Blog Archives

Watch Your Money….

5 Tricks To Curb Your Spending And Save Money

peonies

Every year, it seems there are things we vow to do more of—exercise, eat healthy, drink more water. Grouped in with those items is always save money. Today, Arin is sharing how she has curbed her spending so far this year and five ways you can do the same!

We’ve all heard it—‘stop going out, stop splurging on clothes, stop buying things you don’t need.’ Easier said than done, right? My husband and I recently purchased our first home, and we’re quickly realizing that home-ownership comes with a hefty price. Obviously, we were aware that it would be costly, but there’s so many hidden expenses that we didn’t even think about. This has resulted in some serious budgeting (ah, the dreaded ‘B’ word!) and retail restraint. We’ve also had to make some major sacrifices to meet our financial goals. These sacrifices include limited nights out, vacations, etc. Obviously, we’ll be able to do these again in time, but, until then, we’re on the road to financial freedom! I wanted to share a few things we’ve been doing that have really helped us along this journey and helped up save money.

  1. Ditch the cable: We were spending close to $100 each month on cable, and this is an area we decided to cut back on. With streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Chromecast, it was a no-brainer for us. Here’s a trick: If your parents/family have a cable account, ask if you can use their login credentials. Download the apps of your favorite networks, and you can actually watch live television (with a cable log-in) while streaming to your TV! I still get my Food Network on a Saturday morning, and it’s 100-percent free thanks to some generous parents (p.s. it does absolutely nothing to their account).
  2. Small weekly saving transfers: Each week, I have my bank set to automatically deposit $30 into my savings account. By the end of each month, I have $120. This just helps curb my spending, and ensures that I’m setting aside money. It’s a great way to build an emergency fund, too.
  3. Use cash: This brings me back to those ‘allowance’ days! Take out a set amount of cash for the month, and once it’s gone, your spending is done. If you’re anything like me, swiping a credit card adds up. All of those little purchases make a dent on your checking. Utilizing this cash method ensures that we will not spend more than the allotted amount. This has seriously worked! Because the cash tends to go quickly, make sure you’re tracking that spending!
  4. No drinks: Here’s a tough one for some. If you are going out to dinner, skip the drinks. By ordering two drinks alone, we’d spend an extra $22 on the bill. By cutting out alcohol while dining out, we saved close to 40 percent on our bill. This honestly makes a huge difference when you’re saving money. Our average dinner bill is usually around $30 or less!
  5. Check your bank statements: I’m guilty of not checking my bank statements regularly. I recently went through it, and noticed that my bank was tacking on unnecessary fees. I also noticed several other errors (Uber charging me twice, etc) and it saved an average of $25 each month. My bank was nice enough to reverse the charges, so it definitely doesn’t hurt to ask. Make sure you’re keeping an eye on statements each month to ensure everything looks correct. It just takes a few minutes, and it really is worth it. In fact, it paid for our dinner!
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Summer Serenity…..

Summer Serenity Series for Moms: Create an Inexpensive Girlfriend Get Together

By Erica Gordon

We made it through another hectic school year and summer, my favorite season, is finally here. Now that the kids are out of school, I can finally breathe. As much as I’m an advocate for learning and education, nothing beats not having to check homework and help with science projects. I’m just sayin’.

As moms we are great at planning fun in the sun for the family, but what about us? Moms want to have fun, too!

So for the next few weeks I’m going to share ideas for you to find serenity and have some fun for less.

Hanging with girlfriends is a fun, inexpensive way to unwind.

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You can host the first get-together and everyone can take a turn hosting. This works well if you and your girls have children around the same age. The kids can come along and play with each other while the moms hang out.

Tips for creating the ultimate girlfriends get-together:

  1. Gather your favorite board games and pick one or two to play. Leave the rest as options – who knows what will happen as the day turns into night.
  2. Make it a potluck. Ask your girlfriends to bring a dish or a drink so the hostess doesn’t have to do it all. Everyone will appreciate this when it’s their turn to host.
  3. Transform your backyard into a tropical getaway with inexpensive decorations from the dollar store or Five and Below. Their selection has really improved and they have great deals. gI_74618_luau-party-ideas
  4. Instead of paying a DJ, create a playlist on your iPod and get the party started.
  5. Have special treats/prizes to reward the kids for good behavior (i.e. not bothering mommy while she’s at her party).
  6. If at all possible, ask your spouse or partner to take the kids for the day, or keep them occupied for a few hours.
  7. ENJOY YOURSELF!! Kick back and relax with your girls. If this isn’t something you do on a regular basis, force yourself to live in the moment. Don’t worry about anything else outside of laughing, eating and drinking your favorite summer drink. Take full advantage of this time to rejuvenate and recharge.

How will you make time to have fun this summer?

Looking for a good read? Check out my newest book, Motherhood & Dreams: You can have it all!

 

3 Easy Tricks to Help Moms Save on Kids’ Clothing

 

3 Easy Tricks to Help Moms Save on Kids’ Clothing

We are so happy to welcome one of our newest contributing writers,  Erica Gordon. Erica is a proud mompreneur of four awesome kids who rock, speaker and radio show host. Erica’s on a mission to empower moms everywhere to confidently follow their dreams without feeling guilty. She is the CEO of Defining Success, LLC and founder of Moms With DREAMS.

PlayDate

Moms, let’s be honest – kids grow super-fast! It seems like yesterday when mine were just little tikes crawling around in onesies and pampers. Now they’re in middle school and high school and only interested in the latest designers and the hottest sneakers. I guess it’s a classic case of the good old saying that time flies when you’re having fun.

How often have you thought about how expensive it is to buy quality clothes for your children, especially when you have more than one child? As a mom of four, that’s always been a point of concern for me.

As the weather transitions into spring, you’ll probably discover that your children have outgrown their cute little outfits from last season and if you’re anything like me, the thought of spring clothes shopping for four kids can be daunting and financially straining.

I’ve put together a simple checklist of 3 simple tricks to help moms save when shopping for your little tikes this season:

1. Consider shopping at a kids resale storeOnce Upon A Child, the largest kids resale franchise in the United States, is a great place to go for quality clothing, furniture and toys at discounted prices.  Here you will find the latest designers and stylish trends for your young fashionistas and GQs-in-training. I’ve found hidden treasures for my children at great prices. You can also bring in your children’s clothes and toys, sell them back to the store and get paid that same day.

Onceupona child

2. If you’re hosting, be sure to invite moms with children of varying ages to ensure that guests will have a nice selection from which to choose.  Set guidelines and let your attendees know that only clothes that are gently used and in good condition will be accepted. This is a great way to socialize with other moms and to find great clothes for the kiddies for FREE.2. Host or attend a kids’ clothing swap party. Hosting a swap party is a great way to kill two birds with one stone – you can have a reason to get together with your girlfriends and find great clothes for your kids at NO cost.

3Your kids are not too good for hand-me-downs.  Recycle clothes from older siblings to younger siblings, especially when your kids are young and growing like weeds.  Let family and friends (whose style you admire) know that you accept used clothing and will be happy to put it to good use. 

And lastly keep in mind that nothing beats free.  Let go of your ego and keep more of your hard-earned money.  Children don’t understand the value of money nor do they care if their clothes are new or used. Save your money so you can put it to good use on something that the whole family can enjoy.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Have you ever purchased gently used clothing or exchanged clothes with other moms? Please share your thoughts and comments.

 

Money Talk….

You’ve pressed the reset button on the year and by now you’ve hopefully determined what your financial goals are for 2014.

CreditReportTutorialGraphic

if improving your credit score is one of those goals, knowing what information is on your credit report is crucial. As you know, my reason for starting My Fab Fico and my financial journey was to improve my credit. Think of the credit report as your roadmap for making that happen.

While I won’t discuss the credit report in detail on this post, I will provide a tutorial for pulling it for free. There are several companies out there including FreeCreditReport.com swindling consumers into paying for their report when your report is available absolutely FREE.

If you would like help understanding your credit report refer to the Credit Report Post. It’s long but hella informative.

The following instructions are for pulling and equifax report.

Lets get started!

1.Make sure you go to annualcreditreport.com. If the page doesn’t look like this (with the exception of the slider image) you are proabbly int he wrong place.

Step 1

Click on the red box at the bottom that says “Request your free credit reports”

2. On this next page all you have to do is click “Request your free credit reports” again
Step 2
3. This page is officially step 1. Here you will fill out all of your personal information. Be sure to double check for accuracy. If you have not lived at your current location for more than a year, be prepared to enter that information as well. Once you’ve entered your information proceed to the next page.

Step 3

 

4. On this page you can decide which bureau you’d like to retrieve your report from. As you know, there are three bureaus: Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. I recommend pulling one every few months. For example pull Equifax in January, Experian in June, Transunion on November. While information can differ from report to report for the most part they are the same. Pulling every few months will allow you to monitor new items, disputes, possible mistakes, and items that might have fallen off.

Make sure you keep a record of which on your pulled for your own records and when.

5. The next page will ask you to verify the last 4 of your social. If all info is correct proceed tot he next page.

6. I call this the trick questions page. On this page you will be asked questions to verify your identity. Please be aware they do throw false information into the mix. Some or all answers could be “None Of The Above”. It is important to answer correctly though. If you get any of these answers wrong they will not allow you to access your report online and you will have to go through the time consuming precess of requesting it by mail.

Step 6

After you have provided your answers proceed tot he next page.

7. This is the page with your credit file number. Make sure to take down your transaction code which will be provided in the first sentence. From this page you will click in the box that says view and print your report (the box next to the pink arrow).

Step 7

 

8. You will finally receive your credit report! Before you do anything, print and/or save your report as a PDF. (the box next to the pink arrow)

Step 8

Again as stated, if you need additional help navigating your report please refer to our Understanding your Credit Report Post.

The PR Girl Toolbox….

PR Woman On A Budget

Student On A Budget

When this semester began so did the stress of having to decide: Should I try to get a job or focus solely on getting an internship? Should I only apply to paid internships? 

I knew I had to come up with some sort of budget; otherwise I’d end up in the same debt I was in last semester.  While not a huge debt, it was enough to provoke an unsettling sensation in the pit of my stomach; you know, the kind you get when you spend money you know you shouldn’t be spending. Being a student on a budget is difficult. Being a PR woman on a budget is even worse.  PR women, like many women, enjoy shopping. How am I going to limit my spending? I grabbed a pen and paper and started to write.

I will…

  • – Write down how much money I have saved and how much of it is available for spending
  • – Calculate how much money I spend on food and transportation per week/month
  • – Compromise but not to the point of stressing myself out (Instead of limiting my outings altogether, I’ll work on limiting how much I spend per outing.)

Before making a purchase I will ask myself… 

  • – Do I need this?
  • – Will I still like this a week from today?
  • – Is there something more valuable I should be doing with this money?

Finances can be a challenge, but they don’t have to be an obstacle. How do you manage your spending?