Hosting ANY party can still be elegant on a budget! I love these ideas for a baby shower.
Archives for August 2014
Daily Habits that are Costing you Hundreds of Dollars
When you are trying to save money, there are, typically, quite a few places that you can look. While there are some very obvious bills that you can look at to try and save money, there may be some less-obvious things that you haven’t even considered. Cutting these items from your budget can literally save you hundreds of dollars each month…
The obvious place to start is with monthly bills: evaluate your telephone package, cellular plan, satellite/cable options, and internet connection service. Many times, companies are able to give you special promotions that are currently going on or you can even down-grade your current options, based on what you actually need and use. Although, there are some ways to save that you may not have even considered. These money-usurping habits often slide under your monthly budget radar because they aren’t individual bills that come in the mail each month. You may pay cash or put them on a credit card used for other household items, so these expenses may go unnoticed, but could, literally, be costing you hundreds of dollars each year.
The morning coffee addiction
If you are like most of us, you probably can’t really get going in the morning without a cup of coffee. However, it can make a huge difference in your budget where you are getting that coffee. If you are stopping by your favorite coffee shop and ordering a specialized coffee from a barista, you are probably spending around $4.00 each work day, or about $88 each month. While the gourmet latte each day is delicious, it is costing you over $1000 per year, if you buy a gourmet coffee each workday! Don’t lose heart, though, there is a much cheaper way that is still going to taste great. If you aren’t good at measuring out and making your own coffee, invest in a coffee maker that you can simply place a K-cup in and have a perfect-tasting cup of coffee every time. The least expensive way to enjoy a K-cup is buying at a wholesale store (I go to Sam’s Club). You can get a large box of 84 K-cups for just under $40. Buy some flavored creamer and you will get a great tasting cup of coffee for around $0.50 per cup! Making your own coffee at home costs about $11 per month and will save you $77 per month; that is a savings of over $900 for the year!
Eating out for lunch
Mornings can be hectic, especially if you are trying to get your children ready for school, help kids finish homework, make breakfast, and make sure everyone gets out the door on time. It can be really hard to add one more thing to the morning checklist. Honestly, we all know that it is just easier to buy lunch rather than take the time to pack one. Buying lunch at a restaurant each day can make quite a dent in your budget. Even if you are getting a value meal at a fast food restaurant, you are probably spending at least $5 per day, which would be about $1250 per year. This is an expense that can approximately be cut in half by packing a lunch each day.
It may not seem like a big deal to stop by your favorite sports pub after work and have some wings and a beer with a few co-workers to wind down after work, however, you may be spending more than you think. There are always “happy hour” specials so it seems relatively inexpensive. Of course, if you go every day, you are probably adding at least $5-10 to your daily expenses, and potentially, a whole lot more, depending on how long you stay.
Do you pay for upgrades in your favorite games on your smartphone? Or even pay to download songs or purchase certain apps? You probably don’t think much of spending a couple of bucks here or there, but make sure to keep track of just how much you are spending on these types of purchases because it may be more than you realize.
The best way to limit the amount that you spend each month on these “daily habits” is to budget for them. You don’t have to give everything up altogether. Build a certain amount into your budget each month and then stick to it.
“Out of the mouths of babes oft times come gems.” I think the old saying is quite appropriate here. I asked my 8-year-old son what he thought was good advice regarding money. He immediately came up with “don’t spend it on junk.” He took a bit longer to come up with the other two: “store it in a bank” and “give some of it to someone else.” But he did think of these on his own, without any help. I would have to say that he nailed it! I am pleased to think that at 8 years of age, he has a better understanding of personal finances than many adults do.
Don’t Spend It On Junk
Seems obvious, right? I think he probably gets the term “junk” from the fact that whenever we are at a store, if he wants to get a cheap little toy, I tell him not to waste the money on it because it is made so inexpensively it will just break– probably about 5 minutes after he starts playing with it. Junk. For adults, it is a bit different though, maybe we aren’t spending a couple of dollars on something cheaply made and easily breakable, but maybe, just maybe, we are making unnecessary purchases. I mean, how many times have you bought something that you really didn’t need? Maybe it was on sale, maybe it was even a great deal as an end-of-season clearance item, but you really didn’t need it or hadn’t even thought about buying it… but it was on such a good sale, you just couldn’t pass it up? Sound familiar? I know I have done this before. And all those little purchases add up.
Store It In A Bank
While my 8-year-old has a money jar that he loves to store all his money in from birthdays and Christmas, his advice to store it in a bank is right on target. Every time you get paid, put some money aside in a savings account and 401k or IRA. A savings account will get you through the unexpected expense times, or allow funds for family vacations, or even just give you a safety net for the unforeseen life event, such as an unexpected layoff from your job. But a savings account isn’t enough, you also need to store money in a retirement account. Start saving for your future NOW. The earlier you start saving, the better. The compounding effects of interest over time will greatly increase your account value.
Give Some Of It To Someone Else
I love that my son has a giving heart. It isn’t too hard to look around to find a local church or other worthy charitable organization that could do a lot of good with a donation. Not only does someone in need benefit, but the giver gets to experience the joy of giving and making a difference. “Give, and it shall be given unto you…” Luke 6:38
*Article also published on my Examiner.com page.
Even though summer is soon coming to an end and you are probably already getting in the back-to-school mode, eMeals has put together a few homemade popsicle recipes to get you through these hot days in August. eMeals is still offering a 20% off discount (code: SCHOOL) along with FREE Back to School Recipes Download with purchase of an eMeals subscription.
Recipe: Organic Coconut Blueberry Popsicle
- 1 1/2 cup organic coconut milk
- 3/4 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 2 Tablespoons organic shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup organic blueberries
In a glass mixing bowl, mix together coconut milk, honey, shredded coconut, and greek yogurt until well combined. Choose your favorite popsicle mold and fill until half inch from the top. Add blueberries into mixture by pushing them down into the mold, spreading them throughout the popsicle. Fill the remainder of the popsicle mold. Freeze overnight.
Recipe: Mixed Fruit Popsicles
- 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
- 1 peach, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 2 cups coconut water
Combine all fruit in a mixing bowl and place in your favorite popsicle mold. Pour enough coconut water in each mold to just cover the fruit. Freeze overnight.
Suggestion: taste your coconut water and see if it’s sweet enough prior to pouring into mold. If not, in a separate mixing bowl add coconut water and your favorite sweetener to taste. Then add to popsicle mold to cover fruit.
Recipe: Chocolate Nutella Popsicles
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate milk
- 1/2 cup hazelnut spread
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix the chocolate milk and hazelnut spread together until well blended. Choose your favorite popsicle mold and fill to the rim and freeze overnight.
Magic Mountain is The Place to Play! We have something for everyone, from kids to adults so the whole family can enjoy all of the excitement that Magic Mountain has to offer. Stay cool in the summer and get splashed by our Bumper Boats. Practice your putting skills on our Miniature Golf Courses, race your friends on the Go-Karts, twist and turn on the Spring Karts, be interactive inside the KidsGym Climbing Playland or perfect your gaming skills and win prizes in our Mega Arcade!
The Polaris location of Magic Mountain Fun Center is now offering the following coupon:
- Buy one single attraction, get the same single attraction free,
- 100 game tokens for $15, or
- $10 off any birthday party
LEARN. DEVELOP. SUCCEED!
Jump Start Sports provides children with a foundation for growth and nurture their love of sports. Through sports we teach character and life skills that lead to happiness and success.
Our recreational based camps, leagues, and programs teach fundamentals and values to children of all ages. Our programs are fun and well organized.
Preschool Sports Programs
Children ages 3 – 6 have a blast learning the fundamentals of sports from trained staff coaches (NOT coached by parents of participants). Players are put on teams and play games so that the children learn teamwork, game concepts, and sportsmanship. The first half of the classes focus on skill development using terminology and fun drills designed to teach these concepts to such young children. Programs offered include Hummingbirds Soccer, T-Birds T-Ball, Rookie League Coach Pitch Baseball, Little Hoop Stars Basketball, Mini-Mites Flag Football, and Deck Hockey. These programs provide a special experience for the whole family while children gain an appreciation of sports, specific knowledge and skill, an appreciation of team, and a boost in confidence. Learn. Develop. Succeed!
Youth Sports Programs
Children of all experience and skill levels improve fundamentals and learn about new sports in these fun oriented programs led by trained staff coaches (NOT coached by parents of participants). Players meet one day a week and are taught skills and fundamentals they will need to succeed in more competitive programs. Then they practice what they have learned in games that teach game concepts, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Sports offered include Introductory Lacrosse, Flag Football, Fall Baseball, Hoop Stars Basketball, Deck Hockey, Beginner/Intermediate Tennis, and Introductory Volleyball. Learn. Develop. Succeed!
Find out more at www.jumpstartsports.com or email us at [email protected]
Register today and follow us for extra info and specials!
Jump Start Sports offers currently offers programs in PA, OH, MI and NC.
Flag Football Children entering grades 1 – 6 have a blast learning the basics of football. Players are grouped by age, coached at their level of understanding, and play fun, low competition games under adult supervision. All instruction will be conducted by Jump Start Sports staff coaches. Players will learn the basic fundamentals of offense and defense, and will be introduced to speed and agility training. Parent coaches can assist in the instruction and will call the plays for their teams. Jump Start Sports staff will also supervise all games to ensure equal playing time, a rotation of players in various positions, and they will help teach within the context of the game.
Hoop Stars Basketball Instructional and recreational basketball program for children in grades 1 – 2. Players are taught the basics of dribbling, passing, shooting, positioning, defense, and rebounding in a fun-oriented program. Then they apply what they’ve learned in low competition games.
Hummingbirds Soccer 3 through 6 year olds have fun and learn the basics of soccer: dribbling, passing, trapping, shooting, defense, and positioning. Each session consists of instruction in all aspects of the game, participation in fun drills that are designed to teach fundamental skills to young children, and low-key, non-competitive games. All coaching will be conducted by Jump Start Sports staff, but parents may assist.
Little Hoop Stars Basketball Instructional and recreational basketball program for children in preschool and grade K. Players are taught the basics of dribbling, passing, shooting, positioning, defense, and rebounding in a fun-oriented program. Then they apply what they’ve learned in low competition games.
Rookie League Baseball A fun baseball experience for 5 and 6 year old boys and girls. Players will receive instruction in all basics of the sport, and will apply what they have learned in fun games. All players begin the season playing T-Ball and are slowly introduced to Coach Pitch Baseball over the course of the season. The program includes both instruction and game play. The games will be non-competitive and no score will be kept, but hits and outs will be recorded as they are in older coach pitch programs. Players who are not able to hit a pitched ball will be able to use a tee while learning. Rookie League classes are 1 hour and 15 minutes long. Jump Start Sports staff members conduct the instruction and oversee the game play while volunteer team coaches participate in a detailed coaches training program provided by Jump Start Sports.
T- Birds T-Ball A fun and highly instructional introduction to baseball for 3 and 4 year old boys and girls. Players learn the basics of throwing, catching, fielding, batting, and base running, and then apply what they have learned in fun, non-competitive games. Sessions are one hour long, one day per week, and include all instruction and game play in one outing. Instruction is conducted by Jump Start Sports staff coaches. Players receive a Major League Baseball hat, team tee shirt, and baseball medal. Volunteer coaches may also participate in a detailed coaches training program provided by Jump Start Sports.
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