Heart Credit Card Keychain on Table Next to a Yellow Notebook with Text Overlay: DIY Credit Card Keychain for Debt-Free Living

DIY Credit Card Keychains for Debt Free Living

You may be wondering how DIY credit card keychains can help you with debt free living. When you’re ready to get serious and truly eliminate your debt for good, you cut up your credit card. Why? It is because if you have a debt problem you are using credit cards as a crutch. Any time that something happens that you can’t pay cash for, you whip out a credit card. You aren’t paying them off every month and your debt is growing. It is time to get rid of the crutch and cut your credit cards into tiny little pieces. Then turn them into these DIY credit card keychains so that you are reminded of your debt free goal every time you pull out your keys.

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

Heart Credit Card Keychain on Table Next to a Yellow Notebook with Text Overlay: DIY Credit Card Keychain for Debt-Free Living

 

Find out how #DIY credit card keychains can help you with debt-free living! #debtfree Click To Tweet

Cutting up your credit cards is hard. Trust me. We have $40,000 in debt (not counting our house). Of that, $36,000 is student loan debt. I have been out of school for almost 10 years and we are still paying on student loans. That is crazy to me! On top of that, anytime we needed to fix a car or new clothes for the kids, we put it on a credit card. Something had to give and it was time to make a change. Step 1 was ditching those credit cards. Now our safety net has to be cash and that’s terrifying. You have to make the choice, though, that you don’t ever want to be here again. These DIY credit card keychains are the perfect reminder of that emotion and that goal.

 

Heart Credit Card Keychain next to Yellow Notebook

DIY credit card keychains

Materials

  • Keychain Bases (My heart one is actually a bracelet charm from Michaels)
  • Credit Cards
  • Key Rings
  • Jewelry Gel or Epoxy (You can’t get the Aleene’s I used anymore but this will work similarly)

 

Tiny pieces of cut up credit cards

Step 1

The first step is the hardest. Cut up all of your credit cards into tiny little pieces.

 

Heart Pendant with gel inside of it next to a bottle of Jewelry Pendant Gel

Step 2

Then add some jewelry gel to the keychain base.

 

Jewelry Pendant Gel Spread Out in Base of Heart Pendant

Jewelry Pendant Gel Spread Out in Base of Rectangle Keychain Base

Step 3

Next, spread out the gel to cover the bottom inside of your keychain base.

 

Cut up pieces of credit card inside heart pendant

Cut up pieces of credit card inside rectangle keychain base

Step 4

Add the tiny pieces of credit card to the cavity of your keychain base.

 

Credit Card Pieces inside heart pendant covered in final layer of jewelry pendant gel

Credit Card Pieces inside rectangle keychain base covered in final layer of jewelry pendant gel

Step 5

Then cover the credit card pieces in more jewelry gel.

 

Credit Card Pieces inside rectangle keychain base covered in final layer of jewelry pendant gel with bubbles removed

Tip:

  • If bubbles form in your gel, pop them by sticking a needle or push-pin tip directly into them. Wipe off the needle in between each bubble otherwise they won’t pop cleanly and may split into more bubbles instead.

 

Keychains covered in jewelry pendant gel side-by-side

Step 6

Next, set the keychain bases aside to dry according to the package instructions. Mine had to dry for 24 hours.

 

Dried heart keychain with bottom eye snapped off

Step 7 (Optional)

After your base has dried, if you are using a bracelet charm like me, use pliers to snap off the bottom ring.

Step 8 (Optional)

Then file the area down so that there are no sharp edges.

 

Key ring attached to rectangle keychain base

Heart Credit Card Keychain with Key Ring Attached

Step 9

Lastly, attach your key ring and put your keychain on your keys.

 

Heart Credit Card Keychain next to Yellow Notebook

Heart Credit Card Keychain next to Yellow Notebook

Heart Credit Card Keychain on bright yellow background

Close Up of Heart Credit Card Keychain with text at the top: DIY Credit Card Keychain for Debt Free Living

Are you ready to finally get out of debt once and for all? Stop giving your hard earned money to credit card companies. Cut up those credit cards and turn them into a reminder of what you’re fighting for. These DIY credit card keychains are the visual stimulus you need to keep you from falling back on that crutch. Don’t forget, I adhere to the plan laid out in Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend it.

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Heart Credit Card Keychain on Table Next to a Yellow Notebook with Text Overlay: DIY Credit Card Keychain for Debt-Free Living

 

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mm

I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.

Getting out of debt is no easy feat, especially when we live in a society that encourages us to keep piling it on. Find out how to set goals that get you out of debt and take back your finances!

How to Set Goals that Get You Out of Debt

Getting out of debt is no easy feat, especially when we live in a society that encourages us to keep piling it on. If you’re like me, you need a goal to get you to the end of a long journey. Not just any goal. It needs to be big and feel like winning the lottery. That’s how big I’m talking.

Today I’m going to teach you how to set goals that get you out of debt, including that big lottery-sized payoff at the end of your journey. In addition, learn how to set smaller goals that keep you on track throughout your debt-free journey.

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

Getting out of debt is no easy feat, especially when we live in a society that encourages us to keep piling it on. Find out how to set goals that get you out of debt and take back your finances!

Before we get to the goal setting, I want to let you know that I subscribe to the Dave Ramsey take on money. I believe in the 7 baby steps that he teaches in The Total Money Makeover. All of the debt-free tips, ideas, and tools I share assume that you have finished baby step 1 (have $1000 emergency fund set up). Until you have that safety net in place you will continue to borrow money and open credit cards when emergencies arise.

 

Getting out of debt is no easy feat, especially when we live in a society that encourages us to keep piling it on. Find out how to set goals that get you out of debt and take back your finances!

Know Your Debt

Depending on how much debt you have, you may try to avoid thinking about it because of the stress it causes. First things first is to know your debt intimately. Take the time to write out every debt that you have and the total balance of that debt. If you aren’t sure who all you owe money to, take a look at your credit report.

 

Find out how to set goals that get you out of debt and take back your finances! #personalfinance Click To Tweet

‎Set Your Small Goals

‎Now it is time to set your small goals to achieve paying off your debt. There are a few steps to this that we’re going to break down.

‎Step 1

‎Set dates in the calendar for paying off each debt.

‎Tip:

  • ‎Be aggressive. Don’t set a date a year from now to pay off $2000. At that pace you will be in debt forever. Instead, challenge yourself to pay that $2000 off in 2 months. Now you have an aggressive goal.

Step 2

Next, set mini rewards for each set amount you pay off. This set amount can be for each debt that you pay off, each $500 you pay off, or every $1000 that you pay off. Whatever amount you choose, predetermine your mini rewards now. Remember that these rewards should be mini becuase you don’t want to detract from your debt payoff.

Mini Reward Ideas

  • Rent a Redbox DVD and have a movie night
  • Have a DIY Spa Day (here are some great recipes to get you started)
  • Go to the Thrift Store and pick up a new book
  • Have a Backyard Campout
  • Roast Marshmallows around a camp fire
  • Host a Pitch-In Party (everyone brings a dish and their own drinks)
  • Invite Friends Over for a Game Night
  • Visit a Local Zoo or Museum on a free day (Don’t forget to pack your own food)
  • Attend a Free Concert
  • Check out a Free Class at Your Local Library
  • Splurge on Toppings and Have a Make Your Own Pizza Night
  • Spend the Day at a Craft Show to Get Inspired to Create
  • Have a Scrapbooking Day with Friends and Family
  • Grab a Caramel Macchiato
  • Take Your Own Family Portraits at Home

Step 3

Schedule your mini rewards along with your debt payoff goals. The reason you want to do this is to help keep you motivated for each payoff goal. It also will help you save the most money by aligning seasonally specific mini-rewards with the corresponding payoffs. For example, you would want to schedule a backyard campout in the middle of winter.

 

Getting out of debt is no easy feat, especially when we live in a society that encourages us to keep piling it on. Find out how to set goals that get you out of debt and take back your finances!

Set Your Lottery Goal

This is the big goal and it can be anything you want. It doesn’t happen until all of your debt is paid off and you have saved up the cash to pay for it. If you’ve always wanted to take a European vacation, set this as your lottery goal. Have you dreamed of owning a boat? Then make that your lottery goal.

Why Does this Goal Have to be Big?

Sometimes the idea of being debt-free is too abstract to sustain you when the journey gets difficult. You need that lottery goal to help carry you through the rough patches. You need it when you haven’t had a break in a year and you’re worn down. When your friends and family want to throw a party or take a trip and you have to say no. You need to look at this goal and say, “This is my why.”

Take It a Step Further

When setting your lottery goal, don’t forget to get concrete details in place. For example, if you want to tour Europe take it a step further. Make a list of the attractions you want to see. Plan how long your trip will be. Find pictures of the places you want to visit. Figure out your budget for the entire trip from travel to food.

Our Lottery Goal

Our lottery goal is to buy a piece of land and build our dream house on it. We took it a step further by setting a budget for both the land and the new construction. Then we listed out exactly what we want that home to have from bedrooms and offices to splurges like a home gym. We even budgeted for the cost of having blueprints dawn up. That is how serious I want you to be in your lottery goal. Take your wildest dream and figure out how to make it a reality.

 

Getting out of debt is no easy feat, especially when we live in a society that encourages us to keep piling it on. Find out how to set goals that get you out of debt and take back your finances!

Now you’re ready to set goals that help you get out of debt. Remember that in order to start this journey you have to know what you actually owe. Then set mini-goals to keep your momentum going throughout the journey. And lastly, don’t forget to set your lottery goal to see you through the trenches of your journey. Learn more about the 7 baby steps in Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover. Your can also snag printable debt payoff trackers for your Big Happy Planner when you buy my Colorful Candy Budget Planner.

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Getting out of debt is no easy feat, especially when we live in a society that encourages us to keep piling it on. Find out how to set goals that get you out of debt and take back your finances!

More Ideas You Will Love:

mm

I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.

Do you get overwhelmed by all of those sections on traditional budgets that seem to break down your finances until they are unrecognizable? You are not alone. This system for easy monthly budgeting is a simple and straight-forward solution.

Easy Monthly Budgeting When You’re Overwhelmed

Are you struggling to create a monthly budget and stick to it? Do you get overwhelmed by all of those sections on traditional budgets that seem to break down your finances until they are unrecognizable? You are not alone. A lot of people struggle with convoluted budgets that make them feel like they will never have enough money everything they need. This often leads to giving up before you even really try. That is why I’m sharing a new way of budgeting to help you finally get your finances on track. This system for easy monthly budgeting is simple and straight-forward.

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

Do you get overwhelmed by all of those sections on traditional budgets that seem to break down your finances until they are unrecognizable? You are not alone. This system for easy monthly budgeting is a simple and straight-forward solution.

 

Do you get overwhelmed by traditional budgets? This system for easy monthly #budgeting is a simple and straight-forward solution. Click To Tweet

Do you get overwhelmed by all of those sections on traditional budgets that seem to break down your finances until they are unrecognizable? You are not alone. This system for easy monthly budgeting is a simple and straight-forward solution.

Easy Monthly Budgeting Breakdown

Stop trying to force yourself to use traditional budget breakdowns. There are only 4 basic components that you need in your budget: income, savings, necessary bills, and debt/optional bills. I will go more in-depth on income and savings a little later in the post. Right now, let’s break down the 2 types of bills.

 

Do you get overwhelmed by all of those sections on traditional budgets that seem to break down your finances until they are unrecognizable? You are not alone. This system for easy monthly budgeting is a simple and straight-forward solution.

Necessary Bills

These are the items that you absolutely have to have a part of basic living. These include your housing, utilities, transportation, and food. To be successful at budgeting these, write down each bill individually. Then note the due date, payment amount, and a check box for when you have paid it.

Tip:

  • Even if you pay some bills quarterly (once every 4 months) or bi-annually (twice a year), include the amount you need to save monthly towards those in your monthly budget. This will ensure that when the bill is due, you already have the money saved for it. This is especially important if you live paycheck to paycheck.

 

Do you get overwhelmed by all of those sections on traditional budgets that seem to break down your finances until they are unrecognizable? You are not alone. This system for easy monthly budgeting is a simple and straight-forward solution.

Debt/Optional Bills

As much as we may not want to believe it, there are many bills that are not a necessary part of living. These include your cable, gym memberships, and internet services. I’m sure you are baulking at that internet one. You work from home, your kid has home he has to complete online, or a million other reasons it is necessary. The harsh truth is that it is convenient, not necessary. The number of places that offer free access to the internet, including the public library, means that if you had to, you could go without it.

Optional Bills

When you are looking for areas to cut down on your expenses, this is where to look in your budget. To help you get organized, here are a few ideas for what to include in this section:

  • Membership Fees – Gyms, clubs, museums
  • Subscriptions – Magazines and subscription boxes
  • Streaming Services – Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video

Debt

This is also the section to include any debt you are paying off. Credit cards and student loans are common bills to include. Again, track the debt, the payment date, minimum payment, and check box in this section of your budget.

 

Do you get overwhelmed by all of those sections on traditional budgets that seem to break down your finances until they are unrecognizable? You are not alone. This system for easy monthly budgeting is a simple and straight-forward solution.

Track Your Savings

You know you need a savings for emergencies but you also need it for those irregular purchases that come up throughout the year. To make sure you always have enough, make a list of all of those expenditures and when they occur. Then use that list to build savings goals into your monthly budget. Make a note each month of how much you need saved to prepare for those expenses. Each month in this printable monthly budget has a “Don’t Forget” section that includes these reminders but here are a few to get you started:

  • Vehicle Maintenance (Oil Changes, Tire Rotation, New Brakes)
  • School Supplies
  • Kids Clothes
  • Christmas
  • Birthdays

 

Do you get overwhelmed by all of those sections on traditional budgets that seem to break down your finances until they are unrecognizable? You are not alone. This system for easy monthly budgeting is a simple and straight-forward solution.

Plan Your Paychecks

This is the key for when you are overwhelmed by traditional budgets. Most traditional budgets simply have a section for your income that you use to budget the entire month. That doesn’t work when you are struggling to use a budget. It definitely doesn’t work when you are living paycheck to paycheck. My monthly financial planner has a section to break that down for you. It is also why you need to know when your bills are due on your monthly budget.

 

Do you get overwhelmed by all of those sections on traditional budgets that seem to break down your finances until they are unrecognizable? You are not alone. This system for easy monthly budgeting is a simple and straight-forward solution.

How to Plan Your Paychecks

Start with your pay dates and the amount of each check. Then add in the expenses that come out every paycheck. For example, half of our monthly mortgage payment is automatically paid from every check. That means it gets factored out of the total check before other bills and expenses. Once you have those amounts subtracted, budget your remaining bills based on their due dates.

Tip:

  • Don’t forget about the next month. Some bill due dates fall early in the month before you get paid again. Make sure that you are paying them with the last check of the previous month.

 

Do you get overwhelmed by all of those sections on traditional budgets that seem to break down your finances until they are unrecognizable? You are not alone. This system for easy monthly budgeting is a simple and straight-forward solution.

Use a Register

This is the single-most overlooked area when budgeting. I worked in banking for years and I can tell you that not using a register will cost you hundreds of dollars a month. You cannot rely on your online banking or ATM balance to know how much you truly have. Many transactions do not post immediately. Some stores are slower than others at pushing transactions through. Paying for gas at the pump only registers as a dollar for days before the full amount posts. The only way to know what you have in your account is to keep a register. That is why you will find one on every monthly sheet of this budget.

 

Do you get overwhelmed by all of those sections on traditional budgets that seem to break down your finances until they are unrecognizable? You are not alone. This system for easy monthly budgeting is a simple and straight-forward solution.

Whew! That was a lot of information to take in. It all adds up to easy monthly budgeting when you’re overwhelmed. Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated. It is about finding what works for you. If traditional budgets aren’t working then it is time to try this method. You will know what is coming in and when, and you can budget to pay your bills on time. You can implement this budget on regular paper if you want but this printable budget makes it easy and lays everything out for you. Make right now when you finally get your finances under control. Don’t forget to check these Printable Colorful Candy Planner Pages for even more organizational awesomeness!

See where I’m linking up!

Don’t Forget to Pin It!

Do you get overwhelmed by all of those sections on traditional budgets that seem to break down your finances until they are unrecognizable? You are not alone. This system for easy monthly budgeting is a simple and straight-forward solution.

mm

I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.

Get my exact strategy for finding or making fantastic gifts that your friends and family will love and be a Christmas gift queen on a budget this year!

Be a Christmas Gift Queen on a Budget

If you haven’t already started thinking about Christmas yet, there is no time to waste. In order to get the most bang for your buck you have to start you budget and gift planning now. Most of you already know that I start my Christmas planning in January. If helps me get the best deals on unique and amazing gifts while sticking to my super-strict budget. Don’t worry if you haven’t started your planning yet. I have 5 easy steps to show you how to be a Christmas gift queen on a budget. You will get my exact strategy for finding or making fantastic gifts that your friends and family will love and staying under budget. You will also get a free printable to help you do it. Find the basic budget printable below or become a subscriber and get the entire 10-page Christmas planner for free!

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

If you haven’t already started thinking about Christmas yet, there is no time to waste. Get my exact strategy for finding or making fantastic gifts that your friends and family will love and be a Christmas gift queen on a budget this year!

 

Find out how to be a Christmas gift queen on a budget this year with these tips! #Christmasgifts Click To Tweet

 

If you haven’t already started thinking about Christmas yet, there is no time to waste. Get my exact strategy for finding or making fantastic gifts that your friends and family will love and be a Christmas gift queen on a budget this year!

Start With Your Budget

The first step to any successful financial endeavor is creating a budget. (Grab your free printable by clicking on the picture above!) You need to know how much you can reasonably spend on your gifts this year. They key word there is reasonably. When setting your budget you want the amount to be what you can afford without acquiring more debt and without jeopardizing your personal financial responsibilities. You can read in-depth about creating a written Christmas budget here, but here is a brief overview of the steps:

  1. Pick Your NumberDetermine the total amount that you have to spend on Christmas gifts.
  2. Make Your ListMake a list of everyone that you have to buy for.
  3. Allocate Your FundsDivide your total budget amount among your list of people that you need to buy gifts for.

Again, you can get tips for paring down your list and percentage ideas for allocating your fund here. These are important for setting the foundation to be a Christmas gift queen on a budget.

 

If you haven’t already started thinking about Christmas yet, there is no time to waste. Get my exact strategy for finding or making fantastic gifts that your friends and family will love and be a Christmas gift queen on a budget this year!

Brainstorm Gift Ideas

Next, you will need to brainstorm ideas. Write down friends and family members’ tastes, likes, and needs. This is also the step to write down those big items that are on your children’s wish lists. You can refer to this list when deciding on purchases and in the next step when you are planning DIY gifts. Keep it as a reference for creating your list later.

Bonus Tip:

  • My oldest wants a new Xbox this year… one with a $400 price tag. That is more than the entire budget for all 3 kids combined. However, since it is the only gift he is asking for, my family and I are all chipping in to get it for him for Christmas. My brother loves this option because all he has to do is hand over money and the gift is bought and wrapped for him. You likely have family members that feel that same way so don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to those big-ticket items.

 

If you haven’t already started thinking about Christmas yet, there is no time to waste. Get my exact strategy for finding or making fantastic gifts that your friends and family will love and be a Christmas gift queen on a budget this year!

Plan Your DIY Gifts

One of the best ways to save money on gifts is to go the DIY route. With that said, don’t plan on making more DIY gifts than you have time available for creation in your schedule. One of my favorite ways to save time on DIY gifts is to make batch gifts. (You can read more about batch gifts on Holiday Gift Options: DIY Your Gifts.) To plan for these gifts you want to write out the following for each gift:

  1. Write down what gifts you are making and for whom you are making it.
  2. List what supplies you need to make it.
  3. Determine the supplies that you already own and what you need to buy.
  4. Lastly, block out time on your calendar for completing the gift.

 

If you haven’t already started thinking about Christmas yet, there is no time to waste. Get my exact strategy for finding or making fantastic gifts that your friends and family will love and be a Christmas gift queen on a budget this year!

Make Your List

As I said above, there will specific items that your kids want that you will want to get the best deal on. Put them on your list so that you can compare prices. You also want to include the gifts that you are making for friends and family on this list. If there are materials that you need to purchase, keep them on the list so that you can save on them as well. Many of the craft stores will have awesome sales throughout November. You can also find Lightening Deals frequently on Amazon for materials such as essential oils and battery-operated string lights.

Bonus Tip:

  • Before you start shopping, check out the Black Friday ad previews. A lot of items can be purchased online now. Knowing the rock-bottom prices ahead of time can save you truckloads of money.

 

If you haven’t already started thinking about Christmas yet, there is no time to waste. Get my exact strategy for finding or making fantastic gifts that your friends and family will love and be a Christmas gift queen on a budget this year!

Start Shopping Now

Lastly, start shopping for your gifts now. Many stores are offering Black Friday preview sales this month in advance of the actual day. Kohl’s just had one and Walmart is having one later this month. I have shopped Walmart’s early preview in the past and had great results. I found the same amazing deals without the crowds and with plenty of stock. Don’t forget about the daily Cartwheel toy discount from Target, either. It is another great way to save on those must-have items from your kids’ wish lists. This is why having your gift list ready is so important. Keep track of the best deals offered so that you can get the best gifts for the best prices and stay under budget.

Bonus Tip:

  • If you shop at Kohl’s and get Kohl’s Cash, use it to buy stocking stuffers for your family. Pick up lip balm, small toys, and even candy in-store. This is another great way to save money on your Christmas budget.

 

If you haven’t already started thinking about Christmas yet, there is no time to waste. Get my exact strategy for finding or making fantastic gifts that your friends and family will love and be a Christmas gift queen on a budget this year!

Whew! That was a lot of information. If you stuck with me to here, thanks! You now know how to be a Christmas gift queen on a budget. Don’t forget that subscribers can download the entire 10-page Christmas Planner for free on the VIP page. Now, as an added bonus to you lovely ladies, let me know what gift you’re most hoping to save on this year in the comments. I will keep an eye out for deals and if I see a great price, I will comment and let you know. You also want to check my tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to rock your Christmas savings this year.

See where I’m linking up!

Don’t Forget to Pin It!

Get my exact strategy for finding or making fantastic gifts that your friends and family will love and be a Christmas gift queen on a budget this year!

mm

I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.

Are you ready to get your grocery budget under control and your spending back on track? Find out why you need a grocery freeze to make it happen.

Why You Need a Grocery Freeze

Do you feel like your grocery budget is out of control? If you are spending hundreds each month on groceries and still having to run out weekly for ingredients then something has to change. It can be hard to get your spending on track and reign in your food budget. In the post Creating Your Future: January 2017 Goals I mentioned that this month we are doing a grocery freeze this month. It is a huge part of my finance goals because of how much money it saves my family. Keep reading to find out what it is and why you need a grocery freeze to get your budget under control.

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

Are you ready to get your grocery budget under control and your spending back on track? Find out why you need a grocery freeze to make it happen.

What is a Grocery Freeze?

A grocery freeze is a specialized no-spend challenge. For an entire month you don’t spend one penny on food of any kind. It helps you reset your grocery budget and also prevents food waste. When I do it, I don’t spend any money at all on food. I don’t buy coffees, slip through a drive-thru, and no popping by the store for milk. If you want to adjust it, you can make exceptions for basics like milk, eggs, and bread. The perk of not allowing exceptions is that it forces you to get creative with your meals and, in some cases, learn alternative ways to prepare them.

Find out how to get your food budget under control with a grocery freeze! #budget #save Click To Tweet

Why Do You Need a Grocery Freeze?

I don’t quite know how it happens but we always end up with things in our pantry and freezer that keep getting shoved aside each month. Canned goods sit unused and vegetables in steam packs never get eaten. A grocery freeze is the way to fix that. It forces you to use up those lonely items because you simply don’t have anything else. It can also force you to eat more vegetables is you run out of meat to prepare. (I admit that in all my years of doing grocery freezes, I have only run out of meat once.)

Grocery Freeze Steps

Now that you know why you need a grocery freeze, it’s time to get started. These easy steps will walk you through the basics. It may seem intuitive but without preparation you can stumble (or give up) when you hit road blocks. I want you to be successful reigning in your grocery budget.

Step 1

Pick you month. Don’t pick a month too far away. The closer the date is the better. That will keep you from padding your pantry with extra items before the freeze.

Step 2

Start on the first of the month and create an inventory of everything in your freezer, fridge, and pantry. If you need help, I’ve got tips and a free printable for your at You Can’t Meal Plan without Knowing What You Have.

Step 3

Take a look at your list and come up with a meal plan.

Step 4

Make and freeze the meals you can in batches. If it’s not easy on you then you will be more likely to give up as the month goes on.

 

Are you ready to get your grocery budget under control and your spending back on track? Find out why you need a grocery freeze to make it happen.

Are you ready to get your grocery budget under control and your spending back on track? Now you know why you need a grocery freeze to make it happen. Clean out your inventory and stop wasting food (and money) each month. I like to do these twice a year. Doing one in January sets the tone for my grocery budget the rest of the year. A second grocery freeze during the summer resets my pantry/freezer before the new school year. Come back next week for Grocery Freeze Tips to be successful and stretch your groceries.

See where I’m linking up!

mm

I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.

Make extra money for coffee and boot splurges (or ease the holiday financial stress) with these 5 ways to earn extra income.

5 Ways to Earn Extra Income

I have been blessed to be able to be a stay-at-home mom since 2009. I wouldn’t trade it for the world but budgets were tight in the beginning. That forced me to put creativity into overdrive to give us the quality of life that we are blessed to have. There are crazy ways to save/make money out there and I’m sharing 5 with you today. These ideas will not make you rich or substitute an income, but they might let you get that $6 Starbucks Caramel Macchiato every now and then without feeling guilty. These 5 ways to earn extra income can also help out around birthdays and holidays especially if you build them up year-round.

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission. Read the full disclosure here.

Make extra money for coffee and boot splurges (or ease the holiday financial stress) with these 5 ways to earn extra income.

MPoints (mPLUS Rewards)

This one is actually one of my favorites because I earn points for things that I do on my phone already. For instance, I check my weather app every day and that earns me 10-15 points just for doing so. Basically, you sign in on any eligible apps you are already using (or you can download new ones that earn points) and you earn points for checking the app, playing games, etcetera depending on the app. When you collect those points, you can cash them in for gift cards and items. You can also donate your points to charitable causes and enter sweepstakes, but I tend to stick with the gift cards.

EBates

I love this because I earn money on purchases that I am going to make already. The best way to make sure that you are always getting your earnings is to make sure that you install the button on your browser. It will alert you when you go to a site that offers cashback. Once you check out, you will earn a percentage of what you spend back. Then every 3 months or so, they will mail you a check for the amount you have earned. This is a super easy way to earn a little extra cash.

 

5 ways to earn extra money for coffee and boot splurges (or ease the holiday financial stress). Click To Tweet

 

Swagbucks

This one is similar to MPoints in that you earn “Swagbucks” for doing things that are redeemable for gift cards. The pros of this one are that you need fewer points to earn gift cards and you can get free points by following them on social media and answering their daily poll. The cons are that a lot of the points are earned through surveys which can take up a substantial amount of time. However, you can also earn points on purchases (although not as often as EBates), so again I recommend adding the button to your browser and it will automatically detect when this is an option.

Online Surveys

This one can make you some larger payouts; however it is also a lot more time-consuming. Surveys can last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more, and the compensation varies depending on the company. I have done this with a few different sites but just do not have the time available to make it worth my while. I will say that Pinecone Research was one of the best ones I worked with but they also are not always taking on new applicants. Also, for some of them you will have to have certain programs (such as Java) on your computer if you do not already.

Yearly Yard Sale

This idea is actually three-fold: You make some extra cash on items you no longer use or want. You also help keep your house clean of clutter. Lastly, I always recommend donating what you don’t sell to a local church or charity organization. You help those in need and get rid of that clutter. If you’re worried that you don’t have enough stuff to sell, ask friends and family to contribute. Chances are they have stuff that they will happily give you if you cart it off for them. If they want to be in on the earnings, ask them to help you work the yard sale. Extra hands for you and they earn a little cash as well.

Make extra money for coffee and boot splurges (or ease the holiday financial stress) with these 5 ways to earn extra income.

I cannot stress enough how much I love and recommend Ebates and Mpoints. It kind of blows my mind that there are still people not utilizing it. It’s free money, guys! According to Mintel’s online report in 2015 “over two-thirds (69 percent) of US online adults shop online at least monthly…” which means every month they could be earning money. Want to know a little secret? I’ve earned money on free items with Ebates! I love taking advantage of free prints and photo gifts from places like Walgreens and Shutterfly. I have actually earned money back on those purchases that didn’t cost me a dime. If that doesn’t convince you how awesome this is nothing will. Don’t forget to organize your finances before you start earning your extra money. Double-check that your Caramel Macchiato truly is guilt-free.

See where I’m linking up!

mm

I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.

Organizing finances is imperative to your financial fitness. Here are some tips and a free Monthly Budget spreadsheet to help make it easier!

Tips for Organizing Finances

Organizing finances is important to your financial health. If you aren’t organizing them, chances are that you are nowhere near a prepared for a financial emergency as you would like, if you’re prepared at all. The task of organizing finances can be daunting for many people, especially if you have never even made a budget before. Sometimes the fear of seeing where you sit financially keeps you from tackling it. Other times you simply are too busy to find the time. No matter what you reason is, taking the time and initiative to organize your finances will get you on the path to financial fitness and a huge stressor in your life.

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission. Read the full disclosure here.

Organizing finances is imperative to your financial fitness. Here are some tips and a free Monthly Budget spreadsheet to help make it easier!

 

Organizing finances is imperative to your financial fitness. This can help! #atozchallenge #personalfinance Click To Tweet

 

Organizing finances is imperative to your financial fitness. Here are some tips and a free Monthly Budget spreadsheet to help make it easier!

Know Your Net

Before you do anything else you need to know what you net (bring home) each month. This is what you will actually have to spend after taxes, health insurance, and any savings such as a pre-tax retirement fund or health savings account. There is a section to do this on the editable Monthly Budget I created that will do the math for you by simply plugging in your numbers. However, here is the math if you would like to figure it up for yourself on paper:

  1. Hourly Wage X 40 = Gross
  2. Gross – (Insurance + 401K + HSA) = Taxable Income
  3. Taxable Income X .23 = Taxes
  4. Taxable Income – Taxes = Weekly Net
  5. Weekly Net X 4 = Monthly Net

 

Organizing finances is imperative to your financial fitness. Here are some tips and a free Monthly Budget spreadsheet to help make it easier!

Know Your Expenses

Once you know your monthly net, it is time to figure out your monthly expenses. All of your expenses will be categorized into 3 groups:

  1. Essential – These are the expenses that you absolutely have to have. These include expenses such as you rent/mortgage and your car insurance. Essential expenses are the most important ones and need to be you priority each and every month, no exception.
  2. Non-Essential – These are the expenses that are nice to have or that make your life easier but that are not necessary for you to take care of yourself and your family. Cable television and eating out would fall into this category. This is the first category to make cuts from if you are spending more than you make.
  3. Debt – This is a category you want to try to eliminate altogether. Any student loans or personal loans as well as any credit cards you own will fall into this category.

You want to list out what all of your monthly expenses are along with what the monthly payments on them are. Again, there is a place for this on the Monthly Budget spreadsheet that will total your categories for you as well as give you some basic ideas of what falls under each category.

 

Organizing finances is imperative to your financial fitness. Here are some tips and a free Monthly Budget spreadsheet to help make it easier!

Find Discrepancies

If you have never made an actual budget before, the numbers may surprise you. You may find that your monthly income is greater than you expected. In contrast, you may be shocked as how much money is going out each month. If you are still finding yourself broke each month, no matter which of these scenarios you fall into, there are steps you can take to get your budget and spending on track.

Income is Greater

  • If your income is greater than your expenses but you are still running out of money each month then you need to find the leaks. The best way to do this is to track your spending. A wallet register is great for this. It’s small enough to fit in a debit card sleeve so you can carry it in your wallet. It is so convenient that even if you use cash, write down every purchase for a week or two. Then take a hard look at where all of your money is going. Are you eating lunch out every day? Do you get a Diet Coke from the vending machine in the breakroom before work? Once you are aware of the leaks, start trying to plug them by tempering your spending. You can start small by packing your lunch once a week or by purchasing a 6 pack of Diet Coke from the store to take into work each day instead of buying from the vending machine.

Expenses are Greater

  • If you monthly expenses are greater than your income then it is time to start making some major cuts. Your non-essential expenses are the first place to look at when making cuts. These include cutting cable, not eating out, and skipping your morning Starbucks. All of these are luxuries not necessities. If you want to get financially fit, you have to buckle down and make some sacrifices. Some other ideas for cutting back could be finding a coworker to carpool with or take a look at your cell phone plan and see if you are paying for features you don’t use. These are pain-free ways to curb your expenses.

Bill Pay Days

Once you have your budget organized, the last step to organizing your finances is creating a pill pay schedule. Figure out when all of your bills are due and schedule “bill pay days” on your calendar. Be sure that you are paying all of the bills that are due before your next scheduled bill pay day. Pay day is the best day to schedule your “bill pay days” because you will have a clear picture of what you actually have to spend after paying all of your bills. Also, this keeps you from spending the money you need for bills because it is already gone.

 

Organizing finances is imperative to your financial fitness. Here are some tips and a free Monthly Budget spreadsheet to help make it easier!

These steps for organizing finances will have you on the right path to becoming financially fit. Once you have plugged money leaks and trimmed some expenses, you can begin setting financial goals for yourself. Set up a strategy to pay off debt. Start building your savings. Make your money work for you instead of your working for your money. Don’t forget to grab your free Monthly Budget spreadsheet before you go. It will make creating your budget a breeze! After you’re done, start organizing the rest of your stuff with A to Z Organizing.

See where I’m linking up!

mm

I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.

Your written holiday gift budget truly is the cornerstone of the entire holiday savings pyramid. Learn how to make it happen easily with these tips.

Easy Steps to Make Your Written Holiday Gift Budget

If you stress every year over how to pay for all your holiday gifts only to suffer remorse come the first credit card bill of the new year, you are not alone.  In fact you are in the company of over 70% of the population according to multiple research and consumer studies.  You want this year to be different.  You want this year to finally be the year that there is no post-holiday financial stress. That’s what these 31 posts are all about.  You can save money, stick with a budget, and have a joyful holiday with these tips.  If you don’t already have a written holiday gift budget, stop what you’re doing right now.  Don’t buy or make a(nother) gift until you get a written holiday gift budget into place.

Your written holiday gift budget truly is the cornerstone of the entire holiday savings pyramid. Learn how to make it happen easily with these tips.

Don’t buy or make a(nother) gift until you get a written holiday gift budget into place. Click To Tweet

Pick Your Number

The first place you always want to start when making any budget is with the total amount you have to spend.  Think realistically about what you can actually afford to spend.  This is the time to be brutally honest with yourself and not sugar coat your situation.  No one else has to know your financial situation but you definitely do.  When determining your budget, keep these tips in mind.

  • Don’t think about who you have to buy for.
  • Don’t think about that $60 Xbox game your child wants.
  • Do think about your existing debt.
  • Also think about all of the other financial obligations you have coming up during the holiday season such as food, travel, and sporting tournaments.
  • Do think of how miserable you felt after overspending in previous years.

 

Your written holiday gift budget truly is the cornerstone of the entire holiday savings pyramid. Learn how to make it happen easily with these tips.

Make Your List

Once you have your total number for your budget, set it aside and forget about it for a second.  Start making a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for.  Make your first draft quickly and include everyone that comes to mind.  Only after you have made this list should you look back at your budget and compare the two.  Take a hard and critical look at both.  If you have a $50 gift budget but also 50 people on your list then you need to make some serious cuts.

No matter who is on your list you can make cuts.

Later in the series we will talk about alternatives to traditional gifts and gift exchanges but, for now, here are some tips you can use to cut your current list.

  • Combine couples and/or families and give them one gift.
  • Cut out coworkers.  If they are close enough to truly warrant a gift, they will understand that it is just not in the budget this year.  If they don’t understand, clearly they don’t deserve your time, energy, and money anyway.
  • Resolve to send a thoughtful card to your child’s teachers instead of actual gifts.
  • Cut anyone that you don’t communicate with on a regular basis that isn’t family.

 

Your written holiday gift budget truly is the cornerstone of the entire holiday savings pyramid. Learn how to make it happen easily with these tips.

Allocate Your Funds

Gift Budget Example

Once you have cut down your list, it is time to start allocating your funds.  You can’t just set up a general total budget number for the group and expect to stay on budget.  Each person needs to have a specific dollar amount assigned to them.  As you make purchases for that person, subtract the amount spent from their totally allocated amount.  (31 Days Subscribers get a free printable planning page for this along with instructions to assist with this step **Update** All freebies from this 31 Days List have been moved to the VIP Library for subscribers. Sign up for free here!).  Here is the general guideline to follow when breaking down the total amount of your written holiday gift budget:

  • Immediate Family: 40-50%
  • Extended Family (Grandparents, Brothers, Sisters…): 20-30%
  • Close Friends: 10-20%
  • Everyone Else: 5-10%

Our Gift Budget 2015

Again, these are just a starting point for you.  You will inevitably need to allocate funds to fit your list.  Our percentages do not fall precisely within these parameters but we do stick pretty close.  We have a total budget of $500 broken down as follows:

  • Immediate Family (including stockings): $235 or 47%
  • Extended Family: $140 or 28%
  • Close Friends: $110 or 22%
  • Everyone Else: $15 or 3% (we only have 2 that fall in this category)

As you can see, we don’t fall exactly within the guidelines set above, but we also aren’t too far off.  Our “everyone else” category only needs to accommodate two people so that gives us slightly more freedom in other categories.  The same goes for you.  If you have a ton of very close friends but not much extended family, consider switching those two guidelines to accommodate your family.

 

31 Days of Saving on Holiday Gifts: the free course to help you have you best holiday season yet! From building a strong budgetary foundation to finding small and large ways to save, this will help you knock your holiday gifts out of the park without breaking the bank!

Alright!  Give yourself a pat on the back because you have the key piece of your holiday savings foundation. Your written holiday gift budget truly is the cornerstone of the entire process.  You now know exactly how much you have to spend and exactly who you’re spending it on.  That’s half of the battle right there!  Come back tomorrow and we’ll tackle what you 3 main options are for actually obtaining the gifts you need.  Also, don’t forget to sign-up for the 31 Days of Saving on Holiday Gifts newsletter to receive access to extras like the Gift Budget Planner mentioned above! **Update** All freebies from this 31 Days List have been moved to the VIP Library for subscribers. Sign up for free here!

 

31 Days of Saving on Holiday Gifts: the free course to help you have you best holiday season yet! From building a strong budgetary foundation to finding small and large ways to save, this will help you knock your holiday gifts out of the park without breaking the bank!

 

If you missed the introduction to this series, check it out at 31 Days of Saving on Holiday Gifts.

Check out #write31days

Find out more about #write31days!

mm

I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.

Last year the average family of four planned to spend over $600 on gifts for immediate family! Join the #DIYHolidayChallenge to save on holiday gifts and prevent overspending this season!

Save on Holiday Gifts and Prevent Overspending

Are you thinking about Christmas yet? I know it’s early.  Some of you may even be complaining about the Christmas items showing up in store already.  However, if you want to save on your holiday gifts and prevent overspending, you need to start planning now. Don’t get stuck with a mound of bills and buyer’s remorse during the new year. These easy tips will help get you on the right track to rock your holiday budget this year.

Last year the average family of four planned to spend over $600 on gifts for immediate family! Join the #DIYHolidayChallenge to save on holiday gifts and prevent overspending this season!

The Numbers

According to an article published last December on Mintlife.com “mothers expect[ed] to spend $224 on average for gifts for each child” and a similar amount on their spouses (How Much to Spend on Christmas Gifts for Kids by Mary Hiers).  For a family of four, that adds up to over $600!  That number doesn’t even include extended family, friends, and coworkers.  Also, that is just what the women surveyed planned to spend.  How many people do you know (or perhaps have had it happen to you) that have been remorseful of overspending after the holidays?  Planning early can help you avoid this because remorse has no place in a season that is supposed to be filled with joy and love.

 

Save on your holiday gifts and prevent overspending by planning now with these tips! Click To Tweet

 

Determine Your Total Budget

The first step in planning is determining your total holiday budget.  This step is crucial to preventing over-spending.  Before you buy any gifts or even brainstorm gift ideas, sit down and think about what you realistically have to spend on gifts.  If your budget looks too small to fulfill all of your gifting needs/obligations, don’t worry.  I can help you achieve an amazing holiday on a small budget.

 

Join the #DIYHolidayChallenge to save on holiday gifts and prevent overspending this season!

Allocate Funds

Once you determine what you truly have to spend, it is time to divide that total amount among all of the people on your list.  Obviously your immediate family is going to get more of the budget than friends or coworkers and that’s okay.  Don’t worry if you are staring at only five to spend on a friend.  Again, I can help you with that.

 

Plan for DIY Projects

The caveat is that a small budget requires early planning and often a lot of do-it-yourself ideas.  Lucky for you that you have a secret weapon: DIY Adulation.

Starting now, subscribers will have access to a VIP only holiday page that will have a new frugal DIY gift idea every Saturday!  This exclusive page will help you create beautiful, handmade gifts for every person on your list that they will actually want.  How do I know it can be done?  I know because I have been doing this for our family for years now.

The Challenge

Every year we have saved more and more on gifts.  This year’s goal is a $500 budget.  Yep, $500 for all of the 30 people on our shopping list.  Sign up for our newsletter and be a part of this holiday journey now with a free printable Holiday Gift Budget available only to subscribers.  You will also get to see our family’s budget at the end of the season to see if I achieve the $500 holiday goal!  Join the challenge and save on holiday gifts this year!

Make this your most joyous holiday season ever by avoiding the overspending remorse later.  You can do it and I’ll be here to help you along the way.

See where I’m linking up!

 

mm

I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.

Keep your family organized and stay on top of your to-do list with this printable Family Planner!

2015 – 2016 DIY Adulation Printable Family Planner

I’m so excited to announce the first annual DIY Adulation Printable Family Planner!  Lots of hours and love went into creating an all-encompassing family planner that includes what you need and leaves out what you don’t.  Wondering why it’s being released in July?  Let’s start there!

Why You Should Use an August to August Planner

After the relaxed feel of summer, a fresh new planner helps to get your family back into the, more structured, swing of things.  In January you are already more focused and organization is on your mind.  Come July that drive has long-since faded so it’s the perfect time to refocus and reorganize.

Keep your family organized and stay on top of your to-do list with this printable Family Planner!

What Makes This Better than Traditional Planners

A standard planner you buy at the store is designed to simply write down events on your calendar.  This family planner takes your organization to the next level. In addition to a monthly calendar you get:

  • Daily Calendar – The hourly style of the daily calendar not only helps you be more productive but make you feel like you’ve added valuable hours to your day!
  • Daily To-Do List – Conveniently placed at the top of your daily planner, this to-do list is easily visible daily to help you stay on track.
  • Important Dates Tracker – Never miss another birthday or anniversary with all of your important dates listed in one convenient place.
  • Current Child’s Information – Be ready for anything with a list of your child’s current information such as teacher’s name, grade level, current sizes, and wish list items.
  • Monthly Budget Worksheet – Stay on top of your family budget with the easy-to-use worksheet included.
  • Yearly Bill Checklist – When life gets hectic, sometimes a bill gets overlooked (or even lost) in the day-to-day rush.  Know that nothing is getting missed with this simple yearly checklist.
  • Weekly Cleaning Schedule – Prioritize your cleaning routine with this easy checklist.  Stay on top of laundry by categorizing loads by day.  Keep up on the everyday clutter by checking off priorities jobs every day of the week.

Keep your family organized and stay on top of your to-do list with this printable Family Planner!

Buy your calendar today and reap the benefits of an organized life!

Keep your family organized and stay on top of your to-do list with this printable Family Planner!

Still not convinced?  Get a free copy of the monthly calendar and cleaning schedule when you subscribe to our Newsletter!

See where I’m linking up!

mm

I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.