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📿

Kids Can Work Too!👦🏽👧🏽

Children should be taught how to be responsible. They learn from things they see. Often, if parents are financially irresponsible, the children will become financially irresponsible.  If they are taught the value of money, and how to earn it,  they will better understand the responsibility of having and keeping it.

Below, I have included  a responsibility chart.  It is a little different from a normal chore chart, this chart more so helps teach basic responsibility for children.

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Teaching children to be responsible shows them that you not only care about their well-being now but you also care about their future. Giving a child chores provides the opportunity for them to learn what it takes to maintain a home. Below is a list of age-appropriate chores  for children. I love this list because it helps me keep my kids on track with chores that they are capable of completing.Chore-Chart-2.jpg

I’m a firm believer that teenagers should be employed. This is the last chance prior to adulthood that can help them understand the reality of the next step in their lives.  Below is a list of companies that hire teenagers.  This list varies from state to state and Country to Country, but it gives you a head start on helping your children find employment.

1. Old Navy – Age:16 (Online App)

2. StarBucks – Age:16 (Paper App)

3. Hollister – Age:17 (Online App)

4. KFC – Age: 16 (Paper App)

5. McDonalds – Age: 15 9months (Paper/Online app)

6. Taco Bell – Age: 16 (Paper App)

7. Boston Market: Age:15 (Online App)

8. Chick Fil A – Age:14 (Paper App)

9. Toys R Us – Age: 16 (Online App)

10. CVS – Age: 16 (Online)

11. Wendy’s- Age: 16 (Paper App)

12. Target – Age: 16 (Online App)

13. Shop-Rite – Age: 16 (Online App)

14. Subway- Age:16 (Paper App)

15. Stop & Shop – Age: 16 (Online)

16. Wegmans – Age:18 (Online)

17. Chipotle – Age: 16 (Online)

18. Popeye’s – Age: 16 (Paper App)

19. Quiznos – Age: 16 (Paper App)

20. Lil Cesar’s – Age:16 (Paper/Online app)

21. Sonic – Age: 16 (Paper App)

22. What-A-Burger: Age: 16/17/18 (Paper/Online app)

23.Arby’s – Age:15/16 (Paper App)

24. Denny’s – Age: 16 (Paper/Online app)

25.GAP- Age: 16 (Paper App)

26. Cold Stone Creamery – Age: 16 (Online app)

27. Office Max- Age: 16 (Paper/Online app)

28. Office Depot – Age: 16 (Paper/ Online app)

29.Petco – Age:16 (Paper/Online App)

30. AMC 24 – Age: 16 (Online App)

31. Regal Cinemas – Age:16 (Online App)

32. Yogurtland – Age:16 (Paper App)

33. Dairy Queen – Age: 15/16 (Paper App)

34. Carvel Ice Parlor-Age:16 (Paper/Online app)

35. Party City – Age: 16 (Paper App)

36. Sears – Age: 16 (Online app)

37. K-Mart – Age: 16 (Online App)

38. Chuck E. Cheese – Age: 16 (Online App)

39. Amce – Age:16 (Online App)

40. JcPennys – Age: 16 (Online App)

41. Red Robin’s – Age: 18 (Paper/Online app)

42. Rita’s – Age: 15 (Paper / Online App)

43. Lowe’s – Age:18 (Online App)

44. Red Lobster – Age: 16 (Online App)

45. Olive Garden – Age : 16 (Paper App)

46. Publix – age 14 (in-store app)

As parents today, our job is harder than ever.  We have so many obstacles raising our children.  With all the outside influences, it can be difficult to raise wholesome and responsible children. We have to do our best and show our children our best everyday. They are watching not only what we say, but what we do.

Giving Back🌎🤝

Did you know that people who give back to their communities are wealthier and happier than people who do not? If you have ever listened to a financial counselor, advisor, or guru speak they all have one thing in common, they believe in giving back to their communities. Their methods maybe different; some tithe in church, some assist homeless people, and others contribute to charitable organizations.

You don’t have to be rich to give back to your community. There are plenty things you can do help better your community and the people in it. You can donate your time, you can donate your money, or you can donate material things that you believe may help another person.

My favorite way to give back to the community is to feed people who live on the streets. My family makes about 50 or so sack lunches and we hand them out. We go to an area where there are homeless shelters, usually downtown. I go to the grocery store and purchase brown paper bags, plastic sandwich bags, bread, lunch meat, chips and juice pouches. My family puts the lunches together. This is a great way to spend time together and to teach our children about humility. We talk to the homeless people, try to encourage them and give them a lunch. This usually cost us about $50 dollars every time we do it. I can tell you a million things that I have spent $50 dollars on that did not give me half the satisfaction of helping people. Seeing them helps me remember that we all have a purpose in life and it is up to us to figure out what that purpose is and how to fulfill it.

I also like to volunteer my time. My time is very valuable and sometimes an organization just needs a helping hand. There are shelters, churches, and other nonprofit organizations that cannot always afford to hire people to complete some of the most basic, but much-needed tasks. Contact a local organization and find out how you can help make a difference!

Financially contributing to organizations can be a great way to give back if you are unable to give your time. I suggest doing some research to find out what the organization specifically does with their funds prior to donating. But in all honestly,  if you are giving from the kindness of your heart, it doesn’t matter what the organization does with the funds.  If you have good intentions that is all that matters.

Having financial security is not only about having money, but also about how you are using the money you have. Be wise.  In strengthening others, we too become empowered.

Saving on Purpose💸

Saving money can seem like a chore. Really,  it’s quite the opposite. Saving money can be exciting and empowering! I love knowing that every dollar I put away, has a greater purpose to serve in the future.

How do you save money? Do you have a traditional savings account? Do you save the old fashioned way,  with a water bucket or a shoe box? There are different avenues to reaching your financial goals.

There are a lot of money saving challenges. You can find them on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Most are cash challenges that require you to put away specfic amounts of money, to reach your goals. Check them out! There may be one you find appealing and can best fit your current financial situation.

A traditional savings account is what people think of first when they are speaking of savings. Traditional savings accounts can be free, without a required minimum balance. Depending on what your local bank offers, your interest rate on a traditional savings account can be between .01% up to 5%. Finding a bank that offers an interest rate even close to 5% is highly unlikely at this time.  The interest rate fluctuates, and can change rapidly.

Certificate of deposit accounts (CD’s), offer higher interest rates than traditional savings, but usually require a specific minimum balance and funds are not always accessible. These accounts have to mature prior to funds being available for withdrawal. If you do choose to withdraw them prior to the maturity date, you will incur a fee.

Another way to save, is the old fashioned way.  Putting money into a container in your home won’t earn any interest, but it is something that you can visually measure, if instant gratification is your thing. My husband and I take cash out of the ATM every payday. When the next payday comes,  we take all the combined cash we have left and place it into a three gallon water bucket. We use this for our family Christmas shopping.

No matter what your financial goals are, you are capable of reaching them. Do your research,  make a goal, maintain discipline, and your financial dreams will come to fruition.

Happy Saving!