Home Tags Posts tagged with "budget"
Tag

budget

In my previous post 7 Debt-Free Resolutions for 2016 I talked about finding a way to visually track our debt-payment process. This is so so important to me because seeing a visual representation of my progress, and knowing I’ll have a few rewards along the way helps me stay motivated! I finally decided on a system for this, and created a FREE printable to share. It can be used to track saving or debt-payment goals, and the Mason jar is a fun alternative to the “thermometer” goal tracking sheets currently available on the world wide web. Hopefully it will help you on your debt-free journey as much as it helps me!

IMG_2940

To fill it out, write your BIG goal on the top line, then divide it into 9 smaller goals and write those goals on the lines beneath; you can even plan a few rewards along the way to keep yourself motivated. Fill in your Mason jar as you go to track your progress! A link to print your own is at the bottom of this post!

 

 

Financial Goal Tracker

Click HERE to print your own!

March 13, 2016 1 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest

This is the third and final post in my series on How to Coupon (for Beginners!). I’ve had so much fun sharing this passion of mine with you, and hope that you’ve learned a thing or two along the way! Todays post will be all about rebate and reward programs you can use to maximize your couponing savings! I’ll also talk about a few of my favorite time-saving apps, because anything that makes life easier is worth sharing! Untitled

Rebates & Rewards:

When stacked with coupons, and great sale prices, rebate and reward programs can stretch your savings even further! Sometimes I even MAKE more money than I spend on these deals!

Extra Care by CVS

CVS’s  Extra Care rewards program is by far my favorite one out there! Download their app or create an account in-store to get the special members-only discounts advertised in their sales circular, receive coupons in your e-mail, and earn Extra Care Bucks rewards. Extra care bucks are coupons that can be redeemed towards your next purchase. They are earned by purchasing select items as advertised, plus you will get $5 for every $50 spent on beauty, and $5 for every 10 pharmacy credits. Any Extra Care Bucks earned will print at the bottom of your receipt, but watch out! Unlike gift-cards they do expire. “Roll” your extra care bucks by using them to pay for your future purchases and you will reduce your out-of-pocket expenses!

iBotta

The iBotta app is a rebate app that helps you earn cash back on your every day purchases. Choose from a list of rebates available at your favorite store, then unlock and redeem them by submitting a photo of your receipt. Once you’ve reached $20 you can transfer your rebates to your PayPal or Venmo account, or with a $25 minimum you can purchase gift cards to select retailers. Taking advantage of available rebate offers is a great way to maximize your savings! I’ve even used the app to “make” money off of items I received for free after coupons!

Apps:

I’ve rounded up the best of the best when it comes to apps for couponing! These free apps will save you time & money! Download them and start taking advantage of these incredible resources!

Coupons.com

The Coupons.com app is my favorite place to find printable coupons. Just browse the list of available coupons, “clip” the ones you want, then print them right from your phone! They have a large database of online sales and coupon codes as well. Printable coupons can only printed two times from each device.

Flipp

The Flipp app is a great resource containing up-to-date sales circulars for all your favorite places to shop. It has a filter to help you search for the best discounts, and has a “Clip” feature so you can add sales to your list for later. It is SO convenient to have all that information available in one place!

Cartwheel

Target’s Cartwheel app has a barcode scanner to make searching for discounts quick and simple. I scan every item as I put it into my cart just to make sure I don’t miss anything! If the item scanned doesn’t match any offers, the app will suggest a similar item that does. Once I find an offer I want to use, I add it to my barcode and have the cashier scan it at the register. I find some unexpected savings every time I shop! Cartwheel offers can be stacked with one Target coupon AND one manufacturers coupon per item, and can be used over and over again until the offer expires.

Krazy Coupon Lady

This app is basically everything a couponer needs compiled in one place! So so so helpful! Select your favorite stores to “follow” a feed of their sales, coupon deals, and clearance finds. Browse printable coupons, create a shopping list, and share a “brag” post to pass the fantastic savings along! Check out their “Learn” section for money saving hacks, educational videos, and a super awesome Transform Your Shopping Habits in 10 Days e-book. This is a great app for beginning couponers because it contains so much helpful information!

That wraps up our series on How to Coupon (for Beginners!) If you have any questions, or care to share some of your money saving tips leave a comment below!

January 21, 2016 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest

James and I have set a BIG financial goal for 2016 to pay off $40,000 of our home loan debt. We are setting such a big goal because we are eager to start a family, but want the security of being debt-free and able to live comfortably off one income. Making this goal a reality will require dedication and creativity! As we re-evaluate our budget for the new year, here are 7 Debt-Free “Resolutions” for 2016 we will use to help us acheive our financial goals!

7 debt free resolutions

1. We will live below our means.

My husband and I both work full time jobs and earn average incomes, but we have chosen to live on less than half of what we make. My smaller income will be dedicated to covering our living expenses, and we will budget accordingly. We won’t “depend” on his income, and will use it only for building our savings and paying off debt.

2. We will save money on essentials.

To make living off one income more comfortable, we will coupon for our household essentials, buy all our groceries at Aldi and reduce our monthly bills. Doing this will allow us to put some of MY income towards paying off debt as well! I’ll have more posts about how we do this coming soon!

3. We will cut unnecessary spending.

We will scrutinize our spending and separate our “wants” from our “needs”. To quote Dave Ramsey “You can’t get out of debt while keeping the same lifestyle that got your there. Cut out everything except the basics.”

4. We will use a financial planner.

You can find a free printable for the one we use by clicking here. We will use it to track our bills, budget our spending, and keep ourselves accountable to our goals for each month.

5. We will give every dollar a job.

Dave Ramsey wisely said “You’ve got to tell your money what to do or it will leave.” This concept is as basic as having a plan for exactly where every dollar of your paycheck will go, but for some reason it is so SO hard for me to do.  This is something that we will learn this year so we can take full control of our finances and set ourselves up for financial success!

6. We will put all extra income towards our debt.

This includes bonuses, tax returns, overtime pay, and income from the blog or other side jobs. I also have the option to take a payout instead of going on two weeks of paid vacation so we will be dedicating that to our home loan debt as well.

7. We will find a way to visually track our progress.

It’s just so much easier to stay motivated when you can actually SEE your progress, and have a few rewards planned for yourself along the way. We haven’t settled on just how we will do this yet, but when we do I’ll make sure we let you know! ;D

Do you have any tips that have helped you save money and achieve your financial goals? If so we would love to hear them! Just leave a comment below to share!

 

 

January 11, 2016 3 comments
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest

Today I’ll be sharing a peak at how I create my monthly budget, as well as a FREE download of my 2016 Financial Planner printable! I’m sure I can’t be the only one who’s made a late payment simply because I forgot a bill was due. I always used to get so frustrated with myself, especially if late fee’s were involved. It was like throwing my money away!! I started using this system last year and haven’t missed a payment since! It’s simple to use, takes just a few minutes a month, and reduces my stress level, so it’s a win-win-win! Links for the download are at the bottom of this post!

DSC_0081

My financial planner consists of just these three pages. I keep them in a binder with my calendar, notebook and meal planner (printable coming soon!)

The Oklahomemaker Bill Payment Tracker

This page is my Bill Payment Tracker. If you only use one of the printables I’m sharing with you today, make it this one! It’s a life saver. I start by listing my bills in the column on the left, I like to start with those due at the beginning of the month and work my way down to the bills due at the end of the month. For bills that stay the same I enter the amount, but if it’s one that changes monthly (electric, water, credit cards etc.) I just write “Varies”. Next enter when the bill is due, and then put a check mark by it when it’s been paid! Easy peasy.

The Oklahomemaker Paycheck Budgeting

Since James and I are both on a bi-weekly pay schedules, we plan our spending around two paychecks each month (we live on my income and are using his to pay down our loan). Some months have three paychecks and when those come around we either pay extra towards our house, or save them. To fill this one out you’ll use your Bill Payment Tracker to figure out which bills are due during each pay period and plan accordingly. I set a budget each month for grocery, transportation, giving, and extra expenses and I spread these out over the two paychecks as well. Then add up all your bills and budgeted expenses and subtract that number from  your income. That number should be what you have available to put into savings, pay off loans, etc. Having this in writing always motivates me to stay on budget so I can have the “reward” of extra money at the end of the month.

The Oklahomemaker Password Log

 

The last page isn’t necessarily for financial planning, but it does make paying bills a lot easier! We pay the majority of our bills online so we keep a log with all the web addresses, and account info we need. I write down a hint instead of our actual password, just to be safe. 😉

Well there you have it! I hope these spreadsheets are as helpful to you as they’ve been to me! Links and printing instructions are below:

Bill Payment Tracker PDF Print 1

Paycheck Budgeting PDF Print 12

Password Log PDF Print 1

January 7, 2016 1 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest

Here in Oklahoma we are lucky enough to experience all four seasons throughout the year; sometimes we even experience all four seasons in one day! Fall has finally arrived, and one of my favorite things about the change in seasons is that I get the chance to try something different with my home decor. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of looking at the same things for months on end, and find that rotating my decor for the seasons is a great way to keep my home fresh and interesting. Here I’ll share 5 of my favorite frugal ways to incorporate seasonal decor into my home.

  1. When choosing seasonal items, use colors and styles that complement your year-round decor (such as art, furniture, curtains, pillows, etc). This will save you money by allowing you to use pieces you already have and reducing the amount of “seasonal” decor you will need to purchase in order to create a unified look. For instance, during the spring and summer months I use lots of grey, blue, green, and yellow. So I kept these colors consistent with my fall decor, and simply added a few accents of a light orange shade. You’ll see more example of this in the photos below. The most important thing is to think of your home decor as a whole and look for pieces that interact well with each other. If you don’t think it would blend seamlessly with the items you already have, don’t buy it!
  2. Use a chalkboard to display seasonal messages! I got mine from Hobby Lobby for $9.99, and I use some chalk pencils to do the calligraphy myself.

DSC_0368

For this fall I chose “Eat, Drink, Give Thanks”. Here are some other phrase ideas to get you started.

Winter: “Eat Drink & Be Merry” “Baby it’s cold outside” “Have yourself a merry little Christmas” “O Holy night”
Spring: “Bless our nest” “Bloom where you are planted” “He makes all things beautiful”
Summer: “You are my sunshine” “Love, Laughter & Happily Ever After” “Amazing Grace”
Fall: “Happy fall y’all!” “Fall in love” “Autumn, the years last & loveliest smile”

The options here are endless, have fun with it!

3.Use vase fillers as a cheap and easy way to change up your decor! 

DSC_0401

 

DSC_0392

I bought three boxes of this filler from Hobby Lobby for $8.39 each, and I’ve used it for literally everything from my apothecary jars, to decorative bowls, and centerpieces. For an even thriftier way update your home’s look, visit your back yard or a local park to find leaves, pinecones, acorns, flowers or other FREE items that can be incorporated into your decor. I’ll admit I’ve even used my fresh produce as a decoration from time to time, I guess I never really learned not to play with my food.

4. A good accent pillow and throw blanket are the #1 quick fix for your living area! They require almost no effort, and will make your home feel cozy and welcoming. Here is where shopping within your color scheme really saves you money. I could easily go out and spend $100 on a new set of pillows and blankets for every season, but instead I chose a pumpkin accent pillow and plaid throw blanket that compliment my year round color scheme so they can be mixed and matched with pieces I already own, like my paisly pillow. I’ll also be using the blanket through the winter season as well so it will do double duty. These two pieces ended up costing me about $35.

DSC_0425

5. Change out your framed photos! Almost everyone has access to a smart phone capable of taking great photos, and it only costs a few cents to get them printed at Walgreens or from websites like shutterfly.com, that’s what makes this my favorite frugal way to update my home for the seasons! Choose some of your favorite family “throwback” photos from the current season, or go outside and snap some of your own. Either way it will add a touch of character to your home, and you will enjoy seeing the faces of the people you love most. To make this even easier, store the unused photos behind the one currently being displayed so you can find them for next year.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my secrets for creating great seasonal style on a budget. I would love to see photos of how you use these tips and tricks in your own homes!

October 30, 2015 1 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest