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!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Stock pile pictures

I by NO means have some gigantic stock pile... but I do pretty well I think. :)

Here are the pics of my recently re-organized stock pile! If you are wanting to do this as well I will be happy to share my tips!

I keep a list in the room of how many of everything I have. That way I ALWAYS know what I have on hand. It makes it easy to run out to the room and look at what I have while i'm making my shopping lists.

I keep it simple. I buy the things that I can get for less than $2.00. If I get them super cheap I will buy as many as I can. But my limit is always 5 at a time. :) Just keeps things simple. If you can get it free though and you actually USE it... i'd be stocking up!!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Rhea Lana will be BACK in Hot Springs at the Hot Springs Convention Center August 25th-28th, 2011!!

EVERYONE momma out there knows that THIS is the time to stock up, save money, buy ahead, sell items and make money, purchase Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, hairbows, shoes...you name it--it will be there!

I look forward to Rhea Lana EVERY single year! This is when I get it all :)

Check out their website by clicking HERE.  And friend them on FACEBOOK by clicking HERE.

I'll see YOU at Rhea Lanas!

Yep--another one!

Be sure and check out my NEW blog!


It's different from this blog in that I don't post coupons, store specials, etc. This new blog is dedicated strictly to living a minimalistic lifestyle. The two blogs DO go hand in hand... you can't live on less if you don't save more kinda thing, but they will not be re-posts from the other.

I encourage you to check it out. I'd appreciate it! And tell a friend :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Save Money on Electricity

One of my favorite blogs to read is Living Well, Spending Less.
I encourage you to take a look! It's a GREAT blog!

She's doing a series on getting your finances in order and today's was on basically saving in everyday things. Groceries, utilities, gas for your car, etc. She had a link posted from Smart Money and I encourage you to read it.

In this Arkansas heat (and i'm sure other states are having it too) it's helpful to know these things. Enjoy!

Here is the link!

One of these they mentioned is closing the blinds. It sounds SO silly, I know. But we do this AND we put backing up in our bedrooms under the blinds so it REALLY helps keep the house cooler. Very much worth trying!


Just an FYI...Kids eat free at IHOP in August from 4p-10p with the purchase of 1 adult entree! TADA! There ya go bargain hunters! Enjoy a nice meal out (I love their club sandwhiches) and it will cost you LESS!!!

Now THATS what i'm talking about!!

What if vacation could last forever?

I couldn't be more excited than 11 months from now I will be in CABO SAN LUCAS!!! Awww... I cannot wait.

I have vacationed a LOT of places. New York, Disneyworld, Panama City, Cabo, Cancun... but my all time favorite is HAWAII! I got to stay there for 7 days and didn't want to come home.

So what if I told you that vacation could last FOREVER? If you moved to Hawaii it COULD last forever. OR if you had a vacation home that you could go to whenever you felt like it!! Oh man, i'd LOVE for that to happen.

Contact a Hawaii Realtor today for more information on how this is ACTUALLY possible! Come on people... you KNOW that being in Hawaii is part of your dream so make them a reality!!!

Okay my Texas readers!

Don't try to do all of these home projects yourself when YOU have a team of professionals in the GREAT STATE OF TEXAS that want to do the work for you!

If you have vehicle upholstery that needs to be cleaned, or turkish rugs, or if you are like me and have pets and therefore have urine odor... call THE STEAM TEAM! They can do it all. If you are looking for a tile cleaning company that knows what they are doing, then you have found THE right place!

one of the cool things I know about them from viewing their website is that you can get a quote online, request a service and get all the details on EVERYTHING that they do! Not many companies have that, so this really sets them apart!

Be sure and check them out if you live in Texas! And be sure and let them know who sent you! :)

My awesome Kroger trip!!

Yesterday I hit the JACKPOT at Kroger!

i went in planning to spend no more than $60 dollars... and I left spending $54.76. Not too shabby!!

BUT--the best part is that I had planned to buy the usual items (2 hamburger meats, 1 bag of chicken, 3 cans of veggies, brauts, bread-2loafs, milk, eggs, yogurt, tortilla chips, fruit) Doesn't sound like much especially since I planned on spending $60 bucks but you guys know how EXPENSIVE the stores are these days.

Well... I ran across a sale on chicken breats. The frozen Kroger bags. They were on sale for $5.01. (Random number I thought). And I hit the JACKPOT on Kroger hamburger meat in the rolls. They are $2.99 but they had a bunch marked down to $1.49 because they expire on Friday. I flagged down the butcher and he told me as long as I froze them, I could keep them for literally a year. WOW! So I bought 10 of them. Then I had a coupon that Kroger mailed me in a little booklet thing a while back. There was a coupon in there for $5.00 off if you spend $15 dollars in the meat department. TADA!!!! So I spent $14.91 on meat that will last us if not for the WHOLE month, for at least 3 weeks.

I was super pumped.

I don't have time to run into the store EVERY single day, but its worth a stop in at least twice a week just to see if you can run upon those deals anymore!!

What about you? Any good deals for you this week?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Here ya go all you scrub wearers!!!!

Alright all of you uniform and scrub wearers!! This is the site for you.

If you have to get up every morning and put on scrubs then you need to check out this website!  http://www.blueskyscrubs.com/ This site has EVERY thing that you need! Scrub hats, lab coats, uniforms, ladies scrubs, men scrubs. They have it all! AND... its affordable! All of the clothing items you would need as a doctor, nurse, lab tech, dental hygeniest, etc... they have everything you need.

Ordering online makes it easy AND you can add a wish list so that you have a constant reminder of all the things you want! :) And... it's a great way to let friends and family know what to get you for upcoming holidays!

BlueSkyScrubs makes it easy, affordable, and fashionable! Check it out today if you or someone you know is in need of scrubs and uniforms. :)