Showing posts with label Budget. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Budget. Show all posts

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Celebrate Your Freedom to Save!




Independence Day is when we celebrate our country’s freedom. Many of us also get to enjoy the 4th of July holiday with a vacation from work, offering plenty of opportunities for fun, rest, and relaxation. It’s also the perfect time to celebrate your freedom to save. Read on for our top tips!

Home & Garden Merchandise


If you’re planning to entertain this summer, check out deals on home and garden merchandise. From patriotic décor and lawn furniture to gardening supplies and grills, department stores have great sales on these items at this time of year. Check out major department stores in your area for great holiday savings. Specialty items for the pool and beach are usually on sale by the time 4th of July rolls around, too.

Grocery Items


Don’t forget food, drinks, and snacks. Make sure to stock up on barbecue favorites such as hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken, drinks, and chips while they’re on sale. You can also buy these items in bulk from a shopping club. Then, you’re certain to have plenty for guests when the grilling season or special event rolls around. Check out our Pinterest board, Healthy Summer BBQ, for more entertaining ideas!

Summer Apparel


Swimwear, shorts, and sandals have been drastically reduced in price by the time 4th of July arrives. Take advantage of these markdowns. Not only can you and your family members enjoy a fashionable summer wardrobe this year, but you can purchase items for next year, too. Summer jewelry and handbags can be also found at great prices this time of year as retailers begin making room for back-to-school merchandise.

Electronics & Appliances


And then there are electronics and appliances. Probably not something you typically consider during the summer season, but it is a great time of year to purchase this type of merchandise at reduced prices. From televisions and refrigerators to mixers or printers, don’t discount the opportunity to save!

Save with FamilyWize


Don’t forget that you can save on your seasonal allergy and other medications during the summer season. Use your FamilyWize discount prescription drug card and maximize your savings on your prescription needs. Get your free card or download the app here.

Let’s not forget to pause and appreciate the freedoms we enjoy this Independence Day, but you can also take a minute to celebrate your freedom to save! Enjoy and be safe!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January: Financial Wellness Month

There’s plenty of advice out there on how to make more money, be financially savvy, and aim for promotion at work (hint: become an invaluable and flexible employee). And I’ve written plenty on how to be financially smart . But as we reflect on financial wellness this month, perhaps it’s worth considering being happy…even when we’re broke.

It’s a conundrum, right? When the bankroll is small and the bills are headliners, we often want to hide under the covers and beg for it all to go away. But as it turns out, more money doesn’t necessarily equal happiness, particularly when we reach the end of life. Social media maven Mona Nomura offers the sad tale of her mother: "After she attained what she thought was success, [my mother] was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. She spent the days up until her death regretting almost all the choices she made and beat herself up day after day. One of her last journal entries included reflections on how unappreciative she was with the things in front of her, and finally realizing happiness does not lie within superficial matters a little too late."

So how do you avoid having these savage regrets, in the face of mounting financial obligations and a still shaky economy? Can we be financially well and still live on a tight budget?

Practice gratitude. This can be a tough one, especially if you are feeling the squeeze in your wallet. But as author and speaker Britt Reints suggests, life is about more than just problems. Think about the things that matter – truly matter – in your world. Your loved ones, friends, family, co-workers. What about your mindset? What do you love best about yourself? Sure, there’s plenty we can come up with to complain about, but there are elements that make us unique. What are those? Make a list of the things that you can be grateful for, and put it by your desk, or tape it to your mirror. I keep mine on my calendar. Whenever I get down about anything, including my budget, I can pull it out and remind myself why this life is so worth the struggle.

This is now, not forever. You don’t have to stay here. If counting every cent by the end of the month doesn’t make you happy, start planning for change! Anna Manalastas left a career in the film industry and discovered yoga as her passion, but it swallowed up her savings. She describes being broke as just a moment in life.So embrace this phase and squeeze it for all it’s worth so you won’t have to go through it again in the future.

Live in the moment. While you are setting goals for future affluence, don’t get so ahead of yourself that you don’t enjoy what is right now. Despite the frustrations, there is so much for you to indulge in right now. Lisa Earle McLeod recommends living in the moment. Remember that this is the only time in your life that your children will be this age. That your friends will be at this place in their lives. That your parents will be who they are, right now. It goes by quickly, and soon, we will face other trials. There is no rewind in life. So despite the financial struggles that you may be enduring, don’t miss these opportunities for treasured moments.

Being broke isn’t fun, but it doesn’t have to be the worst time of your life, either. Part of financial wellness is not just having a certain dollar amount in the bank, but also having the right mindset about money. Having been on both sides of the experience, I can tell you I’m much happier with less in my bank account because I chose to put people and experiences into my life that money can’t buy. What are the parts of your life that can’t be bought? What ways can you work on embracing them even more?

Ally Bishop
Contributing Writer


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Furniture Finds at the Thrift Store

We're buying a house!  Well, sort of... my dad owns a few rental properties and he is getting to the age where he wants to relax and only worry about what my mom is making for dinner.  Can't blame the guy!  To get the peace of mind he is looking for, he is selling one of his rental properties and...I will be buying it! (Hopefully with a daughter discount.)

Budget Furniture Shopping
The shelf, paintings, and bird cage were all
found at a second hand store!
The house has really good bones, but needs A LOT of work--new floors, new carpets, new siding, new appliances; the list I've started is getting looooooong.
However, I am totally up for the challenge!

I love to make things look beautiful and my boyfriend is a welder/fabricator so we are more than capable of taking on the challenge.

Since I'm semi-fresh out of college and haven't learned how to budget money too well and build up my savings account, I know enough to use the money I did save on those core structural items that need to be done.  Even though I would much rather spend it furniture shopping.

The money I will be spending on home furniture is coming from a box of savings bonds my mom has saved for me through the years, which adds up to around $2,000.  Does it sound impossible?  Filling a house with affordable furniture is probable with the help from local thrift stores.


Why Thrift Store Furniture?


It's Not Just Junk - There is a stigma clouding thrift stores that all they are is a roof on top of unwanted items.  So not true!  There are many reasons why these items--mainly furniture--are brought to second hand stores.  For example:

  • People move or have to downsize, the furniture that cannot be taken is deposited at thrift stores where people know it can be resold and go to a good home.
  • People pass away and family can't take or do not want any of their belongings, the thrift store is likely to gain those things too.  
Bottom line - it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the furniture, it just didn't have a home.

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder -  If you pass by a dresser or shelf that catches your eye, but it's not the color you're looking for or it's missing a knob, don't let that stop you.  There is so much potential in used furniture if you don't mind using a little elbow grease.

Thrift Store Furniture
After stripping the layers of paint that were caked
on this dresser, refurbished furniture can look amazing!

Thrift Store Furniture Don'ts

Even though I'm all about thrift stores and would buy groceries there if I could, there are some things to keep in mind when you venture out to buy cheap furniture.

Mattresses- Hmmmm. You might want to pass.  Even though a new mattress is on the expensive side , mattresses are best when not second hand.  With the whole bedbug craze, it has taught us that we are never alone in bed!  I suggest splurging on new because peace of mind is included in the price.
  • Couches- Need a new couch? Proceed with caution! With the living room being the most used room and the house and the couch getting the brunt of it, make sure you zoom in on the couch you're thinking about buying.  If it visually looks like it's in good shape with no rips or stains and it's sturdy, you can make it yours if the price is right.  If it has a good frame, but has an outdated pattern, there is an easy fix.  Buy or make slip covers and it will look like a million bucks.
  • For more used furniture don'ts, check out this How to Buy Used Furniture article by Quickanddirtytips.com

More Ways to Fill Your House

Get to Know Craig and His List-  If you can't seem to find that perfect piece you are looking for, you should check out Craigslist.org.  It is a huge online community bulletin board where people post things they are selling in your area.  One of the categories hitting close to home for me is -- appliances.  It is often difficult to find appliances at second hand stores.  Plus they are heavy and it is not often worth the effort to take them to a thrift store.  We resorted to Craigslist.  I hopped on the computer and skimmed Craigslist.  I found an awesome stainless steel refrigerator that a guy was selling for $400 bucks because he bought a bigger one.  Being the thrifty person that I am, I negotiated the price down to $350 and we picked it up that night.   I looked up the retail price and the same refrigerator "new" would have cost over $1,000.  We are pretty sure we got a good deal!  You can find almost anything and everything on Craigslist.  If you're looking for a hard to find part for your car or even a Barbie to add to your collection, start here.  
thrift shopping
All these yard sale end tables needed was a good sanding,
white paint, and little black spray paint!

Yard Sales - I LOVE a good yard sale primarily because of the prices.  Thrift stores are often a resource for a charity to raise money and their items are priced accordingly.  And although the prices are low, they are high compared to the prices at yard sales.  People who have yard sales just want to get rid of their stuff!  The goal is to not have to bring it back into their house!  You can find really good deals at yard sales and they are the perfect place to try out your negotiating skills!

If you have some awesome thrift store finds or tips on buying second hand furniture, please share!

Krysta W.