Moving on a Budgetūüöö

Moving, in my opinion,  is always a fun new adventure to be had! It can also be a costly endeavor. I have moved more than the average citizen, due to military life.  In this article, I will discuss how to move when you are on a budget.

First things first, do you know the new location you’re moving to? Are you familiar with the area, schools, cost of living, and overall lifestyle? If you are familiar with your new location, great, this will make your move easier and more than likely, you will settle in quickly. If you are not familiar with the new location take some time to research the area prior to your move.

Time to prepare for your move. Moving supplies can be costly depending on the size of the home that you are moving from. You can buy boxes at your local hardware store or multi-purpose stores like Walmart or Target. If you want to take the budget friendly route, you can go to the same local stores, including grocery stores, and ask the customer service representative if there are any boxes that you can have for free. Usually they are nice and will tell you when the store shipments come in and that’s when they will have boxes available for pick up. Purchasing a box of large, heavy-duty trash bags are another way to save money. You can pack soft items such as linen and clothes in the trash bags for short moves. I wouldn’t suggest this for long-distance moves because condensation may collect in the bags and cause mildew. You will also need tape for the boxes. You can rarely find it for free, but buying it in bulk at the hardware store is usually cheaper than buying it at the grocery store or your local shop.

The best thing that you can do for yourself, your family, and your budget, is to be prepared. I use a moving checklist.  You can find them on Pinterest, Google, and many other sites.

Take your time. If you have knowledge of your move at least 3 months in advance, you have time to slowly purge items you no longer need or want and get things organized.

If you are renting a moving truck, check out different sites.  Research different options, find out what size truck will best fit your needs and what price will best fit your budget.

Make your move simple, positive, and adventurous! Good luck on your new journey!

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Ballin’ on a Budgetūüėé

So I have a confession, I love to shop! But, who doesn’t? There is a way you can have the things¬†you want and still live within your budget. If you are truly serious about securing your financial future, the first thing you have to learn is financial discipline. The hardest part is saying no, especially when there is something you want.

I have a weakness for clearance sales! When I see an item with a reduced price tag, something in my brain triggers. I start having racing thoughts; why do I need this item or how I can use it? I basically convince myself to buy the item.

There are ways that you can shop for the things you need and not break the bank. Buying clothes off season is cheaper than buying clothes in season. For my children, when clothing becomes deeply discounted (like a winter clothes sale in March), ¬†I like to purchase the next size up so that when my kids grow, they always have new clothes and I don’t have to rush out and buy regular priced clothing.

There are plenty of great stores to watch for off-season sales, also when they discontinue items. Walmart, Old Navy, (If you’re military, ¬†the Exchange), Target, Drjays.com, etc. You just have to do a little research to find out when these stores are getting rid of discontinued or off-season items.

Did you know there are places like hotels, rental centers, and banquet halls that have furniture, appliance, and other household item sales regularly? Call around, see if there are any happening near you!

Over time I have taught myself financial discipline by comparing the importance of things I may want now, to something that I want in the future. For example: A Coach purse is $200 dollars.  You can buy it now and have a pretty $200 dollar purse sitting in your closet, or, you can take the $200 dollars and save it for the down payment on the house you plan to purchase in the future. The choice is yours, but remember,  so is the consequence!

Coupons, The New Cash!

Couponing has helped my family survive hard times. When we didn’t have much money, we never had to worry about what the children would eat. One thing we never ran out of, was food. In this article, I’m going to teach you the basics of couponing and how to live in abundance while still living within your means.

Couponing is the new cash! You can save thousands of dollars a year using coupons for groceries. I am far from the greatest couponer of all time, but saving $4,000 in 2015 really helped my family get ahead financially.

Getting coupons is the easy part. You can get coupons by purchasing the Sunday newspaper at your local grocery store or gas station. If you would like to get coupons for free, there are lots of places where free coupons can be found. I’ve found them in magazines in doctors offices, laundromats, the free Pennysaver newspapers, coupons.com, Etc. Ask around, your friends, family members and co-workers may have coupons they are willing to give you.

Next, you need to do a little research. In order to be a successful couponer, you need to know when the new advertisement or sales start at your local stores. These ads can be found online (Flipp app) or in the Sunday paper along with coupons. Also, there is usually a small stand or kiosk at the entrance of the store that contains advertisements.

Once you have an idea of when the sales start and you have begun to collect coupons, you are ready to do some matchups. Examine the advertisement and find products that match the coupons you have. Be aware of the expiration date on the coupon and the date of the advertisement. Most store sales last only one or two weeks, it is pertinent you use your coupons in a timely manner.

Also make sure the coupon you are using specifically matches the item for sale. Mistakes can easily be made when couponing. Be sure to read the coupon in its entirety prior to use, some coupons have a limit of how many identical coupons can be used in one transaction. Some coupons have products size limits.  You can locate a stores couponing policy online or at the customer service desk of the store. This will help you get a better understanding of the specific couponing regulations for each store.

You can store your coupons anyway that is easiest for you to retrieve them. I use a zip up binder. ¬†I separate my coupons with baseball card holders and dividers. ¬†I categorize the items how they are found in the grocery store, this is what’s easiest for me. ¬†You may find something else that works better for you.

I wish you luck on your first shopping trip! Don’t forget to be patient and understanding with cashiers and yourself. ¬†Couponing can not only be a great hobby, but also a great way to better your financial situation!

 

Saving up & Eating out

Eating out is my biggest weakness when it comes to saving money.   I eat out a few times a week.  Do you eat out? If so, how often?  Eating out is considered impulse spending when it is not planned. It may also put a damper on your savings. In this article, I will let you in on some of my money-saving secrets while eating out.

Reward cards are the best thing since the invention of Caller ID, lol.  I have a reward card to almost every fast food chain, grocery store, and coffee shop there is. These cards are normally free. Some offer exceptional deals on their products. Many reward programs also offer free items for a certain amount of items purchased.

Dine in restaurants and fast food restaurants also offer coupons. You can find the coupons online, on the company’s app, and in the restaurant. Sometimes the coupons are free, but places like McDonald’s and KFC offer coupon books starting at $1. These books are totally worth it! They contain high value coupons and coupons for free items as well.

When my family eats fast food, I try my best to keep the total around $20, but this can be hard with a family of five. Here are a few things I do to achieve my budget goals; I do not order combo meals. Often buying a combo meal is more costly than buying the items separately. I will order sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and fries from the value menu and one cup of water for each person, if we are traveling.  If are going home, we do not need any drinks with our meal.

There is nothing wrong with indulging every now and then. Setting limits and planning are best when deciding where, how often, and how much to spend when you eat out!

Credit Repair

Many people who have poor credit believe fixing it is nearly impossible or will take years.  This is not necessarily true.  Sometimes the smallest issue on your credit report can be easily fixed and may be significant enough to change your score.

If you are ready to begin the journey of credit repair, there are a few tips that will help you create a solid foundation to excel forward. To get started you will need to know your current credit status. ¬†You can do this at annualcreditreport.com. ¬†This website gives you a free print out of your credit report. ¬†Annual Credit Report does not include the credit score on the report, unless you pay for it. ¬†Credit Karma is a great place to keep track of your score, for free. ¬†Although the score from Creditkarma.com isn’t completely accurate, it gives you an idea of where you stand. ¬†With these tools, you are on your way to taking control of your financial future!

There are a lot of credit mistakes people make. Often they do not realize these mistakes are affecting their financial future.  Anytime you apply for a cellphone, apartment, student loans, a car, credit card, etc., you are allowing a company to place an inquiry on your credit.  This can possible lower your score.  Do not excessively apply for things, if you can help it. Do your research first. Call the company and find out what their credit criteria is prior to applying.  Ask if there is a certain thing they are looking for on your credit report like your score, credit history,  and any negative reports such as late or non payments.

Only purchase items you can immediately afford or can pay in full within 30 days. Renting furniture or electronics from places like Rent A Center or Aaron’s can also negatively affect your credit. ¬†A word of advice: Saving $250 dollars for a XBOX is a lot cheaper than renting it for $11 dollars a week, for 52 weeks. ¬†Save the money first then purchase the item. I know, it’s not the instant satisfaction of having the item now. Just think, once you purchase the item with your saved money, it’s yours! No one can take it away or report on your credit for non-payment.

Once you obtain your credit report, make sure you have a tangible copy. ¬†This way you can easily refer to it and write¬†down the things you’ve inquired about or settled. If there are any items with low balances you can afford to pay in full, do that first. ¬†If there are items on your report that you cannot afford to immediately pay, but would be able to pay in full within six months or less, call the company listed on your credit report and make payment arrangements. ¬†If there are accounts that have¬†amounts close to, or more than your yearly income, ask if you can settle those accounts for less than what you owe.¬†Settling a credit account is not an ideal situation. ¬†It will be reported that it was settled, closed and you paid less than the balance due.

Be responsible. If you open a line of credit, you are responsible for paying what you agreed to. If you do not pay it, it can financial haunt you for many years. It’s not worth the trouble. If you ever want to purchase a home, new car or get a loan; companies are looking at the financial paper trail you’ve left. Your credit report is a financial report card, you cannot graduate if you have all F’s. Strive for A’s, it pays!

The Struggle is Real.

Have you ever thought that it’s impossible to save money when you are living on a tight budget? I used to think so. ¬†I worked a full-time job, worked over time, and did side jobs just to make ends meet. Without realizing it, you have extra money and its money that can be saved! ¬†In order to get out of the struggle; you must gain self-control and become financially disciplined. This Blog will show how to not only get ahead, but also achieve goals you never thought were possible.

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