Happy Belated Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of My Smileys! This past month has been a cherished time for me. I got to spend time with family and friends and am truly blessed to have had and have certain people in my life. Of course, I did not forget my Smileys and I want to end and begin the year encouraging you to press forward and don’t give up in regards to your goals. This month, I have four traits that are essential to reaching your financial goals. However, these traits are beneficial in regards to any goal that you have set for yourself. They are:
- Don’t Quit (A Never Give Up Attitude)
- Stay the course and keep working at your budget. Even if you did not successfully follow the budget that month, continue to create a budget and keep that budget at the forefront of your mind.
- Be active and proactive about creating a budget, clipping coupons, finding sales and deals.
- Say NO: to yourself and others. Stay away from places that cause you to unnecessarily spend your money.
- Always have a budget: whether weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Set aside the necessary time that you need to create your budget.
DON’T QUIT: A Never Give Up Attitude
- This one is my favorite because many times we get stuck or give up when we didn’t successfully follow our budget and it is easy to say: “forget it!”. But there is nothing wrong with trying again. You didn’t successfully stay within $200.00 for the groceries last month. That’s OK!!! Try again next month! Don’t throw away all of your hard work because of one shortfall. Being successful in regards to your financial goals is going to take time, hard work and a lot of starting over again. So….
- You will reach your goals, Just take your time, stay the course, stay disciplined and don’t give up.
Hope you find these tips helpful and encouraging. Have a Safe and Happy Holiday. Most of All, Remember JESUS is the Reason for the Season.
XOXO, Happy Saving, Smiling Danny
Hope you have had a wonderful month and are ready to begin Summer festivities. This month I thought I would focus on what goes in an Emergency Fund.
According to Dave Ramsey, an emergency fund should include at least 3 to 6 months of living expenses. The fund should have 6 months of living expenses if there is only one spouse working. In addition to this, I have thought of some other things that should be included in the account:
- All quarterly and yearly expenses: each year/quarter you know that you will have to pay for homeowner’s insurance, car insurance, license and registration for your vehicles, renter’s insurance, oil changes etc. Think of events that you know are going to happen and plan accordingly by saving for them throughout the year.
- Emergencies: deductibles for car or home in case of a car accident or storm.
- Car Maintenance such as tires, engines, mile service and more.
- Home maintenance such as pest control, fence replacement, plumbing and electrical needs.
- Vacations: if you are planning to take a trip within the year or two, plan accordingly by pricing your lodging, food, travel and souvenirs up front and save for them throughout the years.
- Gifts: birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, graduations, congratulations, and being a blessing to someone in need. These events are likely to happen, set aside a few dollars each month for them so that when they occur you aren’t altering your budget in order to be a blessing.
Hope you find these tips helpful,
I hope you all had a wonderful month of February. I sure did and am excited to share with you some ways to make a little extra money this month. I have spent the month removing unused and unwanted items from our home and ended up making a little extra money in the process. I have a rule: “If I have not used it or thought about it in the last year, it must go!” This rule applies to clothes, shoes, appliances, jewelry, handbags, etc. Normally, I just give away or donate these items. This year I have been giving away, donating and selling these items. Of course, your normal Goodwill, Women’s shelter, Men’s shelter, Homeless shelter, Pregnancy centers, Churches, family and friends are wonderful places to give. In addition to those avenues, if you are interested in making some money off your items, here are some places that I came across that will buy from you:
- Style Encore: buys and sells gently used, casual and business clothing for women. They also buy and sell shoes, handbags and accessories. They will pay you cash immediately.
- Plato’s Closet: buys and sells gently used teen and young adult style clothing and accessories. They also pay cash on the spot and have both girl and boy clothing items.
- Once Upon a Child: buys and sells gently used baby and kids clothing, shoes, toys and baby gear. They will pay cash on the spot or write you a check immediately.
- Consignment Shops/ Pawn Shops: I have not had experience with either of these avenues but know that with consignment shops they do not pay cash on the spot but after a period of time. Rules apply differently with each shop.
- Yard Sale/ Garage Sale/ City-wide Garage Sale: check with your local Parks and Recreation center for more information about this and for proper licensing.
- Half Price Books: buys and sells books, textbooks, movies, cd’s, dvd’s, cellphones, tablets, e-readers, games and gaming consoles. They also pay cash on the spot.
Let me know if you try any of these avenues. I would love to hear your success stories!
I also would like to encourage you to browse the different tabs on this site. Each month, I will be sharing my favorite wine on the Wine tab. I have also listed different YouTube videos on the Money & Finance tab that you can view in order to learn more about budgeting and saving.
Recipe for Month: Save your Spare Change
You will need:
- “Piggy Bank”, Jar or Vase
- Coin Wrappers
- Use whole bills for each transaction.
- Save change in a piggy bank, jar or vase.
- At the end of each month or quarter, sort, count and roll your change.
- Take your rolled coins to your bank and deposit into your savings account, kid’s savings account or the college fund account.
As you know, I enjoy cooking AND budgeting/saving. This year I am determined to reject that urge to order take-out and embrace the leftovers that I have in the fridge. My family doesn’t eat out often but the few times that we do, we find it to be very expensive and not always tastefully satisfying. This year I intend on doing a lot more cooking and a lot more saving. I feel weird saying that because I cook A LOT! But like I said, $30-$50 per take-out adds up and will look very nice sitting in a savings account versus leaving my fingertips.
I’ve tried the planning your meals bit but find that I don’t cook what I intended on cooking. I usually cook based off of what I have a hankering for; with the exception of breakfast/lunch. I do intend on trying that again as a means to save money but not sure how successful I will be with that. Any other suggestions?
Anyway, I’m sure you are wondering: Sooo Danny, what’s the challenge? The challenge is to cook more this year as a means to eat out less and also to save money. So, will you join me? Will you join this: “Cook more, Spend Less challenge?” I sure hope so. I would love for us to do this together; encouraging each other along the way. Your reasons for cooking more this year may be different from mine but whatever reason, we will make a great team!
Happy Cooking, Smiling Danny
I kicked off my month this month by cooking Turkey Spaghetti with a Butternut Squash Sauce. Deee-lish!
Ingredients: 1lb Ground Turkey Meat, 1/2 pkg wheat spaghetti noodles, Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash Sauce, Pink Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder
Instructions: Season and Brown Meat, Cook Noodles, Simmer sauce. Combine cooked meat and sauce, season with salt and pepper. Once sauce tastes to liking, remove from heat and add cooked noodles. Let stand for 5 mins. Bon Appetit!