Don’t Break The Piggy Bank! Download Your FREE Expense Tracker!

Money, money, money, money… Can’t you just hear me singing that tune ūüôā Listen, money matters. We all need it to put a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our body and a whole more. You work hard for your money, so know where you are spending it and what you’re spending it on. The collection on finances include monthly budget printables, expense and savings trackers, a 6 page packet on keeping your accounts in order and there are more resources coming soon. I’m serious about keeping track of your finances because I know how important is to your peace of mind.

Download 1 of 3 designs of the Expense Tracker Printable for FREE as part of this week’s promotion until July 7th. All you have to do is enter the Code: Money19 when you click purchase on the design you choose. You’ll receive a confirmation and your download soon after.

Don’t forget to check out the other individual printables in the¬†Finance Collection! Visit homesweethohttp://homesweethomebinders.com to subscribe for updates and promotions!

Why I Started Using Cash Envelopes for Budgeting!

I am so stoked to write this post about one of my new favorite things…Cash Envelopes! The idea of cash envelopes have been around for some time, but it is new for me! This has been a game changer for my finances. Let me tell you why I decided to use cash envelopes.

I have been putting out a ton of cash lately. Whether it is school tuition, bills, competition dance (don’t even get me started) or unexpected expenses that have popped out, my finances have been taking a hit! I came across The Budget Mom on Instagram and if you haven’t heard of her please run to her site because she is amazing! She has paid off over $77,000 in debt and is inspiring and motivating women to take control of their finances.

One of the first steps in creating a budget is to determine where your money goes. I printed out my bank statement and line by line I highlighted and grouped my expenses. I was appalled when I realized I spent over $400 in eating out in one month! This $400 was not from fine dining mind you. I only ate at one restaurant for my birthday lunch and it was $55! So, the rest were small purchases that added up to big money! I needed to get control over my finances, and the break the habit of using my debit card mindlessly. I am a visual person and the cash envelopes was the perfect choice for me. Actually, pulling out the cash kept me mindful of what exactly I was spending.

Here were the steps I took in creating the envelopes:

  1. I paid all the bills I had to pay from my first paycheck.
  2. Based on the spending from my bank account I took out cash and allotted it into categories, such as Grocery, Eating Out, Gas, Miscellaneous, Fun, and Dog.
  3. I used an envelope template from The Budget Mom and traced it onto some scrapbook paper I bought for 79 cents from Michaels to make the envelopes you see above.
  4. I added a ledger in the envelope, which is simply an index card where I recorded how much I spent, the date, and balance.

The result was I did not touch my debit card for 2 weeks! I was so much more conscientious of how I used my money. I was also less stressed about my finances and tucked away $130 in savings. If you are struggling with your finances, try using cash envelopes as a step toward understanding what you’re spending and getting more control over your budget.

Also, get the family onboard! This month when I took the cash out I had my daughter count the money and put them into envelopes. Last month, she was like, “mom please do not pull out those envelopes,” this month she found $2 in her room and told me to put it in the fun budget! Building good habits start early and this is a fun way to get kids involved!

In two weeks, I’ll share more with you about how the cash envelopes are working and share some of my finance goals with you. I love getting on the road to financial freedom!

Teach Your Kids to Save Their Pennies The Old School Way

Save Your Pennies Old School

When I was younger, I remember my grandmother would put her pennies and extra change into these little paper cylinders and then stack them up in a box. I was always astonished at how quickly a few pennies could add up!

Teaching kids how to save their pennies is one of the most empowering skills to instill in¬†our children. Learning the value of a penny will go a long way. So, I decided to bring back my grandma’s good old fashion way of saving! Anya and I have made a pact to be¬†intentional about saving our pennies and loose change. Just from emptying my purse and car, we already have about $25.00! Can you believe I had $25 extra bucks just hanging around and didn’t even know it?

I was also inspired by listening to a podcast from Donna Otto. She started saving pennies and eventually¬†saved enough (over a 100,000 pennies) to pay for her daughter’s wedding dress! That’s amazing! So, we decided to save all our loose change until Anya graduates from high school which is another six years. We haven’t decided on how to use the money, but some ideas have been to put the savings toward a European mom/daughter trip, a cushion for her to use at college, or a mission trip.

Wrapping your family’s pennies is¬†a fun way to collaborate on a project together that not only teaches them the value of¬†saving but saving and reaching a goal.

Here are 5 Simple Steps to Get Started:

  1. Purchase Some Coin Wrappers: We bought an assorted bag from Walmart for about $1.50. You can find them at the Dollar Store,  Target, or office supply stores.
  2. Go on a Change Hunt! When you first start saving go on a fun change hunt with the kids! Look everywhere for loose change, the car, purses, under the bed, in the couch, in coat pockets, or anywhere you can think you can find some pennies!
  3. Created a Designated Change Jar: After your change hunt, put all the change in one jar. Make it a practice every day or at the end of every week for everyone to put their loose change they have or find in the jar.
  4.  Insert the Change in the Wrappers: This is the fun part! Give everyone some change and let them put it into the wrappers!
  5. Decide on a Family Goal: What will you spend the money on? This goal should be agreed upon by all your family members and motivate you all to get saving!

Keep a running tally of how much you save every month on a chart so you can measure your progress. This will keep everyone inspired and excited. Not only will your kids get into the habit of saving money, work toward a family goal and learn the value of a dollar or should I say penny!

Happy Saving!

A Thrifty Tip for Single Moms!

A Thrifty Tip for Single Moms!

Spring is an ideal time to update your family’s wardrobe and rummage through the closets and separate what doesn’t fit any longer. It’s also a great way to get together with your girlfriends and have a clothing swap! A clothing swap is a fun way to save money on seasonal clothes for the kids.

Make¬†your swap¬†fun! Choose a house to host the swap, have everyone bring a dessert or treat, let the kids play and start swapping! ¬†Whatever is left over take it to a shelter, church, or a Planet Aid¬†clothing bin. You’ll save money on clothes, get in some girlfriend time and help someone out!

Giveaway! Win A Copy of “Faithful Finance, Money Essentials and Biblical Principles”

finance

 

ENTER TODAY TO WIN!

DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, MAY 27TH 

LEAVE A COMMENT TO WIN YOUR COPY!

We are almost 6 months into 2016! The year is flying by isn’t it? Did you have financial goals this year that you’re striving to meet? Faithful Finance, Money Essentials and Biblical Principals,”¬†by Emily Stroud¬†is the book to read to stay motivated and on track toward your financial goals. What I love about this book is that it isn’t just a book about keeping your finances in order, but it encourages us to use biblical principals as our guide.¬†¬†In Emily’s book you’ll learn how to:

  • Spend less than you earn
  • Save for the future
  • Give some money away
  • Create an Emergency Fund
  • Make your money work for you
  • Manage your estate
  • Acquire insurance
  • Borrow only what you can afford
  • Wait on God to provide

The book is full of personal stories that will inspire you and coupled with¬†pages of practical advice that you can put to practice in your every day life. As a single parent finances are important to you and your family. The wiser we are with our ¬†finances the more we can bless our family and others with our money. Emily gives us the tools to make wises choices with your finances so that you don’t become a slave to the dollar. The section about insurance, wills, retirement are especially helpful. We always think we have tomorrow and too often people don’t get life insurance for that very reason which is a big mistake. Protecting our family is one of our responsibilities and putting these things in order now will lessen your anxiety in the future. This is a fast read that has advice, tips, and tools that you can utilize to make real improvements in your financial situation.

Giveaway Sponsored by the The FEDD Agency, Inc.

Debt Free Journey Update!

The Debt Free Journey Continues!

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I’m working really hard to pay off this debt and I can’t express how good it feels to make the amounts due turn into a big old $0! Here’s my progress so far:

August:

Credit Card Update: Another credit card is paid off! The amount was $657.28 and it is now wiped clean! Yipee! That makes $2649.00 in credit cards paid off in about 2 months! It frees up $213.00 in minimum payments.

I also paid another $1328.00 off towards other debt and all of my payments on credit cards are paid for September.

Other Expenses that took a bite out of my income was Anya’s school uniforms which were a total of $223.00 plus her book bag, lunch box and other school supplies were about another $50.00.

Splurge: I did buy some new curtains, a rug and a plant all paid in cash and all on sale.

Savings: I’ll be adding about $250.00 towards my savings account at the end of the month.

Income: I added a new income! It isn’t coming in yet, but when it does it is all going towards the debt. I continue to search for short term projects that will contribute to my goals!

Goal for September:

  • Pay off credit card of $1352.00
  • Put money away for our trip to Europe (more about that later)
  • Pay Taxes for my contract position

My Debt Free Journey Continues!

money

My journey to becoming debt free is continuing and progress is being made! Basically, I’m plugging away and trying to zero out my smallest bills first and applying those minimum payments to the next bills. It feels great to pay off these bills! My struggle lies in making sure every dollar has a place to go and making sure it gets there. I also need to take a more realistic look at how much can go into savings and how much I spend on food and other items.

Here is my progress for July (this is also an overall snapshot) :

  • 5 Credit Cards Paid off for a Total of $1992.00
    • In the Amounts of $357.08, $280.18, $232.00, $668.00 (July), and $454.86
  • There is an extra $180.00 freed up to apply to other debt
  • Decreased ¬†other debt by$1673.00 (including tuition and ballet classes)
  • Added an extra $115.00 to savings

I may also be adding another source of income which I plan on pouring into savings.

I’m still planning the August Budget but my Goals are to:

  • Pay off a credit card of $653.58
  • Pay off additional $1840.00 in debt
  • Save $300.00-$400.00

What’s Helped:

Wish me luck!

8 Steps I’m Taking to Get Debt Free!

Proverbs 22:7

“Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.”

Most people view finances as either a blessing or a source of anxiety. I’m sure at some point in our lives we’ve experienced both sides of the coin. As a single mom, finances have really come to the forefront in my life. As the primary person who is responsible for taking care of all the bills and my child’s needs its important that I strive to become debt free, have savings, and an emergency fund. I’ve become determined to get debt free so I’ve been exploring different tools to aid me along the way. Here is how I’m tackling my debt:

  1. Extra Income: I needed to bring in more income. So I’ve taken a part time virtual job so¬†I’m still home and it has made a huge difference.
  2. Breaking Down The Bills: I had to get in the nitty gritty of reviewing ¬†my balances, the minimum payments, how much I’ll pay if I only play the minimum (which is ridiculous!), and how many ¬†month it will take to pay off the balance.
  3. Paying the Debt Off Strategically: I’ve been aiming to¬†pay off any smaller balances in full then taking those minimum payments and applying it to the next debt.
  4. Creating a Budget: I am using a David Ramsey  budgeting tool called, Every Dollar. I love it! It is a super simple tool that keeps you organized and updated on your progress.
  5. Using Cash: Taking a specific amount of cash out helps me keep my spending under control. Once the money is out then that’s it!
  6. Tithing: This is an absolute must for me. I’ve set aside a¬†certain amount of money for tithing and this makes me feel so good and determined to get debt free so I can give more to church and to other charities of my heart.
  7. Saving for an Emergency Fund: The goal is at least $1000.00 according to David Ramsey’s baby steps and I think that is a good beginning number for those unexpected emergencies.
  8. Investment: I’m doing some research, but plan to open a Roth IRA in the next week.

I’m super excited about what getting debt free will mean to my family.¬†As of today, I paid off 4 credit cards with a total of $1323.00 and I just started this month. I plan to pay off 3 more balances at the end of July beginning of August with a total of $2778.00 or 2 more balances at $1344.00. I’ll give you guys updates as I hit milestones and I’ll give a snapshot of what getting rid of debt looks like for me.

If you want to get pumped up about getting rid of any debt you have watch some of the debt success stories over at David Ramsey. Also, take a look at the Every Dollar Tool, I love it!

8 Ways to Live on a Single Mom Budget Without Sacrificing the Fun! Guest Post By Nicole Blean!

 

 

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Many of my single mom friends and I live on one income. While this can be ultra-frustrating and stressful at times, it is not impossible to make ends meet, especially for those willing to be a little inventive and rise up to the challenge. In fact, I believe intentionally managing money builds character and creativity in moms because they tend to think more about using what they already have rather than falling into the trap of unnecessary consumerism. Being thrifty also teaches their kids to value money and manage it wisely, too.

Next to Christmas, summer is typically the toughest time of year in terms of sticking to a budget, especially for teachers or others who only get paid tens months out of the year. Even for those who do get paid every month, with added costs of vacation, daycare, and back-to-school supplies, most of us are almost broke come August. The question is, how do you live on a single mom budget this summer without giving up the good times? Try the following realistic, yet effective tips for stretching your money all the way to the end of August and still have a phenomenal summer.

1) Your first priority is to know where your money is going. First, do your homework by tracking your spending for one month so you can identify where you are wasting money. Upload an online budget sheet or use a free website like mint.com to track your spending habits.

2) Next, write out three financial goals for the rest of summer or the rest of the year to keep you focused (i.e. paying off a credit card debt, cutting your food costs in half, or saving a specific amount of money for Christmas). Place these goals in a spot you can view on a daily basis to serve as a constant reminder. Then tell a friend so she can hold you accountable.

3) Decide what you can live without. For example, cancel your cable service and subscribe to Netflix instead, make a commitment not to buy new clothing or accessories for the rest of summer, or stop buying new books, magazines, and movies and swap with friends instead.

4) Make a list of tasks you can do yourself such as manicures, pedicures, cleaning, yardwork, washing cars, dry cleaning, alterations, painting, and baking. While you are at it, add to the list making your own pot of coffee (how hard is that?) and you can save a whopping $50-$100 a month if you are a daily Starbucks fanatic.

5) Get organized about meals and save a bundle. Cook ‚Äúconvertible‚ÄĚ meals that you can turn into lunch the next day, use coupons when going to restaurants or buying fast food, eat at warehouse stores where you can buy a hot dog and drink for $1.50, pack picnic lunches in a cooler when running errands, and freeze leftovers for go-to meals later.

6) Replace the shopper‚Äôs high with a habit that is more meaningful‚ÄĒand cheaper! Do something you‚Äôve been eager to do but keep putting off like engaging in a hobby you love, meeting a friend for coffee, or volunteering for a cause you are passionate about.

7) Plan ahead and buy discount tickets for entertainment. Warehouse stores carry an abundance of discounted vouchers from restaurants to movies and theme parks. If you are an Automobile Club member, take advantage of a variety of discounts from hotels to dining. Lastly, check online ahead of time for coupons or other price cuts on summer activities.

8) Rethink summer fun by living simply and taking advantage of FREE events in your area. Be creative and make your own budget bucket list this summer, such as exploring outdoor farmer’s or flea markets, blowing bubbles in the park, making s’mores over the fire pit, camping in the backyard, going to outdoor movies, enjoying summer concerts in the park, amusing the kids with craft activities at the library, Barnes N Nobles, or Home Depot, and taking free online craft or sewing classes.

Although it can be challenging, if you think of summer budgeting as a game, you can WIN without sacrificing the pleasures and fun of the summer season!

Read more of Nicole Blean’s tips and articles at¬†http://180degrees4singlemoms.blogspot.com/

What Do You Think About the 52 Week Savings Plan?

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One of the most popular resolutions of any New Year is saving money. Money, money, money we all need it and we all should save it but it isn’t always easy right? If you’ve been on social media than you’ve seen the 52 Week Savings Plan, where you can save $1378 in 52 weeks simply by adding the dollar amount of each week to your savings account. My opinion is any way that you can save money isn’t a bad idea! I’m tempted to try this method, but I want to know what you guys think. Do you think this is an effective way to save money? I think it is a simple way to sock some money in your savings and it could work just as well in reverse.

If you want to reach this amount or even a little more you can sock away $30 a week and have $1560.00 or if you want to hit close the ¬†$1378.00 a year¬†amount you can put away $26.00 a week and at $28 a week you can save $1404.00. The point is it doesn’t take much to save a little cash! When you think about how easy it is to spend $25 or $30 a week on eating out or even coffee at Starbucks putting it away seems like a no brainer. Now, I know there are times when you may not have $20 bucks because times are tough, so maybe that doesn’t work, but any dollar amount is better than nothing. Here are a couple easy ways to make sure you save those dollars:

1. Automatic Deposit from Your ¬†Paycheck- If you don’t see it you don’t feel it. Having $20-$25 deducted from you paycheck and automatically going into a savings account eliminates you having to make a choice it just happens and your less likely to ¬†waver.

2. Open up a free Capital One Savings Account (this used to be ING) -I’ve used this and I love this savings account! You can open up different savings accounts such as an emergency account, Christmas Club, or Vacation account. It is very simple to automatically transfer money from your checking account and it can be automatic.

3. Save that Change!-Ching Ching! Don’t underestimate how much you can save when you are putting those pennies and quarters in a jar. Start now by putting your loose change in a drawer and by the end of the year you’ll be shocked at how much you saved!

4. Try to Save Some Dollar Amount Each Week– Finances can be thin, but even then try to put a $1 or $5 away, you’ll feel better and each dollar counts. In the very least remember to put that spare change in the jar.

5. If Unexpected Money Comes In Dump It in a Savings Account-I know it is tempting to spend extra money, but try to be disciplined and put it in your savings account. If you need to use it for bills then at least put a small portion of it in savings. The more you save the more secure your financial future will feel.

This year I’m determined to make an effort at chipping away at my debt and getting financially fit. So I’ll let you know my progress on saving and I’m looking forward to hearing your tips too! So please leave your comments on how you plan to become financially fit in 2015!