5 Ways to Jumpstart College Readiness
- Created on 24 November 2014
We're all looking for ways to reduce college costs. This guest post by Aja McClanahan points out practical steps that should be considered. Learn more about Aja and her family's creative journey out of $100,000 worth of debt and into a mortgage free home.
Watching the CNN documentary, Ivory Towers, left a knot in my stomach. The frustration and hopelessness experienced by some of the students was so familiar. The film features students with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans and no real prospects for gainful employment. I remember being there so vividly. We are determined that our kids will have a different reality!
To this end, my husband and I are already thinking about higher education for our children, 5 and 9, right now. After research and practically walking out some strategies, I've come up with a list to help anyone jumpstart college planning.
5 Ways to Make Budgeting a Family Affair
- Created on 19 November 2014
Beginning a journey out of debt begins with exercising your budget muscle. Whether using pen and paper or a nifty online application, capturing an accurate picture of income vs expenses is the objective.
Think of the budget as the guide rails on the road to financial maturity. Each month (or pay period), project which expenses will be satisfied with available funds for the current period.
The budget helps you determine exactly how much income you have left to attack outstanding debt. In order to build a budget that works for your household:
Meals @ Home This Month Update
- Created on 17 November 2014
We’re half way through November and I’m curious…how has the challenge been so far? Have you noticed anything about your food purchasing patterns? Have you tried any interesting recipes? Have you thrown in the towel completely?
Challenges are good because they allow for focused effort over a limited time period. I love to use challenges to break up the monotony of budgeting, frugal living, and dumping debt. They add a little sparkle. Let’s face it, if dumping debt was super sexy – everyone would do it.
Financially Savvy Saturdays #64
- Created on 14 November 2014
If it ties into personal finance, we want to read it!
10 Tips to Fend Off Frugal Fatigue
- Created on 14 November 2014
Argh. Winter is coming. You might say it’s already here. Hello outerwear. Hello frigid temps. Hello cabin fever – for some of us. Prolonged behavior change in any area can result in rebellion. Especially change that is drastically different from the norm.
I generally rebel after months of being cooped up by taking long, ill-advised walks outside. Sometimes I just need to be outdoors and breathe in fresh air - even if breathing through nose-sickles.
Frugal Fatigue can impact even the most enthusiastic debt dumper. After months or years of cutbacks, belt tightening, and practical decisions you may rebel financially. Just like my long winter walks, adopting a progress-friendly way to fend off the onset of frugal fatigue is vital.
How to Score Designer Baby Clothes for $0
- Created on 10 November 2014
I have a standing approach for clothing my young children – I rarely buy clothes. There are too many options available for saving in this arena. They grow WAY too fast to invest much money (if at all) in clothing these little blessed bundles of joy. I’m not cheap, I’m just choosey about how I spend my hard earned dollars. Besides, there are plenty of other expenses required to satisfy that “Am I a good parent” question looping in your head.
Do You Really Need That?
- Created on 07 November 2014
Struggling to put your finances on a firm foundation? Who’s in charge of spending your money? Have you taken an honest assessment of what you pay attention to financially?
Why all the questions? We need take ownership of our behavior and admit that everything we do, have done, or will do in the future helps or hinders our ability to dump debt. One doesn’t magically end up at the mall with looming debts to unload. That restaurant did not set up shop in your living room three or four times this week. The latest gadget will live if you decide against taking it home. Who’s in charge here?
How to Menu Plan to Save Money
- Created on 05 November 2014
When in doubt, lean on the experts. Today's fantastic tips were contributed by guest blogger, Missy Rakes. You can find more tips on meal planning and budget meals from Missy at the Graceful Little Honey Bee.
If you aren’t menu planning, please start right away. Planning your meals based on what you already have and the weekly sales is an extremely effective way to cut grocery costs. Everyone has a different system for menu planning. I print a blank calendar every month and keep it on my fridge so I can fill in the meals each week before I go to the store.
Extend the Magic of Daylight Savings Time
- Created on 03 November 2014
I really love falling back into Daylight Savings each year. A morning person by circumstance (little kiddos wake up very early), waking to the sunlight wafting through the windows is such a pleasant experience. Fighting with sleep to pitch black darkness is generally a losing battle.
That extra hour is a treasured gift; especially in my time constrained existence. I got a head start on this week’s articles. We arrived at church [more] on time. Breakfast was more than a hurried bowl of oatmeal. Daylight Savings makes for a wonderful day.
Why stop at one day a year? I am convinced that we can keep the magic going. Here’s my plan and a few more ideas to rescue more time from the 24 hour cycle.
Make All Meals @ Home this Month Challenge
- Created on 01 November 2014
In the spirit of Finishing Strong as we pursue debt free living, November strikes me as a great month to take on another money saving challenge. Recently, I surprised myself with just how much damage restaurants can do to your budget. Are you ready for our last good challenge for 2014?
Meals @ Home will be a 30-day test of your planning skills, creativity, and resolve to stretch your food dollars. Initially I thought this would be too easy. Simple…yes. Easy…we’ll see. Essentially, the challenge involves the following components:
- Consume only meals, snacks, and beverages bought from a grocery store and prepared at home (anybody’s home will do).
- Place an emphasis on meal planning to make this work.
- Stay within your budgeted allotment for food for this month.