During the month of April, I decided to go on a “shopping diet” – so for the entire month, I didn’t buy a stitch of clothing. While this might seem like a cinch for some of you, for shopaholics like me, it was a huge wake-up call. Not only did I save a ton of money, but I was also able to see how often I shopped as a reaction to outside stimulus. Bad day at work? I had the urge to shop. Worried that I might miss a sale? I had the urge to shop. Bored? Oh yeah, I definitely got the urge to shop.
Have you ever been caught unaware by an event or appointment that you completely forgot about? It happens to me roughly three times per week. There I am, having lunch with friends or kicking back at the park with my kids, and suddenly, I remember that I had a Skype appointment with a client, or I forgot it was parent-teacher conference night. Since I don’t actually carry my entire wardrobe in my car – as much as I want to – I’ve all-too-often found myself racing home for a quick change or just showing up and hoping my kid’s teacher doesn’t notice that I’m dressed for the playground.
I have 653 pins on my various Pinterest boards. I also have 514 followers and I personally follow 149 people. In fact, Pinterest is often used as a downtime activity for me – I’ll settle into bed at night and surf on my tablet, pinning everything from recipes, to outfit ideas, to beauty tips. After all, Pinterest is meant to be a cyber bulletin board, where you can keep all of your ideas and inspiration in one place.
Despite the many positive aspects of Pinterest, there is a downside: Often, Pinterest can entice you to spend money. I see all the cute clothes, home decor, and amazing recipes, and before I know it, I’ve blown my budget.
Most baby shower games have been around forever. Maybe the “chocolate bar in the diaper” game was cute the first 20 times you played it, but the idea starts getting less adorable and enjoyable, especially as more and more of your friends and family members have babies.
In addition to being tired and cliché, many baby shower games require a ton of supplies and can cost a fortune. If your baby shower budget is already tight, the last things you want to spend money on are jars of baby food, candy bars, and art supplies to use at the shower.
So you’re planning a baby shower, and you’ve got the decorations, the games, and even the gift – so what’s missing? Ah, yes: the food. It’s not a baby shower without a ton of cute edibles for guests to pick at. However, if you’ve already blown most of your budget elsewhere, you might need to be careful how much you spend on food. It’s important to remember that at a baby shower, the food isn’t just for eating – it’s also part of the decor. Throwing bowls and casserole dishes full of eats onto the food table just doesn’t cut it.
Preschool is definitely a luxury, but I’m not the only one who believes in the power of a few hours of school for little kids. In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama called for an expansion of preschool programs across the United States, proposing government programs that would subsidize the cost of preschool for families 200% or more below the poverty line.
I’m a firm believer in the institution of preschool. Both of my kids have had the opportunity to go to great preschools, and it has helped them develop socially and prepare for kindergarten. However, despite its benefits, preschool can also be painfully expensive. When you add preschool tuition on top of all of the other activities your kids participate in each month, it can get seriously pricey.
I’ll admit that I’m not much a of a couponer. In fact, the only time I’ll ever hand over a coupon in a brick-and-mortar store is if it’s significant, such as $20 off a $40 purchase. But other than that, I’m not interested in taking the time to clip coupons. While I definitely don’t fault those who do so, the idea of clipping, organizing, and shopping with an envelope stuffed with coupons completely intimidates me.
If you’ve recently become engaged to be married, you’ve got a lot of planning to do. While you’re probably thinking about the dress, the flowers, and the wedding venue, don’t get too ahead of yourself. Planning a wedding entails much more than just imagining how you want the big day to be – you need to set the tone for your entire married life. Therefore, once you’ve alerted your family members and friends about the big news, it’s time to buckle down and focus on not only your wedding plans, but also your financial future.
Back in 2005, on a whim, my husband and I decided to look at home contractors – and thus began the 18-month process of building our own home. What began as a curious afternoon ended up dictating our lives until we finally moved into our house in the fall of 2006.
While we love our home and the experience was generally positive, the truth is I wouldn’t recommend doing it on a whim like we did. Unfortunately, we made some serious mistakes along the way and didn’t plan for a lot of contingencies, which made the process harder than it should have been.
We live in a modern world. I wake up in the morning to find my smartphone telling me that my daughter’s permission slip is due and it’s “pirate day” for my son’s preschool. I hop out of bed and whip up a smoothie while watching an episode of “Mad Men” on my iPad and then work remotely from my computer – all things that barely even existed when I was a kid. So why, if we live in such a modern world, has financial advice not kept up with the changing times?
Hands up if you’re totally addicted to makeup – my hand is definitely raised high. I love trying new products, checking out the latest colors, and splurging on a purchase every now and then. After all, if you wear makeup every day, you want the best stuff out there.
Unfortunately, my budget doesn’t always agree. And while I do admit that there are a few things I splurge on (quality mascara and foundation are my must-haves), I’ve learned that you don’t need to spend big bucks on pricey designer makeup when other products out there are just as good – if not better.
I am a serial budget-maker. The number-crunching, the spreadsheets, the organization – I’m absolutely addicted. However, over the years, I’ve nursed a love-hate relationship with my budget. I love how it organizes my funds, but I hate actually having to adjust my spending to meet what a spreadsheet tells me.
So, what’s someone with the best intentions to do when a budget isn’t working? It’s usually human error that makes a budget fail, and by investigating for possible gaffes, you might find out where you’ve gone wrong. Don’t fear your budget – just be vigilant and triple-check it for accuracy to ensure it works with you, not against you. And always keep an eye out for the major reasons that most budgets fail.
When you and your spouse decide that you need to tighten the purse strings and start socking away money, how do you do it? Chances are, you rearrange your deposits so more cash goes into savings, you vow to be better about your household budget, and you work together to make your long-term financial goals possible. But what about your children?
If you don’t take the opportunity to sit down and teach your kids about saving money, you could be missing out on a chance to impart a valuable lesson and an experience that could bring your family closer together. By making saving a family affair, you can teach your kids about money while also making your efforts more effective.
Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m addicted to magazines. I love mindless entertainment to decompress from my day – grab a magazine, flick on “The Bachelor,” and my night is pretty much set.
But unfortunately, magazines aren’t necessarily cheap, and the cost of one or two subscriptions can really add up. And while you might be tempted at the supermarket checkout to grab a pack of gum and the latest issue of “Vogue,” you shouldn’t ever pay newsstand prices for magazines. A typical magazine costs around $3.99 – if you’re grabbing one per week, you could spend well over $200 per year.
It can be a challenge to keep the costs of bridal shower decor within reason. However, considering that you may spend a fortune on the bridal shower menu, it is also very important. Unfortunately, cliché cutouts, paper wedding bells, and other cheap, plain decorations can take an otherwise perfect shower and turn it into something that even the most tolerant bride could dislike.
Sure, fresh-cut flowers and a champagne fountain could really brighten up the room, but you don’t need to spend big for classy, quality ornamentation. Homemade and from-the-heart adornments can pack a big punch while being easy on the bank account. The bride never has to know that you skimped on spending, because everything is going to look perfect.