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Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Dec

24.15

5ways

Suffering from cabin fever? The cold weather doldrums can be hard to shake off without spending a lot of money—but not impossible. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  1. Visit a museum. Most museums offer “free days” when admission is free or a donation. With fewer crowds, winter can be a great time to wander the exhibits.
  2. Go ice skating. Lace up your ice skates or rent a pair for a small fee and head to an ice-skating rink. Even if the day is on the warm side, the ice-making machines will keep the rink frozen for you. Bonus: You’ll get plenty of exercise.
  3. Volunteer. Give others (and yourself) a warm feeling by donating your time to the less fortunate in your community. Sign up with a friend, spouse or the whole family. For example, shop for the elderly who can’t get out in the bitter cold or for those who don’t have reliable transportation.
  4. Attend a free workshop. Is there a home or craft project you’ve always wanted to try but don’t know where to start? Stores like Home Depot, Michael’s and Lowe’s host free workshops for homeowners, classes for specific projects and crafts, and fun activities for kids.
  5. Join a book club. Looking for a good read? Head to your local library and ask about joining a book club. You can get caught up on the latest novel or non-fiction book and make some new friends without spending a dime.

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Dec

09.15

Dinners, parties and gifts … oh my! The holiday season is upon us and that means for most, spending will be at an all-time high. While some may have saved throughout the year for this special season of giving, many will break out their credit cards and dig themselves into debt. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can still make it a holly, jolly Christmas — without going into debt. Here’s how:

 

Folly: Buying whatever strikes your fancy at the time and not keeping track of what you spend or buy.

Jolly: Making a budget and sticking to it. This way, you don’t end up with too much stuff or a lot of filler that doesn’t have meaning.

 

Folly: Buying random gifts and then figuring out who to give them to.

Jolly: Take note from old Saint Nick. Make a list of recipients, gifts and what you want to spend. Then check them off, one by one!

 

Folly: Waiting until the last minute to do your shopping.

Jolly: The early bird not only gets the worm, but gets the best prices, too! Shop around and do your homework so you can take advantage of sales and get more bang for your buck.

 

Folly: Spending too much on entertainment for you and your family.

Jolly: Some of the best experiences in life can’t be bought. Why not host a Christmas movie marathon, go caroling or drive around your neighborhood to see everyone’s decorations? Sometimes the simple things are the sweetest.

 

Folly: Getting too caught up in the buying season.

Jolly: Giving back to those less fortunate. There are tons of ways to give your time or money to those who need help this season. Forgo a few gifts and reallocate that money to charity. Tis the season for giving … back to your community!

 

Folly: Breaking the bank on decorations.

Jolly: Have any holly bushes outside? Cut off a few branches to use in a display or put in a vase. Have pine trees or evergreens in your backyard? Make your own garland with some twine or ribbon! String together popcorn and cranberries or make a paper chain. Thrifty (but beautiful) decorating ideas are endless!

 

Folly: Buying your kids everything on their wish list.

Jolly: Starting a new tradition like “want, need, wear, read.” Buy four presents, one for each category. Not only will it make the gifts more meaningful, it will save a lot of money, too!

 

Don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle. There are countless ways to save money this holiday season. Make your holiday a jolly occasion and head into 2016 without a bunch of extra debt weighing you down!

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Nov

19.15

pri-blog_thanksgiving art

Tis the season for parties and giving, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend too much money along the way. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the occasion without breaking the bank. Here are five:

  1. Decorate with nature. Hosting a get together or simply want to spruce up your home? Look outside. There are plenty of decorative fall finds in your backyard! Gather pinecones and put them in a bowl as a centerpiece. Use the beautifully colored fall leaves as place cards or to spread along your tablescape. Acorns littering your yard? Dip them in gold paint (a couple of dollars at any craft store) and add them to your festive scene.
  1. Make it potluck. Instead of hosting a dinner party and preparing everything yourself, ask guests to bring a dish to contribute. Not only will it make it a more memorable “sharing” event, it will save you time and money!
  1. Go to a farmer’s market. Looking to save money on fall vegetables? Go to your local farmer’s market to stock up. You can’t beat the variety — or the price!
  1. Make a list and check it twice! A great way to save money is to jot down what you need on a piece of paper or your handheld device and stick to it when you’re shopping. Try not to deviate from your plan and get caught up in buying “extras” you really don’t need.
  1. Keep it simple. Thanksgiving is all about spending time with people you care about and showing them how much you appreciate them, not over-doing it. Keep it simple and you’ll be thankful you did!

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Nov

13.15

10-ways-to-save-this-fall

10 Ways to Save This Fall
Holiday events, gifts and grand meals are just around the corner! Unfortunately for most, that means overindulging and overspending become the norm. It’s fun while it lasts, but who wants to live with that kind of regret? Not you!

There are tons of super fun things you can do, make and see that won’t break the bank. So this season, don’t “fall” into bad habits, “fall” into savings, instead. You’ll be glad you did!

10 Fun (and Easy!) Ways to Save

  1. Cook hearty meals. Fall is all about feeling cozy, so break out those comfort food and soup recipes! You can cook in batches and freeze them for convenience. Plus, cooking in a larger quantity (i.e. for 6-8 instead of 3-4 servings) saves you time, too. Want to up the ante? Use your handy crockpot instead of the oven for energy efficiency savings, too!
  2. Enjoy the great outdoors. It’s not too hot and not too cold. That means it’s the perfect time to get out and explore! Most parks are free, so lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and make exploring nature a family affair. Another way to make it special and save? Pack a picnic and eat al fresco!
  3. Take advantage of special sales. Stores and shopping sites are ramping up for the holiday season. Make a list of what you need to buy and keep a lookout for the best price. Sales aren’t just on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Stores will be having sales weekly (if not daily!) for the rest of the year.
  4. Make some gifts. With so many online resources, it’s easy to find simple, affordable and adorable handmade gift ideas for the ones you love. Get a head start on making gifts now so you don’t feel overwhelmed later.
  5. Adjust your thermostat. Fall is a perfect time to turn off the AC and open a few windows. Also, if it gets chilly, simply light a fire in the fireplace or add a sweater to your outfit. These are easy ways to save money on your heating bill.
  6. Light a fire. Fun is about being together, not fancy outings. Have a fire pit and a backyard? It’s a great time of year to roast marshmallows or hot dogs and make s’mores. Kids love simple luxuries like that and it’s relaxing for adults to sit back and gather around the fire. Plus, you can find affordable fire pits at your local hardware store for as little as $30.
  7. Weatherproof your home. Simple things like weather stripping, adding extra caulk and changing the direction of your fans to push warm air down can cut down on expenses in the winter.
  8. Get out of dodge. Airfares and other modes of transportation are cheaper in the fall and winter months. Treat yourself to a getaway and you could save!
  9. Put your gym membership on hold. The weather is nice outside, so why pay to exercise indoors? Ask your gym if you can suspend your membership for a couple of months and save!
  10. Look for free stuff. Tis the season for all kinds of fun outdoor activities and mini celebrations. Check your local paper and local discount websites to see what’s happening in your area for free (hello, lighting of the Christmas tree!) or for a reduced price.

Remember, you can still have fun this fall and save along the way. Just be creative and look around you. Savings are everywhere!

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Jul

29.15

kids-talk-to-mom-first

When it comes to financial guidance, kids turn to Mom more often than Dad — 58% vs. 39%.* No matter which parent kids turn to, no one shapes their financial attitudes more than a parent. And they’re not just listening to what you say. Every time you spend money they are taking cues from your habits as well. Following are some guidelines for what your children should know about money by certain ages:

Kindergarten. She’s figured out how to convince you to buy things she wants. But what else should she know about money? By this age, your child should know: you need money to buy things; you earn money by working; you may have to wait before you can buy something you want; there’s a difference between things you want and things you need.

Sixth grade. Your sixth grader should be able to understand: the concept of saving, including compound interest; credit cards are not free money (they are loans) and can cost interest if you don’t pay them off quickly; and personal information like bank account or credit card details can be stolen and should be protected.

High school. Your teenager should know almost as much as you do about several financial concepts, including: the difference between a grant and a loan; how fees and interest rates add up; the dangers of certain financial services like check cashers and payday lenders; how to get and keep a job.

*Money, May 2015

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