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Tuesday
Apr042017

Living on a Budget Doesn’t Have to Be a Drag

  (All posts may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy

(photo credit)

If you want to get your finances under control, one of the best things you can do is draw up a family budget and make as many savings as you can. Most people recoil at the very thought of reigning in their spending, assuming that it will mean they have a lot less fun from day to day, but they could not be more wrong! Sure, you might not get to enjoy as many Caramel Frappuccinos as you like and you might have to wait for that great cable show to turn up on Netflix, but you’ll notice a number of benefits when you start you live more frugally too.

You’ll Feel More Relaxed

Money has to be one of the biggest causes of stress in the world. If you’re unable to manage your money, you might be unable to pay the bills, get into serious debt and you could even end up being forced to file for bankruptcy! Think about how all of these things can and do affect you and you’ll quickly see why saving instead of spending is a great stress-reliever.

You’ll Be More Honest

How many couples do you know who lie about money or conceal just how much they’ve spent on that cute outfit? Perhaps you’re one of them. Money is still a taboo topic for many people, and this means that concealing spending habits and mounting debts is common, as is not even broaching the subject of money with family members. By taking the sensible step of drawing up a budget, you will need to talk fully and frankly with anyone who’s finances will affect yours and vice versa and this is almost universally a good thing.

You Can Plan for the Future

When you work out a family budget, with the help of fortunateinvestor.com, and stick to, it enables you to look closely at your finances and work out how much money you’re likely to have 3, 16 and 12 months from now, and for many years beyond that. With all the extra money you’re saving, chances are that you will see a vast improvement over a surprisingly short space of time, and this will enable you to make exciting plans for the future. You’ll see what’s possible and this will spur you on to keep saving and monitoring your spending.

You’ll Spend More Time Together

When you live on a budget, you have to cut out a lot of unnecessary luxuries like going to the salon to have your nails done or meeting your friends in the bar every weekend. This might seem like a bummer at first, but it can actually improve your social life as you spend more time with your very good family and friends, whether you’re taking a walk in the park, enjoying a potluck dinner or playing board games with the kids. When you take expensive distractions off the table, the quality of your time together often benefits as a result. Saving money really can be a lot of fun!

You Become More Creative

If you can’t just go to the movie theater or sit yourself down in front of HBO for hours on end, you’ll have to get more creative if you want to beat boredom. So many people who start living on a budget start to live more exciting lives than they ever did before because they hike, draw, think and read more. They discover talents they never knew they had which enrich their lives more than a cable subscription or designer purse ever could.

You Don’t Take Things for Granted

When you can’t just go to the store and pick up anything you like; when you have to endure months of saving to get what you want, you almost always appreciate it that bit more. If you take a look at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201207/the-power-delaying-gratification, you will see that delayed gratification actually makes you happier when you finally get what you want. So, don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses and go at your own pace. Most things in life aren’t really essential anyway, so who cares if you have to wait a while to try them out?

Living on a budget can be truly terrible, or it can be really great. It is what you make it. Change your mindset, appreciate what you do have and know that you’re doing the sensible thing for your future. You can have a few treats now and again - just try to earn them by being more frugal on a day to day basis first!

 

Sunday
Apr022017

Save Money and Time on Spring Cleaning Essentials! #EverydaySaves

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Lysol®, Finish®, Woolite®, and Air Wick®. The opinions and text are all mine. 

Thanks to new Target Cartwheel coupons and promotional offers, we can score all the items that we need to make spring-cleaning a huge success in our home! Lysol, Woolite, Air Wick, and Finish products are your must-haves for spring-cleaning and they will help you refresh and revitalize your home room by room. 

Do you dread cleaning? Thankfully, spring-cleaning no longer has to be a dreadful task thanks to products that are huge time-savers and easy to use. I don’t know about you, but I am all for adding a few extra minutes in my day if possible, and I always want my home to be fresh and clean! 

When I think of spring-cleaning, laundry definitely comes to mind. My son Drew, who is in flag football this year, requires lots of clean laundry particularly with his dark colored football shorts. Thankfully, I found Woolite High Efficiency Extra Dark Dual Formula at Target to keep his shorts looking and smelling their best! April 2-29 you can save an extra 5% off any Woolite item with the Target Cartwheel offer found HERE. And, save even more! Through April 8, when you purchase 2 Woolite 100oz., you will receive a $5 Target gift card! 

When it comes to the kitchen, Finish Jet-Dry Additives help my dishes to look their best. Here’s a fun tip! Did you know that if you use rinse aid in your dishwasher you won’t need to dry your plastics when you put them away? 

What about the bathroom? As a mom of boys, I am always on the lookout for ways  to keep the toilet fresh smelling and clean. Lysol products are always at the top of my list, and the Lysol Click Gel is my new best friend! Score hands-free toilet bowl cleaning with an automatic cleaning gel that cleans with every flush! Not only are you saving time, but your toilet will smell spring fresh! 

One of my favorite ways to ensure that my home is always cozy and inviting is to have a pleasant scent in every room. Did you know? A spicy or gourmet scent can make large rooms feel cozy, while fresh, floral or fruity scents can make small spaces feel more airy. With the Air Wick Scented Oil Warmers, I can adjust the fragrance level however I need based on the room. And, with 8x more fragrance control, it’s perfect for any size room! The Air Wick PURE Freshmatic is also another great option for fast acting fragrance.

You can check out all of the Target Cartwheel and promotional offers for spring-cleaning products HERE. These items are sure to help simplify your life and to make spring-cleaning a breeze! 

Thursday
Mar302017

Keebler Cookie and Cheez-It Variety Pack (20-Count) Only $6.38 Shipped! 

(All posts may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please see my disclosure policy)  

This is always a popular deal! Amazon is offering Keebler Cookie and Cheez-It Variety Pack (20-Count) for only $6.38 Shipped when you choose the Subscribe and Save option to the right of the page. These are great snacks for the kiddos or for school lunches! 

*Amazon pricing and promotions can change at any time so act now if interested! These prices are current at the time of this posting.

Thursday
Mar302017

Dollar Shave Club Review + Try the First Month for Just $1!

Disclosure: I was provided with products to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure policy)  

My husband Keith has been using Dollar Shave Club for several years now. He loves the quality and pricing of the razors and highly recommends them to all of his friends! If you are not familiar with Dollar Shave Club, they offer razors in different monthly package options shipped right to your door. They also now offer other products like skin, hair care and body care for guys. Keith has always been very pleased with his razors from Dollar Shave Club, so when he was given the opportunity to try out some of their newer products, he was excited to do so! 

Go to Dollar Shave Club and choose which monthly razor blade subscription plan that you would like. The first month is just $1 to try it out. After that, you’ll pay the regular price depending on which cartridges you choose. 

There are 3 different monthly subscription services to choose from. The Humble Twin, regularly $1 per month + $2 shipping, The 4X, regularly $6 per month (includes shipping), or The Executive, regularly $9 per month (includes shipping).

There are no hidden fees and you can cancel your subscription at any time. You can even change plans at any time if you prefer or delay a shipment. My hubby often delays his shipments and there are no questions asked or no charges for doing so. 

Since hubby was already familiar with the Dollar Shave Club razors, he decided to try some of their hair care and shavings products. He chose the Dr. Carver's Pillowy Shave Lather, Boogie's Bold Hair Gel and the Boogie's Pacific Hair Pomade. As someone who loves to try different hair care products, hubby really enjoyed trying these. He liked how the Pomade and hair gel gave his hair body while not weighing it down. And, Boogie's has an awesome guarantee! It’s simple. If your Boogie’s product isn’t a 100% perfect fit, they will ship you a full-sized replacement totally free. That’s it! 

The Dr. Carver's Pillowy Shave Lather also got a thumbs up from hubby! This product helps soften hair for maximum glide, is formulated with gentle ingredients and helps to prevent ingrown hairs while fighting razor bumps. It is also paraben and sulfate-free and has a nice smelling scent. 

And, let's talk about price. The cost of the products that Dollar Shave Club offers are exceptional. The Dr. Carver's Pillowy Shave Lather 4.5 oz. is only $8, The Boogie's Pacific Hair Pomade 2oz. is $10 and the Boogie's Bold Hair Gel travel size 4.3 oz. is just $7. These products are well worth the money and you will definitely want to come back to try even more!

Would you like to try Dollar Shave Club for your guy? Try it for only $1 for the first month! You can't go wrong with that! GO HERE to sign up and get your guy the shave that he deserves! 

Thursday
Mar302017

Gluten-Free Zucchini Muffins

(All posts may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please see my disclosure policy)  

I don't know about you, but we love zucchini! I love to roast it, spiralize it, eat it raw, the list goes on and on! We also love a good Zucchini muffin so I was thrilled to come across this recipe that used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Flour. If you have not yet tried this flour, it is the bomb! Seriously, it is the best-tasting gluten-free flour out there. I love that it can be used in any of your regular recipes as it measures 1 to 1 for baking flour. 

These zucchini muffins are so delicious and you will want to make them again and again! I have made them now 3 times and every time they are devoured by my entire family! 

Zucchini Muffins

Recipe adapted from Bob's Red Mill recipes 

Ingredients

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with liners or spray with oil.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, almond milk, apple cider vinegar and vanilla. Using a stand or hand mixer, slowly add in the wet ingredients to the dry just until combined. Add in the stick of butter until combined then mix in the shredded zucchini. Divide the batter into the prepared muffin tin, sprinkle each muffin with 1/2 tsp turbinado sugar and bake around minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Enjoy! You won't be able to eat just one, I promise! 

Thursday
Mar302017

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 14-Inch Open Skillet Only $13.08! (Reg. $32.22)

(All posts may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please see my disclosure policy)  

I absolutely LOVE my Cusinart Cookeware and this is such a great deal! Amazon is offering the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 14-Inch Open Skillet for only $13.08! (Reg. $32.22) I love it because this is also oven safe! 

  • 8/10 mirror-finish stainless steel. Classic looks, professional performance. Cooking surface does not discolor, react with food, or alter flavors.
  • Solid stainless steel riveted handles stay cool on the stovetop. Safe and comfortable handling.
  • Aluminum encapsulated base heats quickly and spreads heat evenly. Eliminates hot spots.
  • Eliminates drips and spills while pouring
  • Oven safe to 550 F. Cook on stovetop, in oven or under broiler. Freezer safe for easy storage.

*Amazon pricing and promotions can change at any time so act now if interested! These prices are current at the time of this posting.

Thursday
Mar302017

*HOT* Tide 150 oz. Original Scent HE Liquid Laundry Detergent (96 Loads) Only $9.97! 

(All posts may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please see my disclosure policy)  

If you are a Tide Detergent lover this is a fantastic deal! Today only, Home Depot is offering up the HUGE 150 oz Bottles of Tide Original Scent HE Liquid Laundry Detergent for only $9.97! (regularly $18.97) Be sure to choose Free in-store pick up to avoid shipping charges. (Limit of 10 per customer)

GO HERE to take advantage of this offer. 

Thursday
Mar302017

BFree: Enjoy Delicious Bread Products Without Wheat or Gluten

Disclosure: I was provided with products from BFree to review in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure policy

Let's face it. Those of us who are gluten-free often find ourselves in the predicament of great-tasting products especially when it comes to the bread category. Thanks to BFree Foods, your worries are all over! Not only are BFree products gluten-free, but they are also wheat free, dairy, egg, nut and soy free, making them free from all major allergens and suitable for vegans! BFree was developed to bring tasty, good for you & non GMO breads to the market. 

I was recently sent a variety of BFree products to try and I am so excited to share my review with you! From sliced bread to bagels, rolls, hot dog buns and more, BFree products are definitely my new favorite line of gluten-free bread products. All of the products have a long shelf and you can store them in the freezer until future use if you prefer. 

BFree Sliced Bread- One of the first things that I noticed about this bread was how long it is. No more short bread slices! This bread was also very soft and it toasted to perfection! I tried both the Soft White Loaf and Brown Seeded Sandwich Loaf. Both varieties were equally delicious! The Brown Seeded Sandwich Loaf is comprised of a unique blend of flours, starches, proteins and fibers with sunflower seeds and golden linseeds that give it a delicious texture and flavour with extraordinarily high fiber in each slice. The Soft White Loaf is made with a unique blend of flours, starches, proteins and fibers that give it a ‘real bread’ texture and taste just like a normal bread loaf. This loaf is sliced lengthways to give a bigger and better sandwich slice. Each slice contains only 70 calories! Each variety is equally delicious!  

BFree Hot Dog Buns- The hot dog buns are available in both White and Brown Seeded varieites. Both are made with a unique blend of flours, starches, proteins and fibers. They are so delicious and soft you won’t believe they’re only 100 calories! 

BFree Bagels- The BFree Bagels are absolutely delicious! I love a good bagel with peanut butter and these did not disappoint! They are so soft and chewy you won’t know the difference! High in fiber and low in fat and only 200 calories per bagel! BFree bagels are available in both Plain and Multiseed varieties. 

BFree Rolls- I just love a good dinner roll. Until now I had to find a gluten-free variety so I am thrilled for the chance to be able to eat dinner rolls again! These BFree rolls are out of this world! So soft and delicious. Even my family who is not gluten-free devoured them! BFree rolls are available in both Soft White and Brown Seeded varieities. 

BFree products are available in many Publix, Safeway and Costco stores nationwide as well as a few other locations. GO HERE to find a store near you that carries these delicious products. 

Stay up-to-date on all of the latest promotional offers and updates from BFree by following them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

I can't wait to try the other products that BFree offers like their yummy Sweet Potato Wraps and Pita Breads! Yum!

Wednesday
Mar292017

Gifts that Make Great Investments

                                                 (All posts may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy

(photo credit)

There is nothing quite like giving a great gift to put a smile on your face and the face of the recipient, but if you want to take great gift giving to the next level, you should aim to give your loved ones gifts that are also excellent investments for the future.

There are a number of gifts, which are likely to gain value once given, so it’s not as hard as you might think to give gifts that make great investments, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

Jewelry

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If you purchase a good piece of jewelry made from precious metals and stones, like gold and diamonds, there is every chance that it will be worth more next year than it is now. For the perfect men’s jewelry gifts, check out mens gold bracelets-Frost NYC. This is a good option, as they sell high-quality gold jewelry that will look good now and keep its value in years to come. When buying for women, something from Tiffany or one of the other big-name jewelry designers, with their prestige, will make for a sound investment.

Timepieces

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Quality watches from makers like Rolex and Omega almost always appreciate in value over time, especially if they are a limited edition or less popular model that will be harder to find in the future. In fact, so good is the investment potential of a good watch that many people make their livings by trading in them.

Antiques

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Whether your grandma is gaga for clocks, your boyfriend loves vinyl, or your mother loves landscape paintings, instead of buying them a brand new gift fresh from the store, why not check out your local antique dealer instead? If you want to invest in an antique that goes up in value, you will, of course, need to do your research, buy as low as possible and ensure anything you buy is in relatively good condition, but if you can do this, there’s every chance that the gifts you give will be worth more in the future.

Artworks

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Most people love [painting, prints, and sculpture, providing you pick something that matches their tastes and styles, and if you’re a savvy shopper, you can pick up a painting from an up and coming artist for a good price. Although there’s no guarantee that they’ll go on to be a household name, there is a good chance that a piece of art you buy now will be worth many times more in the future, especially if you know your stuff.

Classes

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Gifting classes or courses to your loved ones will enable them to do something they’ve always wanted to, and you can check out some of the best at Craftsy.com. Although it might not be a monetary investment that will pay back in the future (although it could be if it leads to a fabulous new job) it is a great investment in the person you care about, and it will enrich their life.

A Savings Account

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Instead of buying them something they’ll be bored within a few weeks, why not give kids the gift of a savings account? If you start saving when they’re really young, you’ll build up a nice nest egg that will see them through college and give them the best possible start in life.

 

Wednesday
Mar292017

Make Chores & Family Organization Fun with the Homey App! 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Homey. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure policy)  

Do you ever feel that getting your children to do chores can sometimes be like pulling teeth? Household chores and organization are definitely not at the top of the list with my children, but I find that when I make those activities fun they are more than willing to do them. Thanks to Homey, an app that teaches your children the value of hard work, you can now get everyone in your home doing their share of chores! Homey is the family organizer app that every household needs. It replaces the chore chart with a visual photo list and makes it easy to assign and finish-off chores. We love the visual photo list and it makes chore-time a fun-time! 

Here is how the Homey App works:

Show kids how money is earned.

Homey app helps you to teach your children the value of hard work and how that can lead to rewards. Chores help teach kids that money is earned and not just given. You can pay kids commissions based on chores they do around the house like taking out the trash, cleaning their room, or mowing the grass. And you can also set responsibilities that are not paid to teach kids that everyone needs to contribute to the household – and Homey still provides motivation with fun incentives.

Support long term goals.

Mastering delayed gratification is one of the biggest predictors of future financial success! Teach kids financial responsibility by providing them with incentives that differ in value. With Homey kids learn they need to work longer or harder to earn more. And since they can see the progress bar that tells them how much they already earned, they learn to manage their funds and stay motivated and engaged in working towards long term goals. Homey also features a wishlist, so children can practice setting goals for themselves and learn the value of their work.

Teach real life financial skills.

Homey enables you to transfer allowance and extra money kids earn directly to their savings or checking account. If your children don’t have bank accounts yet, you can open one for free at most banks. This way you can teach your child how banking works, they can accumulate interests on their savings and you can be sure that their money will stay safe. Depositing money to the bank encourages long term saving and discourages impulse spending. A child’s first bank account should not come with a credit card.  Making financial mistakes during early adulthood can be extremely costly. Start building good financial habits with Homey now.

Connect the whole family.

Homey app lets you manage chores, allowance and rewards for the whole family. To assign a chore to your family member just take a photo of what needs to be done, select one or more of your ofyour family members and choose how many points and coins the chore is worth. They will get a notification with a photo of the mess and when they will clean it, they will take another photo, so you will see the results immediately and make sure it’s done as it should be. Images will help children make a visual association of the task with the action, but they will also provide everyone in your family with motivation and accountability to do chores better.

I absolutely love that Homey makes doing chores for my boys fun and not a dreaded task all while teaching responsibility. Chores can now be rewarding and you will teach your children life-skills that they will use into their adult life. And, the best part? Your kids are rewarded for their work! Each chore is worth coins (currency in Homey that kids can redeem for rewards) and points (for responsibilites that are not paid). When my boys have completed enough chores, they can redeem their points for a reward that I have set. This can be tv or screen time, a toy, allowance or whatever you as the parent choose. You can also set up rewards that differ in value which teaches your children to be financially responsible. And now, Homey features allowance transfers! This enables me as the parent the ability to safely connect my checking account to my child's savings and promote saving allowance for long term goals! How awesome is that?

I am super excited about Homey app and would love for you to try it as well. It is available to download for Free on both Google Play and in the Apple App Store.

Stay up to date on all of the latest new from Homey by following them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest

Tuesday
Mar282017

400 Babyganics Face, Hand & Baby Wipes Only $8.91 Shipped! (just $0.02 per wipe)

(All posts may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please see my disclosure policy)  

Stock up on baby wipes without leaving your house! Amazon is offering 400 Babyganics Face, Hand & Baby Wipes Fragrance Free for just $8.91 Shipped when you choose the Subscribe and Save optio to the right of the page. That makes each wipe only $0.02! 

*Amazon pricing and promotions can change at any time so act now if interested! These prices are current at the time of this posting.

  • New formula created with even more Natural Plant-Based Ingredients, now with soothing  chamomile
  • Skin nourishing and gentle enough for faces, hands and bottom places with new stronger and softer material
  • Non-allergenic ingredients that are soothing to the most sensitive skin
  • Pediatrician and Dermatologist tested
  • No: alcohol, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial dyes or fragrances
  • New formula includes our exclusive 100% natural NeoNourish Seed Oil Blend to help nurture and support your baby's skin
Tuesday
Mar282017

*HOT* Crock-Pot Lunch Food Warmers Only $10 Each Shipped!

(All posts may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please see my disclosure policy)  

These would be awesome gift ideas to tuck away! Crock-Pot.com is offering these Crock-Pot Lunch Crock Food Warmers priced at $19.99. BUT, to sweeten the deal, if you purchase 3 – your total will drop all the way down to just $30! AND you’ll score FREE shipping with no code needed! This makes each one just $10! Awesome!!

Choose from 5 different colors including: blue, pink,green, blue/black and black.

GO HERE to take advantage of this offer as I am not sure how long the deal will last!

-thanks, Hip 2 Save

Tuesday
Mar282017

Babyganics 4 Pack SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion 2oz Tubes ONLY $6.66 Shipped!

(All posts may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please see my disclosure policy)  

Such a great price for this brand! Amazon is offering 4 Pack Babyganics SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion 2oz tubes for only $6.66 Shipped when you choose the Subscribe and Save option to the right of the page. These are the perfect size to throw in your diaper bag or purse! 

*Amazon pricing and promotions can change at any time so act now if interested! These prices are current at the time of this posting.

Tuesday
Mar282017

Easy Goals: Saving Edition

 (All posts may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy

Saving money isn't just a task, but a way of life. You can save on all sort so things, and by watching you finches and being frugal you can get yourself into a much better position to provide for your family without working yourself into an early grave. But what exactly should our main savings goals be, and how can we reach them? Read on to find out more.

Get out of debt

One of the major reason that a lot of folks save is so they can pay off any outstanding debts that the have. This is because debts aren't just about the money you owe, but also the money that you are charged for using it. It basically a hole that can be very difficult to dig yourself out of.

However it is possible. So what should your goals be if you are trying to wipe out your debt, and how can you reach them?

Well, first of all, while your overarching goal might be debt freedom, this isn't going to happen overnight. In fact, it's much more sensible to pay off the smallest debts that you have first.

This is because not only does it reduce the number or of payments and deadlines that you have to worry about. But it keeps you motivated in saving for this goal as well.

So in what way can you be frugal to save for this goal? Well, try saving on one of the biggest monthly expenditures, your food costs.

Take an afternoon at the weekend and chop and marinate the meat and veg that you will need for the whole week. Then portion it into freezer bags and freeze, taking one meal out per day in the morning.

This can save you lots of money during your shop, and you will find that you waste a lot less food at the end of the week too.

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To repair our credit rating

Another major goal that many folks are having do is to improve their credit rating. This is vital because without a good one you can have all sorts of trouble getting the funds for major purchases like a house and a car.

A good goal here is to make sure that you have enough each money to pay off the minimum charge and a little extra each month. This will ensure that your credit rating stays good and that you clear your debt soon than expected.

Just make sure that you don't get stung by any early repayment fees in the process! Sometimes you can negotiate with your lender on this. So it's always worth speaking to them if you have saved up enough to pay off the full amount early.

However if you have a poor credit rating and you do need to get a loan for something important like a car, there are companies that you can turn to for help. You can click here for some more of information on this.

In terms of being frugal, any monthly gain you can make to put more money in the savings pot will help you pay off that credit card quicker.  So taking packed lunches, and unsubscribing to magazine and services that you no longer need are a must.

 

Tuesday
Mar282017

Financial Planning Made Simple

 (All posts may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy

Money is something that concerns us all. Whether you’ve got too much or too little of it, it’s always wise to keep an eye on your finances. If you’re trying to save money or you’d love to have more disposable income at the end of the month, planning ahead is really helpful. If you thought financial planning was stressful, think again. With this guide, you can get to grips with your finances and start preparing for the future with minimal hassle.

Assessing your financial situation

Many of us have online banking, which enables us to check our balance on a regular basis, but if you’re one of those people who tends to shy away from balance inquiries or leave letters from the bank unopened, you may not be aware of your financial situation. Sometimes, it’s easier to be an ostrich and bury your head in the sand, but it’s advisable to take control of your finances. The best way to start doing this is by seeing where you are in terms of what you have available, what you’re saving, and whether you have any debts.

Before you do anything else, sit down with a pen and paper, check all your balances, and work out what you’ve saved, what you own on credit or store cards, and how much you have outstanding on loans and mortgages. Once you’ve got figures written down in front of you, you’ll have a much more accurate picture, and this will help you to draw up plans moving forward.

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Learning to budget

It’s very hard to save money or reduce spending if you don’t have a budget. Budgeting enables you to see where your money is going each month and to work out what you can spend, and if you can save. To work out a monthly budget, all you need to do is compare what you’ve got coming in with what’s going out. In one column, you’ll probably have your wages. In another, you’ll have mortgage or rent payments plus bills and living costs, such as groceries and gas. In a different column, add any other costs you expect to incur that month, such as gifts for your child’s birthday or spending money for a family vacation. Some months will be more expensive than others, and budgeting enables you to adapt your saving and spending plans accordingly. If you use an app or you do your budget on a computer, you can adapt and update it as you go along to make sure your budget is accurate.

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Bouncing back from bad credit

If you’ve got bad credit, it can affect your ability to borrow money, so it’s always a good idea to try and improve a low credit score. Your credit score is based on the level of risk you present to a lender. If you have a history of missing payments, for example, you’ll have a lower score than somebody who has paid off a loan and makes regular contributions to their credit card. If you have bad credit, it may be worth getting in touch with a credit repair company, which can help you increase your score. There are lots of different companies out there, so articles like CreditRepairCompanies review of Sky Blue Credit may come in handy if you’re not sure which firm to go for. You can also improve your rating by ensuring that you keep up to date with repayments for loans, mortgages, and credit cards, and by using your account on a regular basis. You don’t have to be in debt to have a poor score. If you don’t use your account much, you may also have a low rating.

 

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Finding ways to save

Once you have a good idea of how your finances are looking, you can think about ways to save more.

If you’re spending money on interest every month, there may be ways to reduce spending. If you have a credit card, for example, look around for banks and lenders that are offering 0% interest on balance transfers. If you switch, you can pay off the balance as you go without incurring additional interest fees.

There are several easy ways you can save money around the house, especially if you don’t already adopt a regimented approach to shopping, energy usage or finding the best deals. One of the best (and the quickest and easiest) ways to save money is to fire up your laptop and compare the price of house, car, and health insurance, TV and broadband, and gas and electricity. The fees you are currently paying may be significantly higher than those available for new customers, and you can often save a ton of money by switching to different providers.

Once you’ve negotiated a better deal on energy, you can also cut bills further by paying more attention to the amount of energy you use. Simple things like turning lights off, and using a smart meter could save you a lot of money. It’s also really helpful to be more disciplined when it comes to food shopping and to save money on social activities. You don’t have to become a recluse to boost your savings account balance. Invite people over rather than going out, investigate free events, and swap movie nights for a DVD and takeout. You don’t have to change your life radically to notice a difference.

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Making your money work

If you’ve got money to save, it’s worth doing some research to find the best ways to make your money work for you. Interest rates on savings accounts are pretty low at the moment, but there are other ways of making money. You could consider investing in property, for example. If you’re already a homeowner, renting a house or an apartment out could earn you money now, as well as increasing the value of your estate in the future

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Many people will roll their eyes when the words financial planning crop up, but it’s always helpful to be aware of your financial situation and to take steps to save money. If you’re not a meticulous planner, hopefully, this guide has given you inspiration to get a grasp on your finances and start planning for the future.

 

Monday
Mar272017

Visit Russo's New York Pizzeria Clearwater + My Review!

Disclosure: I was provided with a gift card to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure policy)

Russo’s New York Pizzeria is famous for its authentic New York-style pizza, featuring fresh-made dough and the Russo’s family pizza sauce recipe since 1978. The restaurant also offers pizza by the slice, a colossal 28-inch Party Pizza, which is large enough to feed groups of up to 20, as well as gluten-free pizza and pasta, and traditional Italian favorites like lasagna, Ravioli Pomodoro, Penne Alla Vodka and Fettuccini Alfredo, plus desserts like authentic house-made tiramisu. Thankfully, we now have a location here in Clearwater! My family and I recently had the opportunity to review some of the delicious offerings at Russo's and I am excited to share my review with you! 

From the moment that we walked into the door at Russo's to the time that we left, the staff were all so courteous, helpful and friendly. My son Brady was able to play with pizza dough while we waited on our pies to cook and he had a blast. In fact, he has now requested to play with pizza dough at home! The meal started with a delicious foccacia bread and dipping sauce that my guys thoroughly enjoyed! Then, on to the main course of mouth-watering pizzas!

Since I am gluten-free, it is sometimes challenging to find a pizza that is not only delicious but has a nice texture to it as well. I had the gluten free Margherita Pizza at Russo's and was blown away! This pizza is the best gluten-free pizza that I have ever eaten. The marriage of Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, all-natural mozzarella, garlic, and organic extra virgin olive oil come together for one delicious pizza! Oh and the crust. Let me tell you about the buttery and crispy crust. It was amazing! The secret to their crust? They use honey as a binding ingredient, with rice flour as a substitute, but without compromising on flavor and substance. I seriously could not even tell that it was gluten free! Every bite of this pizza just melted in my mouth. I am dreaming about this pizza and cannot wait to go back again just for this! 

While I enjoyed my gluten-free Margherita Pizza, my guys devoured the Italian Works. This pie is made up of sliced Italian sausage, pepperoni, roasted peppers, all-natural mozzarella cheese, along with Russo's homemade pizza sauce. They said that the pizza was amazing! Just look at that cheese and sausage! How can you go wrong with all of that yummy goodness? 

Russo's also serves calzones, pastas, soups, sandwiches and more. I cannot wait to try the gluten-free pasta dishes! Are you a pizza lover? I highly recommend Russo's to anyone and think that you will enjoy their delicious offerings! If you stop in, be sure to tell them that Heather from My Sweet Savings sent you! 

Russo's New York Pizzeria Clearwater is located at 2233 Gulf to Bay Blvd. Follow Russo's Clearwater on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to stay up-to-date with all of their latest promotional offers and events. 

Monday
Mar272017

Make a Splash With Peppa Pig & The Muddy Puddles Project!

(All posts may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please see my disclosure policy)

I take such joy in promoting those causes that give back to others. The Muddy Puddles Project is such a note-worthy project and one that I want you to become familiar with. The Muddy Puddles Project was inspired by five-year old Ty Campbell, a little boy who absolutely LOVED Peppa Pig and dreamed of jumping in muddy puddles just like her when his cancer was cured. The project embodies the act of kids being kids in honor of those who can’t. That just blesses my heart and I am so happy to spread the word about this! 

At its core, The Muddy Puddles Project is a vehicle to remind parents to stop sweating the small stuff; but it is also a fundraising platform for the Ty Louis Campbell (TLC) Foundation in support of childhood cancer research. After Ty lost his battle with cancer, his parents committed to finding ways to fund innovative research geared toward safer, more effective treatment of various childhood cancers. It is the perfect vehicle to engage children in philanthropy because it encourages them to have fun while doing good.

How can you get involved? The Muddy Puddles Project is a celebration of children and childhood.  In honor of all children battling cancer, we ask parents everywhere to let their kids get messy and jump in the mud on their behalf… simply because they can.  We encourage you to host a mini mess fest of your own in order to bring this celebration to others. You can even GO HERE to download everything you need to host your own Muddy Puddles Mess Fest.

You can also consider hosting your very own Peppa-inspired Welly Walk to benefit the charity. What is a Welly Walk? It’s as simple as it sounds: an organized stroll outside – rain or shine! – in your favorite pair of wellies (rain boots). As Peppa Pig’s Mummy Pig wisely says, “If you jump in muddy puddles, you must wear your boots.”  GO HERE for information on how to host your own Welly Walk.

Monday
Mar272017

*HOT* $3/1 Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers Coupon = $4.99 Diapers at Target or Walmart! 

(All posts may contain affiliate links and/or sponsored content. Please see my disclosure policy)

Calling all of you with little ones! Be sure to hurry and print this NEW coupon to save $3/1 Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers (not valid on 9 count or less). The packs of diapers are regularly priced around $7.99 at Target and Walmart so only $4.99 with coupon! What a great deal! Grab this coupon now as it will not last for long!

Monday
Mar272017

30 Scott Paper Towel Mega Rolls Only $18.02 Shipped! (just $0.60 per roll)

(All posts may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please see my disclosure policy)  

Need to stock up on paper towels? Amazon is offering Two Scott Choose-A-Sheet Mega Roll Paper Towels 15 Roll packages for only $18.02 Shipped when you clip the 20% coupon and schoose the Subscribe and Save option to the right of the page. This means you are paying just $0.60 per mega roll! 15 Mega Rolls = 22 Regular rolls! Awesome deal! 

*Amazon pricing and promotions can change at any time so act now if interested! These prices are current at the time of this posting.

Sunday
Mar262017

The Links Between The Body And The Wallet

 (All posts may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy

We all wish for good health and good finances, but we might not know that we’re wishing essentially for the same thing. Our health and our finances are inextricably linked. When our health suffers, our finances tend to take a hit and vice versa. Sometimes, that link can become a vulnerability and a major change in our personal health can send our finances spinning out of control. To stop that, you need to make sure you’re taking the right steps. What can you do to stop your health from impacting your finances too much

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Cut out the unhealthy habits

It might sound like a small enough step, but the truth is that this tip is going to help you better budget for the following tips. Not to mention, it’s going to drastically reduce your risk of actually needing any of the following protections as well. When it comes down to getting your personal health and financial health in good condition, those bad habits of yours are going to make it harder for both. For instance, the yearly cost the average smoker incurs is roughly $2,555.  But vices like smoking also drive up the cost of health insurance at the same time. Just another reason to quell those unhealthy habits.

Prepare for those costs

Of course, we can’t talk about health and finance without talking the most common way to investing in your healthcare, health insurance. The choice of health insurance deal you take has a huge role to play in the relationship between your money and your wellbeing. Most people get their insurance plan through their employer. The employer’s plan usually costs less to you than the other plans out on the marketplace, but if you’re concerned that you’re not getting specific coverage your family needs, then it might very well be a necessity. In those cases, you might be looking at a need for deals like a point-of-service plan.

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Ensure accountability

Not all cases are about ensuring that you’re able to handle the costs of your own healthcare. Sometimes, you need to know your rights and when you shouldn’t be the person paying for that care in the first place. Especially if someone else’s actions have you losing income because you’re unable to attend work. Teams like SiebenCarey highlight a variety of different situations in which cases you might be liable to see some accountability taken by parties that cause your healthcare issues. We all know about assigning that accountability when it comes to auto collisions or workplace accidents. But you might also have a malpractice case if poor healthcare results in further costs and impacts to your health. Or if you slip outside a commercial property due to poor maintenance, the owner of the property may very well be held responsible.

Protect your income

Getting the law on your side is a great way to ensure that any loss of income is covered by the responsible party. Employers themselves might offer some kind of insurance in their benefits package even if they’re not responsible for time taken off work due to illness or injury. However, that’s not always the case. They must keep your job for you, but not necessarily pay you. If they don’t, it’s important to get your own income protection insurance. The best income protection deals are those that take into account more varied circumstances, such as injuries and illnesses on vacations and children’s injuries that require you to take time from work.

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Better health means better finance

We’ve already covered how bad habits can have more impact on your finances than you expect, as well as make you more likely to require the use of your health insurance. But on a more abstract note, there’s research that shows that those who keep themselves in better health tend to do a lot better with their finances overall, too. For instance, ensuring your sleep well and managing your stress levels shows evidence that you’re able to make better decisions in your day-to-day, including decisions that impact your finances like choosing deals and avoiding impulse buys. Good eating habits tend to reflect on good financial habits, too. Some believe eating healthily is more expensive, despite the help that meal planning can provide. However, eating unhealthily tends to lead to more food being bought overall and the increase in superfluous expenses every time you need to go to the store. Maintaining personally healthy habits tends to make it easier to maintain financially healthy habits, too.

We never know when our health is going to take a turn for the worse. Anyone can be the victim of an accident or get struck with an illness. It’s when you’re in good health and earning that you should be putting protections in place, rather than hoping you can get through a crisis as it unfolds.