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Finances


4 Easy Ways to Cut Your Monthly Expenses Finances / Money Tips / Ways To Save Money

4 easy ways to cut monthly expensesWays to Cut Your Monthly Expenses

If you feel like there’s never enough money to get ahead at the end of the month, you’re not alone. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 78 percent of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. Meanwhile, Gallup found that only one in three Americans actually keep a detailed budget.

Instead of facing these statistics as your new sobering reality, you can change your financial future by deciding to put a stop to paycheck-to-paycheck living and create a thoroughly detailed budget that tracks every penny. Once you see where your money is going, it’s time to find unique ways to cut your monthly expenses so you can allocate more money to growing your financial future. And when you find ways to save $10, $20 or even hundreds of dollars a month, you can’t help but look for more ways to keep trimming your expenses. Here’s how you can get started.

Get Strategic with Your Smartphone

If you suspect you’re paying too much for your smartphone bill, you’re in good company. According to Pew Research, 29 percent of smartphone users spend $100 or less on their plans. But there are ways to maximize your smartphone by getting strategic with it.

For starters, cut your landline in favor of using your smartphone; you can even set up a dedicated business number with a service like Google Voice. You can also reduce your smartphone expenses by choosing a cutting-edge and affordable option like the Galaxy Note 3 with an unlimited plan that doesn’t tack on extra fees, which means your phone can be used to handle both business and personal tasks without worrying about high data usage.

Get Rid of Cable

More consumers are realizing choosing from hundreds of cable channels is expensive and overwhelming. Instead,  become a cord cutter and opt to stream your favorite shows and movies directly to your TV by using an Amazon Firestick. You can still get the media you love watching from Netflix, Hulu and other apps without the skyrocketing cable costs.

Trade in Your Car

Your car payment is probably unnecessarily eating up valuable resources from your budget every month. According to a recent Edmund’s analysis, the average car payment is $483. Instead of allocating nearly $500 to just your car payment in addition to maintenance and insurance, consider trading in your car and paying off the balance and ditching the payment altogether. A reliable used vehicle to get from point A to B can put more money in your wallet without compromising on safety. But if you live in an urban area, you can also opt-out of car ownership and rely on Zipcar, Uber and Lyft to get you to where you need to go without the hassles and financial burden of owning a car. It’s true car seats can be an issue if you have children, but Uber and Lyft offer car seat options in some cities. And when your children are old enough and meet the age and weight requirements, you can invest in portable booster seats that fold as you go.

Shop Smarter

It’s easy to go on autopilot when we’re shopping for groceries or household items online. However, it is entirely possible to shop smarter and maximize our budget with or without coupons.For starters, look for discount grocers in your area including Aldi’s or Walmart. If you find you have a hard time impulse shopping at the grocery store, sign up up for Amazon Fresh and carefully comb through items to stick to your grocery list. You can also buy household items at stores like Aldi’s, or buy them from Amazon’s Warehouse section to select gently used or opened items at a discount.

Just remember that cutting your monthly expenses should be liberating and not a source of tension and drudgery. Start by cutting what you can without feeling the burn and then slowly build up the momentum to attack other areas of your budget. You’re likely to find that the financial freedom you gain outweighs the sacrifice of making those cuts.


5 Ways to Celebrate a Baby Shower on a Budget! Finances / Money Tips / Ways To Save Money

Baby Shower on a Budget

 

5 Ways to Celebrate a Baby Shower on a Budget

One of the best parts about having friends or family that is pregnant is the excuse to have a baby shower!  It allows you to give the expectant mother a bit of pampering while giving her a few presents to help out when the baby arrives.

There have been a few celebrity baby showers on the television, but you don’t need to go to the expensive lengths that they do. All you need is a little imagination, and you can create a beautiful baby shower.

Venue

In most cases, baby showers are small affairs with just a select few friends and family invited. This means you won’t need to rent out a large hall for the event. Rather than go to a restaurant that can get expensive, why not hold the baby shower at your home?

The more friendly and intimate environment of your home will make it all feel relaxed, plus, you can stay and chat for as long as you wish.

Baby Shower on a Budget

Invitations

Your invitations don’t have to be expensive to be elegant and beautiful. There are many sites that offer free printable baby shower invitations, such as Adobe Spark. You want to make sure that all the information about the shower is on there before you print them.

You could even send your invitations electronically. It will save you a lot of money on ink and paper, and you can still send it to people whose address you might not know.

Decorations

Decorations are another area where you can be as creative as you wish. There are many bargain stores that will sell bunting and other party materials that you can use to decorate the room.

If you are struggling for inspiration, ask your friends to help you with designing and making the decorations. Not only will it be helpful, but it can also be a lot of fun.

Food

The food you serve at the baby shower depends on the feel you want to have. If you are looking to make a formal dinner, then you will need to think of dishes that will be acceptable to everyone.

It might be far easier and more relaxing to offer finger foods and snacks that people can pick at during the shower. You can ask other attendees to help make a few things to bring along, or you can invite them round the day before to help.

Baby Shower on A Budget- Games

Games

To make it an, even more, fun and friendly event, you can organize some party games. As the winner might not always be the mum-to-be, you should offer prizes that will suit everyone. There are many great ideas on the internet for inexpensive baby shower party games that are imaginative and fun.

With these little ideas, you can quickly come up with a great baby shower event that everyone will enjoy. Make it exciting and relaxing for the mum-to-me and ensure you make a list of everything you need to do so that nothing gets missed and then you can avoid a last-minute rush.

 

Hopefully these 5 ways to celebrate a baby shower on a budget helps you and your friends and family have a great party AND save money! We share numerous ways to save money everyday! Make sure to take a look at our other ideas for saving money here!

Never miss a deal or way to save money for your household ~~get them delivered directly to your inbox here!

 

 


Financial Renovation: Create your 2016 Financial Budget with this FREE 4 video mini-course! Limited Time- Get yours TODAY Finances / Get Organized / Living On Less / Reducing Your " Must Have" Expenses / Resources / Topics

The Financial Renovation Budget Series

Start off 2016 the right way by taking control of your Financial Budget with this Free 4 Video Mini Course, The Financial Renovation!

Are you in debt or maybe you just want help planning and sticking to a budget?  I think everyone can use some help when it comes to planning a financial budget. I have an accounting degree and I have my own 5 year plan to be out of debt, but I will also be signing up for the Financial Renovation to see how many more tips and tricks I can learn! Courses such as the The Financial Renovation not only can help you start a budget from scratch but can also help keep yourself on track with your existing budget to help your and your family gain financial stability!

Lauren from I am That Lady, has been on Dr Oz, the Today show and many other media outlets helping people with strengthening their finances over the last 5 years and now she is offering this FREE 4 video mini-course to help you get started too!
This FREE 4 video mini-course will walk you through how to completely renovate your finances in 2016!

This free e-course is for you if:
You want to learn how to budget and stick to it.
You want to save more money on your bills.
You want to learn how to get your spouse on board with your finances.
You feel like you are stuck and don’t know where to turn.
You want to get out of debt.
or… you just want a refresher on your financial health.

Lauren also gives you an opportunity to go much deeper into learning how to get financial freedom in 2016.

  • Video #1  HOW TO START A BUDGET (available now)
  • Video #2  HOW TO STICK TO A BUDGET WHEN THEY HAVE FAILED IN PAST (available Monday Jan 4)
  • Video #3  A COMPLETE FINANCIAL BLUEPRINT FOR 2016 (available Thurs Jan 7)
  • Video #4 WHY NOW IS THE TIME TO START 

This course will begin on January 1st and go until January 6th. I hope you will join us this year. If you are interested in taking the Finanacial Renovation Free 4 video mini course, you can sign up here

 

Don’t forget to check out our last years 30 day Budget Bootcamp here also!!

30 Day Budget bootcamp

 

Topic: Create your 2016 Financial budget with the Financial Renovation


Save Your Budget with a Spending Freeze Finances / Living On Less / Online Savings Articles / Resources / Ways To Save Money

Spending Freeze

Save your Budget with a Spending Freeze to jump start it in the right direction!

No lie, if I was having problems meeting the needs of my budget/paying my bills, I would bring on an immediate Spending Freeze! I would eat soup or baked potatoes and cut every expenditure out until I could get back on track! I don’t know why I am like that, but might be because both of my grandmothers lived through the depression or because both of my parents were raised that way? I need very little to live on BUT my family, on the other hand, does not share my way of thinking! That is one of my goals this year, is to get them on track with me. If you are concerned about budgeting and getting on the right track for the New Year, you may want to start a Spending Freeze of your own to get your budget in line!

What’s a spending freeze?

A spending freeze is basically a period of time during which you stop or “freeze” your spending.

However, the majority of people can’t spend absolutely no money for two weeks. You’ll still have to use things that will eventually cost you money such as your electricity, water and vehicle. And you’ll still have to get the necessity items that you haven’t stocked up on from our money saving Coupon Matchups such as fresh product and milk, etc. But for the most part, if you have a stockpile of deals in your pantry, freezer and linen closets, you would be surprised how little you will spend!!

But for a period of two weeks (or whatever other interval you choose), you won’t actively spend any money on other things such as going out, buying unnecessary things, etc. A spending freeze can be an amazing way to re-evaluate financial priorities, appreciate what you have and boost your savings account.

Here’s how to start a two-week spending freeze:

  1. Have a destination for your Savings: Whether your funds will go to an emergency fund, toward a debt payment or a large necessary expenditure, make sure to have a place for it to go so you do not spend frivolously!
  2. Look through your freezer, fridge and pantry. As I mentioned, if you follow our site, you should have a good stock up of items and can plan meals for the two weeks, and stock up on what you’ll need to make them. You could set aside a small amount of cash to purchase fresh items, like fruits and veggies, halfway through. My plan this year, is to try and help my readers in other ways than couponing through ways of less waste, frugal recipes, time saving organization methods and whatever else I can think of that I do in my life, that may help you!
  3. Clean and Organize your linen closet or pantries.  Check your inventories of other essentials ( toilet paper, toothpaste, etc.) which you should also have enough of from the freebies we publish every week, but by organizing you may find some hidden items you didn’t know you had!
  4. Fill your tank up with gas. If you drive a lot of miles, you may want to get an extra gas can or two full if you absolutely must use more than a tank over two weeks, and
  5. Pre-pay any bills that will be due during your spending freeze
  6. Stop spending money for two weeks. For me, here is what I have done in the past: 1) that means no trips to the grocery store other than Aldi for milk and produce. 2) Make a Meal Plan for 2 weeks and do with what I have  3) Do a run through with the family to see exactly what they may need for school etc BEFORE the freeze starts. 4) Absolutely no going out for dinner or drinks. If we want to do something to get out of the house, we go to our house in the country and enjoy nature and each others company or invite friends over for cards or a small get together . 5) Do not use a credit card or debit card for anything. Do without.  6) Don’t tempt yourself by going into any store or shopping online. The only time I have tempted myself, is when I had $40 in Shop Your Way Points to spend that had to be used as they are like cash. I made sure I only spent what was already coming to me. Not a penny more. 7) I always work more hours at my day job or on the site to make more money also. My mind is always clearer and I am more focused so I always do better at both during a Spending Freeze! Do a spending freeze will give you a sense of control like you will never know until you experience it!

Save your Budget with a Spending Freeze

Why Should I do a Spending Freeze?

1. Jump start your savings.  Doing a spending freeze allows you to easily see how much extra money you spend on unnecessary items every week. You will be able to put it all the extra cash toward one of your financial goals. Many families save hundreds of dollars with this method in just a couple weeks! But even $50 or $100 is worth it, especially if your spending freeze also helps change long-term financial habits.

2. Get your budget on track. A spending freeze will tell you just where you’ve been overspending on the fringes such as daily latte’s, happy hour after work, eating out or shopping binges.  Understanding where you’ve been overspending is a great way to take control of your budget for the future and is powerful information you need to know to get your budget in check!

3. Train yourself to not be an impulse buyer. Reinforce the difference between wants and needs. Getting in the habit of training your mind to wait to make a purchase is very powerful and your willpower will build up the more you use it. After your 2 week spending freeze, it will be easier to resist impulse purchases.

4. Shop your pantry. Another great way to cut back on grocery spending is utilizing what you have on hand. Being forced to live on what’s available for two weeks can get you in the habit of utilizing your pantry and getting creative with ingredients you have readily available. Be creative and try some new ingredients in recipes if you are missing an item! Learning to cook with only items in your cupboard rather than running to the store for the missing ingredient is a fabulous way to cut back on grocery spending and a great habit to start!

5. Schedule Free and Fun Stuff to Do and focus on what’s really important. When you aren’t spending money on “things”, your life gets a little more focused and you tend to spend more quality time with the people you love. For example, instead of going out for an expensive dinner, you could have a potluck with friends or family Or instead of spending money on a movie, you could get into the habit of reading good books from the library or even start a tradition of family game nights!

Regardless of how much you save, a spending freeze will more than likely put you in a more thoughtful and grateful frame of mind, which has consequences far beyond your checking account! I like to do some form of a spending freeze every year just to keep myself in check. The habits I learn during the spending freeze always opens my eyes to something new and creates habits that last a lifetime!!
Save your Budget with a Spending Freeze

Want to try a 31 Day Spending Freeze?

Take the 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge offered in Paperback or Kindle written by Ruth over at Living Well Spending Less!!

Here’s what you have to gain from taking this challenge:

  • Discover the surprising joy of zero spending, and make instant changes that will totally transform your attitude.
  • Learn how to use the food you already have on hand to create delicious, budget friendly meals for your family.
  • Be inspired to clean and declutter your living space in order to create the cozy space you’ve always dreamed of.
  • Gather innovative ideas for using those items you already have on hand to create new solutions for old problems.
  • Find encouragement and inspiration from others who have completed this same challenge—and lived to tell the tale.
  • Learn simple tricks and tips for selling your stuff, slashing your bills, and even saving on food.

Ruth has done this challenge numerous times on her site for her readers and has now made it available in book right here !

More on Getting Out of Debt and Budgeting available NOW:

You can also get a FREE 4 Video Series on Getting Out of Debt right now from

Mark and Lauren Greutman! Hurry and get yours within the next week!!

Register here to get your 4 Financial Renovation Videos for FREE NOW before the intro period is over

 

This post is part of the 30 Day Budget Bootcamp that we put together last year with a team of more than 20 money-savvy bloggers who want to help you be better money managers. I wanted to share this step #13 Trying a Spending Freeze again this year as I think it is an important step in getting control of your budget! You can see the complete list of 30 days assignments with links over on our 30 Day Budget bootcamp page here 

Topic: Save Your Budget with a Spending Freeze


Did You Receive Your W2 ?  Let Turbo Tax file your 1040EZ form FREE!! Finances / Living On Less / Topics / Ways To Save Money

1040EZ

 

 

You should have received your W2 from your employer by now so Let Turbo Tax file your 1040EZ form FREE !!

Yes you heard that right …for the first time ever,  Turbo Tax is allowing simple filers to file your 1040EZ form FREE !! Why pay someone $29 when you can get it for FREE!!

 $0 for federal, $0 for state, and $0 to file with TurboTax Federal Free edition.

  • Sign up for the Free Federal Edition of Intuit TurboTax.
  • This is perfect for first time filers or students, people that want to easily prep, print, and efile their returns, and those that want to import their W2 income data.
  • State returns are an additional fee.
  • Other services available for those filing a standard 1040 form for as low as $34.99…thats much less than standard Tax Return fees!!

 

It’s this simple:

 

 

Topic: file your 1040EZ form FREE


Budget Your Finances in a Flash with Todays Technology Finances / Living On Less / Phone App's / Resources / Technology / Topics

Budget in Flash with Technology

 

Learn to Budget Your Finances in a Flash with Technology

Budgeting is not an easy task for some people, and that includes myself! I travel most of the day for my day job, and then have to worry about kids getting places and then of course dinner and publishing content for this site and tons more. Budgeting always ended up on the bottom of my priority list!

In order to save money, you have to know where your money is going! So building a budget is a must to get you started!

Below I will share the 2 Software Program/Apps that I personally used to start my budget and keep me on track daily.

 

1) Mint.com

Budget Your Finances

Mint allows full automation of your finances and is available on through an app and on your desktop at Mint.com! Get a handle on your finances the free and fast way. Mint does all the work of organizing and categorizing your spending for you. See where every dime goes and make money decisions you feel good about.

– See all your accounts in one place. Enter your account info once and everything is done electronically
– Stay up-to-date on your money. Mint automatically updates and categorizes your information, and suggests ways to help you save.
– Safe and Secure
– Mint will send you alerts when you are over budget. You can also see at a glance your net worth, total debt, where you are under or over budget and tons more!

My favorite part of Mint is that I can use in on my Desktop, on my smartphone or tablet and all synchronize!

You can set up a free account at Mint.com

2) Google Sheets

Budget Your Finances

I use Google Sheets to track all of my outgoing payments by month including balance on credit cards, mortgage etc to ensure that my debt goes down every single month!

Use this to see your total debt going down month after month. I am sharing the spreadsheet I actually use so that you can also see your debt go down monthly.

On the top part of the spreadsheet, enter your balances each month after your payment is made. The total columns already have a formula in them to total your debts!

I use the bottom part of the spreadsheet to record what I paid each month so I can ensure nothing is missed and see the monthly payments I made.

Use our Get Out of Debt Spreadsheet for yourself here

You can also use this spreadsheet for your entire Budget just by adding your income and your grocery and other expense categories if you prefer to not use Mint.com.

 

 

Other apps and Software that can be used to help you budget and keep track of receipts etc are:

Learn Vest Personal Financial App

Microsoft Excel

Quicken 

 

More on Getting Out of Debt and Budgeting available NOW:

You can also get a FREE 4 Video Series on Getting Out of Debt right now from

Mark and Lauren Greutman! Hurry and get yours within the next week!!

Register here to get your 4 Financial Renovation Videos for FREE NOW before the intro period is over

 

 

This post is part of the 30 Day Budget Bootcamp that we put together last year with a team of more than 20 money-savvy bloggers who want to help you be better money managers. I wanted to share this step #13 Trying a Spending Freeze again this year as I think it is an important step in getting control of your budget! You can see the complete list of 30 days assignments with links over on our 30 Day Budget bootcamp page here 

30 Day Budget Boot Camp

Topic: Budget Your Finances

 


Join us for a FREE 30 Day Budget Bootcamp and get your finances in order Finances / Living On Less / Online Savings Articles / Resources / Topics / Ways To Save Money

30 Day Budget Bootcamp

Join us for a 30 Day Budget Bootcamp Challenge!

Do you want to get your finances in order or are you struggling making ends meet? Or, do you need to get your spending in line with your priorities? Join our 30 Day Budget Bootcamp Challenge! We’ll help you get a grip on your finances in this easy-to-follow 30-day series.

Starting today September 1st, the savvy bunch of frugal bloggers listed below will provide tips and an actionable daily assignment to all challengers. Plus, they will be in the Mommysavers Forums to offer personal 1:1 advice on that day’s topic. At the end of the 30 days, you’ll be on the right track money-wise and have the know-how to continue on that path.

30-Day Budget Bootcamp Challenge Hosts:

Kim Danger mommysavers.com
Lauren Greutman iamthatlady.com
Rebecca Shirk lettersfromsunnybrook.com
Kristi Sawicki SavingDollarsandSense.com
Mark and Lauren Greutman morewithlesstoday.com
Lori Felix morewithlesstoday.com
Denise Iannarelli couponsforyourfamily.com
Laura Oliver afrugalchick.com
Amanda Brackney simplesavingsavvy.net
Maura White happydealhappyday.com
Phoebe Hendricks gettingfreedom.net
Lisa Thompson simplifiedsaving.com
Jen Dotson/Sia Hills thriftynorthwestmom.com
Sarah Weeda givemeneither.com
Stephanie Brandt debtfreespending.com
Maria Tiongco Ramos ASavingsWOW.com
Melissa Buckles everydaysavvy.com
Kim Danger beachreadynow.com
Mary Hoover missiontosave.com
Kaley Hill Ehret chachingonashoestring.com
Jen Schreiner inspiringsavings.com

JOIN US: Simply create a free Mommysavers Forum account and log in daily starting September 1st to receive your assignment. (The private Budget Bootcamp Challenge forum is located here: http://www.mommysavers.com/c/f/15393/30-day-budget-challenge. It will only be viewable by registered/logged in members).

 

Topic: 30 Day Budget bootcamp


Earn Money / Finances / Online Savings Articles / Topics

Guest Post by Kristy Ramirez

8 Ways to Improve Your Financial Health

Even though the economy has hit some countries harder than others, those who struggle financially can probably use these tips on how to become more financially stable, and eventually financially secure, with a nice nest egg and the bills under control.

There are many things we can all do to alleviate needless spending, overspending, trips, gym memberships and extravagant dinners out – to minimize weekly and monthly costs and eventually get back on track, financially.

Here are some tips to help you get there:

1. Shop conservatively:

There is no reason to buy products that are not on sale – even if you need them.  If the grocery item you want isn’t on sale, buy the generic brand, but don’t pay full price for anything anymore.

Know what is on sale before you go and make a list and don’t sway from that list.  People who shop without a list end up buying much more than they need.  And by all means, don’t go to the store hungry!

2. Create a budget:

Experts cannot emphasize this enough – without a budget you are flying blind.  Give yourself a specific amount for necessities (not luxuries) and stick to that budget no matter what.  If you run out of cash at the end of the month, stick to simple inexpensive meals, such as beans and rice or pasta.

Check out the best personal finance software – to get you on track.

3. Start a savings:

If you can’t get your hands on at least $1,000.00 right now, you could end up in hot water should you experience an emergency.

Get at least that much money put away, and it should always be sitting in an account that you can get to if needed.

And once you get that savings started, make regular deposits, because once you see that money start to grow, it inspires you to keep building that nest egg!  You never know when you might really need that cash.

4. Non-secure debt:

This is where your money is going out the window, in interest payments.  Best suggestion for credit card debt is to search out a ‘balance transfer’ to an introductory zero balance credit card so that you can get that principal paid down.  The sooner the better!

5. Insurance:

Review your insurance policies, and make sure you don’t have too little or too much.  You can evaluate your insurance needs with a good insurance agent, who also might be able to save you a little cash every month by transferring to another company that has better rates.

6. Bank Accounts:

Since the credit card act, banks are trying to find ways to make up all of that extra cash they made on interest.  Check to see if you’re being charged hidden fees and if they’ve added new fees.

If you want to save on excessive bank fees, consider joining a credit union because banks are seriously overcharging their customers in monthly fees, as well as bank and ATM fees.  Credit unions are still somewhat fair.

Also look into a CD or TD or Money Market account so that you can benefit, if even a little, from your savings with interest bearing accounts.

7. Tax returns:

Try not to think of your tax refund as extra money, it is money you paid in that is coming back to you.  Put that money to good use by paying down debt, and putting it into some kind of savings, college fund or retirement fund.

8. Focus on debt-free living:

Check and adjust to debt-free living.  It is going to save you a lot of hardship if something unexpected happens like a serious medical condition or job loss.  Learn how to save, and save regularly.

The truth is, now that times are a little tougher for most of us, we should begin to realize that spending money on unnecessary items is going to keep debt at your door.  It is when you free yourself from all of this debt that you begin to really live!

Kristy Ramirez is a debt-free, frugal mom accomplishing her dreams by following a few simple financial rules. She is also a writer for Life Insurance Finder.