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  • From 2001 to 2005, the average homeowner saw the value of his or her house jump by more than 50 percent.
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    December 18, 2014
    Saving Money On the Holidays

    These days, it seems like getting through the holidays without declaring bankruptcy is next to impossible. That’s an exaggeration, obviously, but some people do manage to rack up hundreds or even thousands of dollars in credit card debt over the holidays, and it’s not hard to see why. However, there are tons of creative alternatives to overspending, while still having a magical Christmas. Check out this post by Gretchen at Retired By 40 for some great holiday money tips:

    -Shop Strategically:

    There is no reason to buy groceries or pharmacy items without a rebate anymore!  

    -Let the off season work for you- shop yard sales, shop right after Christmas, and save the whole year.

    -Use credit card rewards, money saving apps, and survey sites to gain some extra cash.

    Photo Credit: Steve Wilson 

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    December 16, 2014
    Teaching Kids About Money

    For some reason, many parents don’t talk about finances with their children. They don’t want their kids to stress out if money is tight, and some may say that talking about money is impolite or even taboo. (Sure, you shouldn’t ever just go up to someone and ask how much money they make. It is a personal matter, after all.) But keeping kids in the dark about money matters does not do them any favors! Kids need to learn how to manage their own money one day, just like they need to learn how to cook, clean, and dress themselves. It’s a necessary survival skill. For some great money tips for kids, check out this post by Susan Merrill at Imom:

    -Allowance- teach them that work = money, and no work = no money.

    -Say no to retail therapy- You are saying…that anytime they feel sad…buying stuff will make it all better. Your example is everything when teaching your children about money.

    -Sleep on it- if you want to make a purchase, wait one night. If you still want it in the morning, get it. But you’ll be surprised how often you DON’T want it after the impulse has passed.

    Photo Credit: Miki Yoshihito 

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    December 15, 2014
    Emergency Document Storage

    The first step to being successful financially is staying organized. Applying for a mortgage, but don’t know where your check stubs, tax information, and personal documents are? Good luck. When you’re just starting out, it can be hard to know what to keep and where to keep it, but this post at I Will Prepare has an awesome list of important documents to save, as well as how to compile it all in case of emergency. In case of a fire or other emergency in your home, you can grab it quickly and save all of your financial and personal records. Here’s some of the things they suggest keeping in it:

    -Birth certificates, marriage certificates, and social security cards

    -Copies of all credit and debit cards

    -Immunization records, dental records, and other medical information such as prescriptions

    -CD/Flash Drive with family photos

    -Passports, copies of drivers licenses, any other forms of ID

    Check out the post here for an extensive checklist

    Photo Credit: C x 2 

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    December 11, 2014
    Home Financing: Cash or Mortgage?

    While the idea of paying cash for your home is desirable, it is simply not realistic for most home buyers. Unless you’re a wealthy real estate investor, chances are pretty high that you will have a mortgage. However, while mortgage=debt, it does have some advantages over paying cash, surprisingly enough. Check out this article by Gina Roberts-Grey at Yahoo Homes for the pros and cons of both methods:

    Cash: cuts costs (no interest), and wins bidding wars.

    Mortgages: won’t tie up all your cash in your home, also carries significant tax benefits.

    Think through your decision, and decide which is best for you as a buyer!

    Photo Credit: nikcname 

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    December 10, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Rustic Loft

    Photo Credit: Dying Of Cute Tumblr

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    December 9, 2014
    Dollar Store Christmas Ideas

    It’s no secret: the holidays are expensive. Between buying gifts for who-even-knows-how-many people, decorations, and holiday dinners- it’s easy to spend hundreds (or maybe even thousands) during December. But, it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty ways to be frugal during the holidays. You can DIY your gifts, or maybe just shop at your local dollar store for décor and simple gifts. Check out this post by Jessica Probus and Alanna Okun at Buzzfeed for some truly awesome dollar store Christmas hacks.

    -Anything + gold paint = instant Christmas decoration (vases, candles, literally anything.)

    -Use a place mat for a small tree skirt

    -Embroider dollar store gloves, scarves, or hats for a cute, personal DIY gift.

    -Use stockings instead of wrapping paper

    Check out the full post here.

    Photo Credit: 

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    December 5, 2014
    Friday Fun Video: Winter Is Coming- How To Save On Energy Bills

    Great tips on lowering those winter electricity bills!

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    December 2, 2014
    Are You Ready To Commit….Financially?

    The number one cause for divorce in new marriages is- money problems. Couples that a very young (right out of high school, or in college) may not be as financially literate, while other couples simply don’t discuss their finances. However, while marriage is about romance, friendship, passion, and unending love, it is also about commitment, responsibility, sacrifice, mutual support, and working together as a team. Building a strong future together depends, not on how much money you make, but how well your communication is and your commitment to similar goals. Check out this post by Adeline at Frugal Fanatic for “financial vows” that every newlywed couple should make:

    -Combine financial forces: Even if you’re not planning on merging all of your finances, opening at least one joint checking or savings account and combining your expenses can save you a lot of money.You may also want to combine mobile phone plans, auto insurance policies and health care plans.

    -Agree on a budget, together. Successful newlywed financial planning can take some compromise.

    -Pay down debt- Remember, while debt is stressful, if you both tackle it as a team, you may be able to eliminate it faster.

    Photo Credit: Chris Martin 

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    December 1, 2014
    DIY Gift Ideas To Save Money

    I’m fairly sure that my grandma, who has never looked at a computer in her life, doesn’t read this blog. That’s why I feel comfortable in saying that I am making her Christmas gift this year: I’m crocheting her a blanket! I’m a huge fan of making my own gifts- it just means more when it comes from the heart, and it saves me money. I’m also making some bath products (bath fizzies, soap, sugar scrubs) for my friends. Needless to say, I’ve already been busy crafting away for the holidays. For ideas on your own DIY gifts, check out this post by Linda at Craftaholics Anonymous:

    -Cupcake in a Jar from My Cakies. (pictured)

    -Detox Bath in a Jar from My Crazy Blessed Life.

    -DIY Hand Soap in a Mason Jar Gift from The Happier Homemaker.

    -DIY Snow Globe Gift Card from The Creative Mama.

    -Homemade Apple Butter Gift in a Jar from My Baking Addiction

    Photo Credit: Craftaholics Anonymous 

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    November 27, 2014
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    I am in love with this photo booth idea! Set it up at your family Thanksgiving dinner for some beautiful family photo opportunities.

    Photo from Urban Life

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