As you look at your pile of bills, at the roof that needs to be fixed, at the fact that at least one of your children may need braces, do you dream of winning a big dollar sweepstakes that would take care of your problem? For “sweepers,” those who make a hobby, or even a living, out of entering sweepstakes, the dream may not be so far from a reality. Entering sweepstakes can pay off and may even be able to get you out of debt, if you don’t spend more than you win, if you apply the bulk of … Continue reading
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Spend less this year on your summer vacation, no matter where you plan to go! Compare Rates There is more than one way to go on vacation, so make sure that you do your research before booking anything. Compare costs for both packaged deals and separate travel and accommodations. The only way to know if you are getting a good deal is to compare it to other offers out there. Sometimes you can save quite a bit of money just by choosing to start your vacation on a certain day of the week. While this may not make much difference … Continue reading
Garage sales can be great ways to earn some extra cash that you can use to pay off debt. Just a few hundred dollars may be enough to pay off the next bill in your snowball or avalanche. (To learn more about the snowball and avalanche methods of getting rid of debt, click here.) Gathering up items for your sale is often the hardest part about hosting one. Here are some tips that will help you do just that. Allow yourself enough time to go through your home. This way you won’t be rushing around at the last minute, or … Continue reading
Coupons can be a wonderful way to reduce your grocery bill. The cost of food can be high these days, and cents-off coupons make sense. Just make sure that when you use coupons, you use them carefully. Otherwise, you may actually see your grocery bill balloon to new heights. How can coupons raise your grocery bill? The basic answer is that coupons are actually calculated to get you to spend money by enticing you to purchase a product. They work really well at doing this, which is why manufacturers continue to offer them. If you aren’t careful, you could get … Continue reading
Debt has a way of sneaking up on us. It seems as though one moment we are free and clear and the next we have a mountain of trouble in the form of money owed. Knowing why we can get into debt is the first step to preventing it from getting worse or from happening at all. Here are some common reasons why we get into debt and how we can minimize out risk of debt in the future. Unexpected Expenses or Loss of Income An unexpected expense or a loss of income can plunge even the most affluent families … Continue reading
What is the best way to get out of debt? Well, that depends on who you talk to, but the experts and the experienced alike seem to narrow things down to two choices: the snowball method or the avalanche method. There are pros and cons to both the snowball method and the avalanche method. Learn the ins and outs so you’ll know which is right for you. Before paying down debt with either method, you should do two things: stop non-essential spending, and determine how much extra money you can put toward debt. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, … Continue reading
Summer is coming! Families all over are starting to plan their recreation for the warmest season. Fit in more fun this summer when you include plenty of free activities that won’t affect your family finances. Keeping the kids busy has never been easier or cheaper. Make sure to do your research early, as some of these free events require registration and can fill up quickly. Free Factory Tours All around the country you’ll find free factory tours. Witness the making or potato chip or chocolate or find out how jelly beans are formed. Sniff perfume before it is bottled or … Continue reading
Looking for the least expensive version of a product is usually a good idea, except for when it isn’t. The following five bargain products may wind up costing you more of your hard-earned money in the end. Paper Towels Usually when you buy cheap paper towels, you wind up using more of them, negating any real savings. A better bet is to bring down the cost of more expensive brands by using coupons and sales and buying in bulk. You can also eliminate most of your paper towel use by substituting greener options. Using inexpensive wash clothes, chamois cloths, or … Continue reading
Some choices in life we make because we think they are necessary, others because we think we are doing the right thing, but often there is another way of looking at it. While the following major family choices shouldn’t be made solely on the basis of money, in each case, these decisions will have a significant impact on your financial future, maybe more than you might think. It is important to get tough and objective when you are faced with the following life situations, or at least be prepared for the incoming financial impact. Getting Divorced Divorce causes a lot … Continue reading
Before even thinking about getting out of debt, you should find out your credit scores and your credit reports. Not factoring in this information can affect your get-out-of-debt success. Seeing What You Owe Being armed with your credit scores and your credit reports will give you a good starting point for your debt repayment plan. You will be able to see all that you owe and who you owe it too. Sometimes when we are in major debt, we concentrate so much on just getting the monthly payments in that we underestimate the amount of debt that we have, or … Continue reading
When trying to get out of debt, does it make sense to save? Absolutely. Not being prepared for an emergency with ready cash could lead to more severe debt. It is possible to both pay back debt and save at the same time. It just takes commitment and a little knowledge. Here are some tips on just how you can save while still keeping your debt payments on track. Setting up Your Savings If you are starting from scratch, meaning lots of debt and no savings, do whatever it takes to put $500-$1,000 aside right now. While this may seem … Continue reading
From meeting musk ox to sampling your favorite chocolate or jelly beans, factory tours can be a frugal way to fit in some extra activities this summer. Both fun and educational, their low-cost (in many cases, these factory tours are free!) makes them ideal for keeping the kids busy without negatively affecting your family finances. Here are some of the best and most interesting factory tours that are available across the country. Visit factorytourusa.com for additional available tours. Alabama Blue Bell Creameries “Folks of all ages seem to like our plant tour, but it may be ’cause they get to … Continue reading
One business tip that applies to both home – based professionals and professionals who work outside of the home is that the route to career satisfaction is to follow your dreams. Since it is graduation season, the phrase “follow your dreams” is being tossed around a lot, as proud families wish their graduates the best as they go on to the world of work or the pursuit of higher education. Sometimes, though, it is harder to follow one’s dreams than it might seem. This is a new realization for me. On one hand, I am following my dreams. I am … Continue reading
We are planning to have a birthday party for my youngest son at our house in less than a month. We are in the middle of some chaos at the house (nothing new), so we have our work cut out for us to get everything ready. If money was no option, we might just hire things out, but as it is, we are opting for low-cost or no-cost ways to get it all done. Here are the ideas I am batting around today, as we start to make our plans. Cleaning in Pieces In the last few weeks, we have … Continue reading
Typically, I don’t sleep the night before an early morning flight. I simply don’t trust myself to wake-up on time. What’s more, the cost of missing my flight would keep me up for months, so I simply remain awake at night and sleep on the plane. This is true if I’m departing from my home or a hotel, though the latter is debuting some new practices to help heavy sleepers like me avoid the costly mistake of missing a flight or an important business meeting. Properties like The Wolcott Hotel in New York are going the extra mile so guests … Continue reading
Have you heard of KitchMe? It’s another one of these oddly named websites that people can use to save some money. KitchMe is run by Coupons.com and is currently in beta. I learned about KitchMe because I signed up to get email from Coupons.com. When I first got the email about it, I glanced at KitchMe, but didn’t quite understand what it was for. Now that I have had some more time to look at it, things are a bit more clear. KitchMe is a website that you can browse through for interesting recipes. It will connect those recipes with … Continue reading
Forget about packing lunches; unpacking my kid’s backpack on the last day of school has got to me the worst mom job ever. The sheer volume of crud that is shoved into that Scooby bag is mind-boggling. While I’d love to dump the contents of the entire bag into the trash, I am far too frugal to let even the smallest pencil stub enter the garbage if it can serve a purpose somewhere in our home. If you are looking to save money this summer, don’t give into the temptation to dump your child’s old school supplies. Rather, sort through … Continue reading
Here is quick tip that will help you save money at Target. Before you leave your house, get online and check out their weekly ad. It always includes some featured coupons that you can print out. Often, the weekly ad has recipes, special offers, and other helpful ways to save. Dial has a coupon that will save you $1.00 when you buy 1 Dial body wash. This coupon is for the 12 ounce (or larger) sizes. Target has a coupon that will save you $2.00 when you buy the book Tell the Wolves I’m Home by the author Carol Rifka … Continue reading
Heeled sneakers are all the rage with hip moms in France right now. While I will happily pass on the Sneakletto craze; I’m not opposed to employing practical techniques parents in Paris and other parts of the world have mastered in order save cash while raising young children. Less is more: Surveys show the average American household spends $200 per child for birthday parties and gifts. That means forking over nearly $1,000 per year if you have three or four kids. Compare that to most French parents who typically celebrate their children’s birthdays with a simple home-cooked meal. In Japan, … Continue reading
Today is the last day of school for my two older children. I have some interesting things planned for them (insert evil cackle here). All of these things are free or inexpensive, but I hope they make a big impact in welcoming my kids home, to roughly two months of warm summer days of fun. My kindergartener just got up from bed. He has been out of school since last week and already getting quite used to sleeping in. He will be my partner in crime today, helping me to set up and execute our welcome to summer projects. First, … Continue reading
After an extended school year, brought about by using too many snow days in the winter, classes are officially over for kids in my neck of the woods. And by woods, I mean fenced in backyards where parents can let their kids roam free before cabin fever sets in. If you are looking for simple projects to keep your kids entertained during the endless days of summer, consider the following: Fluorescent Slime Materials: Glow-in-the-dark paint Elmer’s glue gel Borax Hot water Directions: Combine one cup of hot water with a cup of Borax. Stir until the Borax won’t dissolve anymore. … Continue reading
My 8-year-old is a LEGO Friends fanatic. My dishwasher is not. I know this because of the horrible sounds it’s been making since swallowing one of the tiny plastic bricks meant to stabilize the slide on my daughter’s Heartlake City Pool set. I’m this close to tossing out the rest of the set and booking a trip to New York City. That’s where Nathan Sawaya’s massive LEGO display is being showcased for kids of all ages to enjoy. Perhaps, immersing my child in another LEGO lover’s colorful brick designs will take her mind off her mother’s moratorium on LEGO play. … Continue reading
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