It’s a New Year! (for parents anyways)

Are your kids heading back to school now?

Are you finally getting back into the routines that dominate most of the year?

While you are luxuriating in early wakeups, structured days and normal bedtimes its time to do what is a tradition every New Years- make some resolutions!


Image by UzbekIL from Pixabay

In most places school starts in August and September and if you are a parent that means the year begins then! Forget New Year’s! For all those who have kids in school August and September are the real beginning of the new year. As a mother of 2, my year begins now and ends summer time! And it’s time for New Year’s resolutions! Its also a good time to plan and set goals for the new year.  Having a goal and creating a plan to reach that goal will help you (and your partner, if applicable) actually reach that goal. Working together as a team will get you on the same page nad you will be able to accomplish so much this year. Being on the same page as your partner and having clear goals will reduce tension in your home over finances. Trust me, I am speaking from experience! 

This is a great time to look over your budget and make some plans for how things will be different this year. Make yourself a nice cup of coffee or tea and sit down with your partner (if you have one) and:

Review your Budget– (assuming you have one!- and if you don’t make one now. Or yesterday.) As the school year begins, it is a perfect time to review how much money you can spend. As kids grow older, their needs change and summer is a good time to map out what you think you may need for this year. Anyone going to need braces? Teenage girl wanting lots of new clothes? Bike for your 5-year old? Now is a good time to review where your money is going and what you need to save up and budget for.

 

Set up Systems and Adjust Existing Ones- The best way to save is to set up systems. How? Set up automatic deposits into your savings accounts. Even if you only have $5 a month to spare, make sure that it is regularly deposited into a savings accounts. We have very busy lives and it hard to remember to save every month (especially when dealing with small amounts- it doesn’t seem worth it!) But when you have the money regularly going into an account it really adds up. And if you set up automatic payments and withdrawals you won’t even miss the money! Now is a good time to reevaluate how much money you are putting into savings, how much you actually pay on bills etc. I don’t spend a lot of time on budgeting because its all automatic and  I don’t want to spend so much time stressing about money. I like to check in once in a while and make sure everything is working well and whether anything can be improved.

 

Set a goal– Decide where you want to be financially next summer. Think about what your financial bliss is. Then take steps and step up systems to make that happen. Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Is there anything you can do to end that? Are your expenses more than your income? Then, now is the time to calculate and KNOW YOUR GAP so you can work towards closing it.

7 Ways To Save Money on Back to School Supplies

7 Ways To Save Money on Back to School Supplies

Back to School Shopping doesn’t mean back to the poorhouse!

back to school

Read the full article where these tips were originally published:  https://www.opploans.com/blog/how-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies/

I was honored to be quoted in a great article about saving money on back to school supplies. School supplies shopping does not need to strike terror in your heart when you get that dreaded list. It also does not need to break the bank (too much). Just like every big purchase proper planning and budgeting can help take the sting out a little.

Here are some tips to help you save some money on Back to School Supplies:

1. Make a budget and stick to it. If you have older kids, let them know in advance how much they have to spend. This way they can pick which items they want to “splurge” on and which ones they don’t. They may want to spend a lot on a nice notebook but stick to the cheaper pencils and pens.

2. Shop online and shop early. Many stores have back-to-school deals on certain items already. Quickly glance through some deal sites and store ads to see which items are on sale and stock up on the basics- pens, notebooks etc.

3. Coupon and cashback. Look online for coupons and take advantage of cashback apps. These little savings can add up in a big way! (Use my referral code for Rauktuen.com (previously EBates) to get $10 off your first purchase and cashback on many stores.)

4. See what you can reuse. Not everything needs to be new every year. Go through last year’s supplies and see what can be used, passed down and what needs to be replaced.

5. Plan before you shop. Make sure you have your school supply lists along with an idea of what items you already have so you don’t end up overbuying. If you have multiple kids that need the same items you may be able to split value packs as well so make sure to have an idea of what each child needs BEFORE you shop.

6. Stock up on basics. Are crayons, pens or paper on major sale? Do you think you may need to buy more throughout the year? If you have the resources, buy some extra basic supplies that are on sale so you don’t have to buy them at full price later in the year.

7. Don’t take all your kids at once. If you more than one child, don’t try to take all of them shopping at once. That is just asking for trouble. When the pressure of numerous kids get to you, you are more likely to make snap decisions that make it harder to stick to your budget. Take one kid at a time, even though it may mean more time. You will probably spend less money and have an altogether more positive experience.

Follow this rule for all shopping trips: Plan, Budget and Hack it. Click To Tweet

7 tips to save on back to school supplies pinterest

 

Happy shopping!

 

Do you have an emergency fund in place?  You need one!

 

 

 

This is a condescending post

This is my Condescending Post

Here Goes:

Make coffee at home.

Don’t eat out.

Don’t buy things you don’t need.

Get less manicures.

So reads the lists of “50 ways to save money and become a millionaire overnight” that every personal finance blog and website has. The theory behind this click bait article is that everyone is really secretly rich but because they spend their money badly they are instead living in poverty. After all, poor people are poor because they don’t know anything about personal finance. If you would just stop subscribing to every subscription know to man-kind you would become as rich as Bill Gates. After all, Bill Gates makes his own coffee. (I don’t actually know if this is true but seems like the type of thing I would read somewhere). The condescending tone of these posts seem to imply that you (yes, you!) are spending so much money on silly things that if you stop then you become a millionaire! (Overnight!)


Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay

And I guess maybe these lists are good for some people. If you do all those things and don’t have enough money and aren’t saving then you should stop. Seriously. Stop. Its stupid. (And maybe one day I will write one as well to get some clicks and maybe also help someone save a dime) But what if you are one of those people (like me!) who read through those lists (avidly) and don’t have one thing to stop spending on?! I don’t buy coffee, I don’t eat out, I don’t have subscriptions. Because here is the problem with the “blog” mindset. They want you to believe that everyone can be rich. Everyone really is rich and here are a few simple ways to make that happen. The thing is that if you were truly making “rich” money than the coffee isn’t really making or breaking you. And the thing is that a lot of people are not earning a “rich” salary. And it’s not necessarily because we don’t hustle enough.

Some people just aren’t going to be rich. And that is OK. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to make it big. What you have to do is make it OK. And that means doing the best you can with what you got. And what you got is the middle-class salary that most of us are earning. Or the big salary in a big city where you can’t afford housing.

Now, don’t get me wrong- don’t buy coffee too often (I really never do, unless I am in an airport) and when you do buy something make sure that it is in your budget. We are very strict about budgets. But stop looking to get rich. Stop thinking that all it takes is a little will-power and a fewer manicures to make that happen. Live within your means. Spend what you can. Save WHATEVER you can. Work towards meaningful, achievable goals (Emergency Fund, Home ownership, Retirement Account) and stop feeling bad that you aren’t one day going to be super rich. Its OK. Really.