Amazon · Finances · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Good Ideas · Money Educatioin · Money Helps · Side Hustle

5 Places Online To Sell Your Clutter and Earn Cash

I try to sell a few things online every month.  I don’t make a lot of money doing this, but I do make a little bit, and I am a firm believer that EVERY little cent matters.  I’m sure if I spent more time doing it I could easily make even more money.

I’m convinced EVERYONE can find at least a few items to sell.  Clean out your closets, look under the bed, search through your garage.  Try to find something that hasn’t been used in years (or even months?).  There is no use in hoarding something if it’s not getting much use.

I love clearing and the clutter AND getting to make a little extra cash on the side.  Being able to do it ALL online makes it EVEN better (hello, not leaving your house and getting to stay in PJs!)!!!

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Here are a few of my favorite places to sell online:

Sell on Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is my very VERY favorite place to sell.  If I price my items right, they will sell immediately!  I love to post large items on Facebook Marketplace; such as furniture, baby items, lawn care, etc.  I have the most success with these.

Sell on ThredUP

Thredup is where I sell a lot of my clothes and my kids clothes.  All you do is request a free bag to be sent to you, fill it full of clothes, and send it back.  Thredup will do all the sorting, picture taking, selling and shipping your items for you.  I really like selling with them because it requires VERY little effort on my part.  I have found that they are a little picky about what they accept (which is really nice as a buyer).  But, if you have clothes in good condition that you want to get rid of anyway, send them to thredup!  You can sign up through this link for a free $10 credit to shop.  It’s a great way to get a feel of the website before you start selling.

Sell on Poshmark

Poshmark is very similar to thredup.  It’s a great place to sell and buy used clothing.  I have found they aren’t quite as picky as thredup, making it easier to sell through them.  I am still a little new to poshmark and learning the tricks, but so far I have been very pleased.  Poshmark will give you a $5 shopping credit if you use my code sweetfrugallife when you sign up.

Sell on Ebay

I have had quite a bit of success selling on ebay.  I don’t sell with them as much as I use to (thredup and poshmark are just MUCH less work), but they are a great resource.  I’ve sold clothes and little trinkets and electronics stuff on ebay.  Sometimes it takes a little adjusting with the price to find the right fit, but more often than not I have been able to make a sell.  If you want to have a little more control over how your items are sold and for what price, ebay is a really good option for you.

Sell on Amazon

I have never personally tried selling anything on Amazon , but I do know others who have.  The fees are a little more than ebay’s fees, but EVERYONE shops amazon now, so I’m betting it is a really great market.  You will need to set up a free business account to start selling, but it is fairly straightforward from there.

Remember NOT to give up if an item doesn’t sell immediately.  Usually that means you will need to make some changes; such as adjust the price, take different pictures or try a new selling website. Try a few different changes BEFORE giving up.  Different websites tap into different markets.  Be patient with it.  Selling items online is a learning process.  The more you do it however, the easier it becomes.

Where have you had success selling household items?  Share in the comments your favorite place to sell!

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Finances · Frugal Life · Money Educatioin · Money Helps

Overspending Triggers and Solutions

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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my spending habits.

I sometimes have these really awesome moments when I am keeping to my budget, spending wisely, and stashing lots of money away into savings…….

But then, I have my moments where I S.T.R.U.G.G.L.E.  I shop impulsively.  I buy things without consulting the budget.  I develop a “I need it so I get to have it” mindset.

Does ANYONE else have this happen????

I ALWAYS know this behavior is wrong.  I ALWAYS know that I shouldn’t be buying “x,y, and z.”  Yet, I ignore that small voice of reason and just keep on spending.

I have learned that these overspending urges are usually the result of a trigger.  SOMETHING going on in my life (usually emotionally for me 😉 ) that causes us to want to overspend.

 

The other day I got an urge to SPEND.  Like, really really spend.  I wanted to buy decorations for my home and I wanted to buy myself a few new shirts and I wanted to go out to eat and I wanted to take my daughters on a back to school shopping spree and I just.wanted.to. SPEND MONEY!

I was fortunately able to stop myself in this moment and asked myself, “What brought on this urge to spend?”

I thought a lot about my emotions in that moment and I realized that I was feeling frustrated.  I was frustrated by my budget.  I was frustrated that I was so limited with the amount of money I am “allowed” to spend each month.  I just wanted to throw the budget in the garbage and show that budget that I can spend what I want when I want!

Once I realized what I was feeling, I knew that I needed to change something in the budget.  As a parent, I always ALWAYS choose to have money budgeted for the kids wants/needs instead of budgeting for my wants/needs.  Which I am so HAPPY to do for them, but I was limiting myself so much that I became frustrated which resulted in me wanting to overspend!

So, I decided to change my budget.  Next month I will be budgeting more money for my personal spending money.  I am hoping that by doing this it will eliminate that trigger and help decrease those spending urges.

Everyones will have different  triggers and you won’t experience the same trigger every time.  I tried to brainstorm below a few possible overspending triggers and a suggested solution.

Overspending Triggers and Solutions

Trigger:  Overspending because you are bored and shopping is a form of entertainment.

Solution:  Develop a new (cheap) hobby.  Ask a friend to join you in the hobby to help keep you accountable and active with it.

Trigger:  You lack confidence and are trying to boost your self esteem with new purchases.

Solution:  Read some self help books (from the library) about confidence.  Learn to develop inner confidence without needing to spend money.

Trigger:  You are upset or emotional and use shopping as therapy.

Solution:  Find a new way to release your emotions.  Go for a run or walk.  Call up a friend or watch a favorite movie.  Find a non-spend alternative to help you calm down.

Trigger:  Feeling jealous when you hear how friends have been spending their money.

Solution:  If your friends are a temptation to spend money you need to distance yourself from them.  I have unfollowed friends on social media before because their posts trigger my urge to spend money.  If you need to make some new frugal friends, do it!  Just do whatever it takes to delete that temptation.

 

Trigger:  A friend invites you to do something that will encourage you to overspend, maybe a day of shopping or a weekend trip.

Solution:  Be up front with your friends.  Tell them your spending limits and the activities that you will be able to or won’t be able to participate in.  Kindly ask them to stop inviting you to the activities out of your budget.

What are your personal spending triggers?  What are the solutions YOU have come up with to help overcome those triggers?  Share with me in the comments so we can help each other out.

 

Finances · for free · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Good Ideas · Money Educatioin · Money Helps

Show Me the Money: 4 Ways to Earn CASHBACK on Purchases

I am a member of online affiliate programs.  I will receive compensation from clicks on my links.  All opinions are my own.  I guarantee to never share anything I haven’t already been using for years.

Who likes free money???  I LOVE free money!  And I’m betting you like free money too!

This post is all about how to earn cashback, just by shopping like you regularly shop!!

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Cashback with Discover Card

My FAVORITE way to earn cashback is by shopping with my Discover Card.  I talked in detail about why I love my Discover Card in my post The one idea I disagree with Dave Ramsey on.  In short, when I shop with my Discover Card I automatically earn cashback on all purchases.  They give you 1% cashback on EVERYTHING and 5% on different categories that are rotated monthly.  (Currently, I am receiving 5% on groceries).  You don’t have to do anything, just use your card and your cashback will grow.  I earn around $500 cashback with Discover a YEAR, and all I do is shop like normal!

Cashback with Ibotta

I love shopping with ibotta.  This is the very first app I check after completing my grocery shopping.  All you have to do is shop, check the app for rebates, scan your receipt, and the money is instantly put in your ibotta account.  Easy.  Peasy.  They have a wide selection of rebates, common items are milk, apples, pantry items, broccoli, beauty and household.  I can almost always find at LEAST one or two items to receive a rebate for.     If you don’t currently have an ibotta account you can get a FREE $10 just for signing up for one through my link.  (FREE money people!)  Once you have $20 in your account you can redeem your money as cash or a gift card.  I have earned over $100 by using ibotta!

Cashback with Checkout 51

Checkout 51 is very similar to ibotta.  It works as a rebate program.  You shop, scan your receipt and qualified purchases and you will get the rebated money instantly in your account.  Once you reach $20 in your account you can request your money, same as ibotta.  It only takes a few minutes to check for rebates and one minute to scan your receipt.  I have made over $50 cashback using Checkout 51!

Cashback with Ebates

It is so easy to earn cashback with Ebates.  If you like to shop online, you need to shop through the Ebates app.  If you shop through the ebates link you will earn cashback for every purchase.  They have a large variety of stores available to earn money with.  Everything from Kohls, Ebay, Zulily, Justice, Aerie, Lowes, Gap, Ulta, and so so many more.  Before I make ANY online purchase, I always check Ebates first to see if they offer cashback for that store.  All you do is click on the store link in the app, you will be taken to the store website, you do your shopping, and instantly earn money back.  SO SO easy!

 

If you are going to be shopping ANYWAYS, you might as well be earning a little cashback along the way, right???  RIGHT!

A quick word of caution however.  It can become easy to want to buy a product JUST because you see you can get a rebate for it through ibotta or Checkout 51.  Be careful to NOT to fall into this temptation.

I have found the best way for me is to do my shopping FIRST and then check the rebate apps to see if I bought anything eligible for a rebate.  (Except for with Ebates, you must check Ebates FIRST!)  This has helped me immensely to not buy things I really didn’t need in the first place.

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What cashback secret did I miss???  How do you like to earn cashback?  Share your successes in the comments!  I would love to hear all about them.

 

 

Finances · Frugal Life · Money Helps

10 Tips to Stop Impulse Shopping

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Let’s talk impulse shopping.

I have always struggled with impulse shopping and am constantly trying to work on this.

Do I budget? YEP!  Do I love to save money and watch my bank account grow!  ABSOLUTELY!  Yet, I have always struggled with buying things on impulse.

So, here are a few of my 10 top tips that has personally helped me stop the urge to impulse shop.

10 Tips to Stop Impulse Shopping

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1.  Admit you Have a Problem

The first step to curing impulse shopping is to admit you have a problem.  I have gone through so many times of rationalizing my impulse spending.  I would use phrases like, “Oh, but it was on sale, so it was a smart buy,” or “It was something that we really needed anyway, so it wasn’t really an impulse buy.”

These phrases are only excuses.  We use excuses to make ourselves feel better when we do something that we know was probably not the best decision.

Once I admitted to myself that I had a problem with impulse spending and I quit using excuses, I was finally able to begin to change.  I still mess up sometimes…..but I am much better than I was a few years ago.

If I impulse shop.  I tell myself I impulsed shopped and it was a mistake.  I no longer make up excuses and it has kept me accountable and aware of my goals.

2.  Recognize your Triggers

Once you’ve admitted that you have a problem, it’s time to pin point the triggers.

Is their a certain store that you leave buying more than you should have.  (Target is my biggest trigger when it comes to impulse shopping.)

Does the impulse to spend come after a highly emotional day?

Find whatever YOUR personal trigger is, this will be different for everyone.

3.  Find Alternatives

The third step to curing impulse shopping is to find alternative activities to keep you away from your triggers.

The past 2 years I have tried to just stay away from Target.  No matter what I do, I can’t seem to leave the store without impulse spending.

I’ve started shopping at other stores more and avoiding going to Target at all costs.  I still go occasionally, but every time I do I regret it.

If you have a store that is your trigger, find an alternative store.  If you shop when you are sad, upset, bored, etc. find a different activity to help get you through those emotions.  If you follow a really cute blogger on Instagram who posts links to her darling clothes and you always seem to swipe up…..unfollow her!

Do whatever it takes to find something to keep you away from your personal triggers.

4.  Leave the Cards at Home

When I shop with cash and leave all cards (debit and credit) at home.  I am much much more diligent to sticking to my list and budget.  I am always worried about being “one of those customers” who show up to the register without enough money to pay for my items.

When I know I only have a set amount of money in my wallet I watch my cart closer and it is much easier to walk past the items that catch my eye.

If you are new to spending with cash you can read more about my Cash Envelope System Here.

5.  Make a List

Making a list is so important.  If you aren’t already making regular shopping lists, you might be surprised by how much less you spend when you shop with that list in hand.

Before you go anywhere make a list of the things that you NEED.  Even if you are only going shopping for one thing, write it down.

Shop with that list in your hand and commit to only buying the things you have written down.  Even if you see something on sale.  Even if you walk past the cutest shirt you have ever seen.  If it’s not on your list than do not buy it.

6.  48 Hour Rule

I discuss my 48 hour rule in detail in my Free 14 Day Frugal Living Challenge.  The quick version is you wait 48 hours before making any purchase above a certain dollar amount.

The dollar amount is personal to you and your situation.  Everyone will have a different number that works for them.

When we wait to make a purchase we are giving ourselves time to separate emotions from logic, or want vs. need.

7.  Splurge Money

Be sure to include “splurge money” in your budget.  Splurge money is for you to spend however you WANT!

Your splurge money will give you a little taste of freedom.  If you don’t allow yourself a small amount of freedom, you are much more likely to over spend.

There is no right or wrong amount to budget for splurge money.  If you have a very tight budget, your splurge money might be small.  If your budget has some wiggle room perhaps you could budget yourself a little more.

8.  Shopping Cart

A few of you might roll your eyes at this suggestion.  And that’s ok!  It might not work for you, but this is something I have been doing more and more lately and it has really been helping me.

Occasionally, if I am out shopping and see an item that I really really want…..but it’s not on my list, I will just grab it anyways and put it in my cart.  I allow myself to walk around with it in my shopping cart while I do the rest of my shopping.

When it comes time to check out I look at the items I added on impulse and evaluate.  Should I really buy this?  Do I have money in my budget for this item?  Is it something I need?  Could I wait and budget for it later and come back and buy it?

I will usually be able to talk myself out of buying it and go put the items back where I found them.

9.  Use a Spending Buddy

Find a friend who has similar financial goals as you.  Use each other as someone to talk to when you are getting the urge to impulse shop.

A few years ago I had a good friend who agreed to be my spending buddy.  Whenever I would find that one item I thought that I just HAD to have, I would call my friend.  I explained to her what I wanted and she would ask me those important questions about if I really needed it, could I find something cheaper, etc.  I would often do the same for her in return.

My spending buddy was so great at helping me spend less.  And because I KNEW I would need to call her before I bought anything….it made me second guess my impulses, I only wanted to call her for important things!

10.  Forgive Yourself

This is one of my very most important tips!

Whenever you’re trying to change habits you will make mistakes.  It happens to everyone!

Forgive yourself when you mess up.  Learn from your mistake.  Make a plan to do better next time and then MOVE ON.

If I am to hard on myself I just end up throwing my hands in the air and giving up.  I’ve had those moments when I messed up on my budget and instantly felt like a failure.  I would convince myself I’ve already ruined my budget I might as well just keep on spending!  This was a giant mistake!

Once I started forgiving myself my budget benefited!  I am able to start fresh the next day and move forward with my goals.

 

How do you stop yourself from impulse shopping?  Share YOUR top tips in the comments below!

Finances · for free · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge

14 Day Frugal Living Challenge

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I have been working so hard on my 14 Day Frugal Living Challenge.  I wanted to create something that would encourage, inspire and help others to live a more frugal lifestyle.

I have put together 14 e-mails (one a day), each with a different frugal living topic.  Each e-mail includes tips and tricks from me and a daily challenge, all related to the topic.  There are links to other articles, free printable worksheets, and 15 of my favorite simple and frugal recipes.

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I am really excited for this project!  I hope others will find it useful, helpful and encouraging as they try to save money and live beneath their minds.  If you are interested in signing up you can do so at this page; Frugal Living Challenge Sign Up.

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Let me know if you sign up!  I would love to follow along as you participate in the challenge!

Affiliate · Amazon · Bargain Buys · Finances · Frugal Life

Why we Cut the Cable and NEVER looked back!

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. ”  I am a member of online affiliate programs.  I may be compensated for purchases made from links on my site.

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I remember very well telling my friends that, “I could never live without my DVR!”  I loved having my DVR and being able to record shows whenever I wanted and watch them whenever I wanted.  I loved skipping through commercials and I really could never imagine myself going back to life before DVR.

Well, I am here to tell you that I CAN actually live without my DVR!  🙂

Five years ago we decided to begin cutting some costs out of our budget.  When the talk of whether or not we should cut out the cable I wasn’t super thrilled with the idea.  But, I wanted to trim our budget and knew that my precious DVR was not a need.  We canceled our cable, including that DVR.

And you know what.  There has not been a single day when I have regretted it.  There have definitely been a few times when I have MISSED having a DVR (usually when I have to sit through a boring commercial),  but I have never regretted getting rid of it.  The amount of money that we save yearly is so worth it.

There are so so many alternative TV options available today.  It wasn’t hard to find a few cheaper services for our family.

The first and cheapest option we did was to buy a digital antennae.  This was a one time purchase of $30 and enables us to get all of the public channels for free.  The only TV we had for a few months was this digital antennae.  If you are on a strict budget, this is a GREAT option for you.  It provides great TV without any monthly payments.  My kids love watching PBS Kids and my husband and I enjoy the news and a few other evening shows.

We have since added a few subscription services to our TV options.  They are all still so much cheaper than cable or dish.  Here are a few of my favorites:

We use Netflix every single day.  My kids have a couple of favorite shows they always want to watch and I have my favorites (Gilmore Girls!).  We use the cheapest Netflix option of $7.99 a month and we think it’s worth every single penny.

I have recently fell in love with Hulu.  I only signed up to take advantage of the free month trial, but I became hooked and decided to keep the service for a few more months.  I have been so impressed with all of the TV options available on Hulu and new releases they have available.  Fixer Upper and This Is Us have been my favorites lately.

My sister loves using the Roku.  The Roku gives you the ability to access all of these subscription services in one easy place.  We already have a smart TV so felt the Roku was unnecessary.  My sister didn’t have a smart TV so it only made sense to need something a little easier.  It is a one time price and very user friendly.  There are hundreds of apps/channels available to add to your device.

I have many friends and family that use Amazon Prime for TV watching.  We are content with Netflix and Hulu for now, but Amazon Prime really is a great deal if you take advantage of all it has to offer; including their TV/Movie options, free shipping and music available.

I did a conservative estimate of how much extra we are saving a year by cancelling our cable service, it came to $480 yearly savings!  In the 5 years since we cancelled the cable we have saved $2,400.  Think about what you could buy for $2,400!  I don’t know about you, but I would rather put that money somewhere more useful than spending it on TV!  If you only use the digital antennae, with no other TV services, you will save over $650 a year.  These little expenses ADD UP!

How do you save money on TV Viewing?  What is your favorite subscription service?  Tell me in the comments so we can all help each other out!

 

 

 

Affiliate · Amazon · Finances · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Money Educatioin

What we cut from our budget to save over $2500 a year

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”

I am not naturally a frugal person.  I was raised by two frugal parents, but I lean more towards wanting to shop and buy things.  It has been a huge learning process for me to become more frugal and to learn the value and beauty in cutting back and saving money.  This learning process has been over the course of years, and quite honestly, I’m still learning and trying to better myself.  Today though I started thinking about all the things we have cut from our lifestyle over the years, and they have all been slowly cut out, and I was blown away with the amount of money we are saving ourselves just by making a few different lifestyle choices!

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Pack that Lunch:  $1000

Packing a lunch for work, instead of eating out with coworkers, has been our biggest money saver.  Every night I pack a lunch for my husband to take to work.  The lunch mostly consists of some leftovers from dinner, occasionally he will bring a sandwich.  I was so surprised to find out this simple habit is saving us over $1000 a year!

Change your own oil:  $210

My husband taught himself how to change the oil in our two vehicles, all it took was watching a few you tube videos.  It takes him less than an hour to do and he claims it’s super easy.  He uses this oil drum to drain the oil.  You can deposit the oil for free at most auto parts stores.  This is not some natural talent he has, he had to get out of his comfort zone to learn this skill, however this simple task saves us $210 a year.

Cut the Cable:  $480

A few years ago we decided to get rid of our cable TV.  We were actually already on a fairly cheap rate, but we decided we could do without it.  We have saved $480 a year by doing this!  There are so many great options for cheap TV.  We use Netflix.  But I have friends who use Hulu, Roku, or Amazon Prime.

At Home Haircuts:  $200

I bought clippers 14 years ago for $20.  You can find a similar pair to ours here:  Wahl Complete Hair Cutting Kit.  I have been cutting my husbands and sons hair ever since.  This is a $200 annual savings.  If you know me, you know that hair is really NOT a talent of mine.  I have watched a few you tube tutorial videos and both my husband and son get very basic cuts.  I have made my some a few mistakes on both of them, but I keep learning and trying.  And luckily boys hair grows out fairly fast!  😉

Workout at Home:  $840

We have never had a gym membership and this decision saves us $70 a month.  We have learned to get a good workout in at home.  We go for a run or bike ride during the summer and find great you tube videos to follow during the winter.  I buy cheap weights and exercise equipment to use from the thrift store.  My favorite you tube channels to follow are fitness blender and yoga with Adrienne.

The Results:  $2730

Just by making these 5 adjustments to our lifestyle we save $2730 a year!  So in five years we have saved $13,650!  Ten years it will be $27,300!  Those little expenses don’t seem like a big deal, but over time they add up to be a very very BIG deal.

It really has not been hard to cut any of these things from our budget.  We have been living this way for years and honestly never seem to miss a gym membership or cable TV.  It has just become our way of life, and it’s a great life!  It can be hard to form new habits, but once you do those habits become your way of life and you often never really look back!

Take a look at your budget and lifestyle.  Can you find a few things that you could change in order to save money?  I promise the pay off is so worth it!

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Finances · For the kids · Frugal Life · Money Educatioin · Parenting

Money Lessons for Kids: The night we taught our kids the TRUTH about money

I have been wanting to give our kids a really good object lesson about how to handle money.  We talk about this topic constantly, and we give them chores to help them learn how to save and spend wisely, you can read all about that here:  Teaching Kids Smart Money Habits; but I just kept wanting to find something that would make a big impact on them and the real adult world.  I began brainstorming ideas and came up with a game plan that ended up having a greater impact than I ever could have imagined.

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We told the kids that we were having a family meeting and that they all needed to come join us.  We excitedly announced to the kids that we would be having a money lesson (cue groans.)  I ignored these sour face expressions and got started with our plan.

Phase 1:  The Marshmallow Bank

First, I gave each of the kids 5 marshmallows.  I told them that those marshmallows were theirs to do whatever they wanted with.    But, if they wanted to put the marshmallows in the marshmallow bank the marshmallows might grow.  My 12 year old and 9 year old decided to put all of their five marshmallows into the marshmallow bank.  My 5 year old decided to eat three of his marshmallows and put the other two into the bank.  I took the marshmallows away and put them into the “bank” (aka my closet).  We left those marshmallows alone to sit in the bank for a while and we moved onto Phase 2!

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Phase 2:    Real Life

For Phase 2 I really wanted to give my kids an understanding of exactly where mom and dad’s money goes each month and WHY we just can’t give them every.single.thing. they want all the time!  I also wanted to give them an understanding of what responsibilities they will need to expect when they become adults.

To prepare I got out enough cash to resemble how much money my husband earns in one month (I did this during the first of the month when I had a bunch of cash on hand from my cash envelopes).  We pretended that a quarter was $25, $1 was $100, $5 was $500, $10 was $1,000 and $20 was $2,000.  I then got three bowls filled with snacks.  The first bowl had cheerios in it and a $50 sign, the next bowl had fruit snacks with a $100 sign on it and the last bowl had a few mini candy bars in it with a $500 sign.

I gave the kids all of the “money” that our family has to live off of for one month.  I explained that after they paid all of their monthly bills than they could use whatever money is left to go shopping at our “store.”  At this point the kids were SO excited about their money.  All of those bills looked like a gigantic wad of sum to those three young kids.  They could not wait to buy out the entire store!

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Then the bills began…

We listed off every bill that we have to pay each month and how much that cost.  As we listed it off the kids had to pay us their “money” for those bills.  We included everything!  They had to pay for life insurance, car insurance, retirement savings, college savings, sports and piano lessons.  They paid for electricity, groceries, car repairs, and a few date nights.  We had them put money into their emergency savings account.  If it was on our real budget, the kids saved for it.  As the huge wad of cash slowly dwindled the looks on the kids faces kept dropping and dropping.

Once the bills were all done being paid my daughter exclaimed, “But where did all of our money go?!?!”  The kids had about $10 leftover, an equivalent of $1000.  Not enough to buy each of them one of the coveted candy bars.  They had to settle for a few fruits snacks and cheerios.

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Phase 3:  The Lesson

At first the kids were a little upset.  They were asking questions like, “So does this mean we don’t have any money?!?!”  and “I don’t understand where the money went.”  We then explained to them that we do have money.  We have enough to pay for everything in our budget, everything that they had to pay for.  We have enough for the soccer camp, the piano lessons, food on our tables, the necessary clothing and occasional fun family activity.  We talked about how we have enough money for those things.  But, we do not have enough money for ALL the things.  We talked about why and how we make a budget each month, how some months we might budget for a fun family activity and another month we will budget for new school clothes.

As the conversation continued I could see the understanding start to set in their eyes.  They began to realize the importance of a budget and why they are told no to some of the things they ask for.  They learned the importance of saving money each month and budgeting for the many bills that come with being an adult.

Phase 4:  Investments

Now it was time to check how our investments were doing in the “marshmallow bank.”  When I went to go get the marshmallows I tripled the amount of marshmallows each of the kids had in their bowl.  My 12 and 9 year old ended up with 15 marshmallows and my 5 year old had 6 marshmallows.  My 5 year old was a little disappointed when he saw how little marshmallows he had compared to his two older sisters.

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We then explained to the kids the importance of investing your money and how if you do it wisely your money will grow.  We demonstrated how the more money you invest, the more money you will earn in return.

I was so very happy with how this money lesson turned out.  My kids really seemed to understand and grasp what we were teaching them.  The conversations we had throughout the lesson were very real and mature and I am hoping this is something my kids will remember as they grow up and begin making their own personal money choices.  And once we were all done we totally let them have a few of the mini candy bars…..just because I try to be a nice mom.  Sometimes.  😉

 

 

 

Finances · Good Ideas · Money Educatioin

The Envelope Money System: A Beginners Guide

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About a year ago I changed the way I was spending money.  I decided to quit using my debit card for purchases and try only using cash.  I’ll be honest, I did not think this change would make much of a difference.  I am a little bit prideful and a lot of stubborn and I really felt that I was strong enough to spend smartly with my debit card.  It only took one month of paying with cash to realize that I was wrong!  I couldn’t believe how quickly my wad of cash depleted.  It was a huge wake up call for me to watch that envelope empty so quickly.

Today I am sharing how I use the envelope system and a few of the tricks I have learned a long the way.

There are some things I buy with cash, and other things I buy with my credit card.  I rarely use my debit card.  To read about why I use a credit card for some purchases read my post The one idea I disagree with Dave Ramsey on.

My husband and I try to have a budget meeting at the end of every month.  Monthly is what we have found works for us.  I know others that budget weekly or bi-weekly.  We use these budget meetings to discuss how we did on our budget throughout the month, make a new budget for the next month and decide things we could do better or different.  At this time we decide how much both of us will need over the month for our daily spending.  These categories change monthly, the most common categories are:  clothing, house expenses, pet food, children’s extra curricular activities, groceries, fun and other.   We always have an “other” category for any extra expenses that come up throughout the month.  We have NEVER had a month go by without something coming up that we forgot to budget for.  Always make sure you have an “other” envelope.

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Once we have our budgeted amount I go to the bank, withdraw the amount of money we will need and start stuffing my envelopes.  You do not need anything fancy for your envelopes.  We use boring cheap white envelopes and just write the names of each category on them.  I then put the amount of money I need in each envelope.

 

This money has to last me all month.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  I leave these envelopes home at all times.  My husband doesn’t like the idea of me walking around with so much cash and I have found that I am to tempted to spend it if it’s with me.  When I need to buy something I simply take out the correct amount of cash from the envelope, no more and no less and go to the store.  I also leave home all debit and credit cards.  This is my way to get rid of all temptation and to prevent any impulse shopping.  The amount of cash I put in my wallet is ALL I have to spend for that shopping trip so I have to really pay close attention to what I’m putting in my shopping cart.

I am fairly loose with the envelopes and will occasionally switch some of the cash around in the envelopes mid-month.  It’s hard to always know exactly how much we will need for each category.  I never spend over the amount of monthly budgeted cash.  That large sum is non negotiable and we have to spend carefully throughout the month to make sure it lasts us all four weeks.

I recommend everyone at least TRYING doing most of their spending with cash each month and see how much less you spend.  It has really opened my eyes to my spending habits and is a great object lesson for everyone to try.

Finances · Frugal Life · Money Educatioin

The one idea I disagree with Dave Ramsey on

I am a member of online affiliate programs.  I will receive compensation from clicks on my links.  All opinions are my own.  I guarantee to never share anything I haven’t already been using for years.

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I love Dave Ramsey.  I follow his advice and teachings religiously.  Except for one thing….

I have one credit card and use it regularly.

Dave Ramsey advises against using any sort of credit card, but we have found it actually earns us a lot of money just by shopping normally.

I use cash for about 50% of our purchases, clothes, decorations, restaurants, spending money, kids music lessons, etc.  We use a Discover Card for the other half of our purchases, such as utilities, groceries, gas and online purchases.  We are very diligent at paying the card off each month and mainly use it for items that are unable to accept cash, such as online purchases.

Our Discover Card offers a 1% cashback bonus on ALL purchases and a 5% cashback bonus for a variety of purchases.  The 5% rotates monthly from gas to groceries to travel.

They also have an extra rewards center.  The rewards center gives you the option to shop at many popular online stores, (Old Navy, Gap, Target just to name a few) through the Discover link and you will earn 5% cashback on these purchases.  Before I buy ANYTHING online, I always go to the Discover website and check to see if they have a cashback option for that store.

Ebates is very similar where you can earn cashback by shopping through their link, but I have found that my Discover card usually offers a much higher cashback percentage than Ebates does.

We make about $300-$400 a year just by using our credit card.  (YAY for free money!!)  We use this money to pay for our kids Christmas.  Think of all the possibilities you could use it for though!  Such as paying off debt, put it towards retirement or college savings, or treat yourself to a little mini vacay.  The options are endless!

If having a credit card would tempt you to spend more money than you normally would then DO NOT sign up for one.  It is NOT worth the temptation.  If this is your situation the cashback Ebates offers would be a great alternative for you.

However, If and ONLY IF you are able to use a credit card responsibly and pay it off monthly, I HIGHLY recommend signing up for one that offers a cashback option.  In the 10 years we have been using our card we have earned around $4,000!   Just by shopping like we normally would!  It’s the easiest $4,000 I’ve ever made!!

And every other thing Dave Ramsey says I follow to a T!

 

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