We don’t have a single credit card, and don’t plan to every have one again. Why? So many reasons. We cut up our cards over five years ago and haven’t looked back. Today I’m sharing my story with credit cards, how I got in to BIG trouble, got out of it, got in to even BIGGER trouble, got out of it again, and found freedom from the plastic cards that were ruining my life.
I am terrible at math and numbers and all things accounting. So is my husband. Even so, we’ve managed to file our own taxes every year with the help of TurboTax and a little determination. You can do it, too. You CAN do your own taxes online. Really you can. If the idea of doing your own taxes stresses you out, I’ve got four simple tips to help you AND save you money.
Fall is so close I can almost taste it. Oh wait, that’s the delicious DIY pumpkin spice latte I whipped up this morning. I love a coffee shop treat as much as the next girl, but a daily splurge would wreck havoc on our budget. Instead of spending $5 a day on my favorite fall treat I’m making my own this year. There are quite a few of these recipes floating around Pinterest, and I’ve tried several but not found one I just loved until now. The main difference is that I don’t add any type of sweetener, because I don’t like super sweet coffee. I normally drink my coffee with just a touch of flavored creamer, so most pumpkin spice latte recipes are far too sweet for me. Mine keeps it simple and you can sweeten it up to your taste. Best of all, in under ten minutes you can make enough for a work week’s full of frugal treats.
We recently returned from a 26 day road trip through the southeastern United States. We visited 11 states, drove over 3000 miles, and had an amazing time. We live on a tight budget on my husband’s teacher salary (plus the part time income from this blog and my part time job with Young Life). We live debt free and don’t use credit cards at all (thanks to Dave Ramsey‘s Total Money Makeover). So, how did we take such a big trip on a little budget? We got creative, kept it simple, and made a plan we could stick to. Read on to find out tips for taking big trips when your income is small.
We live debt free on a tight budget and don’t do debt or credit cards (thanks to Dave Ramsey‘s Total Money Makeover). When each of our two children came along, we knew there would be added expenses but did our best to minimize them. Jed and talked through our favorite frugal tips for saving money with a baby to share with you today. You could easily spend a fortune on baby gear and clothes, but you don’t have to. Having a baby will completely change your life, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. We are not experts, just a family thriving on one teacher income and living life to the full without spending a ton.
With two small children galavanting around our house, date nights are hard to come by. I love dinner and a movie, but sometimes you want a little something different even if you don’t have wiggle room in the budget. Today I’m sharing ten frugal ideas for your next date night (or day) that are cheap or free after polling my girlfriends to get some fresh ideas for our own marriage. These dates would be perfect for your Valentine’s Day celebration or any night you can get away with your sweetie. If you need a frugal babysitting solution so you can afford to go on a date, check out my post on cheap/free babysitting options here. Read on and please share your frugal date night ideas in the comment section.
We had a problem.
A pile of stuff was growing in our garage.
We didn’t have quite enough to host our own garage sale because we got rid of so much stuff during our move and my simplify purge last year. We also donated a ton to two Young Life garage sales over the past two years.
But, the pile of stuff still grew.
After talking with a few of our friends we discovered that all of us shared this same problem and we decided to do something about it. The Berres volunteered to host because their garage is large and they live in a high traffic area. Perfect. Everyone had an assigned tag color and we all prepped our own stuff. We brought it over on a Friday night and held our sale on a Saturday morning from 7-12. It was a blast. Everyone worked hard, the kids played, and then we all went home for lunch and a nap with less wasted stuff in our homes and more money in our pockets. The Bear had possible the best day of his entire life and then took a 3 hour nap. Hallelujah. Everybody wins.
I asked my lovely co-hosts to share their best tips for throwing a multi-family sale. They came through with some fabulous suggestions. Gather a few friends or a few other families and throw a sale of your own.
Ten Tips for a Group Garage Sale
1) Designate people for each part of the sale. (adding up purchases, making change, bagging purchases, tracking tags, organizing, watching for shoplifters, etc)
2) Assign each family or person a different colored sticker to tag their stuff.
3) Take the time to price all of your stuff. You will make more money in the end.
4) Bring plastic grocery bags to help people carry their purchases home. This is a great way to get rid of all those unwanted Walmart bags.
5) Have a sheet with each families name at the top. Place the tags from their sold items on their page to track their sales. This makes it a cinch to add up at the end.
6) Bring a calculator. Trust me on this. You are not as good at math as you think you are.
7) Set up the night before and start early, but don’t put your signs out until you are ready to go. If you advertise online and in the paper, be ready a half hour before you said the sale started. People are crazy and will show up at the crack of dawn for a deal.
8) Price reasonably. No one cares about your emotional attachment to that old blender. They just want a deal.
9) Merchandising is key. Display your stuff so it is easy to sort through. Bring as much stuff out in to your driveway and yard do that people aren’t crowded and can easily see things. Display like things together.
10) Remember the point of your garage sale is to empty your home of stuff you don’t need or want without sending it to the landfill. Making money is secondary and an added perk.
Bonus: Pass out your old wedding favors as freebies to customers. (See below.)
If you have enough folks, sell water and soft drinks to your shoppers. They will appreciate it and you can make a few extra dollars. Good luck!
Have you ever thrown a group garage sale? Share your tips in the comment section below.
As parents on a tight budget, we are always looking for a cheap babysitting solutions so we can have date nights, go to social events, and spend time with friends. We don’t have any family near us, so that’s not an option. In Dallas the going rate for babysitting one child is around $10-15 per hour. PER HOUR, people. That means if we want to go out to dinner and a movie we are shelling out an additional $40 to the babysitter, minimum. There is no room in our budget for that kind of expense, unfortunately. Our whole dining out and entertainment budget for an entire month is $95. Yep, that’s it. We are on one income and prioritize saving for retirement and other things above dining out and entertainment. So, we’ve had to get creative when it comes to babysitting solutions. We’ve found a few things that work well, and one we really want to try.
Cheap Babysitting Solutions:
1) Parents’ Night Out – Several churches and local kid businesses (YMCA, etc) host Parents’ Night Out evenings a few times a year. We sign up for every one we come across. In our area these are typically a 4-5 hour window where you drop your child off and pay a fee to help the church youth group raise money. Most churches are well equipped to care for children because they do it on a regular basis, and we feel good about helping out a local church. Usually you don’t have to be a member, and most in our area charge $10 for the first child for the whole time slot, and $5 for each additional child. This is a steal! To find a Parents’ Night Out in your area, just do a google search or call local churches or kid friendly organizations.
2) The Swap – Trade babysitting nights with another family. We’ve done this a few times and hope to schedule more in the future. Most kids Bear’s age go to bed around 7 pm like he does, so we put him to bed and then have 1 parent from another family come over and watch tv, read in peace, etc on our couch while we go out for a few hours. Then one of us goes over to that family’s house on another night to relax and watch the baby monitor while they go out. Everybody wins. This doesn’t work as well for single parents unless you can take your child to the other house and put them to bed there, then transport them home when the parents return.
3) The Co-op – My parents were part of a babysitting co-op in our neighborhood growing up, and my mom has encouraged me to start one here with our friends. A babysitting co-op is a group of families who organize themselves to trade off babysitting using a point or voucher system. You earn points by babysitting for others, and then cash them in when you need a sitter. I haven’t gotten around to starting or joining one, but hope to soon.
What’s your best cheap babysitting solution?