Having a Party Without Breaking the Bank

November 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

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We all know how the costs can add up around each special event and holiday. How can we be thankful on a budget? We can and if we are careful we can lift a lot of stress for our shoulders and make the day more about gratitude for all of our blessings and way less about us.

Food – Reward cards, loyalty programs, coupons and cash-back may all be ways to get the turkey and side dishes more cheaply. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, September turkey prices have historically been LESS expensive than the price of turkey in November.  Though it is already November you can still save money now by stocking up in the weeks prior, when there are deals on canned or frozen veggies. Try not to buy things the day before you need them. In a frantic, last-minute search of the store we tend to overspend.

Sharing – If everyone brings something to Thanksgiving dinner, expand what the potluck needs may be so that people bring a COUPLE of dishes instead of only one. ‘Sharing is caring,’ right? Supercharge the concept, accepting how others prepare favorite dishes, so that you can save on money and hassle and allow them an opportunity to give to others. Let others help in the festivities, my friend.

Décor – Studies have shown that the average family spends $100 on decorations for each holiday. You may have the luxury of doing even more than that. BUT you could make this a cost-effective holiday by making this cozy chic. Instead of buying everything, think more creatively.

Having a lot of company with not enough matching dishes? Use mismatched plates for a chic and cozy look. Use the amazing talent of kids in your circle to help with décor. Have the kids decorate paper or even fabric napkins. Use brown paper as a table runner and have the kids decorate that as well.  Collect cones and branches from the neighborhood, or lovely red Winterberry from the roadsides for displays around the house. We are blessed in this region with a bounty of beauty right out our door. You can make the house festive for free. Get on Pinterest and get some excellent and cost-saving ideas.

It doesn’t cost anything to be thankful.  Gratitude is a matter of the heart, my bud. Remember the why of the holiday and relax. (CR11159)

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A budget for your college baby

August 9, 2012 § 1 Comment

Got a student getting ready for college? Their new life includes many new experiences. Hopefully, one of those experiences will include becoming more financially independent. One way to help them might be helping them navigate the world of budgets.  We have discussed the yummy world of budgets before. Budgets are the go-to tool for helping us track and control our money lives.

But budgets boil down to two simple truths: what money comes IN – through income, and what money goes OUT- money spent or set-aside through expenses or savings.

 The goal is to have money left over, or to be at least even so that we don’t take on more expenses or bills than we have in income. The world of formal budgeting may be new to your student.  But in any case, a parent’s help and guidance as in your child’s past experience, is to connect your student’s past experience and understanding to this next step in their independence. We want to ensure the very best chance of their future success.

 Student budgeting involves this basic information.

 Income:

                Job

                Parent

                Student loans

                Scholarship        

                Other

 Expenses:

                Rent

                Tuition

                Books/ computer

                Living- utilities / phone / food

                Transportation

                Entertainment / eating out

                Other

I have included links to budgets that include more detailed ideas for categories, depending on the learning style of your student. Just help them remember it is income versus expenses. One friend broke down their student’s budget and spending money and then explained that any money for living could be broken down to a daily amount for use any way they liked. That simple idea made the larger concepts understandable.

 This baby of yours will learn more than book knowledge in their new adventure. With your help they will also learn some useful financial education as well. If the examples here don’t work for you do a computer search for ‘student budget worksheet’ or ‘template’ for some other examples.

 http://financialplan.about.com/od/moneyandcollegestudents/l/blcollbudget.htm

 http://www.balancetrack.org/collegestudents/pdf/studentbudget.pdf

 

Financially Frugal in Tough Times

October 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Life is full of surprises, and not all of them are good ones. What’s the best way to manage your finances if this winter brings slow economic times? I’d like to suggest a few tips that may help bring a bit of stability in possibly uncertain times.

 First, have a budget. What does that mean? No, a budget it won’t make your head explode. It should be very straightforward and needed be complicated with piles of paper. Think of it like this: Simply look every dollar in the eye and say, “Where do you think YOU’RE going?”  Then write down each dollar’s purpose.

Smart Girl’s Gudie to Financial BLISS – Tip 7

August 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

7.) Have a budget. Wikipedia says that the word “budget” is from the old French word for “purse!” What’s not to love about that?

University VP of Finance Natalie Krawitz describes a budget like this: “The budget is the numerical representation of an action plan for a specified time period.” It is that simple: numbers that represent actions = budget.

Just like many styles of purses or many types of future plans, there are all kinds and styles of budgets: simplified, detailed, paper or electronic, even budgets for planning a certain event like college or your summer vacation. Need help finding a budget that works for you? Surf the web, and type in budget.

The Ten Commandments of Finance: Commandment II

May 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

2.)    It’s in your hands – I don’t care what you didn’t learn. And I know all about being raised by wolves. But here we are in the Land of TODAY. What are we planning on doing about things in the here and now.

You must take responsibility for your life, for your happiness and for your money.  Please don’t let me hear that this is ‘too hard for you.’   Dive in and dig deep.  What would you tell your daughter if she told you, ‘finance and learning about money is hard; I don’t really like it?’  Perhaps you’d advise her that she needn’t worry, ‘You’ll get a prince and he will take care of all the hard things…’

The First thing you should know- the most basic thing is: Know where your money goes.  How much do you bring home each pay period or month or year.  Knowing where you money goes is NOT a budget.

A BUDGET, from the French word for PURSE, how awesome is that?!!!! Is a numerical representation of your action plan. It’s the numbers that goes with the dreams of your life and future!  The story might be: I want the freedom to take a job that I really love because I have less debt and more liberty! Make paying off debt part of your plan, your numerical story, your budget.  A budget has what you pay in rent or mortgage, debt repayment and’ living.’  How much goes to investments?

You should be very clear, you should be able to tell me right now- don’t, but you should know!- what percentage of your money goes to various categories. If you don’t know, that’s fine for NOW. We all star somewhere. But by next week, you need to KNOW.

What are some standard figures for these categories? You can do an online search or email me and I can get you something I use, but there are many ways to organize this depending on YOUR brain and your most comfortable tools. Just be a grown-up and do this.

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