Saturday, December 29, 2012

After Christmas bargains



After Christmas sales are my favorite! I get so excited. I rarely go after the actual "Christmas" items, I'm more for the non-Christmas blowouts instead! 

3 essentials that I ALWAYS pick up that are Christmas items:

-wrapping paper
-bows and ribbons
-candles 

That being said, I only go after these items every other year. I buy enough to last. 

HOLD THAT THOUGHT REAL QUICK....
** I don't recommend stocking up items for ANYONE on ANY item if you don't have the room for it! Nothing junks up a house and gets you more qualified for an episode of hoarders than having more stuff than you have space. 

*We have 2 barns. Yes, 2. One of which is dedicated the "Seasons and Events barns." I keep wrapping paper, gift bags, boxes, and sorts of home decor for the holidays in here. It's out of our way, we NEVER go in that barn except to get something specific so it's not in our way. 


Okay-- I had to say that :) 

I go after regular items that are hugely discounted. I wish I could say everything I bought but my family reads my blogs from time to time and I would hate to ruin next years Christmas for them. :) Let's just say that I am already completely done shopping for my 2 sisters, my parents, both brother in laws, one niece, next years school teachers!! 

Belk had a HUGE sale, Bath and Body had a massive sale, and pretty much every store around had huge discounts and incentives. I have harped on this before in many posts. It's so important to me to buy nice gifts for people without spending all the money! After Christmas is without a doubt the BEST time to buy on almost anything! 

While I say NO very often to spending unnecessary money, buying bargains NOW will only help you LATER!

What about you?! Did you find any good bargains this year?! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Oh the joys of daytrading...

Unfortunately, I just don't know much about stocks/bonds/IRA's and so on...I rely on my husband for that. And while relying on him I PRAY that HE knows what he's doing :)

I probably need to stop and learn it all myself... but that's just not a strength of mine. I need someone that I can rely on! I need someone that I can say "Here--here's what I can spend,here's what I hope to make, here's how dedicated I am to continuing..." and let THEM take it from there. 

I don't understand all of the risks involved in a daytrade, but I DO know that I have had friends make some serious bank with daytrading. 

Investing and turning a profit is not something that the average person knows a lot about. It's important to have someone that you TRUST that can stand beside you the whole way. Someone that understands the risk involved, someone that understands the process and can walk you through it every step of the way. 

That's where Timothy Sykes.com comes in at! Check them out. Get your answers and see how much money you can make! 

Remodeling on a budget

Remodeling a room is one of my favorite things to do. Well, let's be honest... the actual WORK of it is not that fun, but the finished project is so fun! It's so great to view a room that YOU re-did--that feeling of PRIDE in your work is always worth the pain of re-doing it all. 

One of the best things about doing some remodeling or redecorating in your home is the SHOPPING! And I can't think of any other shopping i'd rather do than furniture shopping! BUT, have you noticed how furniture sales people can be pushy? They always to push their ideas onto you... I cannot stand that. I sold furniture for 4 1/2 years and I NEVER in all that time ever forced my likes and dislikes on somebody. It's THEIR home, let THEM do it how THEY See fit. 

But what about great bargains on furniture? One of the best places to find that is online... 

If you are updating that OUT OF DATE room and want to make it hip, then you are going to need some contemporary living room furniture! And if you are shopping on a budget, then I have JUST the place for you to go! 


Check out the link above to find some AMAZING, Contemporary, Stylish furniture at a fraction of what you would pay in stores! 

BUY smart... BUY wholesale. 

Valence Group

If you or your business is looking to some investing then look no further than The Valence Group. 

If you are wanting a team that can help make you money and help give you the chemical advisory that you need, then look no further than The Valence Group. 

The Valence Group is qualified to assist clients on chemical mergers and acquisitions  with their team of experts that can help YOU with the whole process. 

Some people are fuzzy on the details about what a chemical investment bank is, or does, or how it can help YOU... but with the group of qualified professionals at The Valence Group, your questions can get answers! And these answers may help YOU make money! 

If you are needing good, solid advice from a well trusted and respected company, then look no further than The Valence Group. Visit their website today to see how the M&A Advisory services can help your business TODAY! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Need relief?!

Need relief?

Don't we all need relief from SOMETHING?! I have a head cold and could use some relief. My husband has heartburn and could use a Pepcid... we ALL need relief from something. Think about it... think about that moment when you GET the relief you are wanting. You FINALLY get that moment of relief and you sense this release within you because the RELIEF has come! What a wonderful feeling that is!

If financial relief is something you are seeking then I have some great news for you! Sheila Cockburn, lead attorney for Cockburn and Associates can help you get the financial RELIEF that you are needing! Check out their website at www.clegal.ca. You can read up on the services they offer, see the answers to frequently asked questions and begin learning how YOU can get the financial relief that you deserve. 

Times are tough. Get the relief you deserve you for yourself and your family by calling Sheila Cockburn of Law Office of Cockburn and Associates, LLP TODAY!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

6 months of bargains

I have decided to take the next six months starting in December to find the best bargains.

Plan of action:

Months one and two... Shop only at Walmart

Months three and four: shop only at Kroger

Months five and six: shop only at save a lot

Purpose: try to really figure out the est prices, what store overall saves me the most, what items are the best-freshest-value, etc

What do you think of this plan?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Goodwill finds :)

It feels like it's been FOREVER since I posted some Goodwill finds. Actually, I have gotten more at the Salvation Army lately.

Since I am NOT employed at the moment it is VERY hard to NOT go out and shop. That would be the super easy thing to do. I get bored, I don't want to sit and watch tv all day, my house couldn't BE any cleaner... how much FUN would it be to just go shop. It's like the broker I am, the more old habits of shopping to make me happy come up. Weird. 

I have avoided that at ALL costs, and with the exception of Goodwill, crafting supplies, and consignment shopping (using the money that I had already there for selling previous items), I have managed to do well. BUT, I can safely say that Pinterest has taken over my life. And I LOVE it :)

First, let's get to the Goodwill/Salvation Army finds. 

I got Ava a camo jacket. I KNOW that this will not be a jacket she wears to school, or out looking at Christmas lights or what-not, but we live in the COUNTRY! She is outside ALL the time. Riding 4-wheelers, chasing the dogs, hunting for rabbits... she is ALWAYS outdoors. She needed a good coat just for things like playing. And camo--that was just an added bonus! As her mother it's my job to teach her the importance of "looking the part." So now, she wears camo :) Remington jacket retails at $89. I paid $3. Score.

Nike pullover and a Columbia pullover. GREAT condition. $3 each.  (these are for the hubs)

Cute sweater for my hubs. $3. Granted, it's from Old Navy so it probably wasn't MUCH more than that to begin with... but he would never have bought this for himself. And I liked it, so I bought it. :)

Now let's talk about the craft bargains. This week I bought 4 bulletin boards, 18 picture frames of all different sizes, Christmas glasses,chalkboard paint, and hot glue gun sticks. I paid $22 bucks... out of pocket. SCORE! And those bulletin boards at Walmart are expensive!!!! So I felt super proud of that bargain! 

Stay tuned to more follow ups from the projects! :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

don't know much about history...

Don't know much biology...

NOR do i know a lot about chemical advisory. :)

BUT, I do know a company that does... VALENCE GROUP!

If you are looking into investing in chemical related items or businesses, then you need to turn to an expert! If you are needing help finding a chemical investment bank that you can understand and comprehend--then chose Valence Group!

When we need our roof fixed we don't try to do it ourselves.. we call an expert! When our child is sick we don't just trust our own judgment...we call an expert!

Why should investing in your financial future be any different?

Unless you understand chemical mergers and acquisitions all on your own and need NO help, then please, call on an expert. Valence Group has experience. They are experts. they can offer sound advice when it comes to chemicals and investing in them.

SIDE NOTE: There is NEVER a better time to start investing in your future. Don't wait. You do NOT want to have to work the rest of your life. you want money there to support you when you retire. START NOW. Putting it off WON'T HELP!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The "Zero" budget

Dave Ramsey's "The Zero Budget" idea tends to stump some people. It's actually BRILLIANT! Let me explain...

Every dollar you have has a name. EXAMPLE. Your paycheck is $2000 a month. Your bills are as follows:

Rent/Mortgage: 1000
Electricity: 200
Water: 50
Cell phone: 100
Gas: 50
Insurance: 200

Okay so it looks like you have a LOT left over... BUT, if every dollar has a name then you have to break it down like this.

Food: X amount of dollars
Gas: X amount of dollars
Savings: X amount of dollars
Childrens clothes fund: X amount of dollars


And so on and so forth until the bottom of the page says:

"LEFT OVER AMOUNT FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER"-- $0.00

That's the point. The point is not have "Extra' money. That doesn't mean you can't spend money on fun stuff. that means you BUDGET for it. You give X amount of dollars each month the name "SPENDING MONEY". It's OK to spend money, and go to the movies, and buy shoes... just give yourself an AMOUNT, instead of looking at your checkbook and saying "Hmmm.. i'll let myself spend X." WRONG! Give it a number, and give it a NAME!

THAT is how a Zero budget works! And get this... it really DOES work!

Pinterest project #2

First, I went to the Goodwill and bought a previously painted on canvas. (Wasn't it lovely with those flowers? Lol) Then I came home and painted it black.
 
 
Then in masking tape I spelled out AVA and a smily face
Then I let her go to town!
 
She and Jere painted like CRAZY!!! :)
Then I peeled off the masking tape and TADA! Here ya go! She is so proud of herself :) What a fun, family project!


Friday, August 31, 2012

Things that start with "M"

As usual, I want to do something different at Christmas to make it more fun and interesting :) My husband and I try to be creative every year and find a different theme. Last year we had to buy things that had been USED and we couldn't spend more than 50 bucks! It was actually a LOT of fun. It made shopping a challenge, but in a good way. (At least for me.. he will probably beg to differ)

This year we are going with the letter M. Our gifts HAVE to start with an M. And things like "men's shirts" don't count. It has to start with an ACTUAL M. Like a money tree. Or a massage. OR a Mercedes. :) And our budget is $100.

So ... here goes. Another fun season of Christmas shopping. Better get started. Time is running out :)

What are your plans for Christmas? Have you every tried anything to spice it up?!

I've said it before...

Weekends are budget BUSTERS! I know they are rolling around EVERY single week, but somehow they always sneak up on me and BUST my BUDGET!

It makes me so mad at myself because this is LACK of preparation on my part. From time to time we ALL fall off the wagon, so here's to getting back on track!

Here are some practical ways to not let the weekend bust your budget:

1. PLAN FOR IT! You know it's coming... plan for it. If you already have plans set in stone you are LESS likely to get off track and spend money you hadn't planned on spending.

2. Make a list of free things to do in your area! Museums, library, nature walks, local parks.. anything that you ALREADY have a pass to get into. My family has already paid for passes to Jump City, Mid America Science Museum AND Magic Springs. Plus we go to the library a lot. There should be NO reason why I blow my budget on the weekends.

3. Plan for non-free activities. If you know there is a moving coming up that you are going to want to go see, BUDGET for it. Set aside the money for the cost of tickets, popcorn and drinks. If you are planning a weekend get away trip... don't wait til THAT weekend to simply charge it all... save a long the way!

4. Have friends over, enjoy a weekend at your house, spring clean, get out decorations, come up with a craft you and your kids can do that ONLY involve things that you already have in your possession.

Make it fun... you will be GLAD you saved the money!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A good deal on a fantastic program!





For those of you who are interested in trying out Dave Ramsey's program, here is an AWESOME way to get started!

Click HERE to purchase an awesome marriage set! Getting money right the Dave Ramsey way :)

Typically $221--today its $49.50!!

You will recieve...

Dave Ramsey's Couple Checkup
The Total Money Makeover
The Total Money Makeover workbook
Financial Peace Revisited
Financial Peace Planner
Cash Flow Planning DVD
Dumping Debt DVD
The Great Misunderstanding DVD
2 starter envelope systems


This is a fantastic way to learn about Dave Ramsey's money plan, get some awesome material, AND own several of the DVD's. i have never seen a set like this be so inexpensive. So I hopped on it!

Can't wait til it comes in==-only 6-12 days! YYEEHAWW!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pinterest project #1


First you take a glass. Some people use bottles (wine bottles, glass jars, etc). I chose a vase.


You take 3 tablespoons and heat it for 30 seconds in a measuring cup. Then you add a half a cup of mod podge and a LOT of food coloring. Whatever color you want.


This is what mine looked like :)



Pour it in the bottle. Move it around. I kept my measuring cup in the sink and poured it in and out several times til every part of the vase was covered.


Then you put it in the oven on 170 for about 20 minutes. I kept mine in a tad bit longer.


Then TADA! You have tinted glass!

I chose green because in our front room we have a green couch with bright colored polka dots. So I needed something bright and cheery! I plan to put marbles in one, sticks in the other, and not too sure about the other :)

Thanks Pinterest!! This was fun and EASY!






Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Now what?


 


You made the budget. You have the WHOLE family on board. You have your *GOALS* set and you are ready to rock and roll.

Only... you didn't budget for much rocking and there's hardly enough to roll...


NOW WHAT?


1. SIT BACK AND RELAX.
Easier said than done, I know...but you have laid out the ground work so you deserve to sit back and relax for a bit.

2. STICK TO IT.
At whatever costs you MUST stick to your budget. Your plan. Your get out of debt plan. You MUST look at the BIG picture.

3. TAKE INVENTORY.
Go through your closet. Go through your kids toys. Take NOTICE of what you already have. By doing this, I can ASSURE you that you will find something that will seem new to you! You will find an old shirt that you love, you will run across your kids long lost favorite toy. By going through what you ALREADY HAVE, you will find "new" things.

4. MAKE A FREE PLAN.
So the budget making-get out of debt with gazelle like intensity-program hasn't left you MUCH money for fun. Make a free plan. Look at your sources. Did you buy a years pass to the ZOO? Then use it. What about your local library? Why not spend half a day in there. You can rent video games, movies, books, and your kids can play and learn in a safe, educational environment.

5. CELEBRATE!
When that first credit card is paid off, CELEBRATE! When you realize that for 3 months straight you have not strayed from your budget at all, CELEBRATE. When your kids are on board and excited about the "FREE" things you have doing, CELEBRATE. When you realize that fights with your spouse over money have subsided, CELEBRATE.

Look at the picture. Don't give up. And SMILE! :) THIS WILL BE WORTH IT!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

This is how you do it!

Here's the deal... my husband should REALLY be writing this post because HE did the hard work. But, he doesn't blog, so that only leaves me to tell the story...

To flashback a bit... I sold my Honda accord for a NICE profit. I paid it off, put several k's back in the bank, and paid cash for a vehicle. DAVE RAMSEY WAS PROUD! I just know it :)

Then... it happened. I started getting the car fever. I hate when that happens. It really doesn't happen to me very often. I'm not real caught up in what I drive. In fact, i'm not at ALL caught up in what I drive. I sold a 2006 loaded (leather, nav, sunroof, blah blah) Accord and went and bought a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer that had nothing. Not even CRUISE CONTROL! Ok?!? So I mean this is serious business here.

Anyway, so the 'new car bug' hit. I've had some dream cars in my day but never thought much more of it than it was a DREAM.

Then I realized that my dream car was not so far out of reach. I started looking online and found some good deals on vehicles. I was offered decent, but not great. money for my trade in on the "red rocket" (aka the Lancer) but I wasn't convinced I should do this. I'm cheap with my money. I don't like to spend it. I pay my bills and I want money left over. So if buying a new car meant that couldn't happen--then FORGET IT!

Okay enough of that--found the car I wanted. It was too expensive. This is where I say "Enter husband stage right." He told them that we would not buy it for more than X amount of dollars." They laughed. He stayed there for 3 hours. Finally he was shown real numbers. They were LOSING money on the car. Now I know you say that car dealers don't lose money and I would typically agree with you, but I saw it myself.

Here was the deal and "this is how you do it." (Can't work every single time, but try)...

FIND A CAR THAT THE DEALER NEEDS TO MOVE!

The car I got is considered a "luxury" car. Even though it was less expensive then the family Camry sedan sitting across the lot, it is no doubt a luxury vehicle. Not high on people's priority list right now. (That is something I don't get... why wouldn't you buy a pimped out super cool car for CHEAPER than a Camry, Corolla, Accord or Civic??? Yea---don't get it. )

So this dealership had a luxury car that had sat there for nearly a month. It had been driven by many (including me--I drove it a month ago for the heck of it...dealer didn't know that...lol) but everyone parked it right back in the spot and said "we need something more practical."

If a car is not moving, the dealer wants to work with you more. The car I purchased cost me LESS than any other car I have ever bought. It cost me less than my Altima, Civic and Accord. It cost me less than the 4-Runner. It cost me less than my husband's Ford Expedition. I purchased this car for 8,000 less than the value of it. How did i buy a fancy car for 8,000 less than it's worth unles it's about to fall apart???....

I found a car that the dealer needed to move. I found a car that not many people were in the market for. AND I (by I I mean Jere... he did all the negotiations) stood my ground on how much I would pay for it. Yes, I paid slightly more than what we said was the bottom line. But afterall, buying a car IS a game. Who is gonna fold first? That's what car buying SHOULD be called.

So there ya have it. Stick to your guns. Don't go for the obvious choice in cars... don't look at the car on the lot that has 85 brothers and sisters JUST like it sitting beside it. How are you gonna get a bargain if that's the case?

That my friends... is how you do it!

Monday, August 20, 2012

You want WHAT kind of credit card?

There are tons of options today for credit cards. There is ALSO the option NOT to get one... so many people are anti credit cards and others use their card for everything.

bottom line-- it depends on YOU!

If you can be smart with credit cards then having one is a great idea. If you can pay off the balance every month, use it scarcely and only for necessities--then do it! But if you know that you once you have a credit card in your hand that you will blow and go--then you'd better not.

If you ARE a candidate for a credit card then I have some good news. You can check out ALL of your options in ONE place. Need help finding the perfect credit cards? Let me help you out there... credit card city has it ALL!

Whether you need a card for someone with bad credit, or you need one that you can transfer balances to, or maybe you are a student and deserve a special rate?! No matter what, credit card city gives you ALL your options in one place.

So go--check it out today!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Big purchases make me nervous

I'm just not one of those people that makes big purchases very easily. No matter WHAT it is, I just don't do it well... or quick... or without hesitation... or without a stomach ache.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?

Most people would be thrilled to car shop! The idea of picking out a new rig makes most people giddy, but for me, well it provides the need for prilosec in my life.

I'm a hoarder of money. Not that have that much by ANY means, but what I do have... is MINE. And I don't want to owe it to anyone. I don't want to give it away every month for the next 60 months. By the time 48 or 60 months is up... i won't even LIKE the car anymore. And I KNOW this. Everyone gets tired of what they drive. Everyone gets tired of their cell phone. Think about it....


IPhone comes out. 50 million people rush to buy one. Those same 50 million people want the new one a year later. I have plenty of friends that have literally gotten the newest IPHONE everytime it came out. It's a phone? BUT, we get tired of what we have and we want new stuff.

BUT, if we aren't accustomed to getting new stuff, will we be content? CAN we EVER be content with what we have if we keep buying?



I think the answer is...NO. Sorry. That was a total BUSTER to hear I know, but I think it's true. I think until we STOP buying, we will never be content with what we have.

WHOLE DIFFERENT SUBJECT i have begun talking about... sorry.

Back to it... I don't like big purchases. My DREAM car is in my driveway right now for me to drive over night. As if I NEEDED to be with the car more. I already know I want it. i have wanted this car since I was about 22 years old. That's been for a while now. And here I have the chance to buy it. I can afford it. It's stinkin' awesome. And I love love LOVE this car... but I woke up this morning just sick at my stomach and having heartburn. I don't spend money very easily. I do not like debt. I have worked really hard to fix/repair/build my credit and SAVE money in the process. I just don't want to watch all my hard earned money go away.



i work HARD. I put up with LOTS Of crap from my job. so this money is more than just money. It's like a symbol to me that I go to work everyday and ENDURE crap. I don't want to throw it all away.

So, I have my dream car in my driveway and a checkbook that looks sad b/c it's about to be empty, and I have heartburn. Is this car worth it?!?!?!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Money Saving Tips

It's the little things that we do that can save a buck here and there-but it totally ads up! Here are just a few ways to save money!

1. Brown bag your lunch. Let's say you eat out 5 days a week at just $5 a pop. That is $1300 a year to have a probably not too delicious 5 buck lunch during the work week. What in the world could you do with $1300?? Wouldn't THAT be nice!



2. Don't touch your air/heat! Set it and forget it. If it's blazin' saddles at your house set it to 72 and then do NOT touch it. Don't turn it down, or kick it up a notch. LEAVE it alone. Studies have proven this will save an average of $40 each month which comes out $480.00 per year!


3. Cancel the magazines! I KNOW that you love the National Enquirer (don't we all), but your local library has it for free! And you probably have a neighbor or friend that has a HUGE stack of these that they are about to trash... get it for free. Depending on how many magazine subscriptions you get, cancelling them could save you up to $100 each year!

4. You want your diamonds to sparkle... who doesn't?!?! But that $10.00 bottle of cleaner you are buying every few months is nothing more than ammonia and water. Trust me--I had a jeweler tell me to save my money. SO, I went from buying a bottle around 3-4 times a year (average of $40.00 per year spent) to buying a gallon of ammonia at the Dollar Tree for $1.00. TADA! There ya go :) Let's spend that money elsewhere.

5. Laundry time! Do it early in the morning or late in the evening. Energy costs are cheaper when the sun is not up in the high sky yet. According to GE's newsletter published in 2010, by doing so you could save easily $15-25 dollars EACH month! So start the load at night, and then throw it in the dryer before work. Save that money!

There are ALWAYS more and more ways to save money. I plan to do better about sharing these. What are your money saving tips???

Getting the 'gazelle'

Dave Ramsey often talks about paying off debt with "gazelle like intensity." I went through his "Financial Peace University" class years ago and he said that phrase a lot. I wasn't THERE. I wasn't at the point where I was going to be all gung-ho-let's do this thing-let's get outta debt! FLASH FORWARD several years and I AM all about it.


So what does it mean to get the "gazelle"? It means to get MAD And FAST about paying off debt. It means to look at your statements every month and scream at the top of your lungs and say NO MORE! I WILL NOT DO THIS ANYMORE!!!

It means seeing that balance of what you owe and going nuts. Having a yard sale the next day, listing movies and electronics on EBAY, it means deciding that you DON'T need that nice new car. It means selling your house, taking the profits and paying off debt. It means going fast and furious at getting out of debt!



Getting out of debt with gazelle like intensity means being mad at your debt and wanting to wash it away. When you catch this "Fever", you can't stop! Once you see that first balance gone, then the second one starts dwindling away, then you realize how QUICKLY you are making progress--it's like you simply CAN'T stop!


That's what getting the gazelle means... It's a fever--have you caught it?!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Frugal Fashion #177


Shirt: Free!!! My mom gave it to me. I love love LOVE hand-me-downs
Capris: TJ MAxx for $12.99
Shoes: $15.00 at a half off sale in September about 4 years ago! BUY SHOES OUT OF SEASON FOR THE BEST DEALS!

Necklace: Free! Got it at a clothes swap party. We included accessories and I snagged this cute necklace!
Bracelet: Dollar Tree. ONE whole dollar :)

FRUGAL FASHIONS BABY! That's where it's at!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting ready to sell your home?

Some of my favorite blogs to read are about "do it yourself" projects, or home renovations on a budget. I love to see transformation pictures of people's homes! And I LOVE to see how little they did it on! :)

The value of a home is truly important. It can make you a lot of money when it's sold or it can COST you a lot of money when it is sold.  You want to make smart decisions to make it easy to sell when the time comes. A few tips to keep in mind when selling your home are:

1. Keep colors neutral. Saying THAT let me say this one is hard for me. Any house I have ever lived in I have wanted each room a different color, different theme, and to really show off my personality. But when it comes to SELLING a home, you need to keep things neutral.

2. Laminate floors help sell it. Carpet shows wear and tear. It holds in odors and germs. It fades. Laminate floors really make a huge difference and with the right money saving website, you can purchase flooring for little amounts of money!

3. De-personalize it SOMEWHAT. Some people go extreme. They take down all photos, all decor and make the house look boring. When looking to buy a new home you DO notice pictures and decor and that is a good thing! Seeing photos of a family make a house look like a home and that makes people WANT TO BUY IT! It's when it's too much. Too much either way. Don't take it all down, don't keep it all up.

4. Yard. Mow it. Plant it. Water it. Spruce it. Spray it. Keep your sidewalk and driveway clean. Plant a few flowers. Have your grass being GREEN, not dead, and just take a few minutes before a showing to spruce it up.

There are tips for selling your home! Is there any that you would like to add to the list?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

investing in...WHAT?

Investments are rough. Well, not ROUGH per se, unless you are ME. I just do not understand investments.

What I do understand is the simple stuff:

1. I need to invest in something!
2. I am looking forward to retirement one day... I will need investments to live off of :)

That's about it.

I know that the economy is not GREAT right now, but that there is no time like the present to begin putting money back. Whether it's in a stock, bond, or some type of investment it is a necessary act in today's times. But before you start jumping in and throwing money here and there-- FIND AN EXPERT!

I do know that you can invest in gold, silver, stocks, bonds, chemical ma&a and LOTS more. It's difficult to know what steps are right for you. How much you need to start the initial investment process, what all info you will need to gather--that's why it is SO helpful to have a great team like The Valence Group available to help with all of your questions.

When starting out with chemical investment banking, you need someone there that you can TRUST, that has knowledge, and has LOTS Of experience!  you need a company that has dealt with chemical banking before and knows the ins and outs.

Bottom line--you need an EXPERT. And that is where The Valence Group can step in and help you make the right decisions with your investments!

Frugal fashion #237

One thing that I feel very confident about is buying articles of clothing that can be mixed and matched. People often tell me "I never see you wear the same thing twice!" I get that A LOT! And I laugh, because the truth is that I am wearing the same thing VERY often, but when you switch it up and mix and match, it never has to look the same!

Here ya go...




This outfit was SUPER cheap!

Yellow short sleeved cardigan: Calvin Klein brand $1.00 at Goodwill
Black tanktop: $.50 at yardsale
Blue jean skirt: GAP brand $4.50 at consignment shop

And as ALWAYS, I never tell the price of my shoes :)



Monday, July 2, 2012

The cost of education

Just last month I attended a seminar at National Park Community College on the cost of education. It is INSANE. Just that small school alone handed out 12 million dollars in student loans in 2011! THAT is nuts. With only 4,200 students enrolled.... imagine what a huge school with 25,000 students would hand out?!?!

People do not pay their loans back. And that can SERIOUSLY hurt your credit! Not only that, but if you do not start repaying your loans, your employer can be contacted and your checks can be garnished. Not only would that leave you STRAPPED for cash, but it would be humiliating!!

Go to school! Better yourself! GET AN EDUCATION! Take out loans... but PAY YOUR LOANS BACK!! :)

Wherever you plan to go to school, just do it. It's so easy to wait and keep putting it aside... I would know. I have done that :)

For more information on a great school, furthering your education, and financial aspects of school, click HERE!


Navigating the financial aid system infographic by Southern New Hampshire University, SNHU.EDU
Brought to You by SNHU.EDU Online College Programs

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Yet ANOTHER super cheap outfit.

I am all about my cheap outfits, as you know, and it's been a while since I posted any. :)

Today it felt good to get dressed and out of the house for a bit. (recovering from surgery... boo) I was VERY happy to get to wear a "new to me" outfit.








Dress: $10.00 at my favorite consignment shop 
Bracelet: $1.00 at none other than the dollar store
Necklace: $3.80 at Body Central

and as ALWAYS... I NEVER share the prices of my shoes :) 

Monday, June 4, 2012

A helpful tool...

This is NOT a paid for post. i just honestly love this site so much and all the tools it offers that I wanted to share it with you my lovely readers :)

BANKRATE.COM

Go there--NOW!! Quick! :)

They have all sorts of financial calculators. A VERY handy one is the debt pay off calculator. YES, I believe in Dave Ramsey's snow ball plan, but it's very handy to use this calculator to look at how quickly you could pay things off AND how much interest you will save.

It's very handy. now go! ENJOY! :)

ENVELOPES ARE BACK!!!

I am back on FULL TIME envelope system at the Matthews household! And I am so pumped. I forgot how much i MISSED using envelopes. Sounds silly, but it's so true.

I save SO much money when I spend cash. I hate handing over those crisp bills... I want to KEEP them. But swiping the card i like no biggy... Well, it's back and I am so happy!

Read more about the envelope system for yourself HERE!

It's very simple. I will say that it was somewhat tricky getting started. You try to plan and budget and get your numbers exactly right. That takes some time. Fortunately, i had done it for years before so getting started back wasn't as difficult as it was the first time.

Some people use jars. That could be fun as well. Just harder to hide in your house :)


If you are creative you could spice it up and make this a fun, crafty, cutesy thing to do as well!


Mine look more like this...



I know, i know... i'm boring! But it works.

Everyone uses different categories. I personally use:
#1-Food/Personal
**This would be anything purchased at Kroger, Walgreens, Walmart etc that was related to food, or to shampoo-makeup-toothpaste-etc.

#2- Clothing
**I think one is self explanitory :)

#3- Summer fund
**This includes money I save for Ava's camp, for swim lessons, for a weekend getaway... anything pertaining to summer fun goes in this envelope!

#4--Gas
**Boo on this one! :( i hate how much gas costs. BUT, at least I can pay cash for it!

to each his own--we all need money for different things. I did not create a "Fun" or "Entertainment" one just yet. Right now we are going to focus on fun things in the summer and saving money. Once this money is gone, it's gone. And that is that.

If you have any questions about the envelope system feel free to drop me a line!

bargainhuntingmommy@yahoo.com

Monday, May 28, 2012

keeping your chin up

when it wants to hit the floor. :(

It's hard to keep your chin up when you feel like a failure. I know, because i am there RIGHT NOW!

I have done all of the right steps. I have followed Dave Ramsey's steps perfectly and found myself on the road to completing #3 with PRIDE. Then... it happens. You have to fix your car, you have to help a child buy a new one, you have to pay for that once a year insurance that sneaks up.... GRR!!!! I am trying really hard to keep my chin up.

today I am watching myself go backwards on the steps. The steps i thought I had completed are now staring at me... AGAIN!

but, it's ok.


Sometimes we take steps back. we don't WANT to do that, but it happens. for me, right now I am working my through a small amount of debt and working on building back up my 3-6 months in savings. And it makes me sad... it makes me sad that I am back here again.. BUT, it makes me super happy that I did it once, and I can do it again!



Keep your chin up. Money gets ya down, i know it does... but keep your chin up and look how far you've come!

(Ok, I am totally talking to myself here... but hopefully it speaks to you as well.)

:)



GUEST POST--Saving big by buying out of season!


Saving Big by Buying Out of Season


Planning ahead can save you a surprising amount of money




Too much of what we buy is wildly overpriced, because we buy it when everybody else does. If you’ve ever been to a craft store right after Christmas or Halloween and seen decorations going for 75% or 90% off, you’ve had a taste of how much you could save. Check out these other big-ticket items that become much more affordable out of season.

1. Holiday decorations and costumes

This is an obvious one, and it’s easy to save on. At almost any time of year, you can go to a craft store and pick up decorations from the holiday that just passed, at ridiculously low prices. In early October, all those Halloween costume stores start cropping up all over town, and if they don’t sell their inventory by Halloween, they have to pay a year’s rent on a warehouse to store everything—so it’s worth your time to pay them a visit on November 1st. Of course, their stock will be somewhat limited, but there’s almost always some great stuff left over.

2. Prom/Homecoming Dresses

Prom dresses are an item you may not have considered; but in June and July, you can find beautiful, designer items, even Mori Lee and Jovani dresses, at slashed prices almost everywhere. This doesn’t just go for used dresses, although they are cheap and plentiful right after prom season; even if your teenager has her heart set on a new dress, buying out of season can potentially cut the cost in half. The same goes for buying a homecoming dress—if you can shop for these dresses in the off-season of your teen’s sophomore or junior year, it’ll take some of the financial sting out of a very special, but very expensive time.

4. Seasonal sports equipment

Sports equipment is another category that can be way too expensive in season, and surprisingly affordable afterward. Do a little Googling (we’ll wait)—this time of year, you’ll find skis and snowboards going for 30-50% off at every major outlet. The same goes for big-ticket items like wakeboards, wave runners, waterskis, and trampolines in the fall. This is also a great antidote to impulse buying: the lure of running straight to the slopes in brand new skis might push you to spend a lot of money on a passing fancy, but if you’re ready to wait a couple months to break in your new toy, it’s probably something you really want.

3. Home improvements

The winter months are slow for the construction industry in general, but for seasonal improvements like sprinkler systems and swimming pools especially, you can find skilled contractors who are hungry for your business and willing to offer a deal. Resist the temptation for just one summer, and wait until October or November to call your pool contractor—you’ll be amazed at how much cheaper it gets. What’s true of skis and trampolines is even truer of a swimming pool—when you decide to drop a couple thousand dollars on a pool in the winter, you know it’s worth the money to you.

5. Christmas gifts

You might not be able to afford to do all your Christmas shopping right around New Years, but if you haven’t totally broken the bank, ease into it; hit the after-Christmas sales and see what you can pick up. Not only will you find many things at deep discounts, but it will also spread out the stress and financial burden of your next December. Then, next Christmas, you might find yourself able to do ­all of the following year’s shopping that January, and save even more money.

Smaller items to buy out of season might include garden supplies, swimsuits, warm clothes, and spring dresses. What have you bought out of season, and how much did you save? Let us know in the comments!

Trying something new...JUNE'S CHALLENGE

Like anyone, I get SUPER bored when things are always done the same way. I figure since these are MY rules, i'm allowed to change them.

I have lived by going to the grocery store once a month for the LONGEST time now. And it's worked very well for us. I have saved a lot of money by limiting my grocery store trips, adding coupons, and doing my "homework" before hitting the stores. But for the month of June I am going to try something new...

For the month of June I am going to take $20 dollars EVERY SINGLE WEEK to the grocery store. Hmm... what can I do with a $20?

Here's my plan...

1st week:

3 lbs of hamburger meat (average of $1.84 if I go to Kroger on Wednesday)=5.52
1 gallon of milk=3.50
1 loaf of bred=1.00
1 dozen eggs=2.00
2 bags frozen veggies=2.25
4 cans of veggies=2.00
bag of red potatoes=3.00

$19.27

2nd week:

1 bag of chicken breats/strips=7.00
velveeta=4.00
1 can rotel=.79
tortilla chips=2.00
toilet paper=4.00
1/2 gallon orange juice=1.79

$19.58

3rd week:

FRUIT=10.00 (lots and lots)
hamburger meat=8.00

$18.00

Haven't figured out the 4th week yet, but i'm working on it. Now keep in mind that up until JUNE I have ALWAYS purchased groceries on a once a month basis, with the few trips here and there for milk, bread, etc. SO, while it looks like I will hardly be buying anything you must understand that I STILL have quite the stock pile. I'd like to see how long I just add a small amount weekly and be ok. Without having to do a HUGE run. I would LOVE to see that I can go 2 months buying just $20 worth of groceries a week, and then every 3rd month doing a LARGE, stock pile kinda trip.

Here it goes! I'm excited to try it!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Use your head

It happens. We ALL do it. We get sucked in!

"Spend $50 dollars and get $10 off your next purchase."

"Spend $25 and get 10 back TODAY"

"Buy 2, get the 3rd free"

"Rent two movies, get .50 off"

REALLY?Come on.. we MUST be smarter than this.

Let's look at them one by one.

1. If you have to spend more than you planned, to get "Free" money to come back and spend MORE, then it is NOT a deal. Bottom line. It's a way to get suckered in to spending more and coming back to spend more. Plain and simple.

2. This one is not too bad. IF, IF IF IF IF IF, you had already planned to go to (for example) Old Navy because you needed 2 pairs of pants that just happened to be on sale for 14.00 a piece, then THIS would be a great coupon or sales tactic. PERFECT! BUT, if you had NO plans of going shopping and were trying to avoid spending money, then you just got TOOK if you fell for this.

3. If you don't need 3 of something, then it's not a deal. And let's face it... unless its socks, underwear or tanktops... can't think of much that you would need 3 of.

4. Redbox gets me all the time with this mess. I only want ONE movie, but you will make me feel like I am getting SUCH a deal to rent 2. But i don't even have time to watch one, so i actually wasted .50. Darnit!

Be smart. You HAVE to know that most of these are gimics, right? I mean come on... this is to get you to spend more. you HAVE to be smarter than the stores and their marketing team. You MUST be if your financial portofilo is going to be thicker, better, and wiser than these stores take you for!

USE YOUR HEAD!

Monday, May 21, 2012

How do you get through a "slump"?

Everybody has them...we all have slumps. Job slumps, relationship slumps, and of course those dreaded financial slumps.

Any kind of "slump" is a bummer, let's just call a spade a spade. But there is something about financial slumps that really get us down.

Maybe you only pay your insurance twice a year and its coming up and all of a sudden you feel broke.
Maybe you are looking at the amount of money you will spend on daycare this summer and are feeling broke and "slumpish".
Maybe you just realized that your perfect budget is not so perfect and you are actually under every month.

Either way, we ALL have financial slumps. How do we get through them? What happens when you realize that you don't have extra money to spend? What happens when you realize that the next few months may be super tight?

Here are just a few things that I suggest:

1. Take this time to clean. I know it sounds odd, but if I know i cannot spend any money it forces me to take pride in what I already have. Wash your car, empty our drawers, make your house sparkle. Put together new outfits, organize your children's toys, dust the fans. I really DO know how silly it sounds... but i promise, it will give you something to do to take your mind off your money troubles, your house will thank you, AND you will find yourself being more grateful. When you are forced to look at things you already have and not dream of things that you WANT, you become grateful that you are so blessed.

2. Take this time to PURGE! Sell your dvd's, list books on ebay, have a yard sale, write a paid for blog, pawn your old earrings, sell some cd's... take this time to get rid of things AND make some money!!!

3. Take this time to look for work. Get a part time job. Babysit. Clean houses. Mow lawns. Rake leaves. Clean swimming pools. Get crafty and sell stuff on etsy.

4. Take this time to be grateful. Above all, when we get in slumps we tend to be down in the dumps and very woe is me. Well, that needs to change. God has blessed you with so much and just because things are tight right now doesn't mean you aren't so fortunate.

Keep your chin up! God's gonna pull you through this slump if you let him!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sorta, kinda, retracting my own personal endorsement

I blogged not too awfully long ago about creditkarma.com. That was NOT a post I was paid to write. I wrote it because I was super pumped to find an ACTUAL free, online credit monitoring company. And it is legit--it's free.

But, there's a problem... it doesn't update very well. i paid off my car in March and on creditkarma.com it still shows that I owe that. I understand that things take a while, but that's been PLENTY of time to update. SO, it's free, and it's accurate (according to my research), but keep in mind that if you use creditkarma.com (which I totally recommend), don't expect it to be up to the second accurate.

just letting you know!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dave Ramsey says...

BUY TERM LIFE INSURANCE!!!

Not whole life. Which SO many people have. And that's fine. It's your deal. It's your money. Dave Ramsey says that buying term (which is SOOOO much cheaper) is better. He says that you should NOT look at life insurance as a "retirement policy".



Ex: I just purchased a sizeable amount of insurance at $10.24 a month for 30 years. So if I die in the next 30 years that sizeable money will go to the people i have listed on my policy. If I had purchased this same amount in WHOLE Life insurance it would have cost me $112.84 a MONTH... and if I'm still alive at 68 I could take it out.

but let's do the math... It would cost me $55,000 over the 40 years I would be paying on this insurance. OR... i could put $55,000 in an IRA at what I am currently drawing and end up taking out TRIPLE the amount whenever i'm ready for it!

So... be smart. Do not look at life insurance as retirement money. Look at it as a way to protect your family if something were to happen to you.

Be smart.

Look into ZANDER insurance today. This is a great company, and hey--it's Dave Ramsey and Cara Matthews approved. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Good news for small businesses!

Fortunately, we just completed tax season. To me, that is a SIGH OF RELIEF when it's all over with.

My husband owns a small business, we have 3 kids between the two of us, 2 in college, and all sorts of expenses! So when tax season is over--we SIGH!

It's very stressful for most people to deal with taxes. Not everyone understands numbers very well. Myself VERY much included! I know that there are lots of deductions out there to claim, but I am always at a loss for which ones apply to me. I know that I have many of things that I pay for each month that are deductible on my taxes, but it just seems like a foreign language to me.


Luckily there is http://outright.com/. This is a site that I can help make sense of your taxes. Make sense of the numbers and the deductions. It's a handy website that is perfect for a small business owner that is struggling with how to keep up with tax information.

if you or someone you know owns a small business, be sure and tell them about the help that is available with outright! big news for small business owners 1099 K Infographic
Brought To By Outright.com