas for my husband and then I get $50 bucks for my daughter. Now SHE has already racked up because I get awesome deals at consignment events such as Rhea Lana and Duck Duck Goose. In FACT, I got her 2 brand new toys for $3 bucks a piece back in the spring and I am holding onto those for dear life. She will LOVE them!

Keep the savings fun. Make it a game. Create a challenge out of it. Even make a reward for who saves the most? You GOTTA keep it fun!

So what about you... any fun stories you can share?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Will you ever retire?

This has been a question I have asked myself a LOT lately. Will I ever be able to retire? I know we have discussed this before, but it's one of those topics that seems to always LOOM over my head. What about you?

I mentioned I opened an IRA, we've talked about stock trading online, and we've discussed stashing money under your floor board in your house. :)

This is an area of finances that puzzles me. I dont know exactly WHAT I need to do to be ready to retire. Saving money I can understand, but it's the investing and the trading that loses me everytime. Terms like 401k, money market, stock market, annuity rates...yea, I'm lost already. Can we make it simple?

I found a website that actually DOES that. Safemoneyalternatives.com. PLEASE check it out. There is a section that I LOVE and have printed off to read over again and again til something clicks! :) It's called "LEARN HOW TO RETIRE". TADA! There it is. You can browse definitions of terms that you may not understand. And it's in PLAIN, SIMPLE words! How much money do you need to retire? You can find that out too! Are you financially prepared to retire? Find out the answer on this website!

I don't know if I made the best decision when I opened my IRA, but I don't know what I made a bad one either. We all know we need to start somewhere, but it's getting those hard questions answered that's stressful. It's understanding a world of finance that we have never explored before! Take the time to learn how YOU can retire with peace of mind knowing that you have taken ALL the right steps!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Start spreading the news...

I wish I was leaving today... I want to be a part of it--NEW YORK NEW YORK!!!

I love that place. I will go back one day. I will, I will!!! I would love to visit there and I always dreamed of living there. Actually, in one of the books I am working on at the moment I have my main character placed IN New York! :)

Every day I look on where my views came from on this blog and i'm happy to see that I have some New  York readers. That makes me so happy! I have done lots of research on New York city. The cost of living, businesses that thrive there, etc. One thing that my husband and I have talked about before is what we would do if we ever lived there. He'd more than likely have a furniture store which means... he'd need an accountant. :)

LUCKILY, if we ever DO move there I know of the perfect place. Cohen Greve and Company, CPA is who we would use. You need to check out their website. And for those of you who live in New York and need a Forensic Accountant in New York this is THE place for you. Their website is great. You can browse through all of the services they offer which is actually quite a wide variety. They also have a section about things that are "in the news". Current events that effect YOU, and your money. Things like the home buyers credit, penalites, military exclusions. This is DEFINITLY a company that wants to keep their clients informed and in the know about EVERYTHING that effects their finances.If you own a business I would highly reccomend using them. Anything to do with your taxes can all be handled with Cohen Greve and Company. Until my husband bought the furniture store, I really didn't know exactly what all CPA's did. But it was during that time of transition into owning the store that I got a closer look at everything they do. You MUST have a CPA that you trust to be honest with you, and someone you can be honest with. To have a CPA that is open with you and so helpful in every way is a huge blessing. ESPECIALLY when you own a business or around tax time.

Take the time to browse their site. Even if you don't live in NY, they could be VERY helpful to you.

Ways to save on kids birthday parties

I love birthday parties. ESPECIALLY if they are for my daughter or for a friend's child. It's so fun to watch these kids glow like it's Christmas morning! BUT they can also be expensive. VERY expensive. It can cut into your budget before you know it. I have come up with a few simple ways to make it less expensive without sucking out the fun!

1. Book the party at a park. The fee is typically free or very minimal. And let's face it...kids LOVE parks!

2. Use a house with a pool! Ask a friend that has a pool if you can use it. Chances are they will say yes. Offer to cook them dinner in return, or house sit, or baby sit.

3. Hand deliver invitations. Typically the people you invite to a party are close by. So why not run the invitations by? Unless of course it would cost you more in gas to do that. You have to weigh it. :)

4. MAKE your own invitations. Let the kids help!

5. Give gently used books or toys as party favors. Let your child select something they no longer play with to give to each friend thats coming to the party!

6. Make your own cake or cupcakes. Easier said than done... I'm NOT a baker.

7. Forget all the fancy decorations! Get a bag of baloons, blow them up and let the kids run wild with them!

What are YOUR tips?

I harp on this a LOT...

But I have to do it again.

Just today I was leaving an appointment with a client and I had to drive RIGHT by my favorite consignment shop on the way back to work. SO--I pulled in! There was a rack outside of items for 25 cents!!!! I bought Jere 2 shirts, and me 1. I spent .75 cents. WOOP WOOP!

THEN I went inside and they were having a huge half off sale. I bought Ava 3 pairs of jeans, me 1 pair of black super awesome heels that had NEVER been worn! 

AND I bought Ava a pair of tennis shoes that are a half size too big but it won't be long before they will fit! YAY!

What about you? Have you found any terrific bargains lately?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Top Eight Reasons to use a Pre-paid credit card

I've talked a lot lately about Green Dot Cards and the pros and cons of them.

The only con that I can think of is that it's not something that you can do to benefit your credit score in any way. That is really the ONLY negative I can think of. If you come up with something, let me know. :)

But there are SO many positives to having a pre-paid credit card in your wallet. Let's go over some of them.

1. You can shop online
2. You have the convenience of the "Swipe" at the check out without the hassle of digging around for your cash and counting it out.
3. SO many places these days are quitting accepting cash (i know, weird, huh?) so with a pre-paid card you won't be stuck!
4. Emergency uses. Paying a locksmith, calling for a tow truck... all of these things can be paid for with the ease of a credit card based on YOUR amount of cash
5. If its stolen, yes-that would stink-but you don't have to make 30 calls to protect your identity. It's as if you just lost cash!
6. You can pay bills online!
7. You can use it as a tool to help teach younger teens about the practice and importance of credit and begin teaching financial responsibility without having to trust them with a wad of cash!
8. You can reload it! If you need more money, just add some!

Lots of reasons to try a pre-paid Green Dot Card!

What about you? What do you see as the pros and cons?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

More to say...

I must confess... I have MORE to say about Green Dot Credit Cards.I found a website called mycreditcard.com and its a great place to compare lots of different cards and see the benefits of each. I encourage you to check it out.

I personally have a Green Dot Credit Card that I load money to and I use this card for what i call "Blow money." If I want to run through Sonic and grab a coke, this is the card I use. If I need to run into walmart and grab mascara, this is the card I use. Now grantit for me, I uploaded $200 dollars to it about 7 months ago and there is still some on there. This card just allows me to have "Cash" ,if you will, since its so similar to cash but has more perks.

I also have one Mastercard that is an actual credit card that you charge things to. I try to charge at least 2 transactions a month, and I pay them off at the end of each month. This allows me to consistently get a "1" on my credit report without going into debt.

A lot of financial writers talk about living on cash. I am ALL for that! The point of living on cash is to not OVER spend! The point would be to go into the store with 50 bucks and leave having spent not a dime over. Their theory behind it is that if you have cash you can't overspend. True. I agree. BUT if you put that cash on a pre-paid card then it IS like spending cash with the flexiblity and ease that comes with swiping a card.

The pre paid card allows me to feel as though i'm spending cash since I have set the limit... not a company. With the perks of being able to order online (I used it to order a Christmas gift about a month ago) it feels like cash while allowing me to treat it like credit.

I encourage you to give the pre-paid card a shot just to at least SEE if it's for you!