Tag Archives: budget

Green Cleaning

23 Mar

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Green cleaning is better as a whole both for the environment and for your health. If you haven’t gone green yet I highly suggest you start, sooner rather than later and of course if your not pregnant yet now is the time to start go going. One of the simplest ways to go green is to buy green cleaning products, now since not all green products are made equal I have listed a few below. 

Seventh Generation– rewards program here

Mrs. Meyers

Ecover  – they even have coupons

Make sure to purchase a couple different cleaning options

Green cleaning will be so much healthier for you and your baby. If money’s tight consider making some of your own cleaning mixtures with natural ingredients: lemons, peroxide, white vinegar, ACV castile soap, and other items are very affordable and often are some of the best cleaning ingredients we have straight from nature.


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Building an Emergency Fund

22 Mar

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Without a budget people have the idea that they’re doing better than they actually are, unfortunately many people are in worse financial shape than even they realize especially because people often don’t have enough liquid assets (aka cash reserves or savings.)  Its no surprise why its confusing all the “experts” use different percentages and ratios look at how they stack up:

Gail Vaz- Oxlade : “10% monthly income goes to savings” – often seen on Till Debt Do Us Part

Dave Ramsey:  ” 3 – 6 month emergency savings, invest 15% of income into Roth IRAs & Pre-Tax retirement”

Suze Orman: “8 month emergency fund”

And many more people use different ratios, first off lets start with, everyone needs an emergency fund we can all agree with that. In this economy, with little job growth, a soft real estate market and  such uncertainty you need more of an emergency fund not less. All emergency funds need to be able to cover all your monthly bills for X period of time (I personally agree with Suze Orman and 8 months is much more realistic in this economy)

An emergency fund needs to be funded: gather all your monthly bills (categorize these bills by priority 1 & 2 I will teach you below my system for this) and make sure once you’ve figured out the amount of bills you have monthly then multiply them e.g. total monthly income $4,000. and total bills $3,500 this means you need $3,500 X 8 months = $28,000 (emergency fund – I suggest you get a free savings account at your present bank or use an online higher interest savings account from HSBC or ING and immediately set-up  automatic with drawls every month to force savings)

Priority 1 Bills: (Bills that MUST be paid & could hurt you if gone unpaid)

Your Mortgage, Taxes, Insurance (for a home)

Student Loans (these are RARELY ever discharged in Bankruptcy so you need to keep paying them)

Bills that keep you and your family living: Food, Water, Electric / Gas (these are all essentials)

Priority 2 Bills: (These are bills you have that are NOT MUSTS however when working your family is able to afford these bills) aka know as the wants not needs of bills / debts. – These are cable TV, high speed internet, lawn cutting service, house cleaning services, car detailing, these are expenses that your family can afford during normal working conditions but are items that can & should be cut during times of unemployment.

 

Baby Diaper Bag

19 Mar

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Are you in search for the perfect baby bag? Something sturdy, will fit plenty of stuff, and yet be able to be used from one child to another. This bag while not technically a diaper bag I think it could work much better than most out there on the market. It also comes in a variety of color options and the ability to monogram. Finally, you can also choose the size: small, medium, large, or extra large. 

Nursery DIY Project

28 Feb

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Are you looking for something really cute for your little one’s nursery and also something affordable? Well I have the perfect DIY project for you head over to Le Zoe Musing to find out how to create your own inexpensive version of the photo illustrated above.

I hope this inspires you and if you already have an older toddler let them help you with this project for the new baby.

Maternity Leave Finances

25 Feb

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Did you know according the Census Bureau approximately half of working women don’t qualify for maternity leave. I think that’s crazy, however today I am here to talk to you about managing your finances for maternity leave.

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First off don’t stress out this is not good for your health or the baby’s.  If your planning on getting pregnant than go ahead and create a budget (if you don’t already have one) and make adjustments for savings this is a time when you need to start saving even more $ than before. If your already pregnant take your budget and see where you can cut unnecessary expenses from, start packing lunches for work, eat out less often, detail your own car at home, rent a movie, rent books from the library do stuff that is cheaper than before or free.

Commit to a budget for baby and stick to it, there are so many items they will try and sell you that are unnecessary or just frivolous. Don’t go overboard on buying baby stuff, its a newborn it has needs remembering above that your buying your wants. Set up an automatic transfer from your checking to savings account every month this will help (minimum of 10%). I am not trying to say have no fun, just have fun that doesn’t cost a lot. When people offer to buy you something for the baby ask for items that you will really need and are disposable like diapers, baby wash, and other basic necessities – also check out my blog and read past posts on how to save $ with babies.

Don’t wait till the 11th hour, my friend did this and she was 2 days before her due date (1o/30 due 11/1) and she was still negotiating the ability for maternity compensation. Make sure to check and see if your FMLA qualified and what your compensation will be on maternity leave. Make sure to speak with your Human Resources department and get a letter in writing I really recommend doing this around the 6-7 month mark, that way you and your employer have plenty of time to get all the paperwork done, and the employer has time to make arrangements for your job to be covered while your out. Once you know what type of compensation you will or won’t receive during maternity leave –  factor that into your new monthly budget with your now adjusted monthly income. I will be writing a follow up post to this one in the next few weeks so be sure to check back for part 2 in which I will include some additional resources.

 

 

Mint – Free Finance Software

19 Feb

Part of having a stress free family (especially with a baby in the house), is being organized and on top of your finances So, here I am giving you a suggestion, try Mint – its the online, free software to help track all your money in 1 place. You can start this anytime, its free and I think you will really enjoy having a better look at your finances. Remember that you can control your finances so don’t let money be an overwhelming stress to track and manage. I love Mint because its free and able to fit in everyone’ s budget including single moms. Check out these other tips I have for managing your finances including your free credit score, getting organized, and quick tips for money management.

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Manilla Solves Organization

5 Feb

Being organized comes naturally to some others not so much…we live in a world where we get points for air travel, hotels, rewards for credit card purchases, while this is great it also leads to additional time tracking all these perk. This tracking takes time, and the paper adds clutter to already all the monthly bills you receive. Manilla will track your bills, rewards, and works with over 1,200 service providers.  Not to mention all this paper in so environmentally unfriendly and wasteful.

Tracking finances and money is the first step to understanding money so shouldn’t you get a better understanding of your family’s finances? Save time and money (Manilla is FREE and web-based) and go from this

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to this with Manilla

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Baby Showers Savings

2 Feb


Baby Showers can be so fun and exciting but often people are stumped for new ideas on how to throw a Baby Shower without breaking the bank or buying a bunch of hoopla they don’t need or won’t enjoy. Well, I am no salesperson at a party store so I can steer you in the right direction. These tips are to help you save money, I will be writing several more entries on Baby Showers (to include things like food, gifts, etc)

As long as you know the sex of the baby then this will help in decorating (blue/green or pink/lavender themes). Lets discuss some strategies:

Venue: It is ideal to have at a family or friend’s house (because it won’t cost you money to reserve a room). Too many people waste money renting a room at a local restaurant, hotel, or association club and this money could be better used elsewhere. 

Decorations / Theme: As long as you know the baby’s gender go ahead and decorate accordingly. Blue/Green for a boy and Pink/Lavender for a girl if keeping to a tight budget. The party is supposed to fun and lighthearted keep in mind when decorating. Don’t go overboard on spending money on expensive decorations. You need Balloons in the colors for the baby. Cheap idea go online search images for baby items (bottles, storks, diapers, etc) then print them off, cut them out and glue them to a cardboard backing, then adhere to the walls or punch a hole and hang.

Themed Parties: A themed party can be great fun, but I highly suggest if your having a themed baby shower (not pink/lavender or blue/green) but think owls,animals, princess, sports, etc. that you check out several places online before hand to price compare I assure prices can vary greatly then compare those to your local party store.

Flowers: Make sure to have some type of flower the mommy to be likes or incorporate colored flowers into the design – buy fresh white flowers (especially carnations or daisies) and then color them Pink or Blue learn how to here

Coordinating: Make sure to have a sign-in sheet so that way mom is able to keep this list afterwards

Photography: Whoever has a good camera needs to set this up ahead of time – remember to take photos of items beforehand to save yourself the trouble during the party so you can enjoy yourself more (cake or cookies can be photographed, as well as all decorations and have all the girls who are there ahead of the mom to be take a group photo together). If you have a tri-pod set it up as well.

Need some resources I hope these will help you, till my next writing on Baby Showers:

Plan the Perfect Baby Shower

Planning a Baby Shower

 


2 Methods to Perfect Finances

2 Feb

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In order to have the best financial future it takes budgeting and saving. The best way, sorry I have 2 methods because there is no one size fits all approach to achieve optimal financial success.

Here is 2 great methods used:

  • All Cash Method
  • The Pay in Full Credit Card Approach

Obviously, these are completely different methods but both work well you just have to determine which method works better for your family.

The All Cash Method is an approach to paying all your bills with cash (after all cash is King)you will create a budget and then pay all your bills with cash. For items like a mortgage or car payment you will mail a check, but otherwise all other purchases are paid in cash (groceries, clothes, entertainment, eating out) this method requires not using credit cards to help prevent people from going into debt. If you struggle to pay credit card payments on time or always pay the minimum payment this method is for you. If your looking for help to get started check out this site

The Pay in Full Credit Card Approach is an approach exactly as it sounds you pay all your bills on your credit card (with the exception of the ones that can’t be paid by credit card: mortgage, car payment). This means dining out, groceries, gym memberships, entertainment, shopping, you name it, you pay it on the credit card. Then when you get your statement you immediately pay off the entire balance. This method works well ONLY if you COMMIT to paying off the the ENTIRE balance each month. It does helps track all of your bills / purchases in one place.


Get your Credit Score for FREE

27 Jan

As many of you know Credit Scores are an important factor in obtaining a loan, and having a good credit score will help you get a loan with a lower interest rate therefore a lower monthly payment (car, house, personal loan, etc.).

So, today I wanted to discuss with you about obtaining your free credit report

  • First of all, EVERYONE is entitled to 1 Free credit score 1 time a year
  • You need to know how to get your free score in order to check it without it costing you a dime (too many programs charge you to see your score, or debit a monthly subscription charge). Here is how I get mine COMPLETELY FREE
  • Go to myFICO
  • Create an account (if your a returning customer you will just Log-In after the first time)
  • Then Select to Get your Free Fico Score (this will automatically enroll you in Score Watch which will COST $14.95 month if not cancelled within 10 days, minimum of 3 months)
  • You will now be able to view & print your credit score and report
  • After you have printed your credit score & report from 1,2 or all 3 credit bureaus, you need to cancel your subscription to Score Watch
  • I have NEVER had a problem canceling (you have 10 days to do so, this never is a problem for me I always have cancelled within 3 days since I just view and print all my reports I have no need for Score Watch)
  • How to Cancel is simple: Go to your account and Click on “Support Center” then select “Cancel my Subscription to Score Watch”
  • Understand once you cancel you will NO longer have ACCESS to your credit score & report so please print them beforehand
  • Then either call or use the online form to cancel, I have always used the online form and have never had any trouble (I have used this for several years and have never been billed once)
  • This here is the On-line form

The reason I do not pay for Score Watch or any other score monitoring company that charges is I use Credit Karma – its a web based, online completely free program that gives you a real financial snapshot and it provides you with a credit score and your report. You can log into your account and check your credit score as often as you want and it’s totally free.

I really hope these resources helps you and your family  (tell your friends too) to get on the right track to financial know-how and empowerment.