5 Ways To Shop On A Budget

Yes, I admit it, I like to shop. I wouldn’t say it’s a problem, although my husband may disagree with me… I’d classify myself as a smart shopper. It’s how I grew up – often frequenting discount stores and the sales racks. On our shopping days, my mom would give me $15 and I’d do everything I could to squeeze as many things out of it that I could. I treated it like a game, and nothing has changed since then. I’m always on a hunt to find the best deals, rarely paying full price for anything. I’ve compiled my top 5 savvy shopper secrets to help you get started too!

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Join daily deal shopping sites. There are so many different daily deal websites out there, but my favorite is Zulily. They offer up to 70% off your favorite brands and have products for the whole family including clothes, shoes, accessories, electronics, housewares and more! New daily deals start every morning at 6am so they always have something new. Just last week I found a Rose Gold iPhone 7 Plus for over $120 off retail price! Needless to say, that was my daughter’s favorite birthday gift, and my favorite discount thus far. Sign up today and see what kind of deals you can find!

Shop your local yard sales, estate sales, thrift shops and flea markets. You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It takes patience, you have to dig through a lot, but you never know what you are going to find! Some people aren’t even aware that their vintage goods are worth a pretty penny. I’ve found some beautiful vintage jewelry pieces, baskets, and even vinyl records for a fraction of what they are worth. Don’t be afraid of used items – this just means they have a story.

Sign up for email alerts from your favorite retailers. Taking 3 minutes of your time to sign up for email alerts has potential to save you up to 50% on future purchases. You almost always get an initial 15-20% off code in your email, and retailers will continue to send you coupon codes a couple of times per month. Never pay full price again! A few retailers will also notice when you put something in your cart and exit out of your browser. Since they want you to complete your purchase, they will oftentimes email you a coupon code to entice you to finish. Just a little trick to think about when you are eyeing those shoes!

Search for online coupon codes. This is the quickest and easiest way to save a few bucks. Popular online retailers almost always have some sort of coupon code, whether for a percentage off, free shipping or a free gift. Do a quick Google search and you’ll see dozens of coes just waiting to be used.

Visit designer retailers, outlets and sample sales. While one side of me is happy to pick up a $9 tee from Target, another part of me really wants that $350 pair of stilettos. Life’s a balance, right? So when the designer item is calling my name, i’ll first seek out the outlet. I’m lucky to live about 45 minutes from a large outlet center, and have found many deals on clothes and furniture pieces I had my eye on. If the outlet doesn’t have what you are looking for, check out sample sales. Designers often slash prices up to 90% because they simply want to get rid of it. Oftentimes the merchandise was used in advance showings, fashion shows, or presentations so sizes and quantities are limited. But if you have a common size 7.5 foot, you can find some amazing deals!

So the lesson of the day –  don’t stop shopping, just shop smarter! You can still look and feel fabulous without spending a fortune. Happy shopping!

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Ways To Save Money

What if you could easily start saving money today? Keep reading to learn how I changed my habits and started saving over $500/month in my free time.

We all know saving money isn’t fun. A few months ago I was like many of you: in over my head in debt without a dollar saved. I started working on the steps below and now I’m saving thousands with not that much effort. I not only began saving money, but actually started making money too. It’s all about changing your habits and incorporating new routines into your day to day.

Sponsored: Activate 3% Cash Back Now with eBates! Click the banner below.

These are all ideas that I’ve tested for months, so I know you too can benefit from them. My hope is that by sharing the process I follow, I can help you start saving too!

1. Change Your Bank Habits

It’s very easy to keep all your money in one single checking account. The problem here is that the money is too accessible. You’re out with friends and they want to go shopping or grab a bite to eat. We’ve all been there: regrettably pulling out our debit card to make a purchase we really can’t afford. Solve this problem by doing the following:

  • Open a savings account and set up automatic deposits from your checking account. One of the best ways to save money is automatically set aside money every month so you don’t have to remember to set aside. I would suggest 10% of your paycheck. Some banks will even give you 1% interest! (literally earn free money just for having a positive balance)
  • Remember do not touch it unless it’s an emergency! Life is unexpected and it’s good to have an account you can easily access in case of an emergency.

 

2. Earn Money For Your Opinion

I started taking surveys online while watching TV on the couch. I was always on my phone anyways, so I figured I could get off Instagram and start making money. Out of all the survey companies I tested, I found MyPoints and MySurvey to be the best. Why? They both had the highest paying surveys (some up to $90) out of all other websites I tested. The rest of the surveys pay a few bucks and only take around 10 minutes to complete, making it relatively easy to earn extra money. Just on commercial breaks I was able to earn over $70/month from both combined.

3. Be Smart About Where You Make Your Purchases

Or rather, make sure you are making purchases through the right websites so you can earn cash back. Yes, sites like Ebates will give you cash back to make purchases that you would have made otherwise. Every time I shop online now, I check to see if I can make the purchase on Ebates to earn a little extra on the side. I’ll find what I’m looking for 80% of the time. They even give you a $10 bonus just for signing up and making your first purchase. Just the other day I bought a pair of Converse shoes and earned 5% cash back. That’s money I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Now when I shop, they deposit my cash back directly into my account.

Registering is completely free and they even give you a $10 Welcome Bonus. If you’re already going to buy from these stores anyways, you might as well get cash back for it on Ebates.

Here’s the link to sign up for Ebates

4. Make Extra Cash

In the past, I would look for jobs around town but it was almost never worth the effort. One of my good friends recommended that I try Swagbucks.com to make extra money on the side. I instantly made $5 just for signing up… At first I was skeptical, but it started to pay off once I found out how to use it correctly. Here is my Swagbucks winning strategy:

  • Complete the high paying free trial offers first. They offer the biggest payouts and can be completed in under one minute. I initially signed up for 5 different free trial offers and made over 2,500 SBs. That alone got me $25.
  • Visit the walls under the “discover” tab. They have great new offers constantly rotating.
  • Find repeatable offers. Every two days I go back to the Acorn offerwall just to print coupons. That’s 8 SB every 2 days just for clipping coupons that help me save at the grocery store!
  • Shop on Swagbucks. Similar to Ebates, you can make purchases at popular online stores and earn points. Last month I bought a new pair of Nike shoes for $59 and received 1,199 SB. I literally earned $10 just for making the purchase through Swagbucks.

 

What I really liked about Swagbucks is that my account was credited almost instantly so I was quickly able to cash out.

Use this link to get $5 just for signing up

One final note before I get going: The one mistake I made through this all was never really getting started. I dabbled into a few of these options but never fully embraced it. Don’t let that happen to you, get started right now, no excuses!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. That doesn’t change the fact that we do recommend all of the websites listed! 



The Password Dilemma

We’ve reached the point in the digital age where everything we do is online. From our bank accounts, to our social media, all the way to unlocking our doors at home when we aren’t there.

Imagine your entire virtual identity hacked, and forever compromised. Don’t think it can happen to you? Think again.

Imagine first getting a notification that your checking account no longer has sufficient funds, then that your credit card has suddenly reached its max credit limit, then that you can’t log into your Facebook. This happened to me about 2 months ago, and that was only the beginning to the whirlwind that I went through in the following weeks.

Yes, I had the same password set for everything – who has time, or mind space, to remember a different password for every website, especially ones that must each contain a capital letter, a number, and a special character? I sure didn’t! So not only were they able to hack into my emails, but also my bank accounts, credit cards, work accounts, Facebook, and even Netflix. Basically, my virtual life was turned upside down. So I decided to do some research and found that this is quite common. So, are you protected? I outlined my research below in hopes to help others.

  • Your passwords are too simple


It takes less than a second for a computer to hack a password using simple words and phrases, including capital letters and numbers. Think about that for a minute, your “HappyGirl123” password isn’t fooling a computer.

To Do: Get creative with your passwords. They should be long, alphanumeric, and completely random.

  • Your passwords are all the same.

As I mentioned earlier, mine were all the same. So when they were able to get into my Gmail accounts, they then were able to try the all the top banks until they were successful, which quickly spiraled out of control to other things. Don’t let this be you.

To Do: Imagine passwords as keys. You wouldn’t have the same key for every door in your life. Mix it up. So how do you remember complicated passwords, different for every website in your life? Try using a password manager. I now use Dashlane which allows you to generate and store unique passwords, all at the tips of your fingers. Check it out!

  • You rely on your browser saving passwords.

Yes, having Chrome and Firefox save your passwords will save you 5-10 seconds of your time, but is that worth a possible identity hack? I don’t think so. Anyone with access to your device will have the ability to log into your websites and access personal information, with no issues.

To Do: Say no to your browser saving your passwords. As I mentioned before, if you really want to save your passwords, look into Dashlane, a password manager.

So all in all, carve out some time to update your passwords across the board. Increase the complexity, make them all different, and only save them in a secure password manager. Not only will you protect your identity from hackers, but you will save yourself time and energy in the long run. Trust me.

 

 

5 Healthful Habits Women Should Start Practicing in Their Twenties

Getting healthy isn’t something you should wait until later to do. In fact, in most cases, the longer you wait to do something, the harder it becomes to actually make it happen. Here are 5 healthy habits you should start practicing early on in your life in order to build a strong foundation for health that will last.

  1. Cook for Yourself

Whether you have a family to cook with and for or not, learning to cook for yourself is an extremely beneficial habit for your health. It will ensure that you don’t eat out as often, allowing you to avoid the heavy intake of the extra calories that still remain in most fast food chains. It will also allow you to control what you eat better so you can make sure to eat healthier and smarter.

 

  1. Cut Out Soda

Soda is delicious, and many women in their twenties feel they need the energy boost in a Coke or (sometimes) even a Red Bull to get through a long day. But soda is one of the places where we receive the highest intake of unnecessary sugar. Tea and coffee are so much healthier than soda as well, if you’re looking for a pick-me-up in the middle of the day.

 

  1. Drink Lots of Water

Drinking plenty of water is one of the best things you can do for your body. In your twenties, it may seem like getting that all-too-important water intake isn’t necessary (especially when there are so many other tasty beverage options available). But, trust us, it’s so hard to build this habit later in life.

 

  1. Embrace Rest and Sleep

Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your body and your mind stay healthy. We tend to run ourselves ragged in our twenties, making the old joke that we will sleep when we’re dead. But developing a good sleeping schedule when you’re young will keep you from feeling dead-tired in your thirties.

Also, don’t be afraid to take an hour (or a day…) to rest when you really need it. We’re constantly told in our twenties that we need to stay on our hustle, that nothing will get done if we aren’t constantly working hard. But everyone needs a break, and learning to give yourself one every so often is essential to health.

  1. Be Mindful

Portion control, knowing when and how to exercise, being able to recognize toxic relationships… These can all fall under the category of mindfulness. Learning to be more mindful in your life is a way of being able to recognize what you need, whether it is in the moment or in the long-term, as well as being aware of your feelings and those of others. The earlier you can train yourself to be aware of your own thoughts as well as what’s going on around you, the happier and healthier you will become.

Best Guy Gift: Shaving Set

Almost every guy in the world needs to shave unless they allow their facial hair to grow uncontrollably. And since many man have to shave, they need the tools to do it with, such as a razor, clippers, shaving cream, and aftershave, for some. Most of these tools do not last forever. For instance, the blade will become dull, and the cream and aftershave will run out. So, what does a man do when this happens? First, he sighs and grumbles because he’s too busy or unmotivated to go out and get them. Second, he tells his wife or girlfriend to pick it all up for him. Of course, there are details in that request, which women often do not truly understand since only a man knows what he needs for his face.

So, what is the solution to the problem of running out of the tools for a good shave? Buy it online.

Yes, when you order the razor, cream/gel, and aftershave online you don’t ever have to worry about going out anywhere for it. You can set up a reminder on your phone or computer that it’s been 2, 3, or 4 weeks since you’re last order and get it delivered even before you run out. What’s even better is that the exact same shaver and products can be ordered repeatedly, so there is no chance that the incorrect ones will be purchased. A mom, wife, or girlfriend can place the order easily and quickly.

The savings with purchasing a shaving set online cannot be denied. Instead of driving to your local store, you can save the gas and any parking costs by ordering online. You literally don’t have to go anywhere, as long as you have your mobile device. You can simply bring up the website, find your last order, or create an order, and purchase it. In just a few days, the tools your man needs will be at his front door ready for him to use.

Presenting the Present

If you’re looking for a special gift, a shaving set is it. Your man will love Harry’s, and you will too when you see how quality and attractiveness of the set. Many sets are available, so he can have exactly what he likes for shaving. In addition, you can have it engraved.

Every single morning he can open the box with his shaver and products and be reminded of you and your thoughtfulness. It’s a great way to start the day

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3 Reasons Why Using DIY HVAC Repair YouTube Videos Are a Bad Idea

Women have made the world of DIY their own by learning innovative and clever ways (compliments of the internet, such as YouTube) to do their own auto repairs, home improvement projects and even make their own clothes. Speaking of when money is tight, it is understood the budget for home repairs isn’t always a lot. But, it costs less money than you think for a local heating and air professional to come into your home. Even those women who are mechanically incline are prone to the same costly mistakes as the handiest of men when it comes to HVAC repair work. Pretty much, no person should use YouTube videos or other internet tutorial videos to attempt HVAC repairs.

If are considering HVAC DIY repairs, do yourself a favor and take the time to learn the top three reasons why it is not necessarily the smartest or cheapest move to tackle heating and air problems on your own.

#1 – When we do stupid things for the right reasons that end up being a pain in the butt.

Are you experienced in heating and AC repair? Have you fixed a HVAC system at some point in your life? Are you specially trained and certified in HVAC? If the answer to these questions is “no,” then it is safe to say you should not proceed because it is a fair assumption to say you will most likely make mistakes during the DIY attempt. It is unrealistic to think that you are going to get a complex repair completely precise and right the first go-round if you do not have any HVAC experience. It is natural to make mistakes before being able to properly fix anything you have no knowledge of before the present.

The problem with this DIY method is each mistake incurred costs a boat load of time and money. By the time it is finished, you will have spent a ton of wasted time and money on repairs that ended up with the label ‘fail.’ By the time you bring in the heating & AC repair experts, you’ll have already spent more money than what it would have cost to just call them in the first place.

#2 – Sure you can buy everything you need for your system. That is—If you have an HVAC license.

HVAC is a specialty trade due to the complexities involved, which is why it takes extensive and comprehensive training to become licensed in the field. Specialty tools are needed when working on a heating and air conditioning system, and depending on the repairs the system calls for there is the cost of specific replacement parts to consider. Not all parts and tools are available to the average Jane either. No HVAC license equals no part. Do you have the money, time, and patience on hand to deal with the hassles of figuring out what you need, where to get it, and who you can trust to get the special tools and parts you need? No, of course not. Finding out you aren’t able to purchase parts on your own as a homeowner is an obvious no-brainer to knowing you need a professional.

#3 – Finding the problem plaguing the HVAC system is as simple as finding a needle in a haystack.

Numerous things may be in need of repair, maintenance, or replacement on your HVAC system. If you are attempting DIY HVAC repairs, then go ahead and plan the time to allow for numerous hours trying to pinpoint the exact issue with your heating and air conditioner system’s performance. And all this is before you even get started actually fixing it. The problem may be as simple as a filter replacement to as major as needing a critical part or dealing with a Freon leak. A professional HVAC expert sees various types of HVAC problems daily, and they are quick to identify and diagnose what is wrong. This not only saves your precious time, but money too. Plus, who wants to go through the risk of replacing or repairing the wrong thing on such an expensive and vital component to your family’s home and comfort?

When you run into trouble with your heating and air conditioning system at home, you should definitely not attempt to resolve performance problems on your own. While you may believe that a DIY repair is simple and cheaper (because it has been so effective with other issues in life), you are much better off hiring a heating and air local professional. The same way a medical problem requires a doctor and an electrical problem calls for a certified electrician is the way a HVAC system problem requires an experienced HVAC professional and not a quick YouTube tutorial.

 

 

6 Simple Ways to Shop Smarter

What if you could not only save while shopping but make money? Keep reading to learn how I changed my shopping habits for good…

If you’re like me, you love to shop. What I didn’t love was the credit card bill that came weeks later reminding me how much above my means I had spent. I tried shopping less but when I saw something I had to have, I couldn’t resist. This cycle would continue to repeat itself and continue to leave me with buyer’s remorse.

Then, after making these easy changes (and sticking to them), I not only began saving money when shopping but actually started making money. My hope is that by sharing the process I follow, you too will shop smarter. Now, let’s go shopping…

Step 1: Calculate Cash Back from Spending

 When I first started to change my habits, I knew I needed to figure out exactly how much I was spending (as painful as it is). After looking through the bills I determined I was spending over $800 every month on stuff I wanted, not needed.

Most of that spending was online and when I started looking for ways to still shop but spend less, I came across Ebates. They’ve given their members over $325,000,000 in cash-back for shopping at the stores they already do. Now when I shop, they deposit my cash back directly into my account. It’s actually that easy.

Registering is completely free and they even give you a $10 Welcome Bonus. If you’re already going to buy from these stores anyways, you might as well get cash back for it on Ebates.

Step 2: Make Extra Cash for “Wants”

I realize that for some, in order to shop smarter you need the resources to do it. There have been plenty of times where I’ve been short on cash and shopping wasn’t even an option (or put me further into debt). As a college student, in between jobs and plenty of other times I had to be resourceful not only in saving money but making it too.

In the past, I would look for jobs around town but it was almost never worth the effort. One day while on my computer I found Swagbucks.com and signed up. I’ll be honest that at first I was very skeptical but after I started completing some actions on their site, I was receiving “Swagbucks” right away. In the first day I made 500 Swagbucks and received a $5 Amazon Gift Card! Now whenever I’m a little tight on cash and want to shop, I just spend some time on Swagbucks.

Step 3: Save Smarter, Not Harder

While Ebates gives me cash back for most of the stores I shop at, I didn’t find absolutely everything. And by everything, I mean shoes. Yes, I too have a shoe addiction and I needed to find a smarter way to buy them and other stylish pieces.

Before, I was spending almost $50 for a new pair of shoes. Not only was it an expensive habit but I wasn’t even happy with the shoes I was buying. When I became a VIP Member with JustFab it was the best of both worlds. Not only did they completely customize my online shopping experience but I started spending 50% less on a pair of shoes.

It was so easy to get started, all I did was answer a few questions about the styles I like and instantly got access. Plus, they gave me a Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupon, free shipping & exchanges just for signing up.

Step 4: Get Paid Taking Surveys

Most don’t know this but your opinion is actually very valuable. Because of this, sites like MySurvey will actually pay you to take short simple surveys. Not only is it a lot of fun but you earn points (similar to Swagbucks) which can be easily redeemed for gift cards, certificates, vouchers and cash!

Starting with MySurvey is completely free. Just sign up and check your email to get started!

Step 5: Always Save on Groceries

That’s right. There’s no reason to ever pay full price the grocery store since there’s always a deal to be found. That’s where joining the Betty Crocker Newsletter came in handy with it’s consistent savings and tons of recipe ideas. Now when I go to the store, I always check my email for some savings and inspiration from Betty Crocker.

Signing up for Betty Crocker was completely free. Just enter your email and check your inbox!

Step 6: Cash Back the Easy Way

It’s amazing to me how simple getting cash back on shopping and completing other easy tasks online for money has become. I know we’ve mentioned several ways to get started (Ebates, Swagbucks and MySurvey) but this last one, MyPoints, takes the cake.

After signing up to MyPoints for Free, I started getting Points for doing things I already do online (shopping online, taking surveys, watching videos and reading emails to earn more Points). I’ve been using MyPoints so long now that it has become part of my online routine anytime I get on the computer or my phone. It’s definitely worth checking out to get a few more tips and easy ways to make some extra money.

One final note before I get going: The one mistake I made through this all was never really getting started. I dabbled into a few of these options but never fully embraced it. Don’t let that happen to you, get started right now, no excuses!

Creative Ideas to Optimize Dead Space and Organize Your House

Welcome to a world full of cool and imaginative ideas when it comes to home improvement projects! Use this article full of creative and innovative ideas as a guide to optimizing the space in your house when you are considering how to plan your next dream home improvement project.

If you are already planning a home renovation or a small remodel this summer, go ahead and consider some of these unique ideas to organize your home. The point of any renovation or remodel is to make something better, and with these ideas you can really ensure you will get a house that works better for you and your family while optimizing the house space you already own.

 

Turn your walls into interactive and living spaces. Magnetic walls are strong enough to hold your TV and sturdy shelves! They are large panels that can be installed during renovation or a remodel freeing up floor space. Chalkboard paint is an imaginative way to communicate with your family or turn a wall into part of the kids daily art routine. A completely unique way to go green and start towards your own sustainability at home is by implementing a partial or full green living wall. The green vertical walls include soil typically to keep greenery growing and they include their own integrated water system.

Take advantage of the dead space in your home by remodeling it into creative storage space. One innovative idea is to install a platform floor in one room. It’s a fabulous place to hide all your stuff and the space doubles as a guestroom, bedroom or office. If the platform is built high enough, it can also become a bed. Take advantage of the empty space underneath the steps of the staircases by installing built in bookshelves or shoe racks that slide out.

Take your kitchen and start making it work for you. Use pull out cabinets on wheels that slide underneath a flat counter top you install to double your kitchen counter space that instantly becomes usable. Find dead space at the bottom of a wall or the end of your kitchen island and install a built-in wine rack to optimize space. Add a mini-fridge underneath your cabinets or into your island to store drinks, beer and extra snacks. Add chutes in the wall of the kitchen for recycling and trash. This idea is genius for people tired of garbage smelling or piling up!

Install accordion glass doors or windows to enjoy the great outdoors from inside the comforts of your own home. This home characteristic is enticing for those fall evenings as well as becoming the perfect open space combining the elegance of a dinner party with the fun outside barbeque for entertaining guests. Another way to enjoy the great outdoors from inside is to trade the same ceiling you’ve gazed at for years in for a star-gazing sunroof instead. The sunroof can be a great addition in your living room or the bedrooms.

Turn your fireplace into much more than just a fireplace. Add built-in seating to the frame of the fireplace. You may want to leave bare or customize for a reading nook with cushioned seats. Another idea is to build a fireplace that is dual-sided and functional for the two rooms it is between (for example, the master bedroom and bathroom). The two-sided warmth will give any master suite or home area a truly unique, elegant look. If you are tired of the plain old red brick look, whitewash the bricks or paint them with a bright color that pops to revitalize the fireplace!

There is dead space all over every residential property and when you are looking to turn your house into a better home for you and your family, then utilizing the space not being used is the most cost-effective way to make the most out of your time and money. Be sure to take the time to figure out what is going to make you the happiest (since you most likely manage the entire house) and what will help your family run the smoothest. For instance, if your closets are overflowing with shoes and the kids can’t ever find them, then installing additional shoe spaces is smart. If you do not drink wine, then installing a wine rack is pretty useless and a waste of money and space. What are the needs of your family? What cries for more storage in your home?

Use this information to lead the way towards your dream remodel that is just right for you and your family’s lifestyle.

6 Steps to Prepare Kids for the Big Move to the New House

After buying a new house there is a lot to do. Getting kids ready to move is often avoided, but is one of the most important steps in moving to a new home. While packing and planning seem to be the larger issues at hand, preparing kids to move is not an issue that should get pushed aside. Take the time to involve your children in the process right from the start to make sure they know their voice counts. Moving can be challenging for kids and it is normal for them to feel the entire move is out of their control.

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During the challenges surrounding moving time, get the children involved so they have a grip on what is going on in their lives and future. In order to ensure your children feel involved and have control over at least part of the life changing event, you can try the following six tips.

  1. Encourage your children to ask questions and honestly answer them. Most times kids will want to know all about the new school they will be attending, the neighborhood they will be moving into, if there are kids their age around, and what types of sports teams will be available. In addition they may want to know if making new friends will be hard, if their beloved pet is moving too, and why they have to move.

 

  1. Tell your child about their new room and get input from them about the décor. Just as you are excited about your new house, your child will be excited about the new space that is going to be theirs. Give your child as much information as possible about the new house, their new room, and what décor possibilities exist. They can help to decide where furniture will go and the color of paint they hope to get on their walls.

 

  1. Help your child create a memory book and address book of all their current friends. With a simple email or postage stamp, your child will be able to keep in touch with all of their current friends, coaches, teachers, and neighbors. Help them plan their goodbyes whether it is a going away party, slumber party, or separate events to ease them into the moving process. Putting together a memory book or scrapbook of their favorite memories and goodbye moments will help them when they start missing their friends after the move.

 

  1. Give them tasks with their personal belongings. Ask your child to go through their room, toys, clothing, and other belongings to determine what needs to go and what can be donated or sold off. You can even let them have their very own yard sale to make some money if the weather is permitting. By giving them the responsibility of sorting and helping to pack their belongings, they will feel more involved in the physical process of moving to a new home.

 

  1. Instruct your children in how to make a Moving Survival Kit. By helping them decide what essentials they need for moving day(s), they will have everything they need from the time they leave the old house until they get settled in the new home. Everything from books, games, clothes, hygiene essentials, gifts from friends, and photos can be packed in the suitcase or special box to keep them busy and having fun while on the road. In addition, they will enjoy being able to decorate the Moving Survival Kit in their own style.

 

  1. Schedule time for visiting the favorite places to say goodbye. Is there a special park your child loves to visit? What about an ice-cream shop, restaurant, swimming pool, or museum that they live to go to? Ask your child where their favorite places are that they want to visit before moving and do everything to make sure at least one or two favorite places are included in the weekly schedules prior to moving. Mark the calendar to keep them excited about the final goodbyes to their favorite places.

By preparing your children for the big move, you can ensure that they feel like part of the family and part of the process the entire time. Make every effort to answer every question they have about the move and do everything possible to help them say their goodbyes for a smooth moving transition.

Getting Back in Touch with Cash and Budgeting

Budgeting. Everyone has heard of it, but how many people actually know how to do it? How many women actually make a budget and stick to it with their family? Money has become overwhelming, but do we actually think of our money as cash?

Budgeting and Saving Challenges are Wide-Spread

Paying the bills, saving for college and stashing away the dollars for retirement is not as easy as it used to be. In fact, it is a huge challenge for married families and single parents everywhere to budget and save money. Retirement is no longer the relaxing ‘haven of golden years’ like it was either.

Since times have changed, women are finding themselves on their own much longer than in previous years. Both genders are finding that their wages and the economy contributes less for saving, if any at all. College tuitions are consistently on the rise, the cost of rent and mortgages continues to soar, and women are stuck without the know-how, skills, and tools for achieving their financial goals.

These factors have significantly impacted our culture, resulting in the widespread epidemic of people not only struggling to maintain their present financial needs but are completely ill-prepared for their future financial obligations

Technology and Cash

In order to get started, recognize that in this day and age we spend our cash earnings differently than our parents did. We never learned how to manage our money through technology because credit and debit cards were not used around the clock way money is spent in today’s world. However, we use technology for nearly all purchases. In other words, physical cards and automated technology have separated people from the actual concept of cash.

Stop the Separation from Cash Cycle

The separation from cash continues to get worse as consumers pay at retailers with their smartphones. If you and your family truly want to learn how to manage money and save for the future, then you must change the way you think about the money you have coming in. Your family will need to stop making random swipes of a card and clicks from the phone to buy unnecessary items. Once you take a good look at the incoming cash you can spend and how it is being used for bills and other purchases, you will be able to get a grasp on the amount of money everyone is spending. Print out all bank statements and credit card statements showing the last three months of purchases. Get all paycheck stubs together and add in any other incoming cash not paid via payroll check.

Start a Family Budget

At this step, your family needs to analyze all purchases in black and white and agree on which purchases will be cut going forward and which ones will remain. Make decisions here everyone can live with every day. For instance, a $3 coffee everyday on the way to work or school should be slashed. Coffee can be brewed at home for huge savings. Family members can pack lunches four days a week out of five versus buying out every day and enjoy a delicious meal out on Fridays. Make a plan for what will be spent going forward for each person in the household after figuring out the amount coming into the house every month and the amount going out for necessary bills. You must close the gap of separation your family has become accustomed to in regards to spending and establish a family budget everyone can get on board with so that bills can be paid while everyone else gets just what they need every month with an occasional reward. If there are reoccurring bills that aren’t a necessity or aren’t being used (monthly gym membership, magazines, etc.) then get them closed to save money monthly.

Manage Money with the App

Get a grip on spending by utilizing your bank or credit union mobile phone app to keep in touch with your money. Numerous credit card companies have fantastic apps for their customers to stay on top of their money and balances. Most institutions have advanced, easy to use interfaces to help you keep track of your money for better financial money management and with some you can digitally communicate with your family about their purchases and the budget for the week.

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