6 Tips How to Give Holiday Gifts Without Spending Too Much

Tips How to Give Holiday Gifts Without Spending Too Much

Trying to find the perfect Christmas presents for your loved ones for the holidays, without spending too much money or going into debt to pay for all of the holiday items, can be difficult. You want to give gifts that are nice and thoughtful, without looking like you are skimping on gifts, and this makes it easy to get caught up in the spending cycle during the holidays. But doing so can easily start to add up financially and take a toll on your budget. You don’t want to start the new year paying off credit card debt from Christmas.

So how do you give during the holidays without spending too much? Watch the video or read the post below about six tips that will help you out:

 

 

1.  Set Limits and Set a Budget

Before you even begin shopping, start by deciding how much money total you will spend on Christmas gifts for the holiday season. It’s important to set limits on your holiday spending and set a budget of what you can afford. When spending money on your children’s Christmas gifts, set a specific dollar amount for each child or decide that you’ll limit the number of gifts per child.

Make sure to set a budget that is realistic. Don’t just come up with some random number. Look at what you spent last year on the holidays, think through the numbers and determine how much money you will need while trying to find a balance of what you can afford. You also don’t want to make the budget so tight that you get frustrated because there isn’t money for last-minute or unexpected holiday purchases. So give yourself a little wiggle room if your budget allows it.

It’s great to give nice Christmas presents, but if you find a gift that isn’t in your budget, then look for something else or go in on the gift together with another family member or friend. There have been many times when I wanted a specific gift for my mother, but it wasn’t necessarily in the budget. Rather than just purchasing it and going over my budget I asked my siblings to go in on the gift too. We were able to do something nice for my mom because we collaborated together, and we were able to stay within our budget.

Know your limits and don’t just spend money and put everything on the credit card, because come January it will be stressful coming up with the money to pay off the credit card.

 

2. Make a List & Don’t Feel You Have to Give Gifts to Everyone

Make a list of people you want to buy gifts for, but limit the amount of people you give to. Don’t feel that you have to give gifts to everyone.

When making a list, prioritize and first write down the names of those who are the most important people on your list. Then write down those who you would like to give something to if you have enough money left over in your budget. Next to each person’s name write down the dollar amount you can spend on them by dividing up your predetermined budget to all the people on your list. Once you have the dollar amount next to each name, then you can decide what to purchase for them. If you find a gift is on sale and it doesn’t cost as much as the dollar amount you were planning to spend on that specific person, then you can take that extra money and use it toward someone else.

With family, it can be hard not to get something for every sibling and their children, but financially that can be a strain on the budget. In my family and my husband’s family together we have 6 siblings, their 6 spouses and 26 nieces and nephews. Buying something for each of them would be a huge expense. What we do instead is for my side of the family, we each are given a name of one sibling and their family that we purchase a gift for, and we rotate it every year so we have an opportunity to give a gift to a different sibling each year. For my husband’s side of the family, we’ve done white elephant gifts or we get together and do fun inexpensive projects and activities with the kids. The point is that we simplify and communicate that we are keeping it simple and that we don’t expect expensive gifts from each other.

If you have groups of friends or co-workers, then think about giving homemade gifts, goodies or a holiday card to them. You could also suggest friends and co-workers do a Secret Santa, white elephant gift exchange or Yankee swap. It will help on the Christmas budget so you are only purchasing a gift for one person in the group rather than the entire group.

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8 Ways to Save Money Shopping Online

ways to save money shopping onlineOnline shopping makes life easier because you don’t need to leave your house to have what you want delivered to your front porch. I really like to save money shopping online, and I especially love shopping online during the holiday season because I don’t have to leave my house, I can shop in my pajamas and I can avoid the crowds, particularly during Black Friday. If you want to know tips how to shop Black Friday deals, head over here. I almost always find just as good of deals if not better deals shopping online rather than going to the store.

Check out these 8 ways to save money shopping online that will save you money.

1. Use Cashback Shopping Sites

Use cashback shopping sites such as TopCashback or Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) for all your online purchases. Cashback sites are a way for you to save money every time you shop online at one of its partner retailers using a link from the cashback website. A percentage of the purchase is returned to you as a cash back rebate when you complete your purchase. Cashback shopping sites offer cash back at thousands of stores and they are free to use.

I use both TopCashback and Rakuten to shop online and like them both. I usually check to see which of the cashback sites will give me more money back on my purchase and then shop through that cashback site for my specific purchase. Here is more information about them:

TopCashback has partnered with more than 4,100 online stores. When you sign up for TopCashback, you’ll receive a $10 sign up bonus which can be redeemed once you reach the $10 minimum payable cash back threshold for purchasing an item through its site. After this first payout there is no minimum pay-out threshold. You can choose to be paid through gift cards, ACH, PayPal, Amazon.com Gift Card and American Express Rewards Card.

Rakuten is also a great cash back site with more than 2,000 stores. In addition, you’ll find thousands of coupons and promo codes from Rakuten. Every quarter Rakuten mails you a check or PayPal payment with the cash back you received from shopping online through them. Sign up with Rakuten and receive a $10 sign up bonus after you spend $25.

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Why It’s Important to Include Sinking Funds as Part of Your Budget

Why It's Important to Include Sinking Funds as Part of Your Budget

If you are wondering, “What is are sinking funds?” and “Why do I need to include it in my budget?” then here is some beneficial information that will help you to become more financially prepared for upcoming expenses.

What are Sinking Funds?

A sinking fund is a fund where you set aside money for expenses that are predictable. You know the expense is coming up and instead of waiting until the expense is due and there isn’t room in your budget to pay for it, you plan ahead for the expense by creating a sinking fund within your budget and set that money aside until you need to pay for that expense.

Many times when people start budgeting, there may be some expenses that they don’t anticipate such as an item in the home breaking that needs to be replaced or the car needing repaired. By creating a sinking fund, you’ll be able to spread out large expenses, or even smaller expenses, over time.  For many people this can be difficult to do because it requires patience and self control to plan ahead and to not spend money on other purchases immediately because they want those items right now.

Here is a list of expenses that you may want to create a sinking fund for and to consider including in your budget:

  • home repairs
  • new car or car repairs
  • family vacations
  • kids sports and activities
  • insurance
  • medical expenses
  • Christmas
  • subscriptions and dues
  • birthdays and gifts

 

How to Get Started on Sinking Funds

To get started on sinking funds, determine what expenses are coming up and which sinking funds you need. Calculate the total amount of money you will need in one sinking fund and what date you will need it. Then break it down into how much you need to save each month before the expense comes due. Begin saving that amount of money each month for the allotted time frame. For instance, if you know you want to save $1,000 to spend on Christmas and you begin saving in June, which leaves you about 6 months to save, then you need to put aside $166 each month (or $42 each week) to reach that goal before Christmas comes.

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How to Build a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget Video

How to Build a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget VideoRecently, there has also been thousands of people affected by natural disasters. Because of this and since September is national preparedness month, I want to share with you a video on how to build a 72-hour kit on a budget. In this video I share with you items I’ve added to our family’s 72-hour kits and tips on how to do it on a budget.  You never know when there might be an emergency and you need to leave your house quickly. And having a 72-hour kit that can be quickly picked up as you walk out the door could be a life saver.

This video is to encourage people to get their 72-hour kits ready by starting out simple. Start off by gathering the basics, which include food, water, light, warmth and personal hygiene, then add to it little by little every year. Compiling a 72-hour kit doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars. When I first started our 72-hours kits, I found many of the items around the house and placed them in a backpack to create 72-hour kits for each member of our family. Then I slowly added to it, as well as regularly rotated through items each year. Check out the video below on How to Build a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget:

 

 

What tips do you have to build a 72-hour kit on a budget?

If you can’t see the video above, head over to my YouTube Channel here. And please subscribe to my channel while you are over there.

 

How to Compile a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget

You can also watch my ABC4 News segment here where I share tips on how to build a 72-hour kit on a budget.

 

How to Build a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget

And also head over to my post here where I list all of the items I mention in the video.

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13 Tips to Teach Children to Save Money

Teach Children to Save Money

When I was young, I learned from my parents to save money and be frugal. I watched as my parents would save for an item, then purchase it when they had the money. Even though they may have wanted an item right then, they usually they did without, made due with what they had or purchased an item at a second hand store because it was less expensive. They taught me and my siblings to save most of the money we earned and put it into a savings account. And they said that if we saved money, it would help us to be able to pay for some of our college education. Because of their encouragement, I almost paid for my entire college education without taking out a student loan. You can read more of my story, My Financial Life Journey and the Lessons I Learned by clicking here.

Now that I’m a parent, I want to teach my kids how to budget, save money and stay out of debt. I’ve seen many times where a child grows up and moves out of the house only to start buying everything he or she wants with a credit card. They see what their parents have, and they want all of that now. Some of them don’t realize that it takes years to acquire the items that are in a home. Teaching children to save money isn’t easy. They usually want to spend money they receive immediately. Below are ideas to teach young children and teens how to save money.

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6 Tips How to Save Money on Groceries without Price Matching Video

how to save money on groceries without price matchingDid you hear the news that Walmart will be discontinuing its price matching? My local Utah Walmart discontinued price matching on May 3, 2017. I made a video for you with 6 Tips on How to Save Money on Groceries without Price Matching. Since filming this video, I found out that Walmart stores in Utah and surrounding states have discontinued price matching, but there are Walmarts in some states that still do price match. Call your Walmart to see if they are going to discontinue price matching. As this continues to trickle out nationwide, there is a good chance that eventually all Walmarts will discontinue price matching. Leave a comment and let me know if you have any questions or what tips you have to save money on groceries.

 

 

If you can’t view the video, head over to my YouTube Channel here to watch it.

 

save money on groceries without price matching

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4 Important Steps to Get Out of Debt

get-out-of-debt-final-jpg

Living with debt can be stressful, and once you are in debt, it’s hard to get out of debt. The average household has about $132,000 in debt, which includes mortgages, and the average household with credit card debt has balances totaling about $16,000, according to the American Household Credit Card Debt Study.

When you don’t have enough money to pay the bills and you continue to accumulate debt, it becomes a heavy burden. Getting out of debt and staying out of debt is not an easy thing to do. If you want to get out of debt, it’s going to take sacrifice, discipline and hard work, but in the end it will be worth it. Once you get out of debt, that burden of debt hanging over you will be gone, and you’ll have a financial peace of mind. You’ll also be able to take that money that was once going toward debt and instead use it to do things that are important to you and your family, because life is about enjoying things that matter most.

Here are four important steps to help you get out of debt so you can put yourself in a better financial position. This is your year to get your finances in control!

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6 Tips for Going Back to School on a Budget

6 Tips for Going Back to School on a Budget

It’s almost time for kids to be going back to school, and back-to-school shopping can be hard on your wallet and can be a huge expense when it comes to spending money on the kids. Buying new school supplies, clothes, shoes, backpacks, lunch boxes, and electronics adds up quickly and can be expensive.

Watch the video below about 6 tips for going back to school on a budget. If you can’t see the video, head over to my YouTube channel here.

You can also read the post below with the 6 tips on how to budget for back to school.

 

 

 

1. Set a Budget

You probably knew I would say this first. It’s important to set a budget so you don’t overspend or go into debt. Set a dollar amount that you can afford for each child for all of the back-to-school necessities and don’t spend more than the set amount.

To help you plan ahead, determine how much you spend on back-to-school items each year and set aside money each month for these back-to-school expenses. Since school will be back in session soon, you can still begin saving money now from each paycheck over the next month or two to help with the costs.

 

2. Shop at Home

Shop at home first by walking around the house and seeing what items you have that are on your children’s school lists. Rulers, backpacks, lunch boxes, pencil boxes or pencil sharpeners don’t need to be replaced if they are still in good condition. Once you know what items are still in good condition, write a list of items you still need to purchase.

Every year, I stock up on school supplies when they are on sale and have a container in my basement where I keep them. When I receive the school supplies list, I go downstairs and am able to collect many of the items on the list.

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5 Tips How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck & Start Saving

stop living paycheck to paycheck and start saving money saving tips

When I was going to college full time, I had a part time job and wasn’t making a lot of money. I didn’t want to take out a loan, so I tried to be as frugal as possible by managing my paychecks and paying for rent and food each month, and then saving as much money as possible so I could pay for each semester. You can read more about how I almost paid for college without taking out a loan here. It wasn’t easy. And there were months where I was barely scraping by from paycheck to paycheck and wasn’t able to put money into savings.

After I married my husband and we had our first child, that first year when I was a stay-at-home mom was challenging as we went from two incomes down to just one. We had to figure out how to make it work each month to solely live off my husband’s paycheck, and there were some months where we barely had enough from our paycheck to cover all of the bills. Even though those were hard months, we luckily weren’t at the point where we were living paycheck to paycheck. If for some reason my husband was suddenly unemployed, we would still be able to meet financial obligations for a short time because we had savings. We didn’t want to touch that savings unless it was for an emergency because we knew that if we had to regularly dip into our savings each month to pay bills, we would soon find ourselves in an extremely stressful and difficult situation. So we found ways to live frugally.

If you find that you can’t sustain yourself a few days without a regular paycheck coming in and you have to rely on each paycheck to manage your day-to-day life, then you won’t be able to plan ahead for unexpected situations that might occur, like a trip to the doctor’s office or a broken down car. You’ll end up using a credit card then have to work hard to try to pay it off. There are a number of reasons someone may end up living paycheck to paycheck. It could be an event outside their control or it could be a result of their own financial choice they made. Either way, it’s a stressful way to live.

I want to share with you some tips on how to stop living paycheck to paycheck and start saving money. It won’t be easy. It will take dedication and determination, and you’ll have to make sacrifices along the way, but in the end it will be worth it. You won’t have the stress of debt or trying to come up with money for the things you really need or those unexpected situations that might arise. Here are 5 tips to get out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.

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10 Ways to Help You Become Financially Fit This Year

One of the top new year’s resolutions for many people each year has to do with their finances and spending less, getting out of debt and saving money. Here are 10 articles to help you with budgeting, saving money and becoming financially fit this year.

 

How to create a budget plus free budget worksheet

How to Create a Budget + Free Budget Worksheet

 

 

9 Tips How to Stay on a Grocery Budget + Free Grocery Budget Tracker

 

 

21 tip to spend less money on groceries21 Tips to Spend Less Money on Groceries

 

 

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck 5 Tips5 Tips How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck and Start Saving

 

How to Use a Cash Envelope System and How Our Family Budgets

 

6 Ways to Save Money & Increase Savings This Year6 Ways to Save Money & Increase Your Savings This Year

 

8 Best Budget Apps to Keep Track of Your Finances

 

 

 

Maintain a Budget

5 Tips on How to Maintain a Budget

 

 

Finances with Spouse FinalHow to Effectively Talk Finances with Your Spouse

 

4 Important Steps to Get Out of Debt

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