Budget Archives

canstockphoto3417830In today’s economy, it is important for moms to look for ways to make their dollars stretch. Being frugal is an excellent way to control your spending habits. Many people mistake frugality for giving up all things that they enjoy the most for the sake of saving a dollar. This is not the case. It actually allows you to look for ways to prevent overspending. There are several methods you can use to save money on your favorite things whether you’re shopping at the supermarket or for clothing.

 

Here are Five Money Saving Tips For Moms to stay on top of their budget:

 

Cook Dinner at Home. Preparing your own home-cooked meals instead of eating out is an excellent way to save you money. The food at restaurants are often overpriced and the portion sizes are not worth the money spent. For example, the price of one adult meal can possibly feed your family for two nights.

 

Clip Coupons. Clipping coupons is an important money saving strategy that will minimize the amount of money that you spend at the grocery store. Perusing flyers, preparing dinner by what’s on sale and using coupons can maximize your savings. Clipping coupons will help lower the cost at the cash register. Many supermarkets also double the face value of coupons up to 99 cents.

 

Pack Your Children’s Lunch. You should pack your children’s lunch rather than have them spend money buying school lunch or at the vending machine. The food and drinks in the vending machine are loaded with sodium and sugar. You will be better off packing their lunch with healthy snacks and avoid the prices of school lunch which have been steadily increasing over the last few years.

 

Make Your Own Coffee. Making your own morning cup of coffee instead of going to the café will add up, especially if you consume it on a daily basis. If your husband has a job and you’re a stay-at-home mom, prepare a travel mug for him as he is getting ready for work instead of spending money for coffee day after day.

 

Shop at Thrift Shops and Close Out Sales For Clothing. Most of the clothing at the thrift stores are gently used. Typically, worn out clothing is not accepted by thrift shop owners. It is possible that you will find brand name clothes at a small fraction of the regular price.

Another way for you to save money on clothing is by looking for close out sales. Find out if there are clothing shops that are going out of business in your area. They often have products at rock bottom prices to get rid of all of the items before they close their shop for good. You can even look for items at places like Walmart and Sears/Kmart on the clearance racks.  Shopping at back to school sales and on major holidays such as labor day and  black out sales will save you money on your favorite designer clothes.

 

Clipping coupons, cooking home-cooked meals for your family, preparing lunch for your children, making your own coffee and shopping at thrift shops are five best Money Saving Tips For Moms. Take these ideas and roll with them. It won’t be long before you will find other ways to save money on your purchases. Your budget will thank you for it.

canstockphoto6563031Are you constantly looking for ways to save money? One of the best ways to keep money in your pockets is by getting Free Samples of everyday items. Many big name companies offer free samples in order to attract customers. Once they get positive feedback from their products, it will tempt the consumers to purchase the full-sized item on a regular basis. There are many places to get samples of household goods, books and even free items from fast food restaurants if you know where to look.

Companies are always developing new products to their line. However, they cannot attract potential customers to make purchases without some type of incentive. For this reason they offer discount coupons and in most cases Free Samples.

 

Here are Four Best  Places to Find Free Samples that will save you money:

 

Visit the website of the manufacturer. If you would like to sign up to receive samples, one of the best ways to do this is by visiting the company’s website. You may be required to fill out a survey to give them information on your daily needs and the type of products that you’re interested in. These surveys are tailored so that you won’t receive samples of items that you won’t use.

Most free products are in small sizes, meaning that it will not last very long. However, it is a good way for you to try the item to see if it meets your needs. That way you nor the company won’t be out of money for the full-sized version if it’s something that you don’t like.

 

Freemania.net  This website is constantly updated with either buy one get one free coupons and free samples. It lists all of the offers on the front page, then redirect you to the surveys to fill out the requests for free products. The items are tailored to your possible use and it does not list any maximum amount of free items that you can receive. You have the option to print the coupons or use your mobile device.

Justfreestuff.com is another website where you can find great selections. You can sign up for their newsletter to receive updates on free and discounted products. There are sweepstakes on the front page of the website that you can enter to win high ticket items such as $500 Gift Cards.

All-Free-Samples.com offer free samples of a wide variety of products. If you find something that you like, all you have to do is click “Get It” and it will redirect you to the company’s website. Some companies require you to login to their website while others don’t. If you would like to stay on top of the latest deals, sign up for their newsletter for the updates.

Beware of sites that are designed to scam consumers. If they ask you to pay for a free sample stay away for them. Free samples are- FREE. If you come across any websites that asks you for your credit card information, move on to the next one. You will be putting yourself at risk of identity theft by giving them your credit card number.

Finding Free Samples online is very easy if you know where to look. Sign up for their newsletters and fill out their surveys to take advantage of their deals so you will enjoy your favorite things free of charge.

Money Management Lesson For Newlyweds

canstockphoto14516096Congratulations on finding that special person that you want to spend your life with. Now that the honeymoon is over, it’s time for you to learn how to adjust to your new life together. It’s time to set yourselves up for a long and successful marriage. Unfortunately, being lovey dovey isn’t enough to keep a marriage together. Having a financial plan should be your top priority when starting your lives together. After all, money problems are the number one cause of divorce for many couples. There are steps you can take to avoid financial conflicts.

Below are some Money Management Tips to get you on track:

 

Set Up a Budget

Sit down together and list all of your household bills along with your weekly expenses. This will give you an idea of where your money is going and things you will need to cut back on. You can write all of this on a sheet of paper or use budgeting software programs such as Quicken Organize Your Money and Quicken Deluxe. There are even budget planners available that will help you stay on top of your finances. If you accumulated debt prior to getting married, you may want to consolidate this debt and pay it off as quickly as possible.

 

Avoid Using Credit Cards

Many people fall into the trap of using their credit cards for nearly everything right down to their morning latte. Although, credit cards are a convenient way to pay bills and everyday purchases, it can also put you in a lot of debt if you are not careful. You should avoid using credit cards since the interest will be charged to your card each month. Keep the card with the lowest interest rate in your wallet to be used in case of an emergency.

 

Open a Savings Account

Opening a savings account should be a top priority on your to do list. This will get you both in the habit of putting money away for vacations, making large purchases and saving up for your retirement. If you are currently in debt, start placing a small amount of money in your account each pay period until it’s paid in full. This will create your nest egg, which will allow you to buy a house, start a family and to pay for activities that you enjoy as a couple. A savings account will also prevent you from accumulating credit card debt.

 

Pay For Your Purchases In Cash

Paying for your purchases in cash will do two things for you:  First, you will find out how far your money really goes. Secondly, you will more than likely avoid making unnecessary purchases. When you are out shopping, carry just enough cash in your wallet for items that you plan to purchase. The less cash you take with you, the less money you will be able to spend. This will allow you to add more to your savings and retirement account.

 

It is common to have some financial difficulties, especially in the beginning of your marriage. By having a budget plan in place and utilizing the Money Management tips above, this will avoid financial conflicts down the road. Living debt free will allow to you enjoy fun things together and grow your nest egg much sooner than you imagined.

 

 

canstockphoto0423929Have you always wanted to be your own boss? Starting your own business will allow you to set your own rules and build wealth at the same time. Starting a Business can be expensive, especially if it’s an offline company. The good news is there are ways you can build your start-up without emptying your wallet. Some will require small capital and others will allow you to use other people’s money. Here are five tips that work:

 

Start Your Business From Home

Starting your business from the comfort of your home is an excellent way to save money on rental space. If you have extra room in your house, you should consider turning that space into a home office. However, some areas have restrictions depending on the type of business you will be running. For example, if you will be having your customers visiting your home, there may be issues with complaints from your neighbors concerning parking space. Make sure that you check with your county office to find out the requirements of starting a home-based business.

 

Borrow Money From Friends and Family

Borrowing money from your friends and family can be one of the best ways to raise money for your start-up business. On the other hand, if you fail to repay their money, this can also cause problems with the relationship of people that you care about the most. You can avoid this by having an agreement in writing on the amount that you owe and when it will be repaid.

 

Get  a Loan

If you don’t have anyone you can ask for money, apply for a small business loan. You will have to show that your company is profitable and have good credit in order to qualify. What if your business is not profitable? Oftentimes, having a good credit history is still enough to help you qualify for the loan.

You can improve your chances of getting accepted by using your personal assets as collateral. For instance, if you have a car that’s worth the amount of the loan, use that to secure it. This will possibly increase your odds of getting the financing.

 

Search For an Investor

There are plenty of places to find them locally or by searching online. Get out and start networking with other business professionals and attend Chamber of Commerce meetings. You should also find yourself a business mentor. They are more familiar with people that are looking to invest their money in small businesses in exchange for a share of the profits.

You must have a business plan to convince them to invest their money in your business. Be very honest since it will leave a negative impression with the investor if you give them information that’s misleading.

Start Out Small

Taking out an equity loan on your home and emptying your savings account is very risky. You can start advertising your business by creating your own flyers if you have a printer. Go door to door and introduce yourself to your potential customers. If you give excellent service, then your customers will recommend your business to others.

 

These are a few of many ways you can Start a Business on a shoestring budget. Using these ideas to your advantage is a great start to building your business empire.

 

6 Ways to Save on Child Care Costs

canstockphoto8769872If you have small children, they need to be watched constantly. Working parents often have to worry about finding someone that’s trustworthy of caring for their little ones. Finding good quality child care without breaking the bank can be a challenge. With the rising cost of child care it is not unusual for parents to spend almost their entire paycheck on child care expenses. This will often cause frustration and leave them wondering what to do next.

There are creative ways for you to save money on Child Care Costs if you’re on a tight budget. Here are some methods to help you get ahead of the game and will also give you a peace of mind knowing that your child is getting the best possible care.

 

Hire a Family Member

Having reliable relatives that are willing to care for your children is one of the best ways to save on Child Care Costs. If grandma and grandpa is retired, ask them if they can care for the children while you’re at work. Paying them a fraction of what you were paying the child care facility and providing food and other necessities will help them out, especially if they are on a fixed income.

 

Get Help From Your Job

Dependent Child Care Spending is a program that allows employees to put some money aside to pay for their child care expenses. The money is deducted so you won’t notice it. This will enable you to budget the rest of your take home pay accordingly to meet your needs.

 

One Spouse Stays Home With The Kids

Although, being a stay-at-home mom or dad is a good option, it is not always possible. Talk it over with your spouse and work out a budget beforehand to see if it will work. The spouse that makes the most money will obviously continue to keep working while the other stay home and take care of the children. You should also have an understanding on who will do the majority of the household chores. This will allow the working spouse to work longer hours to bring home more money.

 

Share a Nanny

If you have close friends or relatives that are also looking for someone to care for their children, you can split the cost of hiring a nanny. She can watch children for both of you when needed. Nannies are a bit more expensive, but sharing the expenses will help you out a lot.

 

Make Extra Money

Nowadays, there are numerous ways to make some extra money online. What skills do you have? If you like to write, there are freelance websites like Elance.com, iWriter.com and Articlez.com where people will pay you to write articles for them. Elance also hire website designers, computer programmers and other countless positions. If you have collectibles and other items around the house that you no longer need, you can sell them on eBay. These jobs alone can possibly take care of the child care expenses.

 

Switch Work Shifts

It is great for both parents to work the shame shifts to enjoy family time in the evening, but this is not always possible. Working opposite shifts can minimize the amount of time that your children spend at day care. You can also ask your employer if your job can become a telecommuting position. Working from home a few times per week will help you out tremendously.

If you use one or more of these ideas to pay for your Child Care Cost, this will possibly save you at least $100 dollars per month while giving your children the best care.

canstockphoto8526950Whether you are young or old, there is a good chance that you had to visit the doctor or have been hospitalized for an illness at least once in your lifetime. Once the bill arrived, you asked yourself why is the bill so high and how are you going to pay it. You may be tempted to ignore the bill, but doing this can affect your credit. If you haven’t signed up for Obamacare or your insurance was cancelled for whatever reason, there are ways for you to consolidate your medical expenses.

Here are 7 Simple Ways to Pay Off Your Medical Bills.

 

1. When you first notice that you are going to have problems paying your medical debt, you should get on the phone right away. Contact the financial department of the medical facility and let them know your situation. Ask if there is a way that you can make monthly payments until it’s paid in full. If you already have a household budget in place, this will give you an idea on the amount that can go towards the medical expenses and when it will be paid off.

 

2. Check again with your insurance company if you were denied. You should review your policy to be sure what is covered and at what percentage. You have the right to appeal the decision while investigating other means of assistance. There may have been something that was overlooked or other mishaps that have taken place.

 

3. Most Doctor’s Offices are approachable for debt payments. You can avoid this altogether, by finding out their payment options before your visit. Many offer a credit program to their patients. Make sure you are clear on the amount you will have to pay if you’re qualified. However, if you are denied, then ask about other payment options.

4. Use your credit cards. This should be used with caution. Many credit card companies offer a no interest rate for the first twelve months. You can pay on the Medical Bills and use the first year to work out a plan for getting the credit card paid off before the interest rate is added.

5. Apply for a loan. A loan will help you do a couple of things: consolidate your debt and set up reasonable payments for you. Visit your bank or credit union and ask about their loan program. Credit Unions usually have lower interest rates than credit card companies and medical debt programs. You can decide which day of the month that your payment is due and also negotiate how long it will take to pay back the loan.

6. Seek Government Assistance. It is available to help repay medical debts. If you are unable to work based on a disability, apply for SSI at the Social Security Administration in your local area. If you are qualified, then any outstanding debts will possibly get repaid by Medicaid.

7. Contact a debt consolidation agency. This is a good choice if you have a busy schedule or unable do this on your own. Make sure that you speak with a medical debt counselor before signing any documents. You will be given a list of resources that’s based on your financial situation that can be helpful and it won’t cost you anything to participate.

Paying off your outstanding Medical Bills isn’t difficult. If you use one or more of these methods, this will avoid getting annoying phone calls from the bill collectors and keep your credit in good standing

How to Save Money On Car Repairs

canstockphoto5695634Owning a car is not a luxury but an important necessity for many families. However, there are a lot of costs and responsibility associated with owning a vehicle. There is the cost of gas, regular maintenance and also Car Repairs. No matter how well that you care for your car, there will be times when it will need to be repaired.

If you don’t know anything about cars, you may feel that you’re at the mercy of the car repair shop and will have to spend whatever amount of money they tell you it will cost. However, there are steps you can take to make sure you are saving as much money as possible on your Car Repairs in the future.

 

Find independent repair shops instead of dealerships. Car dealerships often recommend that you call them first when you need your car repaired. After all, they are most familiar with your vehicle and have the same brand of parts in stock. However, this is often the most expensive route to take. Instead of going to the car dealership, get in contact with a reputable independent repair shop and find out if they will give you a better deal.

If you’re skeptical about using independent car repair shops, ask your friends and family where they get their cars serviced. If they have been going to the same auto mechanic shop for a long time, it is a good sign that they will provide great service. You can also look up  reviews about the company online or contact the Better Business Bureau.

 

Purchase your own replacement parts. There is always a cost for the parts and labor whenever your car needs to be repaired. When the car repair shop get replacement parts for your vehicle, they are not looking for the best deal for you. They are more interested in making a profit. You can save money by purchasing the replacement parts yourself. The only cost you will have to pay is the labor.

Do your own repairs. If you have some experience with cars, you can save yourself some money by doing your own repairs. Some repairs are minor and can easily be accomplished on your own. There are car repair manuals available that you can use or do your research online. Use what you learn to find the correct parts and become your own mechanic. Not only will this save you a lot of money, you will gain new knowledge and confidence about doing your own repairs.

Perform regular maintenance on your vehicle.  Sometimes, major repair jobs can be avoided all together simply by following the recommended maintenance routine for your car. For example, the cost of having your engine cooling system repaired on time will cost less than the possible repair bill for an overheated engine.

Get a second opinion to avoid unnecessary costs. Some auto mechanic shops will recommend you make other repairs that’s expensive and aren’t really necessary. Take it to another repair shop to find out if they will come up with the same results. If the two opinions are vastly different, then you know that there is more research to do and someone may be trying to take advantage of you.

Car Repairs are an unavoidable expense when it comes to owning a car. However, with proper maintenance, doing your research and being creative, you can keep this expense under control.

canstockphoto9190666Do you find yourself without money before payday? You may find yourself  borrowing from friends and family or go without money altogether. If you are struggling every month trying to make ends meet, it is time to give your family a Money Makeover. There are some adjustments you can make that will make your money stretch beyond your belief.

 

Look For Better Deals

You can find better deals on anything from groceries to your monthly cable and mobile phone plans. If you find yourself spending a large amount of money for groceries, there are online coupon websites where you will find great deals on food, beverages and even clothing. Saving 50 cents to one dollar off an item may not seem like such a big deal, but this will save you a lot of money down the road.

Another way to save money is by searching for better cable television and mobile phone plans. If you are struggling to pay your monthly bills, contact your service provider and ask if there is a way you can change over to a cheaper plan. If you are not under a contract, you have the right to go with another company or do without the service altogether.

You can also find better deals on insurance policies. If you feel that you are paying too much for your car or health insurance, do some comparison shopping. Before you renew your insurance, you may find that it’s cheaper to buy insurance online than by going to an insurance company in your local area.

If you are comfortable with your current insurance agent and do not want to shop elsewhere, contact their competitors to find out if they have better deals. If you find one, check with your current insurance holder and see if they will match the price. People are more likely to match prices to keep your business, especially in today’s competitive market.

 

Set Up a Savings Plan

If you do not already have a savings plan, now is the time to take action. It’s really important for you to have a savings account that will sustain the household for three to six months in case of an emergency. You can start building up your savings by putting away a small amount of money from your paycheck each pay period. Once you have enough money in your emergency fund, then you can focus on building on your savings even more.

 

Plan Your Retirement

Having a retirement plan is important, especially if you don’t want to spend your golden years working on a stressful job. Social Security programs are running out of money and may not be available when it comes time for you to retire. This is why it’s important for you to plan ahead. Look into IRAs or other interest-yielding accounts for you to build up enough money for your retirement. If you need help contact a financial advisor at your bank.

You and your family will have a lot to gain by giving yourselves a Money Makeover. By shopping around for better deals, building up your savings for retirement and family emergencies, everyone is doing their part preparing for the future. Implement these money savings methods where possible and watch your nest egg grow.

 

canstockphoto16926385You have finally met that special someone that you really want to get to know better. Perhaps, you’ve probably been dating for a while, but you are looking for creative ways to keep your relationship exciting. Coming up with ideas for dates can be quite challenging, not to mention that many typical ideas like going to the movies and spending a night on the town aren’t that romantic and can get very expensive. By coming up with some romantic dating ideas, you can add more romance to your relationship without breaking the bank.

Here are a few Fun Cheap Date Ideas to get you started:

 

Cook A Low Cost Meal Together

Although, going out to dinner is fun, restaurants can sometimes be quite noisy and are not conducive to intimate conversations and can get expensive if you are not careful. Prepare a low cost meal together at one of your homes instead of going out. Even a simple meal together can be a nice environment for a romantic conversation. Just add some candles and some soft music and enjoy each other’s company.

 

Take a Trip To An Art Gallery Opening

Art galleries are usually filled with beautiful scenery and will add lots of topics for interesting discussions. They are also beautiful buildings in their own right. This is the perfect setting for a romantic date. If you would like to save money, wait for an art gallery opening instead of paying the entrance fee. They usually offer beverages and appetizers at these events. You may also get a chance to meet some of the artists.

 

Enjoy a Day at The Free Museum

Search for free museums in your area that don’t charge an admission fee or offer discounts on certain days. You can both learn something new together such as the history and the culture of your town. This will also lead to an interesting conversation.

 

Take a Walk At The Park

Taking a stroll in the park is an ideal setting for a romantic date, and you won’t have to pay a penny. If it’s wintertime, you can hold hands while enjoying the snow and watching the animals. If it’s summer you can enjoy the sunshine and the trees. Many parks have benches and gazebos where you can stop and have a romantic conversation or just to enjoy the scenery together.

 

Go Hiking With a Romantic Picnic

If you both enjoy the outdoors, head out for a hike with a delicious picnic. You should pack your favorite meals in a basket and take along a bottle of wine and some wine glasses to add some extra romance. There are a variety of hikes you can go on, from short and easy hiking trails to all day hikes.

 

Enjoy The Night Sky

There’s nothing better than going out for a walk holding hands while watching the stars. You can also cuddle up in your yard or terrace while whispering sweet words to each other. However, it can get quite chilly in the evening, so make sure you bring along a jacket or warm blankets if you don’t want your date to be cut short.

 

Talk About Your Dreams and Goals

There is nothing more romantic than communication. Talk about your short and long-term goals. If this romance blossom into a relationship, you can make plans on helping one another reach those goals.

 

These are just a few of many Fun Cheap Date Ideas that you can enjoy. This will get you on your way to planing some creative and romantic dates without emptying your wallet.

 

canstockphoto13659853Are you tired of looking at that belly fat every time you look in the mirror? The idea of wearing a swim suit may break you out into a cold sweat. You may have thought about joining a gym membership or fitness classes, but ruled it out because of the high price tag. Don’t let your budget be an excuse for not getting that Beach Body that you’ve been dreaming of.

Here are some ideas to help you get your Beach Body without breaking the bank:

 

Only pay for a gym membership if you will actually use it on a regular basis. Hitting the gym is also great if you need the motivation. A much affordable option is to try the YMCA or ask a friend if you can work out in his or her home gym. If you are a high school, college student or a staff member, you will probably be able to gain free access at your school’s facility.

There are alternatives to a gym or fitness class that are easy and affordable. You can use simple exercise equipment without leaving your home. Jump ropes, exercise balls and dumbbells are relatively inexpensive. You can also do some jumping jacks, push-ups and shadow boxing without having to pay a penny.

Another way you can save money is by turning everyday objects that you have sitting around the house into workout gear. You can walk or run down the stairs repeatedly, do some chin-ups by using your children’s swing set and you can even use canned goods as dumbbells. If you are in a seated position for a long period of time, there are some leg exercises you can do whether you are at home or the office.

If you would like to find some good deals on exercise equipment, you can save money by purchasing used or new workout gear by searching on Craigslist, eBay and Amazon. You can also look at the classified ads in your local newspaper or even find some at rock bottom prices at garage sales.

Rent or borrow exercise DVDs. This can be pricey  when you buy it, but are inexpensive to rent. You can check them out at the library for free as long as you return it by the due date. There are lots of You tube videos on a variety of exercises or you can record early morning workouts for later viewing.

Walking is the most simple form of exercise. Almost anybody can do this, even if it’s just walking down the block. Make sure that you have comfortable supportive shoes and you’re all set.

Running is also good exercise, but it requires a higher fitness level to start. A safe location is important to prevent yourself from injury. Make sure the area is free of tripping hazards, loose rocks, dogs and major traffic.

If you live in a warm climate, go to the the beach. Swimming is one of the best workouts you can do. If there are no beaches nearby, go to the park and use their swimming pool. If it’s too cold to swim outdoors, consider using the indoor pool at your local gym or YMCA if you have a membership.

 

These are just a few out of many options you can use to get that Beach Body  that you’ve been dreaming of. You don’t have to pay a high price tag to get healthy. Get off that couch and  exercise for 30 minutes five days a week and you will reach your goal much sooner than you think.

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