Month: November 2015

What I Learned From #Bloglikecrazy

 

What I learned from blog like crazy
#Bloglikecrazy

#Bloglikecrazy has been quite a challenge for me. Being a blogging newbie, I have never blogged every single day. I decided to take the challenge anyway. I felt like giving up many times, but I stuck it out until the very end. (this is the last post, look at God!) I never knew I had so much to say. I started the challenge thinking I could just blog about my spending freeze. That got boring real quick for me. That is when I wanted to quit, but something inside me wouldn’t let me. I learned that I have gumption and when the going gets tough, the tough get going!.

I began to get a little more creative in week two. My husband thought I was crazy taking pictures of our home. I told him I needed something to blog about, so just chill. I learned how to improvise and that I don’t just have to be a stuffy finance expert. I can show people that I practice what I preach. I made it through week two, but still wanted to give up. My November was all over the place, I really didn’t have time for all this blogging. I learned I need better time management skills. For my next month long blogging feat, I have already scheduled the post’s and done most of the graphics.

A few more lesson’s I learned are:

  1. Never give up even when your obstacle seems unsurmountable.
  2. I have more word’s and idea’s in me than I thought
  3. I am creative
  4. Set better time-management strategies
  5. Don’t limit myself to just one day a week; spread the day’s out and cover thing’s that I do in my frugal life along with giving financial tip’s and advice

#Bloglikecrazy was challenging, but fun and I am glad it is over! Will I participate next November? Of course, I wouldn’t dream of not participating! I can’t wait to see what I blog about next year. I have also enjoyed reading and sharing my fellow participant’s posts. Thank you Javacia, for all you do and how you keep us Jane’s on our toe’s.

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Free Fun On A Rainy Day

free fun on a rainy day
Tangle and Tumble

This has been an amazing Thanksgiving weekend for me and my family. I enjoyed my grandchildren so much. They were a little bit bored,because they couldn’t go out to play. Now you know glamma, always has a trick up her sleeve. I pulled out Tangle & Tumble and the fun began! Soon they forgot all about outside! This game was less than $5.00 and purchased at the Five Below in Louisville, Kentucky. Thank you auntie Rayshaun, for this exciting game!

Free fun on a rainy day
Having fun!
free fun on a rainy day
Playmat

We even had a second Thanksgiving dinner with all the leftovers from Thursday! Saving money and having fun, that’s my kind of rainy day!

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have fun!

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What Age Should You Start Teaching Kid’s About Money

what age should you start teaching kids about money
Kids and money, the teenage years

As we come to the end of this series, if you missed any you can read what age should you start teaching kid’s about money, beginning with age two. Financial literacy is important as soon as possible, so start teaching your kid’s as early as you can.

Ages 13 to 15

A child’s early teen years are not too early to learn about the stock market. You can pretend to invest in companies your child is familiar with, like Disney or Mattel. Make it a family activity by having each member pick a stock. Then read the paper or watch the financial news together, and discuss how the stock values of everyone’s choices fluctuate.

Between lunch money, school supplies, and other small necessities, allowance can go very quickly for young teens. Help your child set a budget by first discussing wants vs. needs. I call it the potatoes and gravy game. Potatoes are food we need to survive. The gravy makes it taste better but isn’t necessary. You can reinforce this idea by going over the family budget with your child and discussing your family’s needs vs. wants.

Ages 16 and up

Stored-value cards, such as Visa Buxx or American Express Cobaltcard, are simple tools that parents can offer to teach lessons in financial responsibility. Teenagers can use these buying cards to pay for things without using cash or credit cards. Parents load the cards, which look like credit cards, with a set amount of money and then let their teens budget their allowance. (Ask your lender about possible annual fees.)

With a little encouragement, giving to charity can become part of your child’s mentality. In fact, donating can be more than a financial lesson; it can teach social responsibility. Help your child pick five charitable organizations that interest him. To decide which is worthy of your hard-earned dollar, make it a family project to find out what they do, how well they do it, and what percentage of the donations goes to their cause.

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BLACK FRIDAY FREEBIE

black friday freebie
Shop Till You Drop with this FREEBIE!

 

Since it is Black Friday, I thought I would give you a FREEBIE! All you have to do is click the image below, and you will receive a copy of my Budget 101 E-Book, absolutely FREE!

budgeting 101
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How I Spent $20 A Day On My Vacation And How You Can Too

how i spent $20 a day on my vacation and you can do it too
Bon Voyage

Back in September I took a short vacation to see my youngest son in Huntsville, Alabama and my oldest son and his family in Louisville, Kentucky. (Don’t tell the oldest boy but I really went to see his wife and my grandkids; I have seen him all his life.) And believe it or not, I only spent $20 a day over the course of that 5-day trip. Here’s how I did it:

First I set a vacation spending plan. As you know I plan my money down to the penny. I knew it was only me going on this vacation so I didn’t have to worry about anyone other than myself.

How I did it – Lodging: When in Huntsville and Louisville, I stayed with my family, so I didn’t have worry about hotel costs.

How I Spent $20 A Day On My Vacation And How You Can Too
My Baby Boy Treon and Me!

How you can do it: Pick a destination where you have family and stay with them. No family outside of your home state? No problem! Go to sites like hotels.com and find cheaper hotels. Some hotels offer a discount if you are military, elderly or have stayed with them a certain number of times in the past. This will take you over the $20 a day mark but you can pick any amount you want to spend per day and go from there.

How I did it – Meals: In Huntsville, my son has two roommates and they all cook, but there is nothing like mama’s cooking whether it’s your mama or someone else’s mama. For the days that I was there I cooked for them, meaning I spent $0 on food. On my last day there, we went out to lunch and of course it was my son’s treat. In Louisville, my son and daughter-in-law (I call her my daughter-in-love) cooked for me. We never once ate out and that was fine by me.

How I Spent $20 A Day On My Vacation And How You Can Too
Salad made by Rayshaun Bledsoe, my daughter-in-love!

How you can do it: If you stay with family, cook. If you stay in a hotel, pick one with a stove and refrigerator and cook your meals. Eating out 3 meals a day is expensive, so cut costs where you can. If you insist upon eating out do it for breakfast as that is the cheapest meal of the day.

How I did it – Entertainment: Just being in their presence is entertainment enough for me. Both of my sons are funny and have jokes for days just like their mama. I am easy to please, so while in Huntsville my son sang to me and we cracked jokes. It was about family time to me because there is absolutely nothing better than family time. In Louisville, I spent time with my grandbabies and a 1-year-old and 5-month-old are entertainment and exercise. We also went to the Big 4 pedestrian bridge; it was free, which was great for me.

How I Spent $20 A Day On My Vacation And How You Can Too
Big 4 Pedestrian Bridge

How you can do it: Look for free or low cost things to do at your destination. Depending on what time of year you take your vacation and where you go, there may be free festivals or expos you can go to. Also, check to see if your destination has an entertainment district. If so make that one of your stops for discounted entertainment. Local fairs and trade shows are great places to kill time, explore your destination’s culture and pick up cheap crafts.

How I did it – Shopping: Anyone who knows me knows I love to shop, but I shop with a purpose and great restraint. In Huntsville, I didn’t do any shopping because they have the same stores there that we have here in Birmingham. But in Louisville, my daughter-in-love took me to Five Below. There is nothing in the store over $5. There I was able to buy educational books for my grandchildren for around $2-$3. I make copies of the pages for them to work on so I only bought each age group 1-2 books. I bought my grandson PJ a pillow that doubles as a night light for $3, and my daughter-in-love bought me a cool notebook that says Keep Calm and Get My Crown, which is so me. I even found a tablet mount for my husband for his truck for less than $5. From there were went to the Liquor Barn and bought two bottles of wine for $18 which we split the cost down the middle.

How I Spent $20 A Day On My Vacation And How You Can Too
Five Below

How you can do it: Everyone likes souvenirs and when you have a large family like I do, you have to be creative. Sure I could have found all of the stuff I bought right here in Sweet Home Alabama for about the same price, however, the mere fact that I bought it out of town is what makes it special. Find discount stores and outlet malls to buy souvenirs. If you aren’t bringing back souvenirs but just want to shop for yourself, spend reasonably.

My main focus for this vacation was to be present in the moment and enjoy family. I didn’t need or want anything fancy. All I wanted was precious time with those I love. It was quite easy for me to not spend more than $20 because you can’t put a price on family time. I know $20 is low, but just be reasonable with your spending and you will be fine. A vacation does not have to break the bank. Since today is Thanksgiving, I decided to include a few more pics of my vacation, highlighting my family.  Do you have any tips or tricks that you use to save money on your vacations? If so, I would love to hear them, comment below and let me know.

 

Me and London! She looks like me!
Me and London! She looks like me!
How I Spent $20 A Day On My Vacation And How You Can Too
Me and PJ. He looks like me too!
How I Spent $20 A Day On My Vacation And How You Can Too
My son Paris, my daughter-in-love, Rayshaun, PJ and London! The Bledsoes
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What Age Should You Start Teaching Kid’s About Money Ages 9-12

what age should you start teaching kids about money
Ages 9-12

One way to teach 9-12 year olds about money is comparison shopping. Read the store’s price labels with your child, look at the size and price, and compare the bulk amount per cent. Don’t forget to take quality into account. For example, one week buy brand-name paper towels. The next week, try a generic brand. Then discuss the differences and decide together if the brand name is worth the extra cost.

The all-American yard sale has you annually cleaning out your attic, garage, and child’s closet. This year, put your child in charge. With some supervision, preteens may take to this project like a duck to water. They can handle much of the responsibility while learning about setting a value, making decisions, and helping you haggle with customers over prices.

Don’t forget to let your children be part of your financial world. They will thank you later!

 

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What Age Should You Start Teaching Kid’s About Money

what age should you start teaching kids about money
6-8 Year Olds

As children grow, we can start teaching them some of the ins and outs of money. Here is my answer to my client’s question, what age should you start teaching kids about money? This is for the age group 6-8 year old’s

As soon as your child is receiving an allowance, he/she will need a place to put their money. Make a trip to the bank an event. Help your child open a savings account, and encourage them to make regular deposits. As the balance grows, you can discuss the concept of interest and how the bank pays people back for saving their money. Many banks have children’s accounts that offer no-fee and no-minimum-balance accounts.

This is also a good age to take up coin collecting as a hobby. (You can spark your child’s interest with state quarters.) Visit the kids’ section of the United States Mint Web site (www.usmint.gov/kids) with your child and learn about the evolution of U.S. currency. You’ll also find online games and cartoons to keep your child engaged.

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What Age Should You Start Teaching Kid’s About Money?

what age should you start teaching kids about money
Kid’s and Money
Ages 4-5

Welcome back! As we continue with our series on kid’s and money, our sweet preschooler’s are ready, willing and able to be a part of our financial world.

Before heading to the supermarket, ask your preschooler to help you clip coupons. (Don’t forget to use safety scissors.) When you’re at the store, hand him/her the coupons and ask him/her to keep an eye out for the products. This will make him/her feel like he’s/she’s helping, and it’s an easy and fun way to talk about saving money.

Most preschoolers would rather play imaginary restaurant at home than go out for dinner. It playfully promotes a variety of skills, such as setting the table, learning good manners, and making change. Many 4-year-olds have to be reminded after the pretend meal that they have to pay the bill. Once they understand the concept, they get very excited about paying with pretend money or making change as the cashier.

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What Age Should You Start Teaching Kid’s About Money?

at what age should you start to teach kids about money
Kids and Money

A while back, I had a client ask me at what age should one start to teach their kid’s about money? In the next few day’s, I will breakdown my answer by age group.

It’s actually easy to teach kids about money. Turn your day-to-day activities into learning experiences. Trips to the bank, store, or the ATM machine, for instance, can be a perfect opening for a discussion about your values and how you use money. When children are very young, you can work money concepts into your child’s imaginary games, like playing pretend store or restaurant. Read on for some fun, simple ways to introduce finance to your child.

Ages 2 and 3

A 2- or 3-year-old faced with a choice between a penny, dime, and nickel will almost always choose the nickel because of its size.  But while very young, children won’t fully understand the value of money, they can begin to learn the names of coins. One way to do this is to play the coin identification game. You and your child can trace around the outside of various coins and color in the shapes. Then invite your child to match the coin to the image while discussing each one’s name. (Note: Toddlers may try to swallow coins, so always provide close supervision.)

Young kids love to play store, but an imaginary shop in the living room is more than just a fun way for your child to exercise his imagination. By exchanging play money for goods, your child begins to understand the basics of commerce. Use cereal boxes, fruit, sponges, or paper towels as store items. Together, make pretend money and shop till you drop.

I would like to hear from you. What age do you think one should start to teach their kid’s about money? Comment below with your answers.

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Budgeting 101: How To Build A Budget That Works

Budgeting 101
Budgeting 101

So you want to build your budget? Not just any old budget, but an effective budget, one that get’s the job done. In this budgeting 101 post, I will give you a few pointers to get you started, plus my amazing FREE e-book as my gift to you.

The first thing you want to do is track all of your spending. Some financial experts recommend that you write everything down that you spend for 30 day’s, but in my expert opinion, that is too much work. What I advise is that you pull your bank account statements for the past 90 day’s and any credit card statements as well. Review them and it will tell you exactly where your money is going.

If you are spending cash versus using your debit or credit card, then you will have to track your spending the hard way. You will have to write down everything you spend for 30 day’s. However, that would make me pull my hair out. If you must use the archaic method, then get a small notebook that you can carry with you or use the note app on your smartphone. If you pay a bill, write it down. If you buy tic tacs, write it down. Whatever you are spending cash on, write it down. My head hurts just thinking about all the writing cash only users will be doing.

What tracking your spending does, is help you get a feel for how you spend your money. It will help you develop the habit of conscious spending, meaning you will consider every purchase and how it fits into your personal financial situation. Once you have tracked your spending, you will have enough information to put together your monthly budget. Quick story, I was going over my and my husbands budget the other day. I saw where I thought we were spending too much on cable television. I don’t watch much tv but he is a tv fanatic. Anyway, our cable package consisted of every sports channel offered, when in reality all he really wanted was the SEC network. I immediately told him that we will no longer carry all these channels. I called our service provider and had our cable turned off. We are now the proud owners of a Roku box, with Netflix and Hulu and a few other paid subscriptions. That alone freed over $200 a month in our budget that can be allocated to investing. He was a tad bit angry, until he found out that he could subscribe to his beloved sports channel for $5.00 a month,

Now that you have all of your tracking information, it is time to gather it and your bills and sit down and build your budget. Don’t worry, you won’t get it right the first month, who knows, you may not get it right the second month. It will take some tweaking and some time to get it right. I have been budgeting for over 20 year’s and sometimes I mess up, but give it time, and stick with it, eventually it will pay off.

I start with a zero based budget, meaning your budget is equal to your take home pay. For example, if your take home pay is $2000 a month, then all the line items on your budget should equal $2000. The best thing’s about a zero based budget is that you can’t spend more than you make and it works for whatever amount you take home.

Budget for Everything

Include line items for anything you might think of to allocate your money to- from savings to insurance, to groceries, gas, and cosmetics.  Everything you spend money on should be included somewhere in the plan.  Don’t forget to include some discretionary money that you can use for whatever you like during the month, and to cover some expenses that just can’t be anticipated.

Also, if you pay a bill only every six months (say $600 for car insurance) then you will need to put back $100 per month as cash in an envelope or a separate bank account so you won’t be “surprised” when the bill arrives and you won’t have to scramble to get the bill paid.  Doing it this way means you’ll be prepared when the bill comes.

Now Spend The Money In The Budget?

Now that you have a written plan in place, how do you spend the money? Here’s what I do.

I pay all the bills electronically through my bank account, and check those off my spending plan.  Then I write checks for the things I don’t pay electronically (such as our tithes and offerings).  The rest of the money is left in the bank and used according to each line item i.e. groceries, restaurants, clothing, personal grooming etc,  throughout the month.

You then spend the money from each category. When the money is spent from a category, you don’t spend any more on that category, so you have to make sure to make it last. For example, if you spend all of your restaurant money in the first two weeks of the month, you will be eating at home the rest of the month.

Self Control Is The Key

Why do this? Self-control!

When you have a plan and work your plan, you are developing the self control that keeps your money situation from getting out of hand so you don’t end up spending more than you make, and when you are able to start spending less than you make, you are on track to financial freedom.

So go ahead, stop procrastinating and get started, your bank account will thank you! Don’t forget to grab my FREE e-book below for more budgeting info. Also, if you found this content helpful, please use the social share buttons below and share on your social media platforms. 

budgeting 101
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