Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back to School shopping

The last couple of posts I have discussed how you can save money by planning your shopping and buying gifts throughout the year. Another thing to save by budgeting and buying early is school supplies. I know school has just gotten out for the year but if you go through your kids clothes, then sit down and make a list of items you will need to buy for the school year. Also, once you know what supplies your kids need, before going to the store, take a look around your house and see if there are left over supplies from other years that can be used.

Like with the holiday buying, figure out how much you intend to spend on the different items, then you will know how much you need to save. Doing it this way, you can spread the expenses over a few months instead of possibly having to put them on credit cards. Another benefit of purchasing school supplies early is having a better selection. If you wait until the last minute the selection may be more limited.

Some stores will be having back to school sales, which is a great time to stock up on supplies. Many stores in our area have school supply lists for the various schools and grades. This will help you know what you need to purchase.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gift Shopping throughout the year

Yesterday I wrote a post on Holiday shopping. It is also a way to save money throughout the year on birthday gifts and other holiday gifts and expenses. If you have in mind people you need to buy gifts for and ideas of gifts you can keep an out for the gifts and possibly buy some of them on sale. There is a post by Donna Freeman about how to build a gift closet.

If you do buy gifts like this it is recommended that you keep track of the gifts you buy so you do not end up overbuying for a certain person.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Planning Holiday Spending

Time to get your Christmas shopping lists ready. I know summer is just starting but it is also time to get a jump start on your Christmas shopping. I was at a store the other day and they were putting out Christmas decorations already. We also got a Christmas card catalog at our office last week.

Sit down the make a list of everyone you are planning on purchasing Christmas gifts for, along with a budgeted amount for each and any ideas you may have already. Add up the amounts you have budgeted, by doing this you will have an idea of the total amount you are planning on spending. Then make a list of extra expenses you may have, such as holiday parties, extra dining out, wrapping supplies and other additional expenses.

By determining your extra holiday expenses now, you will be able to spread it out over the next few months instead of possibly putting a majority of the expenses on credit cards and paying them off. If you put the expenses on credit cards and not pay them off right away, you will have the additional interest and finance charges.

If you are able to budget for the extra expenses now, you will be less stressed around the holidays and will be able to enjoy them more

Remember What's Important

Things are changing at an alarming pace, with the changes in the economy and job situations as well as tornadoes and flooding in many states. I received an email this morning that got me thinking about this, “The best thing about every financial meltdown, global or otherwise, is learning that whatever was lost, can be recreated.”

If you find yourself in a position of lower income or job loss, it is important to change your spending to adjust to your current situation. In many cases people do not change their spending to be in line with their income and get into more trouble. Also, if you lost money in the stock market or your retirement accounts or are making less now, it is important to look forward to the future. As Suze Orman states, there is nothing you can do to change what has happened. I know it is difficult to forget the past, but you must take steps to make you future better.

There have been numerous tornadoes already this year and severe flooding in many states. Even though there is a tremendous financial loss for many families and communities it is important to remember what is really important. One of Suze Orman’s sayings is “People first, then money, then things.” You can replace money and things.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Do you have Retirement Questions

Merrill Lynch has been having webinars about retirement planning. They are now available online. There are 5 separate webinars consisting of The Economy: Retirement after the Recession, Reinventing Retirement, Healthcare in Retirement, What Young Americans Need to know about Retirement and Women & Retirement. The moderator is Charles Gibson. The sessions include Q&A with experts in the different areas.

Along with videos of the webinars there are also written transcripts you can read.

Retirement planning has always been important and is very important today. In the past few years, many people have lost value in their retirement accounts and health care costs keep going up.

This seems like a good resource if you have questions.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fathers Day Gift Ideas

Are you still looking for last minute Fathers Day gifts? Here are a few ideas I have seen online lately.
At Walgreens you can get a free photo collage. If you framed it, it could be a nice inexpensive gift.

Michaels stores are having kid make and take events Thursday thru Sat. Thursday from 6-8 you can make a duct tape wallet, Friday you can make a card and Saturday from 10 to noon you can make a key chain.

On the Crayola website there are coloring pages to print out and color. These also could be framed as a gift for dad.

At Home Depot on Saturday, during the Kids Workshop they can build a mini tool box for Dad. The event runs from 9-12 on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stocking up to Save

With the price of many things going up recently, one of the next things I have heard of going up is clothing. The price of cotton has increased dramatically so that means that many clothing items will also cost more.

So if you have room in your budget it may be wise to stock up on items when summer items go on sale now at the end of the season for next spring/summer. Also, when buying kids clothes you may be able to find deals at consignment stores and yard sales. If you watch the clearance racks at some stores you may be able to find items at stores for prices similar to used clothes prices. Especially, baby clothes and younger kids where they don’t wear them for very long it is easy to find clothes that look almost new for a fraction of buying them new.

This following is from a blog I follow, “I own a children’s clothing store in my local mall. As a warning, prices in the fall are going to be much higher at all clothing retailers due to high cotton prices. Gap, JCP, and Walmart have all issued inflation warnings. As an example, coats that I paid $12.50 for last year are $16 this year, WHOLESALE. Stocking up now is a good bet because next spring will likely be just as severe.”

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Easy Way to Entertain

I have had family visiting from out of town the last few days. With things going on and me working during the day, I decided to use the crockpot to make meals. This way it was ready when I got home and was ready whenever others were ready to eat. The first day I put chicken breasts in the crockpot with cheddar cheese soup, cream of chicken soup and a can of water mixed together. The second day I put a roast, potatoes and carrots with onion soup mix and water. The third day I had porcupine meatballs and ended up putting spaghetti sauce on it when I got home for spaghetti and meatballs.

Besides making the three meals there was left over chicken that was made into chicken salad for lunch a couple of days.

Using a crockpot is an easy way to cook, since you can put things in it in the morning and it can cook all day and be ready when you get home. If it is on low, most things can sit for awhile so it works good if you are not sure when you are going to eat or if you eat in shifts it can be kept warm.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dave Ramsey - Kids sale

Dave Ramsey is having a sale on his kids products. The Kids Monster Pack is on sale for $45. It is regularly a $119 value. It contains his Financial Peace Jr. program, story books, CDS and saving bank.

It is a great resource to get kids interested in learning about saving, spending and giving.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Save Money Live Better

I attended a friend’s wedding yesterday. Both the bride and groom are managers at Walmart stores. The pastor said since they spend so much time at Walmart he thought he should include it in his sermon, but was not sure how to. He said when he was looking at the website he saw the slogan “Save Money Live Better”.

He figured that was good advice for starting a marriage too. One house instead of two and other ways of saving money. Also, the more you communicate with each other about finances other areas of your marriage may be better too. Studies show that the main reason for divorce is financial matters.

If you are engaged to be married, it may be wise to sit down together and go over each other’s finances, it you have not yet before you get married. Or if you are married and have not, try to get on the same book as far as finances go. Make sure you are working towards the same goals.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kindle Book Sale

Amazon has over 600 Kindle books on sale from $0.99 to $2.99. Even if you don't have a Kindle, they have software you can download to read the books on your computer, iPhones or Android I don't have a Kindle but read them on my computer and phone. It is handy to have with sometimes, when I have to wait somewhere and don't have to carry a book with.

They also have free titles quite regularly.