Archive | Money

30 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Superbowl on a Budget

9 Tips For Saving Money on your Super Bowl Party – Living Rich

Welcome Fox & Friends viewers!  If you saw Cindy talking Superbowl party savings with Fox Reporter, Lauren Simonetti on Fox & Friends this morning, you’ve come to the right place.  Celebrating the Superbowl doesn’t have to cost you a fortune.  After all, it’s all about the game right?!?

Well, of course it’s about the food too.  But, keeping it simple is best!  You get to enjoy the game with your guests and your wallet will be happy.

Here are some of the tips Cindy shared:

1. Share the expense – Have a PotLuck Party.  Invite your family and friends and host your Super Bowl party as a potluck party.

2. Keep the menu simple – If you are feeding a crowd, stick with big dish items that easily feed a crowd and that are simple to make and serve.  Set up slow cookers with big servings of chili.  You might want to try our simple and easy 30 Minute Chili Recipe.  Put out some cheese and sour cream as toppings.  You can even make hot dogs for chili dogs.   The same goes for appetizers…put out large plates of nachos and cheese for your guests to snack on.  These are a great alternative to serving numerous, expensive appetizers.  Pigs in the blanket and potato skins are also inexpensive finger foods.

3. Did someone say Pizza? – Order pizzas for the big game.  Check with your local pizza restaurants for any deals that may be going on.  Or better yet, make your own.  Or, stock up on all the great sales on frozen pizza that are going on right now.

4. Plan your menu based on the current sales – Check your store’s circular and coupons for super bowl type foods on sale.  This time of year there are tons of deals available.  Plan your menu around what’s in your pantry and the current sales.   Free and cheap items this week at most stores are sour cream dips, guacamole and frozen pizza (see above for deals).  Also, avocado prices are great right now so make your own guac.

5. Cut the high cost of drinks – This is another area you can share the cost on.  Ask your guests to BYOB.  If you don’t feel comfortable with that, then stick with the basics.  Serve soda, water and beer.  No need to get crazy with fancy beverages.

dollar store decorations

6. Dollar Store Decorations – Shop the dollar stores for fun decorations.  Football themed containers. We found these football shaped snack dishes for, yep, you guessed it…$1.  Use them for snacks or your chili toppings and hot dogs.

Image Credit: rustsunshine.blogspot.com

Image Credit: rustsunshine.blogspot.com

7.  Get Crafty – Try wrapping empty cans with brown craft paper and using a white marker or paint to make football “stitching”.  These make great holders for your utensils and look fun and festive on your buffet table.  Be sure to check out Rust & Sunshine for instructions for theseSilverware Football Holders and as well as fun, super bowl related kids games and treats.

8. Save on Super Bowl Memorabilia – If you are going to the game, don’t buy Super Bowl memorabilia there. Wait until the day after and you’ll get all kinds of clearance deals online and in your local stores.  If you have to have something to wear to the game, then shop beforehand at your local stores.  Prices will be so much cheaper at the store then at the game.

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9. Dress to celebrate without wasting money – You may have noticed Cindy wearing Denver Broncos colors in the news segment.  These were simple long sleeve tees she picked up from Target….on clearance.  And, she even found a scarf to go with it.  Her purchase was 1 Long Sleeve v-neck Navy Blue Tee for $8.00, 1 Long Sleeve scoop neck Orange Tee for $6 and a navy blue/orange/white scarf for $14.97 for a total of $28.97.  The bigger savings here is that she can wear these all year round…individually or even together.  So, rather then picking up those expensive team jerseys or NFL sponsored shirts, support your team by dressing in their colors.  Who knows, you might have something in your closet to wear.

 Share your tips for saving on super bowl parties!  We’d love to hear how you celebrate on a budget!

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06 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Save Your Money

Americans want to save money.

Really, we do.

But pulling it off — actually putting away those dollars for later — is daunting.

Recent polls by Gallup show that 62 percent of Americans say they prefer saving money to spending it, compared with 33 percent who say the opposite.

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That’s a big change from before the 2008 recession, when Americans were more evenly divided between savers and spenders.

That preference for saving money is highest among lower-income consumers, with 66 percent of people making less than $20,000 a year saying they prefer saving compared with 55 percent of those making $75,000 or more, Gallup reported.

But Gallup also notes figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis that show that the personal saving rate, which is personal savings as a percentage of disposable personal income, has grown only modestly since 2007.

“Saving is determined by more than simply the desire to store away money; one must also have the ability,” Gallup said in its latest news release. “For a sizable portion of Americans, these two aspects of their financial lives are in serious conflict.”

While certainly some Americans are not making enough money to put anything aside for savings, for many of us what is needed is a savings plan and a closer examination of what our finances really look like.

Gallup, in a different poll, notes that consumers’ self-reported spending has been rising slightly.

Despite that, Americans “don’t necessarily perceive themselves as spending more,” Gallup said, noting that 40 percent say they are spending less in recent months than they used to, 30 percent say they are spending the same amount, and 28 percent say they are spending more.

“Even with the multitude of Americans expressing preferences to save, the average U.S. household owes $7,128 in credit card debt, while the average load of student debt that college graduates carry registers at $32,000,” Gallup reported.

Americans Prefer Saving Money « Bankrate, Inc.

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31 December 2013 ~ 2 Comments

Money Resolutions for 2014

New Year’s Money Resolutions to Think About – Wall Street Journal

Many people will start the new year having made personal resolutions to lose weight, drink less, stop smoking or become better at staying in touch with family members and friends. But New Year’s is also a good time to recommit to financial goals that keep you and your family on a sound financial track. As prescribed by financial experts, here are some money resolutions to consider:

Make a budget and stick to it: No one likes to cut down on spending, but doing so might improve your financial life in the long run. You can start by compiling a spreadsheet of expected costs using your past year’s spending and income. If you’ve found it hard to stay on target in the past (say, you keep buying that pricey latte every day), add “accountability, some reward system that because we’ve been successful, we’re going to do certain things that we might not have been able to do otherwise,” says Wesley Clayton, managing director of Twickenham Wealth Advisors in Huntsville, Ala.  The reward could be a long weekend away or tickets to see your favorite sports team. The person monitoring your progress can be your spouse, parents or a close friend.

Pay down debts: That stack of student loans, credit cards, mortgage and car loans may seem daunting, but envisioning how good it will feel to pay off that last debt can help you get started. One way is to “make a list of the three to four credit cards you have,” says Patrick Bet-David, owner of financial-services firm PHP Agency. Then “pay the highest-interest-rate [debt] and you work your way down to the lowest.”

Another way is to ask which debt “is the most unsettling for you, the individual. What keeps you up at night?” says Mr. Clayton. “It might not be the one with the highest interest rate. It might be the one with the lien on the most important piece of property” that concerns you most.

Stephen Smith, chief executive of South Jordan, Utah, financial-services firm Finicity, suggests trying to get rid of your smallest debt in the first 90 days of the year. Once that’s accomplished, you’ll be encouraged to retire other debts.

Make an estate plan: You might not have a Downton Abbey manor house or a trust fund for the kids, but you still need an estate plan. Without one, “you don’t have control, and it’s a lot slower and a lot more costly,” says Rob Robertson, an estate and probate lawyer in Austin, Texas. But “if you have a will, you can choose the objects of your affection,” including favorite charities.

As part of your estate planning, you’ll want to assign durable general power of attorney to someone and select an executor for your estate. Look for people who are trustworthy, levelheaded and don’t have conflicts of interest. Designate alternates as backups, says Mr. Robertson.

Something often overlooked is making digital afterlife plans, especially in terms of passwords. Internet companies don’t usually hand over passwords to email accounts or social-media profiles after a death. That’s why putting your passwords into an application like PasswordBox is important: It securely stores your passwords, and you name someone you trust to get the codes in the event that you pass away suddenly and want others to have access to online photos or other documents.

Get serious about retirement: With people living longer and Social Security providing only a portion of needed income, workers of every age will have to save more of their own money to live comfortably after retiring. If your employer matches contributions for your 401(k), it’s a no-brainer to max out the match, says Joanna Pratt, vice president at NerdWallet, a personal-finance website. Then you can put any remaining money into an individual retirement account, which typically has low fees and tax advantages, and lets you contribute up to $5,500 every year ($6,500 if you’re 50 or older). Set up automatic contributions from your paycheck to the 401(k).

Think you don’t have enough money to save for retirement? Track your spending habits over one month and try to find 2% of your expenses that you can use for 401(k) contributions, says Mr. Smith.

Get an insurance checkup: One way to save money on premiums is to package most of your insurance coverage (home, auto, valuables) under one carrier, says Robert Courtemanche, chairman of ACE Private Risk Services. If your home has risen in value, have it appraised so you’ll know the full replacement value.

Review your portfolio: With the sharp run-up in the stock market this year, equities likely make up a much larger portion of your portfolio than they did before the rally. Adjusting your stock allocation is critical, if only to reduce your exposure to a future downturn.

“You just want to make sure that your asset allocation is appropriate for your age and your personal goals,” says Ms. Pratt. Generally speaking, the older are, the less of your portfolio you want in stocks.

“Make sure you’re taking into account your age, your risk aversion, your personal goals [and] alternatives if you don’t make those goals. Will you have to wait longer to retire?” She warns against actively managed funds, which charge relatively high fees, in favor of low-cost index funds. And if you’re not an experienced investor, she says, stay away from day trading.

Create an emergency fund: According to a 2012 Bankrate.com survey, 28% of Americans have no emergency savings for events like a car breaking down, an unexpected house repair or a job loss. Finicity’s Mr. Smith advises a fund equal to three months of living expenses.

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18 December 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Need to Save More for Retirement?

10 Ways to Play Catch-Up Before Retirement – DailyFinance

10 Ways to Play Catch-Up Before Retirement.  While his story is more dramatic than many, Raether’s fall from a comfortable upper-middle-class life to unemployment and substantial loss of assets is common among Americans approaching retirement. “I’m not the only one who’s struggling,” says Raether …

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