Are You Ready to Shop on Black Friday?

I love shopping during the holiday season.  My favorite day to shop is Black Friday. I know many disagree because the crowds can sometimes be overwhelming. There are ways to avoid the crowds (at certain stores) and get the items you are looking for. Shopping outside of peak Black Friday hours is a great way to avoid large crowds.  As the years have gone by, Black Friday has made its way to Thanksgiving Thursday. This is mainly because most people are not working on Thanksgiving but often return to work the following day (Friday).  Companies believed that the idea of making Black Friday shopping accessible to those people would help boost their profits.

Bestblackfriday.com is a great site to find deals, it has a list of deals to be had on Black Friday.  Also, they have included a list of retailers that will be closed on Black Friday. This site offers ads prior to Black Friday and even some store maps of where specific items can be located.  Store maps can be your best friend, it makes a positive impact on your shopping experience when you don’t have to search for items in a large store. Theblackfriday.com website also posts deals and early ads for Black Friday.

A few tips for you prior to making a big shopping trip.  Make a list.  At our home around Thanksgiving we have an art night. Each person in my family gets a 5×7 index card to list whatever items they may want. Then we decorate the cards with glitter, crayons, marker, etc.  I write down the sizes of shirts, pants, and shoes on each person’s card. When we are ready to shop my husband and I can split up and take the cards and we know exactly what the children want and their sizes (this works for your significant other as well). Another great tip is to set a budget for each person. We do this at the beginning of the year so that we can save the amount of money we need prior to November.

At Walmart, I pair the store ads with the store map so that I can quickly find each item.  Walmart tends to be one of the busiest stores for Black Friday shopping.  They offer a daily shopping guide from Thanksgiving Day until Sunday. There are certain items I like to purchase from Walmart like; pajamas, kids’ toys, and electronics (if we need them). This is one of the best time to buy electronics (Computers, TV’s, etc.) because they are usually deeply disconnected.

Old Navy, I go to for denim jeans.  I love their jeans, especially for my children (their waists are small and Old Navy has the elastic insert in the jeans). On Black Friday, Old Navy usually has the jeans and pajamas half price and they also offer super cash and other incentives, like their opportunity tickets to win free money.

Outlet malls; If you are shopping for someone who likes handbags, designer clothes or other designer items.  On Black Friday, Check out the Michael Kors and Coach Stores.  You can buy a handbag for less than half the price of a traditional department store.   Many of the outlets stores also offer additional percentages off your purchase.

I hope you gained a few good tips to prepare you for your holiday shopping trip. Holiday shopping should be fun and festive! Remember stay positive and patient. Until next time, stay frugal!

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Party Much?!?🍸🍾🍻

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Who doesn’t like to relax, party or unwind every now and then? We all do, but at what cost?  There comes a point when we have to realize that some of our extra activities or things we indulge in are costing us our livelihood.

Discipline is necessary when breaking or curbing any habit that you enjoy.  I used to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol years ago.  I bought a carton of Kools cigarettes every two weeks, they were about $40 dollars.  If you add up the cost of the cigarettes, I was smoking over $1,000 dollars worth every year. I can’t even begin to calculate the cost of my alcohol consumption.

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Do you know how much you have spent partying? I know in the course of my lifetime between drinking, smoking and clubbing, I may have spent over $10,000.  Take some time and think about what you’ve done in the past and what your goals are for the future. If you want to get ahead financially Maybe spending less on these things will help. Try to track how much you spend on your adult extra circular activities.

You can do anything you put your mind to. Sacrificing a little bit here and there can be extremely beneficial to you. Your financial decisions can be an advantage or a hindrance to your lifestyle,  you choose.

Invest in your future, you will survive today!

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Today, take time to think about what you are spending money on. Do you buy things outside of  paying your bills? You may be surprised to find out  how much extra money you actually have.

When you are struggling to make ends meet, buying a $5 dollar Starbucks, a pack of cigarettes, or a bottle of wine can possibly add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year and quite possibly be the reason why you are struggling to begin with, think about it.🤔

Make a short-term goal to eliminate this thing or activity that is costing you the little bit of extra money you may have. If you get your nails done once every two weeks, try for one month to save that money and put it away. In only a short time, you’ll realize that you actually have extra money that you can save, it’s a matter of, if you really want to.

Go on a money diet. Make a goal of a few weeks or a month. Eliminate everything extra that you spend money on that is not a necessity. This is a great challenge, even for myself, but doing this on the regular basis will help you build up to saving for a larger financial goal.

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Track your money,  become aware of what you actually to spend. You can do this! It just takes a little bit of time and discipline.

Emotional Stress & Spending Habits🤑😫

Emotional stress can negatively contribute to the way you spend and budget money. When I am stressed, I tend to buy fast food everyday. This is definitely not a good financial habit. Is there anything you impulsively spend money on when you’re stressed?

Below is a link with a few tips on how to reduce stress.

http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/blissing-out-10-relaxation-techniques-reduce-stress-spot

A few things you can do when you’re stressing to avoid impulsively spending money, take the money that you want to spend and put it into a savings or a money bucket. You can also go to the grocery store and purchase staple items for your home that you will eventually need. I do this sometime when I really just want to spend some money and you always need groceries right? At least that’s my way of justifying it. LOL😉

The biggest advice I can give about impulsively spending when you’re stressed is to get to the root of the problem. Find out why you are stressing and why that stress makes you want to spend money.  There are many reasons that people stress; family problems, physical health issues, mental health issues, boredom, etc.

Take time to get to know yourself. Know what you like, what you don’t like, and what you are or aren’t willing to accept in your life. Doing this what help you recognize the issue and find a solution to your stress.

Rest easy,  trouble don’t last always📿

Cooking on a Budget🌮🍗🍜

Over the years I have learned how to cook budget-friendly meals. This used to be difficult for me.  Growing up, my family cooked very large meals, enough to feed an entire brigade of soldiers. When I became an adult and was single, I didn’t have to cook at all if I did not want to.  Now that I am married and have children, I am the person responsible for preparing most of the meals my family eats.

I have learned over time to make smaller meal portions. I have also learned how to cook budget-friendly meals.  I don’t know about you, but in my culture we eat a lot of meat. Meat is the most expensive part of a meal.  We make at least one or two pieces of meat per person, in a large family that can easily be 10 or more pieces of meat.

In order to save money, I began making more casseroles,  soups, stew’s and pasta dishes. This way I can still make a meal that can feed my entire family without using a lot of meat.  I have put a few links for budget-friendly meals for large families below.  FYI these are not five-star gourmet dinners🍝 LOL, but they will help you get out of debt and further your financial goals.😉

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/218493/melindas-porcupine-meatballs/

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/garlic-chicken-and-potatoes-recipe-2120118

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/222582/baked-spaghetti/

There are plenty of recipes that can fit your financial budget and even help you excel.  It’s as simple as making a few changes in the meals that you already eat. You can check out http://www.myfridgefood.com if you’re not sure what to make from the food you have in your refrigerator. This site lets you enter ingredients that you have and helps you put together a recipe with them. Google is my best friend when looking for easy, budget-friendly meals.

Food is used to provide nutrition for our bodies. The meals I make are not Food Network competition ready, but they are good and they do help my family get ahead financially and that’s what’s important to me.

I hope you get a few good tips and begin to research more ways to save a few dollars on your families meals.

Bon Appetit🍸