Basics of Budgeting

  I am a natural born saver. I was always the kid who had Halloween candy left over months after the holiday. Once I got a job, my parents would borrow money from me so they didn’t have to make a trip to the ATM. So, it’s obvious to assume that I enjoy budgeting, and you would be correct. But I know not everyone does. Some of us are savers and some of us are spenders. So how do you get a spender on board with a saver to make a plan that works for everyone?   Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Behaviors One of the easiest methods is simply psychological. It’s all about perception and semantics. A budget is simply a plan for your money. It’s not meant to be a straight jacket restricting your freedom. Call it a spending plan. Call it your money…

How One Innocent Question Saved My Kids from a Lifetime of Debt

So, the title is a mouthful and maybe a little over the top, but conversations with your kids about money is so important. Especially today, when everything is paperless and cashless, money is more abstract a concept than ever. You never know the impact of what you teach them now, before they have a chance to leave the nest and make some really big mistakes with money! You can make these concepts easy for your kids to understand by using real world examples and language they’re comfortable with. I share one of those examples in tonight’s post that I wrote as a guest contributor on Stop Being Dumb. So pop on over via the link below, check out the post (and his blog–good stuff!) and say hi to Jeff (follow him on Twitter @jeffleonard12). Tell him Amy sent you…and you’re…

How We Made Big Cuts to Our Utility Budget

This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions and experiences are 100% mine. I never recommend something that I haven’t tried and used myself.   Have you ever sat down and figured out how much it costs to run your house for an entire year? I do this every year at tax time (speak of the devil!) so that we can write off a percentage of our usage for running a business from our home office. I’m always amazed at how much it actually costs to power our certified “energy-efficient” home. I have a few ways that we’ve made some big cost-cutting changes to help our utility budget. And I’m not talking about LED bulbs, programmable thermostats, faucet aerators and shorter showers (though all of those things are great and you should look into them)… Let me start by saying, if you…

How I Feed My Family of 6 on $125 a Week

  Maybe $125 a week sounds like a lot to you depending on your situation, but it’s not much for our family of 6, especially considering the size of my son’s appetite! 😊 Getting all that we need for that amount does take some work and it all begins with two little words that may cause some dread: meal planning. I fought against it for a long time, but then I discovered the Home Headquarters kit from LoveandMoney.com (they also have a storefront on Amazon if you have Prime!). It’s a command center for your home to keep you organized, which helps you save money. The kit includes frames to place templates behind so you can use dry erase markers to make and change plans, a wall calendar to keep track of everyone’s schedules, a jelly jar and hardware to hold writing utensils, and a chalkboard…

You Don’t Need to Spend Money on These Things…Really

  Many of us spend money on things that we needn’t simply because the perception is that most everyone else does and/or we should. I may ruffle a few feathers here, but my hope is that you will really look at the motivations behind some of this spending that you may do and absolve yourself of any guilt should you decide to say no (or just scale back) next time you’re presented with the opportunity.     Fundraising: As a mom of a Girl Scout, this may be tantamount to blasphemy to say out loud, but I really do not like Girl Scout cookies. Gasp, I know! I don’t buy them off my daughter and when she ages out of Scouts, I’m perfectly capable of saying no when approached by others. Now, if you’re not comfortable saying no to a child who’s just…

Want to Improve Your Long Term Finances? Stop Doing This One Thing

  I vividly remember the day that I realized I was party to a privileged upbringing. I am dating myself here, but it was 1998 and I was a freshman in college at the time (and yes, it really did take that long for me to get it!). I was attending a party with some of my fellow Lowe’s employees after work late one night. As I was leaving, my friends walked out with me to my car. I unlocked the door of my full-size ’92 Mercury Grand Marquis (similar to the one pictured above only mine was a pinkish-gold color!) and one of my friends gasped. Embarrassed by the “old person” car that I was driving, I cringed as I asked her what was wrong. Her eyes were wide as she was taking in the wood-grain trim and the smooth leather interior while simultaneously asking…

The Best Places to Get Your Cash Back

This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions and experiences are 100% mine. I never recommend a company or product that I haven’t tried and used myself.   I am a bargain hunter by nature, always have been. Not always smart about it though–in my younger days, I have been known to buy a cute pair of sandals that were two sizes too small because they were only $10 and the leather “should stretch out over time!” You guessed it; I wore them one time for a grand total of an hour, couldn’t return them and was out $10. Don’t be like the old me! Nowadays, I’m smarter about my bargain hunting and planned purchases. Anything unplanned, I have a customary two to seven day waiting period before I decide if I really love that item enough to…

Crush Your Cable Bill

This post may contain affiliate links. I never recommend anything I haven’t tried myself. All opinions are 100% mine.   Entertainment costs have been skyrocketing for years, but we’re fortunate to live in technologically advanced times that provide many different options for cutting cable–and the hefty bill. No longer are we stuck jumping between a local cable company or a satellite dish company. Ditching traditional cable or satellite can seem like a big change to make, but after an adjustment period, the only thing you’ll notice is the savings. I’m not a big TV watcher. I don’t have it on at all during the day unless my little ones want to catch a Sprout or Disney show. Otherwise, nothing comes on until all the kids are down for bed–and by then it pretty much serves as…

Welcome!

When I decided to start this blog, I began by checking out what was already being shared by other bloggers in this same subject space. I found a lot of similar information being presented, which to some extent is expected because being successful in personal finance is, at its core, a matter of keeping both your wants and your needs below your earnings. The ways you choose to do that vary greatly and we’ve all heard some cost-cutting advice before. I will likely repeat some things you’ve already heard or know, but some information should be reiterated simply because it really works! After all, repetition is the key to learning and creating new habits. However, I also plan to set myself apart by introducing you to some new tips and ideas for saving and earning money on your way to financial wellness. I first became…

5 Low Effort Ways to Bring in Some Extra Money

This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions and recommendations are 100% mine–I never recommend a company that I haven’t tried and used myself. The yin to the money saving yang is earning more money. It’s not always very easy to do this. You may have a full-time job, a family, sometimes school and a second job already. How do you fit anything else in? While the following suggestions will not make you rich, they are some low effort ways to add a little extra spending money to your wallet.   Swagbucks–For When You Need a Few Extra Bucks for Some Swag Swagbucks is a portal to earning free gift cards or Paypal deposits by simply viewing video content, taking some surveys, discovering deals, playing online games, and completing bonus activities. If you have some down time to surf around online…