Owning a car can be a huge strain on a budget. They can be expensive to buy, run and maintain, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t own a car if you have a low income or lots of monthly outgoings. A vehicle makes life much easier in many ways, especially if you have a family; they open up more job opportunities and they can save you a lot of time and money that would be spent on other methods of transport. To help you on your way, here is how to own a car if you are living on a budget. Read more
Now days, it is an unfortunate thing that the majority of colleges and universities have not made personal finance a necessary subject for their students. Due to this reason, students often lack the understanding that is needed to make proper decisions when it comes to handling their finances. This may include things like managing money, how to stay debt-free, or something as simple as applying for a credit card. Young adults are at the point of their lives where they need to make smart decisions regarding their money to be successful in today’s cutthroat economic situation. It is of utmost importance they these young adults get the necessary advice they lack as they wouldn’t want to get in their middle ages and be broke. Read more
Do you need money to invest in your career, cover unexpected expenses such as hospital bills, or pay for a house? An online installment loan is among the best loan types that you can get to back up such expenses.
Installment loans may sound like an intimidating or unfamiliar term, but they are the most common loans today, and, most probably, you have already applied for this loan type before. Car loans, personal loans, home loans, student loans fall under the umbrella term “installment loans.”
So, if you’re planning to borrow some cash to fund for whatever goal or purchase you have in mind, it’s practical to get an installment loan. Here’s what you should know on installment loans online. Read more
As you may know, one can make a lot of money from trading, especially if they know what they’re doing.
Moreover, even if someone creates their trading account today and starts to invest in Forex via social trading brokers, they can make a nice profit faster than traders who rely on traditional trading methods.
However, money made via trading – no matter how much one makes – can contribute to a non-frugal lifestyle that, in turn, may end up being the main cause of financial issues. This is because people who make money from trading usually forget their humble starting point!
Therefore, in today’s article, we’ll show you some of the tricks/things that you can do to still stay frugal even when making money from trading! Read more
As pretty much everyone in the world knows now, COVID 19 has completely changed our world. We were all set to go on our big joint 40th birthday trip to Greece in the middle of March when all of this hit. Obviously, that didn’t work out for us and we are extremely disappointed, to say the least. But, at least we are home safe with our family and not trapped in another country.
But since all of this has unfolded, it has changed every aspect of our lives, as I am sure it has for you too. So I want to talk about what we have been doing now that our world has turned upside down, both financially and in every other way.
As has happened to most other American’s, we have lost a significant amount of our income. My spouse is a chef, so when all restaurants were mandated to close, his job went along with it. That doesn’t even include me, as a small business owner, but we will get to that in the next section.
Once his restaurant closed, we thought we were stuck. But, due to the wide reaching impact of COVID 19, unemployment insurance was opened up to any and all W2 employees that were affected. My spouse included.
So, we applied for him to begin getting unemployment. Although, this sounds easier than it actually was. So many people were applying that North Carolina’s system kept crashing. It took us 2 days to finally complete his application, with all supporting documentation. And another week and a half for them to approve him.
While it is awesome that he is receiving unemployment benefits now, North Carolina is one of the few states that doesn’t offer a full 26 weeks of unemployment, but only 12 weeks. We are hoping that will be mandated to change due to the circumstances, but only time will tell.
paycheck protection program
As for me, the new CARES Act states I should qualify for unemployment. I did apply for myself also, but the system keeps kicking me out and telling me that I am ineligible. I think they will eventually figure it out, but due to the fact that unemployment has never had to take self-employed or small business owners, they simply don’t have the infrastructure to handle us yet.
So, I spoke to another entrepreneur I know and was informed that I simply had to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to get funding for my business. At first, I didn’t want to apply because I didn’t want to be on the hook for a loan. But, the way this one is structured is that the loan is supposed to be forgiven entirely, as long as you only use it for approved items. Those items include payroll and up to 25% of the loan for utilities to keep the business operational.
I just applied 2 days ago and haven’t heard anything back yet. But since each individual bank has to approve it through their underwriter first, and then it goes to the SBA for their approval, it could take a while. Either way, I am crossing my fingers that one of these avenues pans out for me, because I have lost about 90% of my business currently.
Another option that I looked into was food stamps, or the SNAP program. While the parameters are different in every state, we happen to qualify in ours. Even though my spouse and I aren’t married, we share a household and 5 kids, so we fall into a household size of 7. Due to our incomes being decimated, we more than qualify for the food and nutrition assistance program.
And even though I really don’t want to go back on food stamps, I will take whatever help I can get right now. Especially since our family size could potentially get us a little over $1000 for groceries each month while all of this is going on. That would really help take a lot of the financial stress off and comes in under what our normal grocery budget is. Even though I applied a week ago, and my application is still pending, I am crossing my fingers that they will approve us any day now.
While I began homeschooling one child this year, I am now pretty much homeschooling 4 more. Yes, I said 4 more! The 1 child was more of a challenge than I initially thought, but it has been great for him. And great for our relationship too. So, it has been very worth the extra work on my end for both of us.
But, now due to schools being closed until potentially next school year, we have 4 more kids who need some educational guidance. I realize that it is different in every state and county, but ours hasn’t started mandating any sort of virtual instruction yet. And they have been out of school for over 3 weeks now.
So, I have been busy figuring out all of their weaknesses and assigning work to help them improve. Of course, that has been a lot more work for me and my spouse. And certainly some tears and frustration on the kids end. But, it has really helped us see where they are lacking in their education. Therefore, the positive is that this time can only help us help them improve.
home improvement projects
As I am sure a lot of us are doing, we have been tackling a lot of home improvement projects. Most of ours have been talked about for quite some time but kept getting pushed to the back-burner. So, now that we have a whole lot more time on our hands, we are taking advantage.
We haven’t been going out to spend a lot of money on supplies. That would just hurt our bottom line right now. Instead, we have been doing things such as:
- blowing hardscapes
- pressure washing
- reset our patio and put in polymeric sand (if you don’t know what this stuff is, it’s awesome!)
- moving random pavers to create another small patio outside my office
- cutting down trees
- trimming bushes
- cleaning out storage shed
- reorganizing my office so I can actually look out my window and open my door to the outside world
- going through all of the kids clothes, games, random stuff and downsizing everything
- building garden boxes
I am sure there is more that I am forgetting, and there will be more in the future. I figure that our house and yard will look and feel the best it ever has once we all come out of this. So why not take advantage of the time we have been given?
This is a category that I have been slacking on of late due to working too much. And trying to spend more time with the kids. So, even though I normally do a lot of yard work and walk a lot of dogs for one of my businesses, it still isn’t enough for me.
My spouse loves to play disc golf and I love to hike. So, we have a great compromise of playing disc golf together on more challenging courses with more diverse terrain. That way I can get my hiking in and he gets to throw.
And due to COVID 19, we have had the time to go play some much further out courses that we have never been able to get to before. Which has been a lot of fun when we don’t have the kids.
I also love to bike but haven’t really had the time for that either, until recently. My normal bike mileage on the Greenway is somewhere between 35-40 miles when I ride regularly. But, since I just started getting back into it, I am starting back out at 15-20 miles. It shouldn’t take me too long to build back up to my normal mileage. But, it’s disappointing to see how far behind I’ve fallen.
Although, I have loved being able to get back out on my bike, ride hands free and just enjoy the wind and the nature.
covid 19 new world summary
Overall, we are all being severely affected by COVID 19. It has changed the whole landscape of our world. And while the up side is that none of us are sick, this has still been a challenge.
We have been looking into any and all resources that might be able to help us financially during this time to assist with taking some of the stress off. And while we now have kids at home for school, it has been a blessing also because it is has helped us see where they could use more help. The extra time has granted us more time for home and yard projects, as well as more exercise time.
So, while this has been challenging, it has also been a beautiful gift. And ultimately, how we choose to perceive what is going on can have a huge affect on how we come out of this. So we are choosing to try and look at all of this in a positive light. We don’t know what our world will look like when we come out the other side. Cut our goal is to do the best we can with the time we have right now and just be grateful.
How has COVID 19 affected your family and how have you been handling it?
A lot of the work that goes into running a farm is strictly hands-on. After all, the cows aren’t going to milk themselves. Running a farm successfully takes loads of skill and know-how, with much of it being learned via trial and error. On the other hand, there are parts of running a farm that take a little less technical know-how and a lot more computer savviness. If you know how to build a website, you can potentially increase your income by making it more convenient for customers to place orders remotely. The long story short is farming, by trade, is a professional industry. Handle your finances with the same tools that other professionals use and your financial outlook will improve greatly. Read more
One of the most significant challenges that a person faces upon graduation is building a credit history with a stellar credit score. An excellent credit score is like a financial resume that plays a massive role in your life. It can assist you in landing a job, securing an apartment, getting a loan to start your agricultural enterprise, reduce auto insurance premiums, and much more. Are you in a bid to build good credit but have no clue? Here are a few simple steps to follow. Read more
With a new year comes a new slate. And for us, that means it’s a great time to create more financial freedom and independence for our future selves. And one of the best ways we have found to achieve that is to keep more of our money, as opposed to spending it. But, that doesn’t just mean we keep it and don’t do anything with it. There are many different tips and tricks used to help create more wealth with our money. So read on if you want to learn how to keep more of your money and create more long term wealth.
Setting financial goals
Setting your financial goals is the first part of the puzzle. After all, if you don’t have clear cut goals lined up then what are you wanting to keep more of your money for anyway? The best way we have found to do this is to create 4 different things.
- Short-term goals
- Mid-term goals
- Long-term goals
Once you have those 4 things nailed down, then you can really start rolling towards your personal financial goals.
Open a high yield savings account
No matter what your debt to income ratio is, you can always find something to put aside. Even if it’s only $20 a month to begin with, something is still better than nothing. And with this $20, or whatever you are able to regularly scrape together, you will create your emergency fund.
After all, one of the most important tools in your financial arsenal is your emergency fund. Even if you don’t have 6-9 months of expenses saved to begin with, everybody has to start somewhere. And this money can really help reduce your stress levels in times of crisis. No matter what you put into the this savings account, the goal is to budget the same amount monthly.
Just pretend it’s another bill and it will be less painful. And, the best way to gain a little more on your emergency fund savings is to open a high yield savings account to put it into.
With interest rates closer to 2% in high yield savings accounts, you will still do a whole lot better than if you put the money into a traditional savings account. Those rates are currently at a national average of .09%, which is just ridiculous!
Stay focused on your financial goals
Once you have figured out your financial goals and started your emergency fund, next you have to figure out how to stay focused on them. Believe me when I tell you that this can really be the hardest part!
There are a lot of great tools out there to help you track your spending and your wealth. But, the one I have been using for years now is Personal Capital. You can use it on your PC or your smartphone. And once you have all of your accounts connected (that is what takes the most amount of time!), it is very easy to navigate.
You just login to the platform and it will show you your overall net worth based on the balance of each account. I take it as a personal challenge to increase my net worth every month, if even only by a little bit.
Pay off your credit card
While most of us prefer to use credit cards over cash, they can really get us into financial trouble if we aren’t careful. Some of these credit cards have pretty awesome rewards, which are fantastic to get. But if you don’t pay off your credit card in full every month, then you are ultimately spending more than you are getting in rewards.
So, the best way to fully utilize your credit card’s perks is to pay off your card in full every month. If that means only putting basic household expenses on the credit card, because you know you can pay that off. Then that is what you should do to make sure you will have enough money in your budget to pay it off.
Determine Needs vs. wants
Once you have gone through all of the previous items, determining needs vs. wants is the next step. Because now you are getting into potentially erroneous items that may creep up monthly to spend your money on. And it is these things that can really derail us on our financial path if we aren’t careful.
Therefore, keep in mind whether the item/service is a need or a want first. If the item is a need, then go ahead and do it. But if it is actually a want instead, you may want to hold off on it or figure out a different solution. After all, not spending your hard earned cash on wants will only help you keep more of your money in your pocket.
Keep More of Your Money
Overall, it can be difficult to keep more of your money in your pocket. Especially, since it is just so easy to spend it quickly these days. And this is the reason why we have to be more aware of what we have and where we want to be with our finances.
Just remember to:
- Set your financial goals
- Open a high yield savings account
- Stay focused on your financial goals
- Pay off your credit card every month
- Determine needs vs. wants
For us, following these great financial tips have really helped us keep more money in our pocket. So it will be interesting to see how much we are able to keep this year and continue to grow our wealth.
What steps to you plan to take to help keep more money in your pocket this year?
As a fairly frugal family, we are always looking for ways to cut costs. This is especially true when it comes to clothes. After all, having 5 growing children can really get expensive in the clothing genre! But, over the years, we have found some great ways to procure clothes on a budget. And whether you have children or not, these tips can really come in handy to save you some money.
A friend of mine turned me onto Poshmark not too long ago. I had never heard of them before, but have fallen in love! This service is for buying and selling name brand clothes, shoes and accessories.
Ultimately, I don’t have a whole lot of name brand items. But, since we are always cleaning things out, I figured what the heck. Setting up your closet (if you want to sell anything) is pretty quick and painless. You have the option to share your closet on all of your social media accounts also, if you so choose. This can increase your sales opportunities.
Poshmark takes 20% of whatever you sell your items for. So this is something to keep in mind. But, you can keep the money you make in your Poshmark account to use for items you want to purchase. The seller does not pay shipping, the purchaser does.
And negotiation is allowed on Poshmark, which is pretty cool!
I have sold a few items on Poshmark so far. I was then able to use the money in my account to purchase new clothes for us. The grand total I have spent so far is $.59. Now that is what I call clothes on a budget!
Consignment stores are another one of my favorite places to shop for clothes on a budget. Not only do I love to donate to them, but shopping at them is pretty awesome also. Granted, there can be a lot of things that don’t appeal to you at all. Or the clothes and shoes can be extremely outdated. But, I have found quite a few diamonds in the rough at consignment stores.
There are a few consignment stores near us that are notorious for having a lot of donations with the tags still ON! These are my favorite finds because we get brand new clothes at severely discounted prices. How can you go wrong with that?
Some of our favorite consignment stores to hit up are:
- Goodwill – for everything, including household items
- Plato’s Closet – for the teenagers and adults
- Once Upon a Child – for the younger kids
Depending upon which consignment store you go to, the prices will vary. But, prices at Goodwill are the same no matter which one you frequent in your area. For us, that means the kids clothes start at $3.19 each and ours start at $3.89 each. We love this!
Just keep in mind that whenever you are consignment shopping you will also be hunting. So you have to be okay with scouring through a lot of different clothing items to find what you are seeking. If you aren’t a fan of this, then don’t worry because there are plenty of other options for you.
end of season
One of the best times to shop for clothes is the end of a season. I realize this can be difficult with growing children though. Since you have to predict how much they will grow, it is always a guessing game.
However, if you are willing to play the game, you can save some serious money. Take right now, for example. Most stores are moving into the heavy winter clothes and are trying to offload the lighter fall attire. This is the time to search for, and stock up on, things such as:
- Capri pants
- 3/4 length shirts
- Lighter leggings
- Lightweight long sleeve shirts
- Long skirts
- Lightweight jackets
Since we have been searching for new pants for some of the kids in the past few weeks, we have run across some great deals. I’ve been able to pick up pants for some of the kids for as low as $2.50 each. I also came across some Capri athletic pants for myself for $4.98. I don’t know about you, but those prices really make me smile!
emails and coupons
Last but not least are email lists and coupons. Even though I greatly detest all of the emails inundating my inbox, I love some of the deals I run across.
Usually, when you sign up to get a newsletter, you will also get a welcome email with discounts of some sort. I hold onto those puppies like gold!
A lot of the email lists, and/or associated store apps, will have coupons also. You have to read the fine print because some of them can’t be combined with any other offer. But I have run across quite a few that can be combined. And that is where you start really racking up the savings!
One of my favorite tricks is to sign up for a new email list and use the coupon(s) in the clearance section. I have been able to get a lot of clothes for next to nothing this way. And that really helps keep our clothes budget low.
Clothes on a budget
Overall, there are quite a few different ways you can find clothes on a budget. And sometimes, they might even be new clothes with the tags still on!
Some of the best ways we have found to restock our wardrobes on the cheap are:
- Consignment stores scouring
- Shopping at the end of each season
- Getting onto email lists for deals and coupons
Therefore, getting creative and playing the game are the best ways to get clothes on a budget for the whole family.
What are some of the best ways you have found to get clothes on a budget?
Are you planning a kitchen remodel but don’t want to spend too much? The good news is: you can! With a little elbow grease and some know-how, you can achieve beautiful results at the fraction of the price. Let’s consider some tips that can help you save a few bucks on your kitchen renovation.