Life on a budget means making choices about spending, even when it comes to holidays. Without a plan, holidays and special days can become total budget busters. Did you know that in 2014, Americans spent an estimated $7.4 BILLION on Halloween. With only about 67% of the country celebrating the holiday, that number becomes even scarier. I love celebrating Halloween with my little monsters, and with a little planning and a few smart choices we can have a happy Halloween on a budget. Today I’m sharing my favorite tips for saving money on costumes, treats, decorations, and party supplies so you can have a spooky celebration that doesn’t bust your budget.
Family travel can seem out of reach when you are living on a budget, but it doesn’t have to be. With planning and strategy, we are able to have incredible adventures with our family without busting our budget. Today I’m sharing seven simple tips we’ve learned over the last few years living in financial freedom and finding space in the budget for travel. Before I start, let me say that we put travel on hold while we paid off all of our debt and created an emergency fund. While I believe travel is an important part of our lives, it is a luxury. Though we live debt free, we are on a teacher & part time blogger/non-profit salary, so we aren’t exactly rolling in the dough. If we can do it, so can you.
No one gets married thinking about divorce, but we know it happens to so many couples. If we could figure out what causes it, would we try to avoid it? OF COURSE WE WOULD. We’re not dumb. There it is in black and white, on every list of the most common causes of divorce: money and financial issues. Here’s the thing – it isn’t a lack of money that makes the list. It’s the issues that come from not being on the same page financially with your spouse – not seeing eye to eye about money. Maybe one spouse is a spender while the other is a saver, or one insists on controlling every aspect of the finances without letting the other have a say. What is comes down to is that if you aren’t on the same page, with the same vision of your financial future as your spouse, there will be issues. So, how do you get on the same page?
There was a time when I thought I would never be able to save $1000 for a mini emergency fund. Now I can’t imagine life without it, as well as our big emergency fund (6 months worth of expenses). If you want to set aside for emergencies, but the idea of saving $1000 is intimidating or seems impossible I’m here to help. Emergencies will come, and you don’t want to be in a panic when they arrive. Having an amount set aside that you only touch for emergencies can really give you peac of mind. Before you start to pay off debt or invest, you need to have money set aside for emergencies.
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.
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.