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Posts tagged ‘budgeting’

5 Free and Cheap Ways to Save on Your Child’s Party

5 free and cheap ways to save money on your childs birthday partyIt is one of the most heart-warming feelings to see the ear to ear grin of your child after they blow out their birthday candles. Another successful birthday party organized by mom.

Most people (unless they are other mother’s) attending a child’s birthday don’t realize all the hard work, planning and expense that go in child’s party. Decorations, cake, venue, favors… it can all run into quite a hefty bill once you add it together. But based on your circumstances, the time of year and your craft prowess there are ways to save money  and still have an awesome and memorable party for your child.  Here are some ideas to explore when trying to reduce the cost of your child’s birthday celebration.

Have a combine party

We did for the first time this year. Not only did it save a ton of money. It also reduced the amount of jealously and fighting between the children. Each opened separate presents instead of one watching the other open gifts while they sat empty handed. It halved the expense by only planning one party. I was afraid one of the children might feel slighted but to my surprise both children enjoyed celebrated the time together. Explore the idea of going in with a friend who has a child with a birth date around the same time as yours. This not only reduces the planning load, it also halves the bill.

Have it at home for free

Although it can be a hassle in set up and clean, it saves you a bundle over paying for a venue like Chuck E Cheese, or a bounce house center like Monkey Joe’s. If having it at home is not an option look into local clubhouses, church’s or parks that might rent space for a low price. I found renting a pavilion at a park near was only $25 for the day.

Make it a pot-luck

cakesf

Homemade cake for my daughters birthday party. Don’t be to impressed Olaf’s head fell off

This will save you greatly in food costs and it also allows others to make a special and involved in the party by making a signature dish. We did this for my daughters first birthday and it added so much the party. It can make the event even more memorable when grandma makes your child’s favorite cookies, or her homemade chocolate cake. It also removes some of the expense and menu planning hassle. Also many hands make light work.

Choose a theme and DIY the decorations

Personally, this was the best part of party planning. There are a ton of sources all over the internet and Pinterest on how to do DIY party decorations for less money that still looks great. My son had a Star Wars birthday a few years ago and I had such a blast making Storm Trooper faces on white balloons and personalizing the party décor.ballon

Make it a travel/ experience birthday

This works great for an older child who has kind of out grown a party. Also this is an option for a child on the shy side that doesn’t like being the center of attention. Have them chosen a trip in honor of their birthday or an experience they would like to have instead of a party.

If you can combine a family vacation you might have been planning anyway with a birthday experience or trip, this will save you the cost of a party and still make the kid feel special. We have let our kids do this every other year to forgo the cost of back to back birthday parties. It has been such a wonderful experience. Our kids feel empowered and special in choosing the vacation. Plus the birthday boy/girls suggestions give us new vacation ideas we might not have considered.

Take a look at some of these sites for great party planning tips and ideas.

http://mimisdollhouse.com/

http://www.bystephanielynn.com/

Hostess with the Mostess

You can also check out a recent post about creating a DIY Candy Buffet.


It’s Finally Here!! My new Online Budget EBook!!

I am so excited to finally release my new ebook…Since it is release week, look towards to bottom of this page for a special introductory price. This is only good for this week only.

How to choose an online budgeting tool that will save you $$$$ 

Are you struggling to get your finances in order but don’t know where to begin? Do you want to set up an online budget but don’t really have the time? Are you tired of sorting through spreadsheets and high tech programs just create a simple budget?

I know how you feel. I have been there. All I wanted to do was find some information about online budgeting programs. All I really wanted to know was which one would be the easiest to maintain with the least amount of hassle to set up? Problem was I could not find a simple review and comparison that would tell me what I needed to know.

So I created one.

Through a blog series I embarked on a journey review four of the most popular online budgeting programs. The results of over four months of research are right here in “How to choose an online budgeting tool that will save you money.” My aim in this book was to sort through on-line budgeting programs and see which one offered the most bang for your buck (or for no bucks.)

When I was looking for an online budget to use for my personal finance, I had difficulty determining which one would be the best fit for me. The reviews I found were sparse and lacked the amount of quick consumable detail I was interested in. Truthfully, I didn’t have the time or inclination to stop and start each program. I figured if I was on a hunt for this information then other people might be as well.

You can save yourself the time and effort of having to wade through each of the online budget programs yourself. It is all right here. Avoid the hassle of setting up multiple online profiles only to find that program wasn’t the right fit for you.

I review BudgetSimple, EveryDollar, Budget Tracker and Mint.com, four of the most popular free, on-line budget programs on the internet.

In the pages of “How to choose an online budgeting tool that will save you money.” you get a detailed, step-by-step walk-thru. There I review each tab and section available for free within these programs. I tell you the positives and negatives of so you can make an informed decision on which would be right for you. I complete the series by revealing which one I choose and why.

The reviews I found we’re sparse and lacked the amount of quick consumable detail I was interested in. Truthfully, I didn’t have the time or inclination to stop and start each program. I figured if I was on a hunt for this information then other people might be as well.

To make things even easier, I created a free checklist available with email sign-up, of what information you might need to gather before setting up an online budgeting account.

With the checklist and ebook  you can get setup with the right online budget for you and be ready to get started on your way towards easy budgeting today.

monySpecial Release Week Price of $2.99

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Online Budget Checklist Freebie

free online budget checklist

 

Use this checklist to make online budgeting easier to setup

on line budgetingI know when I first decided to set-up an online budget, it was a pain to constantly search through my files and documents to find pay stubs and account information.

I would be part of the way through the set-up and have to stop what I was doing, go back to my bill folder to find another piece of account information.

This constant stop and start made it so much more inconvenience to create a budget at all. It would have been so much easier if there was a checklist to guide me. If I could have had everything I needed right there in front of me before I started it would have made the Save money with online budgetwhole process so much easier.

That is why I created this checklist. It will help you before, during and after the process so you can overcome the overwhelm budgeting creation might cause. This checklist is designed to go along with the upcoming release of my new e-book ‘How to choose the Online Budgeting tool that will save you Money,” due out July 23.[ctt title=”I created this helpful list to make online budgeting easier for you. Get yours today! #freebie, #budget” tweet=”I created this helpful list to make online budgeting easier for you. Get yours today! #freebie, #budget” coverup=”d61bR”]

With the checklist and e-book together you can get setup with the right online budget for you and be ready to get started on your way towards easy budgeting.

 

Sign up for your FREE Online Budgeting Checklist

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Ways to Save: The Emotions of Saving

pink-coins-largeFor many of us we believe savings is an afterthought. Something reserved for people who have a lot more disposable income. Not for someone who has a family. Not for someone with collage loan debt. These are some of the lies we tell ourselves that keep us from building up savings. Just as there are emotions that driving us to overspend. There are also competing emotions that make it difficult for us to save. Here are five of the biggest feelings that effect our finances.

  1. Instant gratification – We live in a fast paced society. In the age of fast food and internet immediacy, no one likes to wait for anything. Saving for a rainy day or for a large purchase goes against all the credit card company advertising we see daily. We are repeatedly told to just “borrow” the money for the things we want, rather than wait. We can worry about the consequences later.
  2. Lack of planning – You reach the end of each pay period with nothing left to put away into savings. You don’t feel that you have spent a lot and are not even sure where your money went. You only know that putting money aside was not something that ever entered your thoughts while you were out at dinner, buying that new shirt and treating yourself at Starbuck’s.dollar
  3. Ignorance is bliss – In order to find money to save, you have to face the financial mess that has become a habit. If you commit to saving money you can no longer hide behind ignorance and spend with abandon. As long as you choose to remain ignorant you can escape fiscal responsibility…at least temporarily.
  4. Entitlement – You feel saving for the future isn’t needed because family, government, ex-husbands, our children, or someone else will take care of you in the end. You don’t have to worry.
  5. Fear – The ins and outs of finance can be complex and intimidating. Fear of looking stupid can prevent you from taking control and figuring out why you have an empty wallet.

These are several very legitimate reasoning’s that may hold you back from building a savings and getting you out of debt. Here are some simple ways to combated these emotions.

  1. Prevent yourself from having easily accessible funds. If you have a tendency to make impulse buys, deny yourself access to credit cards and immediate sources of money. Some people have gone as far as freezing their credit card to prevent them from being able to make purchases on a whim. Another option is to go on a spending diet and challenge yourself not to spend anything in a certain category for a week or two, maybe even a month. Then take the money you would have spent and put it in saving. The amount you will saving during this diet might just change your mind about impulse buys.
  2. Make a budget. I know it’s cliché. I know it’s not sexy or fancy. But people have been saying it forever because it works. Take a day, hash it out, maintain it for at least a month (hopefully forever.) If you need to make a large purchase you can plan it into your budget and know that you can really afford it by saving overtime and not taking on additional debt. This is what people did before credit cards. It works.[ctt title=”‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’ -Bejamin Franklin” tweet=”” coverup=”RcGnd”]
  3. Be an adult. Put on your big boy pants and be honest with yourself about your needs and wants. Did you need new clothes for work or did you really like that outfit? Did you need the new the IPhone or did you just really want the newest one when your old one was working fine? Facing up to what is preventing you from saving takes courage. You have to admit fault and well…be an adult. But once you educate yourself and take reasonability you will find money in unexpected places.
  4. Take control. Sorry to burst your financial bubble but there is not white knight coming to save you from financial ruin. By having your fiscal future dependent on the actions of others you give up control of your life. This is a recipe for disaster. Take back your control. It is never too late to plan for your future and correct the mistakes of the past.
  5. Enlist the help of a professional. Finance doesn’t have to be your field of expertise. There are people who do this full-time and can help guide and teach you. Go to your local bank where you opened your savings or checking to get started. Do a little on line research. There are several blogs, like Savingsadvice.com and Howtostuffyourpig.com, that can make complex finance terms simple.

 

 

 

Finding Ways to Save – The Emotions of Spending

spendingOver the past several months we have explored several ways to save in the areas of food, family and finance. We will finish up this series by exploring the feelings associated with spending and savings. Here are five emotions to consider that might be driving you to spend.

  1. Sadness – Some people jokingly call this retail therapy but it is frequently a way people use to deal with sadness. I have seen this used first hand as a way to cope with the death of a loved one. The spending momentarily fills a void left by the deceased individual, but the void is never really filled so the buying continues. This is only a delay in the grieving process. The purchases produce a momentary sense of happiness, but that soon dissipates after the buying is complete.
  2. Boredom – Are you frequently stuck with hours to kill while you wait to go to an appointment, met up with a friend or pick-up your kids. When this happens I am magically transported to Target where me and my money part ways. Did I need anything at Target? No. But I was bored and found that shopping occupied this wait time.
  3. Hast – Most retailers are well versed in the idea of immediacy and making consumers feel that they will miss out on a deal if they wait to make that purchase. Do you fall victim to this tactic? I know I have. It’s a flash sale only available for a limited time. A special purchase price.  Get it now or you will miss out. It initially feels like you will be saving money but in the end you spend more on something you don’t really need and might not have even wanted if you took the time to consider the decision.Twenty dollar bills isolated against white background.
  4. Stress – It seems counter intuitive to say stress can cause spending when overspending causes stress. But picture it you are on the check-out line at the grocery store. Your one child needs a diaper change, the other one is screaming for a toy, and you have to get home in 10 minutes. You know that getting your kid the toy will give you a moments peace. So you make the purchase knowing you really don’t need it.
  5. Reward – In some cases, after a long day or difficult project we justify a purchase as a deserving reward. Now there is nothing wrong with treating ourselves occasionally. However, if we are using this as an excuse to overspend then that is no reward at all.

There are a few tactics you can use to deal with these emotions that drive overspending.

  1. Slow down- If you feel you are being pushed into a decision to purchase, slow down, step away and think thought the decision. Know that if you miss this deal there will be other in the future.
  2. Is it a need or a want? – Do you need the item or do you actually have one just as good at home? Do you want to make the purchase for some other reason?
  3. Plan out your rewards – If you want to make a purchase as a reward for your efforts. Save the money, select a specific item and make it special. Be selective, plan it our and build anticipation. Be thoughtful about your reward.
  4. Identify the emotion- Do you really want to make that purchase or are you feeling blue and are looking for a momentary lift? Are you feeling stressed and looking for a release? Go for a walk in the park. Do a workout. Talk to a friend. Find a non-monetary way to express your feelings.

 

 

Finding Ways to Save – Finance

 

finance piggy bank

You don’t have to have a degree in Finance to get your budget in balance. The key to finding ways to save in your budget is to simply pay attention. In my experience, when I fail to pay attention to my bank accounts that is when things get messy. Here are 5 ways to stay on top of where your money is going.

  1. Make a Budget – I know it’s time consuming and a pain in the ?@#$, but it would not be the suggestion of every financial guru out there if it didn’t actually work. Take the time to do it. During the budgeting process you can discover patterns of behavior you might not have been aware of. In the end, what is spending but a behavior. If we can determine what behaviors we are doing that result in money lose we can put a stop to them. When I started budgeting my money I recognized a ton of it was going to specialty grocery stores like The Fresh Market and Whole Foods. I thought I was just buying food for my family until the sheer numbers told me otherwise. Look into online budget programs like Mint.com or EveryDollar.com to make this process easier.
  2. Set up auto deductions into your savings account – This is something I have discussed here before because it is so easy and painless but can have some big results. Have your paycheck direct deposited into your bank account and have a coordinating set amount placed directly into a savings account. That way the money is squirreled away before you even get a chance to spend it. It is amazing how quick $50, $25 even $10 can add up over time. The key is that you forget all about it and do not touch this account, giving it time to grow.
  3. Learn about compounding interest – This is a key concept in making your money go farther. According to Wikipedia Compound interest is interest (money paid by borrower or lender) added to the principal (the original amount borrowed) of a deposit or loan so that the added interest also earns interest from then on. This addition of interest to the principal is called compounding. So in other words your money makes you money. Consult a financial advisor to just ask someone at your bank to explain what products they have that will give you the best compounding interest.
  4. Look at your accounts daily – This is another concept I have mentioned here. I know it seems like a no brainer but how many of us actually look at our accounts on a daily basis? Before I implemented this strategy I was over drafting on a pretty frequent basis and could never understand why. When I started checking my accounts every day I found auto-billers I had not been aware. I found unintended charges that I had all but forgotten I even made. Most important, I was able to control my spending when my account was low, preventing the dreaded overdraft.
  5. Invest in an IRA or 401K – It seems like something far off in the distance but for many of us it is a lot closer than you think. I turned 40 this year, an age I never pictured myself ever being but here I am. My time horizon for retirement is not so far off anymore. But quite frankly it is never to early to plan for retirement. Based on the amount projected today social security will not be enough to sustain anymore then the bare necessities to live on (if it even still around.) Don’t put off retirement planning! Here’s where the tough love comes in… as an adult it is no one else’s responsibility to take care of you! Not the government, not your parents through inheritance, not even your children’s. It is your responsibility to plan for your aging self and to ensure you will be taken care of. Don’t wait.

 

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