Organize Your Finances

 

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To have an abundant life you really need to give yourself a financial check-up.  By not being responsible with money now can lead to a bleak financial future.  You can change your future by changing the way you handle money today!

 

Disorganized finances can lead to late payments, bad credit, interest charges, and diminished savings just to name a few.  Take control of your finances today.  It is a big chore, but once you get yourself organized and on the right track you’ll never regret it.

 

Just like any organizing project, breaking down the HUGE task {of budgeting your finances} into smaller pieces, it makes it easier and less daunting.  You won’t’ become so overwhelmed that you’ll want to quit.  Well, you might still want to quit, but DON’T!!

 

This week’s goal:  

 

1.  Gather all your bills and organize them in ONE spot.  

Make sure you have the space to keep it organized, or they will just end up in a basket or bag in a closet somewhere not being paid.

 

2.  Make a list of all your income and expenses.  

You can do this online or on a good ole piece of paper.  

 

Tip: Mint.com is a great online resource that can be accessed online or any mobile device.  You can also use Quicken or Excel to track your expenses.  

Don’t forget:

  • Mortgage/rent
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Mobile devices
  • Savings
  • House Maintenance
  • Auto & maintenance
  • Gasoline
  • Grocery/Food
  • Credit Cards
  • Personal
  • Entertainment
  • Charitable Contributions
  • and Anything that You Spend Your Money On!!

 

3.  Make a Budget showing your income and expenses

 

Tip: By using the online software, you can have all your expenses tracked in one spot, it’s easy to read, and you’ll have it all organized for tax time.

 

4. Pick one day of the week to pay bills and check over your budget.

Make any necessary changes and/or add anything you may have forgotten or had to add along the way.  Picking the same day each week takes the guess work out of when to pay bills.

 

Tip: Set up automatic bill payments to never miss a due date again!  Just make sure you keep your checking account balance sufficient to cover those payments so you don’t incur overdraft fees!

 

5. Contribute to your savings account or investment account.  

It’s never too early to start saving for your future.  Many employers match contributions.  TAKE ADVANTAGE of that, but only invest what they are matching dollar for dollar.  Also look into Roth IRA’s and other investment options.

 

6.  Still need help?  Find a trusted friend or hire a professional to get your finances in order.

Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.  There are more people in the same boat than you could imagine.  It’s not a big deal, but it can be if you don’t get yourself if financial shape today!

 

 

 

Once a Month

  • Balance your checkbook
  • Review your credit card statements
  • Make changes to your budget as needed

 

Tip: You can get a FREE credit report and credit score from creditKarma.com.  It’s totally free, no strings attached, and they offer tons of tips on how to improve your credit.

 

 

Once a Year

  • Update your budget.
  • Check over your investments and savings. Increase your giving and saving as your finances improve.
  • Get your forms and paperwork together for taxes.

 

 

 

 

Do you use Shopkick? I love it!

 

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Do you use shopkick? Well wait first, let me ask this, do you know what shopkick is? 🙂 Shopkick is an app that you download on your smartphone and you will receive “kicks” just for walking into stores, scanning items, or making purchases. It’s super easy!

Go here and type in your number, you’ll receive a text message with directions to download.  Then when you walk into a store, just open up the app as you walk through the door….easy right? Then if you’re in the store and want to scan items, you can get more kicks, or buy items online you can get kicks.  A word of caution though….I don’t recommend scanning items while shopping with kids.  I’ve tried it a few times and the results were catastrophic! My kids don’t sit nicely in a cart in the first place so I should’ve known better!  But if you have one of those kids who happily sits while your shopping then by all means go for it! Boys don’t do that!

Anyway, you can cash your kicks in for gift cards to a buch of different stores.  I’ve only been using shopkick since December and I’ve been able to score a nice Target Giftcard that you may soon see us use for a giveaway to one of our lucky readers!

You’ll love it, just make sure you open the app when you walk into the store so that you get your kicks. Watch em add up, and get your reward!

 

Have you joined Checkout 51 yet?

Have you joined Checkout 51? Checkout 51 is a company that gives you money back for your grocery purchases.  Each week (Thursday mornings) you will get a list of new offers for that week.  Simply make a purchase and send a picture of your receipt and you’ll get money back. The cool thing about checkout 51 is that you can purchase from ANY store and a lot of times you can buy any brand.   There are a lot of offers available, but it’s an easy way to get money back on purchases that you already plan to buy.  You do not need a smart phone to sign up for Checkout 51.  Head over here Checkout 51 offers to see what offers they have this week!

 

The Best and Worst Things to Buy in December

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Looking for bargains this season!?  Here are some great gift ideas and deals you can find in December!  

 

Tips:

  • Don’t forget to use store coupons and codes!
  • Use rebate sites like Ebates for even greater discounts!
  • Price match!  If you can’t find an item in stock, just bring the sale flyer to a competitor to have them price match the sale!
  • If you’re looking for a specific item, get on the email list for the store or manufacturer, and they will email you sales and discount notices.  
  • Hit up the thrift or second hand stores.  You’ll find the greatest discounts around this time of year when people are cleaning out and making room for Christmas.  Sign up for their newsletters or email alerts to get the latest discounts and sales information.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute.  Retailers raise prices the last couple days before Christmas for those last minute shoppers!  

 

Bargains, Bargains, Bargains:

 

Gift Cards:  Yes, you can score discounts on gift cards!  Restaurants, Chains, and Whole Sale Clubs will offer deals on gift cards.  You’ll find deals like getting $100 worth of gift cards for $85, or buy 3 get one free, or buy $50 gift card, and get a free item or $10 gift card for free.    If you like to shop at a certain store, these are even great to purchase for yourself.  Or if you have been looking for a big ticket item to go on sale, purchase one of these deals and save even more with sales, coupons, and discount store gift cards!!  

 

Golf Clubs: Just like many summer items, it’s a great time to buy golf clubs.  Plus, these make for great gift ideas! 

 

Pools: Depending on the state you live in, pools are a great buy in December.  The prices are at their lowest, pool installers are a lot less busy, and you’ll find great deals!!  Pool dealers generally lower prices in winter to keep their business going through the colder months.  

 

Televisions & Other Electronics: Well, February is actually the BEST month to purchase a TV, but December is a close second. You’ll see sales Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and throughout the holiday season on off brand HDTVs, but if you want those higher end brands, wait for the week or two weeks before Christmas for the best sales!   Check Walmart, Target, Wholesale Clubs, and Best Buy for the best deals!!  

 

Tools: Christmas time is the best time to find deals on tools.  Don’t forget to shop around and many stores price match!  These are great for gift ideas as well!!  Kohl’s, Sears, Kmart, Lowes, and Home Depot will have the best prices!!

 

Bikes: Another summer item…especially for those snowy states!  You’ll find great deals on bikes in December.  Buy now, and enjoy  in the spring – especially all those savings!!  Not in the budget for December?  May is another month you’ll see great deals on bikes.  

 

Toys:  As you can imagine, December is a great month to find deals on toys.  Did you miss Black Friday and Cyber Monday?  No worries, the best prices on many top toys were actually found in the two weeks before Christmas.  Again, don’t forget to price match!!  Don’t forget to stock up on those after Christmas deals for birthdays, as you can score big on some great clearance priced items!

 

Kitchen Items: These are great Christmas gifts, so you can expect to find great deals on pots & pans, flatware, glassware, etc. during the holidays.  November is also a great month for kitchen item discounts.  Kohl’s, Walmart, Target, Department stores will offer the greatest prices, along with coupon discounts.  

 

Holiday Gift Sets: You’ll find great prices on fragrance or cosmetic seats, men’s care kits, and more.  You can score deep discounts right after Christmas, as well, as stores will want to clear out the holiday merchandise.

 

DVDs:  It’s a great time to find discounts on movies!  Be patient, and watch for sales on Amazon, Walmart, Target, Kmart, and Best Buy!

 

Laptops:  Black Friday and Cyber Monday are probably the best time to find great deals on Laptops, but you’ll also find deals into December.  August and September also are the time to look for discounts on Laptops.  (Back to school)  

 

Lotion/Moisturizer: Winter is cold and dry, and so is your skin.  Retailers will often have sales, buy one get one deals, so stack those coupons with sales to get the best prices and stock up.  

 

WORST:

 

Jewelry:  Sorry gentlemen, Christmas is not a great time to buy jewelry for your honey!  Although a great gift idea, prices are generally cheapest in April, July, or August.  If you really want to buy jewelry for Christmas, remember to use a coupon (make sure you read the fine print for exclusions) and never pay full price!!..…negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.  It doesn’t make you a cheapskate, it makes you a good steward of your money.  Plus, you may even save enough for the gift and dinner!  

 

 Christmas Decorations:  DON”T buy Christmas decorations before Christmas!!  Be patient, and wait until after Christmas for super deals and deep discounts!  Stores even go as high as 90% off until the holiday stock is gone!  

 

 

 

Homemade shower cleaner that really works

I live in the country, so we have well water which means we have HARD WATER. Remember my post this morning HERE that said I was doing my bathroom cleaning today? So, I tried a bunch of different homemade shower cleaner concoctions to see if I could find one that would get the hard water stains and soap scum off of my shower. First I tried ammonia and water and other than clearing out my sinuses, it didn’t do much for the hard water spots. Then I tried vinegar and baking soda which worked but not as well as I would’ve liked. Finally, I hit the bullseye! Here’s a recipe for homemade cleaner that worked awesome and it left my shower sparkly clean! P.S. My husband is going to be thrilled when he sees I sprayed ammonia on the shower head and it took the finish completely off! But anyway, here’s the recipe for the cleaner that worked. It worked so well that I used it on my sink too!

HOMEMADE SHOWER/SOAPSCUM/BATHROOM CLEANER

1 cup apple cider vinegar (or distilled)
2 TBSP cornstarch
2 TBSP dawn dishsoap
Mix together in a spray bottle and soak your shower with it, let it sit for a few minutes and scrub, it left my shower sparkly clean!
shower cleaner

 

Don’t forget to use Ebates this shopping holiday season!

 

Don’t forget to use Ebates this holiday season!!  Save big with this fab rebate company!!  Just sign up, click on your favorite stores to shop, and they will send you a rebate check!!  

 

It’s a great way to stack even more savings on top of store coupons!!  

Ever wonder what do with that cheap bread?

Every few weeks I find super cheap bread at Walmart.  I got these loaves of French bread for just $0.60.  Lets be honest, I don’t think that I can even make bread that cheap.  So I usually buy some everytime I see them cheaply discounted.

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 I bought 4 loaves at $0.60 per loaf

One loaf I used that night to make subs for the kiddos.  I used the next loaf in the morning for French toast.

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 The last 2 loaves I made into garlic bread and froze them.  It’s super easy, just cut them in half (lengthwise) and plaster with butter and garlic, sometimes I add shredded cheese also.  Fold them back up, wrap in foil and stick them right back into the bag, then just toss them in the freezer.  Ready to use garlic bread for your next pasta dinner 🙂

 

Easy way to earn $50 a year in free giftcards! NO WORK AT ALL!

I use bing as my search engine.  Mostly because that’s what search engine came up on my computer when I first started using it, and I haven’t really had the time or energy to change it.  It serves me well, and I have no problems with it.

Recently, I learned that you can get rewarded for using Bing as your search engine.  So I joined the rewards program (for free), and it have earned 271 points this week. Maybe because I do a lot of searching on bing, but for every 2 searches you do on Bing, you will get one point.  You then cash in your points for gift cards from amazon, toys r us, applebees and a bunch of others.  Super easy.  So, lets break this down….You need to use a search engine, why not use one that pays you?  If you do 30 bing searches a day, you’ll earn a $5 giftcard every month. $60 a year for not doing anything differently other than using the bing search engine instead of yahoo, google etc.  I’m sold. You can sign up or read more about it at Bing Rewards

Simplify your emails with Unsubscriber!

 

Sick of those unwanted emails clogging up your mailbox?  Check out Unsubscriber, a new service that unsubscribes to those unwanted emails for you!

 

Unsubscriber is the simplest way to stop emails you don’t want. Just move unwanted messages to the Unsubscribe folder and Unsubscriber takes care of the rest. It’s a satisfying way to simplify your inbox.

More Recyclebank points available- 150 more points

Head over to Recyclebank where you can score even more points.  This company gives you points just for making an effort or education yourself on how to save electricity and waste.  Each year I get free magazine subscriptions for my family members.  It’s FREE to sign up and easy to do. You can cash your points in for magazines, giftcards, coupons and tons more! I highly recommend signing up! You can go here to sign up Recycle Bank Sign up Page

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