Friday, March 29, 2013

52 Week Money Challenge

You have probably heard of this before, but if you haven't, this post is for YOU!

Very simple, very fun, not hard to do but has GREAT results.

1st week-set aside $1.00
2nd week-set aside $2.00
3rd week-set aside $3.00

and so on and so forth until the FINAL week when you are setting aside $52.00

At the end of a year you will have $1378.00 set aside. Not a TON of money, but what a great way to START saving. Put a name on that jar. VACATION. CLOTHES. NEW COUCH! name it and claim it! This is going to be fun! You can start at anytime during the year. I am just now on week 4 and I haven't missed any of those dollars! But this time next year you will be JEALOUS if you haven't done it!

Happy Friday, ya'll! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Finances 101

Basic tips to getting your finances in order:

1. Know what you make. Sounds easy, right? Well unfortunately some people (maybe they are paid differently each pay period, or on commission) don't know EXACTLY what they make. Try to find out EXACTLY what you bring home. You can't have a perfect budget if you don't know the answer.

2. Know your expenses. How much to the CENT is every single bill??

3. Start a budget. Use numbers 1 and 2 to create an incoming column and an outgoing column. Write down EVERY bill. Don't skip any! Included gasoline, sonic drinks, movie rentals, entertainment money--EVERYTHING!

4. Don't panic. There are ways to fix it if it's not balancing!

5. Make a zero budget. Google some info on Dave Ramsey. He can explain it in detail. I can just say this very simply... GIVE EVERY DOLLAR A PLACE TO GO! That means if you bring home 2,000 each month and your expenses are 1,500 then on paper you have to find a place for that extra 500... even if its to send it to your savings account, or put some in your christmas fund, or new tire fund. Every dollar has a name... and if it doesn't--assign it one!

6. Pay your bills on time. You save money and save stress.

7. Keep up with the "randoms" as I call it. Trash bills that come only every quarter, insurance premiums that come once a year, things like that. TAXES! This one gets a lot of people each year. Start setting aside money for those. Even if it's only $10 each month.

8. Use the debt snowball. Start with the low balance. Pay the minimums on everything EXCEPT this lowest balance. Put everything extra you can towards it until its paid off. Then snowball down to the highest ones.

9. Work as a team. I had to learn this one the hard way. I wanted to keep my independence and handle MY stuff MYSELF. but the day we decided to be a team my life got easier.

10. Set aside money for fun! If you don't, you will end up quitting and get right back into debt!

11. Look for ways to scale back. Cancel the primo cable subscription, lower your minutes on cell phone plan, quit eating out as much!

12. At the same time... look for ways to INCREASE your income. Sell some stuff, get a part time job, list items on EBAY. look for ways to increase your income!

13. Stick with it! don't give up!

14. blog about it. :) Okay so that's probably not a qualifing statement for "Finances 101" but just like with anything, you need accountability. Having a place to write about your journey towards financial freedom keeps you accountable. And you can make money blogging.

15. Organize it! Keep a binder, notebook, drawer, etc. Some place that is designtated SOLELY for finances. That way things don't get lost, bills don't go unpaid... it just keeps you on top of your GAME!

16. Make goals for the future. This won't be a fun process, but it can be less painful if you have GOALS in mind.

17. Be excited about it!

18. Consolidate student loans, car loans, home loans, credit cards... anything you can! Get it into ONE place so that you have ONE payment to keep up with!

19. Use bill pay. But don't PAY FOR IT! That is ridiculous. Most banks will offer it for free, or at least free for so long. Don't pay for things that you can do yourself. Bill pay is NICE and HANDY to have, but if it costs you money to spend YOUR money on YOUR bills... well, am I the only one that sees something wrong with that picture?

20. Call your credit card companies and ask to have your interest lowered. Beg them, in fact. The lower the interest the sooner you can pay it off.

21. Trade down. If you have 3 people in your family then you PROBABLY don't HAVE to have a huge gas gussler of a car. (I'm not knocking them, but if it's not a necessity, then during this time you should get rid of it)

21. Refinance your car. Didn't know you could do that until recently. Do it! save money! And that extra money can go towards paying down debt!

Just some handy tips! I hope they help!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It's good to be cool!

Having the coolest phone covers around is a GOOD thing! In this day and age most everyone has a cell phone. In FACT, more people have cell phones then home phones. Heck-even if you are homeless living on the streets in New York City you are handed a government cell phone!

As frugal as I am with most things in life, I still want to have nice and FUN things! But you know me, after all i AM the bargain hunting mommy... I like to find a deal! And that's why I always check with the website listed above. For great deals, cool styles and the ability to shop from home with ease I can always find the BEST and CUTEST deals! Rhinestone, rubber, hard covers, heavy duty covers--literally, this place has YOUR phone COVERED! :)

With prices cheaper than you will find in the mall, or at the department store, I GUARANTEE you a great selection from this company with wonderful prices and customer service. 

So go... make your phone cool! And tell them I sent you :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

What is it worth to you?

Here is the BOTTOM LINE... What is THIS worth to you? This big pile of money, that is... how much is it worth? What are YOU willing to do to have this?

Through other bloggers, readers of my blogs, and friends, I have to come learn that although I may think it's nuts, not everyone is ALL about saving money! :) and that is A-OK with me. To each his own. It is what it is.

If a new car and new clothes is worth more than having the money, then by all means--BUY IT! It comes down to each individual.

There was a time in my life when having STUFF meant more than having money. Not anymore, thankfully. For MY family, it's better for us that we aren't consumed with STUFF. Don't get me wrong--we HAVE STUFF! Lots of it. Too much. And we spend money on things we shouldn't. But we are seeing the "BIGGER PICTURE" as it pertains to our family. And to US, having a big pile of money means more than a fancy car, huge house and tons of STUFF.

Just because you do NOT feel that way does not make you wrong, nor does it make ME right. It makes us who we are.

Just like with anything, I try not to force MY beliefs onto anyone. Everyone likes different things. From different styles of worship in church, to different opinions on politics. I don't try to force-feed my frugality on anyone. Through my friends, family and fellow bloggers I have learned that I have a group of support that is with me on this journey to financial freedom and I have some that aren't. and that is perfectly fine.

So the question comes down to... what is it worth to you? What are your goals? What does your financial future look like? And if it looks differently than me... that is just fine! :)

6 month grocery challenge--UPDATE 2!

So far I have learned this....

It tends to ALL come out in the wash. Period. Plain and simple. So far I have seen that Walmart has some things that are cheaper than Kroger, and some things more expensive. Same thing at Kroger--some were higher than Walmart, some were less.

Kroger still has my vote, though! The .10 cents I save on gas has already made it a LITTLE better, but not a lot.

now it's time to embark on the last 2 months... here goes NOTHING!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Taking advantage of what you already have!

I realize that these will be different for EVERY PERSON. But think about benefits that you already have. 

1. health insurance. Could you save money by switching to your spouses plan or by getting on separate plans? Look for savings here.

2. Car insurance. Is there ANYTHING you can drop? Do you really need the rental insurance? 

3. Does your company offer gym memberships for free or cheap? You could ditch your current one and go cheaper!

4. Does your company offer discounts on cell phones and packages? I have had that happen before. You may check into that.

5. Does your company pay mileage? Find out! This could be HUGE!

6. Should you shop around for a lower interest rate on credit cards, home loans, car loans? On the car loan thing... I didn't know it was possible to re-finance a vehicle... but it IS! Check into it! You may have gotten a loan several years ago and now your credit would warrant a much lower rate. Happened to me just YESTERDAY! 

7. Do you have old gift cards sitting around with small balances? Check that out! You would be surprised how many times a card has several dollars left!

8. Has your bank started offering new things? Maybe free checks, free bill pay--it would be worth checking into!

Look around you... what benefits could you find on your OWN!? Maybe even things you already have at your disposal and didn't know about it! 

Happy saving!

Name 3 things

Name THREE things that you can do without for 60 days and GO FOR IT!

Gym membership, bottled water, going out to eat, that EXTRA SUPER DUPER cable package, unlimited texting, the extra trips across town... whatever it may be... Name 3 things and go for it!


1. Eating out. We rarely eat out anyway but when we do we tend to go cheap. We drink water, we try to share plates or eat early to get the "early bird" discount. Or we clip coupons and take with us. BUT, for 60 days we are saying NO to eating out.

2. The afternoon munchies! Well, I can't do without getting the munchies but I CAN say NO to running and grabbing a Sonic drink or a bag of chips. all it will take me is getting up 3 extra minutes to prepare for my afternoon snack.

3. Tanning lotion. Sounds silly but the one I like is $75 dollars. I know, I know... RIDICULOUS! BUT, I tan for free because of my job. And I can pick any bed so I pick the bed that would cost me nearly $100 dollars a month. So already I feel like I am saving money but I can say NO to tanning lotion. :) even though I love it...

I'll see you back here in 60 days to talk about the savings! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

All the good stuff cycles back around

High top shoes need to NOT come back around. Those were horrific enough the first time.

And what about those tie dyed t-shirts? I think those can keep right on walking...

But let's face it... the good stuff ALWAYS cycles back around.

As I kid I used to watch Teenage Mutan Ninja Turtles. ("Here's in a half shell--TURTLE POWER!) I loved this show. I was very much a girly-girl, but this show was my one exception! Not too many years ago, my daughter was asking about the stuff that I liked to do as a kid. I told her about the TMNT. She thought it sounded cool. I sung her the song and I even showed her a few of the action figures that I STILL have. Raphael was my favorite. He had the red thing around his eyes. And I knew Ava would think that was cool because RED is her favorite color. :)

Lo and behold--its BACK! Like I said... all the good stuff cycles back around. TMNT is BACK on tv. But, it's like "new fangled" as my mom would call it. Now they have different names. Like Michaelangelo is now Mikey. Donatello is Donnie. And so on and so forth. So it's kinda the same, but probably cooler to this generation of kids.

Visit this site to watch videos, order some TMNT stuff for your collection, and have fun just hanging out with OTHER fans of the coolest cartoon to every come on tv.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Debt relief in Canada

I actually DO have several readers, and friends, from Canada. So I hope that you find this post helpful. is a wonderful, informative site about recieving debt relief in Canada. Sheila Cockburn is a wonderful attorney that can bring forth some great insight into debt control, management, and relief.

This law office offers free information and different options to fit YOUR needs. This is not a "one size fits all" plan... this is a customized to YOUR needs Debt Settlement Plan. If your debt is a problem for you, or you are having problems meeting your monthly financial requirements, give the Law Office of Cockburn and Associates a call today!

On their user friendly website, you can view recent settlements, comments, and options that fit your financial needs!

you can call TOLL FREE at 1-866-551-8349. Or visit today to look for the answers to help with your financial problem! 

Saving on gifts

One way we save a LOT of money (I estimate that this saves us around $400 a year) is to buy gifts in bulk! STOCK UP!

I know during any given year there will be about 10 friends that I will want to buy a gift for, there will be 1-4 teachers that I feel like I need to give something to for either Christmas or a special holiday, family members, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and last but not LEAST ... CHRISTMAS! I know as of January 1st what to expect "gift wise" for the year.

So... here is what I do. I don't go HUNTING for the bargains, but if I FIND ONE, I grab my envelope marked "GIFTS" and I stock up.

Bath and Body works is a GREAT place to do this. And not just for friends, family and teachers, but also for your childs gifts to hand out at parties. Those cute little hand sanitizers in the neat holders are a WONDERFUL gift. Assuming they are not on sale, the sanitizer itself runs around $3.50. The cute little holders are between $4-8 dollars. BUT when you catch them on sale you can do what I did! Which was buy 5 sanitizers and 5 holders. That is so helpful for those MANY birthday parties my daughter gets invited to. I spent $18.00 on ALL of those. They were on sale PLUS I had a $10 off coupon if I spent over $25. What a DEAL! And now when those invitations come in I don't think "GREAT, another birthday party to buy something for..." I let Ava pick out which one she wants to give her friend. I let her pick them out which made her feel special to get to select gifts for her friends!

Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Kirklands--all great places to pick up super inexpensive picture frames and candles. When they run sales, BUY THEM! I'm not saying go CRAZY or anything, but buy up some for teachers, co-workers, etc, so that when you DO have an occasion where you need to have a gift handy you don't have the task of going shopping and spending more than you should.

AND LET'S FACE IT... when we shop for someone else we tend to pick up one for them and ONE FOR US! By shopping like this it's easier to not get caught in that trap of buying one for ourself!

This is just yet another way to stock up and SAVE MONEY!

Share yours with me at!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Everyone has "2 cents", don't they?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am ALL about Pinterest. I love it! Not only does it keep me up to date on the latest fashions, but there are fun DIY crafting projects and money saving ideas.

When I searched for "budget, saving money, finances, frugality" I ran across several different PINS that were quite helpful. One thing I have learned while spending the last three years of my life really trying hard to save, plan for my financial future, get out of debt, etc... is that EVERYONE has their "2 Cents". I find myself getting super excited when I see a PIN titled "500 ways to save money!" I feel like its Christmas morning! :) then I open it and begin reading and I feel let down... 500 ways to save money and only 3 apply to me. BOO!!

In my blog I try to be very SPECIFIC. I get so tired of hearing that I can save money by only going to Starbucks 3 times a week instead of 7. If you are doing that then you OBVIOUSLY are not trying to save money! (Not trying to be harsh, just being real)

Let's go over some very basic ways to save money. They may not ALL apply to you are looking for post that says "ways to lower your 3.5 million dollar mortgage" you have come to the WRONG place.

1. Downgrade your cable. Notice I didn't say CANCEL your cable. Some bloggers and financial advisers will tell you to do that. I just can't tell you to do that. I can't do it myself. If you are in a place in your life where you are cutting back on EVERYTHING to save money, then taking away your cable is like taking away your entertainment. Just because you want to save money doesn't mean you should sit in a dark house and stare at each other. Awkard. Just downgrade it. Look at the package options. There HAS to be one that's lower that will still give you enjoyable channels.

2. Downgrade your cell package. Do you need unlimited? Or are you texting me than you are on the phone? If so, try to lower your minutes. Are you paying for features that you do NOT use? Then get rid of them.

3. GROCERY BILL. Ugh. Sigh. Barf. I get SO tired of trying to find ways to shave money at the grocery store. For the first time in a LONG time my husband went with me to the store Friday night. He nearly fainted when we checked out. Keep in mind, I only go to the store ONCE a month. So yes, it is more than the person that goes every week or even bi-weekly. when we got home and were putting things up I said "I HATE spending so much money at the grocery store!" So we started looking at everything we bought. We really HAD done well with what we spent and the quality/quantity of food we had. It's hard to save at the Grocery store without being a crazy couponer. And even then--is it necessary? Do you need 37 cans of green beans? If you do and you can get them cheap then YOU GO GIRL! But if you don't, then what was the point? I guess my advice would be this... coupon when you CAN and when it makes sense. AND WHEN ITS A BETTER DEAL THAN THE OFFBRAND! It took forever at the store the other night and my poor hubs was bored to tears--BUT, I had a good amount of coupons to compare with the regular store brands/current specials. I don't want to spend 20 cents more than I have to. ADVICE: go to the store when you have AMPLE time and when you have JUST eaten. If you try to do it quick you are more likely to buy things that you don't really need. Look up specials and match them with coupons. ALSO, if you plan a month ahead it's easier to know what you will need in the coming weeks. So if it's on sale, STOCK UP!

4. FREEZE. Along the same lines as saving on grocery bill... FREEZE THINGS. EX: 1 month ago at Kroger strawberries were 3.89. YIKES. Friday night they were $1.49. Buy them when they are cheap, take them home and clean them, shave off anything like a steam, seeds, etc, (Depending on the fruit or vegetable) and then freeze it. I eat a LOT of salads. And I HAVE TO HAVE carrots on them. I love carrots. But when I buy a bag of carrots (usually around 2.39-2.99) I can never eat them all before it's time to throw them out. Not anymore! I came home from the store and kept out enough for me to use for that week and froze the rest. Saving where I can.

5. MAKE WHAT YOU CAN. I have a fabulous recipe for homemade detergent. If you want it, email me. ( It's pretty lengthy to put on here but I would love to share it. For a year supply of detergent (based on a fam of 4) it costs around 10 dollars to make. MAKE YOUR OWN COOKING SPRAY. (1 part oil-either olive, canola, etc-, 5 parts water) use a spray bottle. Shake it and TA-DA. There ya go. It's better for the environment, it's better for ingesting, and it's better for the pocket book.

6. PLAN. Not crazy planning, but plan. Plan meals ahead of time. Plan for birthdays. Plan for those things that come up ocassionally. We have a propane tank that fuels are heat for our home. It's EXPENSIVE to fill because it's all at once, there is no monthly bill where you are taking small bites at a time. No, we eat the WHOLE rhino at once. And it's pricey. So I keep up with it. I put money away in an envelope so that it doesn't feel like we are hit with a huge bill. PLAN AHEAD.

this is by no means a brilliant or brand-new idea list, but there are practical ways to save money.

Can you add to this list?