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Archive for the ‘Budgeting’ Category

Ideas to Save Money This Holiday Season

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On November 16, 2011 No Comments

Today we are going to help you come up with creative inspiration to save money. We’ll take a look at gift ideas, ways to save money on food, decorations and so on.

Let’s dive right in!

#1 Make your own gifts.

Make your own gifts? Does this sound a little too Martha Stewart to you? It does to many and yet it’s still a great idea. The problem is, people often choose to make gifts that don’t play to their strengths.

For example, maybe you’re not crafty and sewing a tea cozy isn’t something you can accomplish. If your strength is photography then you can take photos that mean something to your recipient, frame them and give them as gifts. This is a very thoughtful and potentially inexpensive gift.

When considering what you can make, consider your strengths first. What are you good at? Are you a skilled chef or baker? Are you good at designing small graphics? You could make stationary for gifts or bake bread.

The second consideration is to reflect how you can make the gift special for the recipient. How can you make it personal? For example, if your recipient loves wine and you’re creating handmade note cards, you could design cards with a wine glass on the front.

Homemade gifts don’t have to be elaborate, take a lot of time to make or cost a lot. Simple expressions from the heart are what make handmade gifts so special.

#2 Think Unique

One of a kind items are often a great gift and you can find one of a kind gift ideas in the most inexpensive places.

For example:

Etsy – this website sells handmade crafts that range from artwork and jewelry to bath products. They also sell vintage goods. You can find great items on this website. Great, affordable gifts, with a personal touch.

Flea markets – Flea markets are a fantastic place to find really special gifts. You can find vintage dinnerware, antique glassware, home goods, even vintage clothing and jewelry. The key to gift shopping at flea markets is to give yourself time to shop.

Foodzie – Foodzie is a website like Etsy. It’s a site that sells food made by chefs around the country. You can find baked goods, sauces, jerky, and candy amongst other things.

#3 Be of service

Taking your recipient in mind, what can you give them that would help them solve a problem? For example, your sister in law just had a baby and is a bit frantic and on a tight budget. You can offer babysitting services, errand services, or cleaning services to help make her life a little easier. Give her a coupon book packed with value and make her life easier without costing you a dime.

#4 Potluck

During the holiday season you may like to host parties. Cut back on your expenses by making them potluck parties. You’ll save money on the cost of groceries and your guests will be happy to contribute.

#5 Make your own holiday decorations

Decorations can cost a fortune however you can make your own decorations for a fraction of the cost. You can purchase clear ornaments from a hobby store and paint them yourself. You can get your entire family in on the activity and have them create a tree covered with memories.

There are a number of ways to stay on budget this holiday season. Whether it’s cutting back on travel, making your own gifts, or finding one of a kind gifts in unexpected places all that’s required is a little planning.

Take a look at your gift list and make a plan. What are your creative strengths? What would the recipient value most?

Start planning your holiday spending as early as possible. You’ll be able to hit the stores, online or off, without stress, without the crowds and without busting your budget.

Stay Focused

The key to not overspending this holiday season is to stay focused. Take a look at your priorities this season. What’s most important to you?

Once you know what your priorities are you can then create a plan to make it happen. The holidays can be a stressful time but when you focus on what matters most, you can make this holiday season the best ever.

Frugally yours, Mary

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A Guide to saving for your future

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On November 7, 2011 No Comments

This week is all about  Smart Ways of Building a Financial Safety Net.  Today we are tackling Why a Financial Safety Net Matters.  Be sure to join us all week for this important topic.

It seems many of us around the world have forgotten what our parents, grandparents and great grandparents have known all along.

A financial safety net is an absolute essential.

It’s almost a guarantee that if you don’t have a net to catch you during financial emergencies, you’ll suffer a financial emergency. Yet if you do have one, somehow we most often seem to evade these emergencies. Maybe it’s that we simply don’t notice them because we’re financially prepared and the emergency is a non issue.

What is a financial emergency?

A financial emergency in the broadest sense is any unexpected expense that throws our budget out of balance.

For example, a financial emergency, depending on your financial situation, could be a crashed computer. The replacement cost may not be in your budget thus, you have a financial emergency.

However, more commonly the term is used to describe major catastrophic events. For example, a car accident, an injury, a house fire or weather caused damage. Yes, insurance may cover some of the costs for these expenses but it rarely covers everything and you have a deductible to pay for.

A financial emergency could be a life event like a divorce, an unexpected pregnancy or the loss of a job.

Depending on your financial state, these events can be financially catastrophic. In fact, without a financial safety net in place, they can ruin a family and put them into bankruptcy. We don’t want that to happen!

Creating a financial safety net is crucial to your financial well being, particularly if you have a family. A financial safety net is also going to help your mental and physical health and well being too. Financial stress is a leading cause of insomnia, heart problems and other physical complications. It can also tear apart a family and cause extreme emotional anxiety.

This series is dedicated to helping you navigate the sometimes murky waters of financial planning. Specifically, we focus on what a financial safety plan is, what it contains and how to create it.

Because the biggest hurdle to creating a financial safety net is often mindset, we will discuss the challenges you’re likely dealing with and how to overcome them.

We’ll also answer the age old question, “How much should I save?”

Finally, we wrap it up with tips on how and where to save your money. Are you ready to save? Ready to start taking the steps you need to take to protect yourself and your family?

Stay tuned…more to come! 

Frugally yours, Mary

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Budget Basics

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On June 15, 2011 No Comments

Setting up a Budget: How to Differentiate between Wants & Needs

Whether it is the loss of one income in the home or an overload of unnecessary debt, more and more people are trying to get back to basics and reduce their monthly expenses to a more realistic level. Changing course from acquired habits can take some getting used to, but once you have made these lifestyle changes you are likely to find you have more money than you imagined.

Wants and needs are two different essentials and it is important to always put your needs ahead of your wants and then save for the items you desire.

Start by setting up shop and organizing an area that can be used solely for your budget planning. Get your bills out and categorize into house bills, car loans and credit cards bills. This will give you an idea of what your monthly bills are and where your money is going.

If after you have sorted through your bills you find that you have more than your fair share of credit card debt or have more than three cards on hand, it is time to eliminate this debt. Pay off existing credit cards and start paying with cash. Not only will this stop your credit card bills from rising, it will also help to show you what you are spending your money on and if it is really needed. Chances are that if you have to pay cash you will think about each purchase carefully. This is easier said than done, but over time you will get better and better at it.

If you do not currently have a savings account, open one. This will secure funds for any emergency that may arise in the future, and again, having this money set aside will mean that you are using cash and not increasing your credit card debt.

Needs are the everyday tools that are necessary to run your household. A place to live, a car to drive (depending on your area) and utilities are all necessities. Food and cleaning products are necessities as well. Be sure that you are purchasing these items first as they are your priorities.

Wants refer to every other thing that does not pertain to your quality of life. A television and cable are not essential to your wellbeing, no matter how much entertainment they may provide. A computer may not be necessary and neither are the other technological advances that are readily available.

By distinguishing between wants and needs, you are better able to determine how much money you can spend each month. If it does not pertain to your wellbeing, then it is not a necessity and need not be part of your household budget. Wants should only be fulfilled after your needs have been taken care of.

Frugally yours, Mary

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