Living Richly on a Budget http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com Sun, 01 Mar 2015 09:02:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Free Budget Worksheet http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/free-budget-worksheet http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/free-budget-worksheet#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 19:32:24 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15615 Was it your New Year’s Resolution to start a budget? It’s not too late to start. You’re not a failure. Oh heck no! I was overwhelmed at first that I didn’t know where to start. It’s like when I drive to a new place, I get a little nervous. This happened a lot when I was a […] Read more...

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Was it your New Year’s Resolution to start a budget?

It’s not too late to start.

You’re not a failure. Oh heck no!

I was overwhelmed at first that I didn’t know where to start.

It’s like when I drive to a new place, I get a little nervous. This happened a lot when I was a wedding videographer.

I was always driving to a new location whether for a client meeting or a wedding and reception. And I had to be on time!

So I would map out my route, look over the directions, and plan extra driving time, in case I got lost. This was before GPS was widely available!

I’m more confident if I plan ahead. It makes it easier and less stressful.

lazy guide to budgeting

This is the same with a budget. A budget is a road map for how you’re going to spend your money each month.

When you know how much your recurring, monthly expenses are, then you can figure out what to do with the rest. Do you have enough to splurge on lunch at your favorite food truck or dance lessons for your daughter?

How much do you have to save each month to go to Hawaii or Disneyland?

When I put expenses onto paper, I can plan things instead of letting them happen to me.

Get started with this Free Budget Worksheet.

download button

 

If you enjoy this free worksheet, please share with a friend. Thank you!

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10 Free Printable Valentine’s Day Cards http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/10-free-printable-valentines-day-cards http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/10-free-printable-valentines-day-cards#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 18:39:41 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=1417 Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… this Saturday! If you don’t have time to buy Valentine’s Day cards, what’s the next best thing? Free printable Valentine’s Day cards! I did some searching and found some stylish yet totally free Valentine’s Day cards that you can print at home. I still can’t believe these 10 […] Read more...

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… this Saturday!

If you don’t have time to buy Valentine’s Day cards, what’s the next best thing?

Free printable Valentine’s Day cards!

I did some searching and found some stylish yet totally free Valentine’s Day cards that you can print at home.

I still can’t believe these 10 supercute cards are free!

There’s something for boys and girls or guys and gals.

Print on heavier card stock to make better quality Valentine’s Day cards.

1. Skip to My Lou has this intricate yet supercool ladybug Valentine’s Day card.

 

ladybug valentines day card

Photo Credit: Skip to My Lou

 

 

2. One Charming Party offers super stylish printable Valentine’s Day cards designed by Sarah Westbrook.


free printable valentine's day cards

Photo Credit: One Charming Party

 

3. OMG, Living Lucurto designed an iPhone Valentine’s Day printable to wrap around a heart candy box. Genius! OK, it’s not really a card but you can’t deny that you want one too, right?


iphone valentines day card

Photo Credit: Living Locurto

 

4. Also, here’s a guitar-themed Valentine’s Day card for boys (or girls) by Living Lucurto.

boys valentines day card

Photo Credit: Living Locurto

 

5. Zakka Life designed this rockin’ guitar lollipop cover, perfect for the Rock Band fan.

guitar valentine day card

Photo Credit: Zakka Life

6. Presentation Magazine offers free printable Valentine’s Day cards in PowerPoint or PDF in A4 or letter size. You can even customize your card and message.


free valentine's day card

Photo Credit: Presentation Magazine

 

7. A Fanciful Twist provides this unique and adorable Valentine’s Day mini-cards.


stylish valentines day cards

Photo Credit: A Fanciful Twist

 

8. Stylish Crush designed these cute mini-cards for Valentine’s Day.


cute valentines day cards

Amy is the Party

 

9. Ruffled Blog features this vintage Valentine’s Day card along with a matching envelope.


vintage valentine's day card

Ruffled Blog

 

10. Just for kids, here are the top 15 Disney Valentine’s Day cards to print for their classmates.

disney princess valentines day card

Photo Credit: Disney Family

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Fun Valentine’s Day Celebration and Gift Ideas http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/valentines-day-ideas-deals http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/valentines-day-ideas-deals#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 16:00:50 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15562 Valentine’s Day is next week already! I love the cute card exchanges at school, beautiful red roses, chocolates (oh chocolate!), and heart-shaped balloons on Valentine’s. I also love to cook at home and have a low key night. Who will you be spending it with? Whether it’s with your significant other, your children, or your […] Read more...

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Valentine’s Day is next week already!

I love the cute card exchanges at school, beautiful red roses, chocolates (oh chocolate!), and heart-shaped balloons on Valentine’s.

I also love to cook at home and have a low key night.

Who will you be spending it with?

Whether it’s with your significant other, your children, or your friends, there are a ton of ideas on how to celebrate and save with coupons with this free Valentine’s Day Magazine on The Good Stuff by Coupons.com.

Inside you’ll find:

  • Recipes for aphrodisiac foods
  • Date night ideas inspired by movies (Titanic, Pretty Woman, and more)
  • Print your own Valentine’s Day coupons (eg. this coupon is good for one morning of uninterrupted sleeping in)
  • DIY Valentine’s Day tote bag you can do with your kids
  • How to throw your own Galentine’s Day Brunch (Valentine’s with the gals)
  • Recipes for homemade coffee drinks, chocolate covered strawberries, heart shaped waffle sandwiches, and more
  • DIY gift ideas
  • Coupons.com Share the Love Valentine’s Day Sweepstakes (Daily cash prizes of $100 for the winner and $100 for your friend – until 2/28)

Click on the image below to go straight to the magazine.

valentines-magazine-cover

Don’t forget to check out the Coupons.com Valentine’s Day Deals.

Disclosure: This is a partnership with Coupons.com. All opinions are mine.

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Start Your Own Grocery Price Book http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/grocery-price-book http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/grocery-price-book#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 19:40:16 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=3401 If you’ve been studying grocery sales, you will start to notice that not all sales are really a good deal. And sometimes buying an item in a bulk pack is not necessarily cheaper. It gets confusing at first since every store has a different sale and you don’t know which one has the best deal. […] Read more...

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If you’ve been studying grocery sales, you will start to notice that not all sales are really a good deal.

And sometimes buying an item in a bulk pack is not necessarily cheaper.

It gets confusing at first since every store has a different sale and you don’t know which one has the best deal.

Sometimes it gets overwhelming when I’m looking through sales flyers.

The key is to be know what the lowest price is. Our grocery bill is the next largest bill after rent. So it was definitely worth my time to figure out how to do this. And I want to stay a stay at home mom.

As I read a lot of  frugal living and stay at home mom blogs, I’m learning about the grocery price book. A grocery price book is a record of your past purchases on items you buy the most so you can determine which store had the lowest price on a particular item.

grocery price book

What’s in a grocery price book:

  • Store name
  • Item/brand
  • Unit price

You can even go a step further and have one page per category like for baby items, frozen foods, paper goods, etc. Do what works best for you.

There are 3 ways to track your grocery purchases:

  1. Past receipts
  2. Sales inserts
  3. In the store

Yesterday, as I was waiting for my tires to be changed at Costco, I had 2 hours to kill. I decided that it was the perfect time to go through the whole store and record all of the items I usually buy. Since my daughter wasn’t with me, it made it easier.

I walked down every aisle and recorded the item, size, and price into my phone. Anyone can do this but you just have to invest a little time. You can get a lot done in 10 minutes of tracking.

Tips:

1. Track the prices of 5 – 10 items you buy most often.
This is so you don’t get overwhelmed and give up. You probably know some of the prices in your head but write it down.

2. Use a calculator to figure out the unit price (price divided by unit).
Example: $24.99 divided by 20 lbs = $1.25/lb.

3. Highlight which store has the lowest price.

COSTCO SPROUTS TRADER JOE’S SMART & FINAL VITACOST NOTES
Milk $2.49/gallon  $3.79/gallon
Basmati Rice  $1.25/lb  $1.15/lb
Organic Eggs (large)  $3.65/dozen  $4.99/dozen  $4.79/dozen
X-large
Gluten-Free Pasta $1.99/lb. $2.99/8oz.
Toilet Paper
(2 ply)
Kirkland
.01/sq.ft.
 Angel Soft
.018/sq.ft.
Organic Chicken Drumsticks $1.49/lb $1.99/lb

You can create your own grocery price book with a simple notebook, binder, or Excel spreadsheet. Anyone can do it.

From utilizing a grocery price book, I found that it’s more cost effective to make my own almond butter in a food processor. I noticed that the prices of almond butter has been rising, even at Trader Joe’s.

It used to be $5.99/lb, the same cost as the roasted almonds. But now it has jumped to $7.99/lb. for a jar of almond butter.

I can buy roasted almonds and grind them myself for $5.99/lb and save $4 a month.

Do you use a grocery price book? How do you find the best deals?

Beginning Couponing Articles:

Photo Credit: Polycart

 

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The Top 5 Places I Buy Groceries http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/top-places-i-buy-groceries http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/top-places-i-buy-groceries#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:32:18 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15237 Eating healthy and saving money are important to me. Plus, my daughter has food allergies so that makes it a priority for me to cook her food from scratch and opt out of boxed and frozen foods. Because of that, I don’t buy a lot of processed foods. I focus more on getting the freshest […] Read more...

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Eating healthy and saving money are important to me. Plus, my daughter has food allergies so that makes it a priority for me to cook her food from scratch and opt out of boxed and frozen foods.

Because of that, I don’t buy a lot of processed foods. I focus more on getting the freshest quality food possible.

Since I don’t buy processed foods, most coupons from the Sunday paper are not useful to me. And I don’t coupon as much for groceries. I do watch sales though.

1. Farmers Markets

My new favorite place to get organic produce is the farmers market. I always find the freshest, sweetest fruits here at better prices than the grocery store.

In the past few weeks, I discovered the sweetest, juiciest plums from this one farmer. It’s a special breed that tastes noticeably different and better.

And my family loves them! That means everything gets eaten up.

The vegetables I get from the farmers market stay fresher longer. The broccoli crowns are bright green, not purple, and stay fresh for a week.

One farmer has $1 bags of organic produce! They’re either overstocked or “seconds” (not-so-pretty) vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, or green beans.

I always swing by to see what they have. I’d pay $3 – $4 for these organic veggies elsewhere.

where i buy groceries

And there’s this gourmet rotisserie chicken from a food truck, that is THE best rotisserie chicken ever! Their French fingerling potatoes bathed in rotisserie chicken drippings, is amazing. My daughter and husband will eat that up in one sitting.

If you’re ever in San Francisco, you have to try Roli Roti Gourmet Rotisserie.

I do splurge on this a few times a month because a rotisserie chicken means that I don’t have to cook, it lasts for several meals, and I use the leftover bones to make bone soup. Yum! Plus, it costs about the same as a rotisserie chicken from a gourmet grocery store.

Another reason, I spend more to get this rotisserie chicken is because my daughter and husband are allergic to the ingredients/preservatives in the Costco rotisserie chicken. To each their own.

2. Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is known as the poor man’s Whole Foods in some circles. It doesn’t matter what it’s called because they have competitive prices for comparable items found in natural food stores.

What I buy here: organic chicken (best price and is the freshest), cereal, apple juice, snacks, nuts, goat milk (again they have the best price), coconut oil, eggs, cheese, gluten-free items (bread, waffles, pancakes, brownie mix, cookies, almond flour, pasta), and dairy-free items (coconut milk ice cream, pancakes).

3. Costco

I try not to go into Costco because often I’ll see something that I “need.” Instead, I’ll order these items and have them delivered by Google Shopping Express, which is a shopping delivery service in beta testing in our area. Shipping is free to several stores for the limited time.

What I buy here: toilet paper, paper towels, avocado oil (no more GMO oil for us), diapers, baby wipes, lemons, chicken apple sausage, Basmati rice, and eggs.

4. Vitacost

I love, love Vitacost! They have the best deals on gluten-free foods and supplements and they deliver within a few days.

Certain items are half off here! That’s like buying something and getting one free without having to coupon.

And they have sales all the time, like Buy One Get One Half Off.

What I buy here: gluten-free items (pizza mix, pasta, brownie mix, soy sauce), supplements,and personal care items.

Get $10 off your first order. Must be redeemed within the first few months after you receive the coupon code.

5. Asian Grocery Store

I’m very thankful to live near several Asian grocery stores, like 5 minutes away. I feel more connected to my family and culture when I shop here.

What I buy here: Asian vegetables (bok choy and bittermelon), Chinese herbs, pork bones (for soup), rice noodles ($1 – $1.50 for 16 oz.), rice flour.

Photo Credit

 

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99 Cent Clothes Sale at ThredUP (Gone) http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/99-cent-clothes-sale-thredup http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/99-cent-clothes-sale-thredup#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 01:35:06 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15547 $.99 for clothes! You heard me! I don’t post about deal much but this one is too good to pass up. ThredUP is having a massive sale on gently used, like new clothes for women, petite, plus, maternity, juniors, and kids. Stuff is going fast! I orderd 11 items for 99 cents each! Shipping is […] Read more...

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$.99 for clothes! You heard me!

I don’t post about deal much but this one is too good to pass up.

ThredUP is having a massive sale on gently used, like new clothes for women, petite, plus, maternity, juniors, and kids.

Stuff is going fast! I orderd 11 items for 99 cents each!

Shipping is $2.99 for the first item and 99 cents each additional item. But it caps out at $9.99.

Get $10 off your first order with this code.

Click here for the 99 cent sale.

thredup sale

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Grocery Sale Cycles – When Do Things Go on Sale? http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/grocery-sale-cycles-when-do-things-go-on-sale http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/grocery-sale-cycles-when-do-things-go-on-sale#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 22:30:08 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=1542 Ever wonder when things go on sale at the grocery store? Well, stop guessing. Here’s your guide to grocery sale cycles for the entire year! Know when to stock up on certain grocery items and when to wait until things go on sale. Get the best deals and plan for the whole year. See below […] Read more...

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Ever wonder when things go on sale at the grocery store? Well, stop guessing.

Here’s your guide to grocery sale cycles for the entire year! Know when to stock up on certain grocery items and when to wait until things go on sale.

Get the best deals and plan for the whole year. See below on how to save on organic and gluten-free foods.

Get a FREE printable version of this list when you subscribe here. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Grocery Sales Thumbnail 2

January

National Oatmeal Month: Quaker
Diet Foods: Healthy Choice, South Beach, Lean Cuisine, Special K, Kashi, Smart Start, 100 Calorie Packs, Yogurt
Super Bowl Sunday: Pepsi, Coke, Chips, Dips, Cheese, Sandwich Items, Crackers, Snacks, Wings
Seasonal Produce: Oranges, Pears, Grapefruit, Tangerines, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collards, Kale, Kiwi, Avocado, Cabbage, Spinach
Clearance: Christmas Decorations, Toys, Wrapping Papers,
Winter Health: Cold Medicines and Vitamins

February

National Canned Food Month: Canned Fruit, Pie Fillings, Vegetables, Meats: Tuna, Chicken, Salmon
National Hot Breakfast Month:  Malt O Meal, Oatmeal, Eggo Waffles, Syrup
Valentines:  Chocolate, Hershey’s, KY Lubricant, etc
Chinese New Year: Soy Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce, Noodles, Canned Water Chestnuts
Seasonal Produce:  Artichoke, Asparagus, Raspberries, Potatoes, Strawberries, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collards, Kale, Kiwi, Avocado, Spinach

grocery store sales cycles

March

Frozen Food Month: Ice Cream, Frozen Vegetables (Boxed, Bag, or Steam), Frozen Meals, Foster Farms Chicken, Waffles, Pizza
Seasonal Produce: Artichoke, Asparagus, Haas Avocado, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collards, Fennel, Kale, Leek, Lemon, Lime, Mushrooms, Spring Onions, Orange, Peas, Radish, Rhubarb, Spinach, Strawberries, Tangerine

April

Easter:  Ham, Eggs, Spices, Baking Supplies: Sugar, Spices, Baking Mixes, Chocolate Chips, Butter, Coconut, Marshmallows, Brownie Mix, Cake Mix
Earth Day: Organic Foods, Energy Saver, Reusable Totes
Seasonal Produce: Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbages, Carrots, Grapefruit, Haas Avocado, Mushrooms, Onions, Peas, Rhubarb
Clearance: After Easter sales

May

Print what’s on sale for May only here.

Celiac Disease Awareness Month
Memorial Day: BBQ Sauce, Condiments, Charcoal, Salad Dressing, Potato Chips, Dips, Grilling Meats, Hot Dogs, Hamburger Meat, Marinade, Salad Greens
Paper Products: Plates, Utensils, Insect Repellant, Sunscreen
Cinco De Mayo: Salsa, tortillas
Seasonal Produce: Artichokes, Asparagus, Avocado, Beans, Green, Beets, Blackberries, Carrots, Sweet Vidalia Onions, Peas, New Potatoes, Raspberries, Strawberries

June

Print what’s on sale for June only here.

National Dairy Month: Eggs, Milk, Ice Cream, Cheese, Cream Cheese, Butter, Yogurt, Whipping Cream, Whipped Cream, Cool Whip
End of June is Fourth or July Sales: Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, BBQ Sauce, Ketchup, Condiments, Charcoal, Salad Dressing, Potato Chips, Dips
Seasonal Produce: Apricots, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cherries, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Grapes, Honeydew, Nectarines, Peaches, Potatoes, Raspberries, Red Onions, Squash, Summer, Strawberries, Sweet Vidalia Onions, Tomatoes, Watermelon

July

National Ice Cream Month
More 4th of July BBQ Sales: Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, BBQ Sauce, Ketchup, Condiments, Charcoal, Salad Dressing, Potato Chips, Dips
End of July: Back to School Sales Begin: Crayons, Pencils, Folders, Binders
Seasonal Produce: Asian Pears, Bartlett Pears, Beans, Green, Blueberries, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Figs, Garlic, Grapes, Nectarines, Onions, Red, Valencia Oranges, Peaches, Sweet/Bell Peppers, Plums, Potatoes, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Watermelon

August

Back to School: Pudding cups, Lunch meat, Lunchables, Bread, Cold Cereal, Waffles, Lunchboxes
Disinfectant:  Clorox, Purell
Clearance:  Insect Repellant, Sunscreen, Charcoal
Seasonal Produce: Gravenstein Apple, Haas Avocado, Green Beans, Beans, Berries, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Figs, Grapes, Melons, Onion, Peaches, Bartlett Pears, Bell Pepper, Plums, Raspberries, Summer Squash, Tomatillo, Tomato

September

Back to School Sales through Labor Day:  Crayons, Pencils, Folders, Binders
Diabetes: Bayer Glucose Meters, Glucerna Cereal
Seasonal Produce: Apples, Artichokes, Beans, Bell Peppers, Chili Peppers, Cucumber, Eggplant, Grapes, Onion, Valencia Orange, Asian Pears, Bartlett Pears, Pomegranate, Squash, Tomatillo, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Winter Squash
Baby Items: Major Baby Equipment, Baby Safety

October

Halloween: Candy, Fresh Pumpkin
Beginning of the Baking Sales: Canned pumpkin, Evaporated Milk, Baking Chips
Daylight Savings Time Ends Promotions: Alarm Clocks, Batteries, Safety Equipment, Smoke Detectors
National Seafood Month
Adopt a Shelter-Dog Month: Pedigree, Purina
Seasonal Produce: Almonds, Apples, Artichokes, Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbages, Chard, Chestnuts, Cranberries, Lemons, Parsnip, Pears, Pomegranate, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Spinach, Squash, Winter, Turnips, Yams

November

Hot Cocoa, Coffee, Tea
Baking Sales in Full Swing: Nuts, Chocolate Chips, Evaporated Milk, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Coconut, Cake Mixes
Canned foods: Soup, Broth, Vegetables, Fruits, Spaghetti Sauce
Thanksgiving Items: Turkey, Canned Pumpkin, Stovetop Stuffing, Betty Crocker Boxed Potatoes, Gravy Mixes, Frozen Pies, Cranberry Sauce, Jello, Marshmallows
Seasonal Produce: Anjou Pears, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbages, Carrots, Celery, Comice Pears, Cranberries, Kiwi, Lemons, Orange, Potato, Squash, Yams
Clearance: After Halloween Sales

December

Holiday Dinner: Egg Nog, Deli Platters, Instant Potatoes, Gravy Mixes, Frozen Pies, Cranberry Sauce, Jello, Marshmallows. Sour Cream Dips, Crackers, Chips, Soda, Ham
Baking: Flour, Sugar, Butter, Cream, Cake Mix, Brownie Mix, Muffin Mix, Breads, Pie Crust, Marshmallow, Whipped cream
Canned Foods: Soup, Broth, Condensed Milk, Vegetables, Fruits, Spaghetti Sauce
Seasonal Produce: Anjou Pears, Bok Choy, Bosc Pears, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Dates, Grapefruit, Haas Avocados, Kale, Kiwi, Kumquat, Lemon, Napa Cabbage, Oranges, Sweet Potatoes, Red Cabbage, Rutabaga, Savoy Cabbage, Spinach, Winter Squash, Yams, Turnips, White Potato
Clearance: After Thanksgiving and After Christmas Sales

*Get a FREE printable version of this list when you subscribe.

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Check out my Amazon Best Sellers:

gluten-free-cover_4blog

Eating Gluten-Free on a Budget

eating organic on a budget ebook

Eating Organic on a Budget

 

Beginning Couponing Articles:

Photo Credit: qmnonic

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Taking Better Care of Yourself in the New Year http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/taking-better-care-new-year http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/taking-better-care-new-year#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 19:24:42 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15519 You may have many ambitious resolutions in the beginning of the year. Lose weight, exercise more, eat better, stick to a budget, pay off debt. To be honest, I let go of trying to being a size 2 after having a baby! But what about taking better care of yourself? Like really, taking care of […] Read more...

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You may have many ambitious resolutions in the beginning of the year.

Lose weight, exercise more, eat better, stick to a budget, pay off debt.

To be honest, I let go of trying to being a size 2 after having a baby!

But what about taking better care of yourself? Like really, taking care of yourself?

We put so much pressure on ourselves to do more with less time (and money!), to make the impossible happen.

We’re so stressed out about trying to make ends meet, paying bills on time, paying off mountains of debt. Too much stress can make us sick!

It can contribute to aches and pain and even insomnia. You know, like when you get stiff shoulders? Over time, if you don’t get those knots out, it becomes something more serious, like chronic pain.

Last year, I was super stressed out about finances. I started having insomnia. One bout lasted a week! Yikes!

And you know what? All the worrying and stress didn’t help the situation. It just made me sick.

This year, I vow to take better care of myself and to not stress out as much.

Every month, I get a massage to take care of myself. I don’t see it as a splurge but a necessity.

I used to have chronic pain. And to keep it at bay, I get a regular massage. If you have chronic pain, you should consider to getting a regular massage to lessen pain.

It helps me sleep better, relax, and get away for an hour. If you’re a parent, you need some alone time or you’ll go crazy!

How much does it cost?

I get my massages at Massage Envy because it’s affordable and I can schedule massages with short notice since they have lots of therapists on hand. Before, I went to another massage place, but it was costing upwards of $100, which was way too much.

At Massage Envy, I pay a monthly membership fee (varies by location) and get an hour massage every month. Family members can be added on at a discounted rate. I’m an add-on to my husband’s membership.

If I want to extend my massage to 90 minutes, I just pay an add-on price.

massage envy dc

Locations

The awesome thing is Massage Envy has over 1,000 locations in North America. If you travel, you can get a massage at any of these locations. I’ve even gotten a massage in Las Vegas.

I moved a few times and at each new city, I was able to find a Massage Envy within a 15 minute drive. Last time, I lived across the street from a Massage Envy!

For those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area, there’s a great location in Daly City at Westlake Shopping Center. San Mateo is the next closest location.

How do I find the right therapist?

It may take a few tries to find the right massage therapist. My advice is to ask the front desk for recommendations.

Do you like light, medium, or deep pressure? If you have a lot of knots, ask for someone who knows trigger point therapy.

You can choose between a male or female therapist. Whatever makes you feel comfortable.

Are you pregnant? Massage Envy has therapists trained in prenatal massage.

I got regular massages during my pregnancy and yes, it was safe. And it doesn’t cost an arm and and leg like at prenatal massage places.

After one or two massages, I usually find the right therapist. I love my massage therapist! She’s fun to talk to and knows how to work out my knots.

massage envy

What can I expect at the first appointment?

Arrive a few minutes early to fill out some paperwork and check in. Then you can relax in the waiting room.

Your therapist will come and get you. They will talk to you a few minutes about what you need worked on.

Then they leave for a few minutes so you can get undressed. When you’re ready, they start the massage

You can request to have the heat on the massage table turned on or off or the headrest to be adjusted.

It’s up to you whether or not you want to talk during your massage or just relax and sleep.

During the massage, your therapist will ask you about the pressure of the massage. Let them know if the pressure is right or not and they’ll adjust.

After the massage

When your massage is done, your therapist will leave so you can redress. Then they’ll give you water and walk you to the front desk.

If you have a monthly membership, then your monthly hour massage is included.

Tipping

It’s up to you how much you want to tip. Massage Envy posts guidelines on the amount in case you need help.

You can tip via cash in the envelope provided in the room or front desk or pay via credit card.

I try to tip by cash when I can so my therapist doesn’t lose part of the tip to the credit card transaction fee.

Scheduling your next massage

I try to schedule my next massage when I’m there as sometimes I don’t get to it and by the time I’m in pain again (in a month), it’s hard to book my favorite therapist. She’s popular!

You can schedule your next massage while you’re there or call it in.

What do you do to take care of yourself?

 

 

 

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$50 Sprouts Gift Card Giveaway and New Store Opening (Ended) http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/50-sprouts-gift-card-giveaway-new-store-opening http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/50-sprouts-gift-card-giveaway-new-store-opening#comments Fri, 02 Jan 2015 19:41:32 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15503 Happy New Year! A new year means new resolutions and goals. Is one of yours to eat healthier? Sprouts is opening a location in my area and I’m sooooo excited! If you don’t know, Sprouts is a natural grocery store. Their tagline is “Healthy Living for Less.” Sprouts has good deals on organic vegetables and […] Read more...

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Happy New Year!

A new year means new resolutions and goals.

Is one of yours to eat healthier?

Sprouts is opening a location in my area and I’m sooooo excited!

If you don’t know, Sprouts is a natural grocery store. Their tagline is “Healthy Living for Less.”

Sprouts has good deals on organic vegetables and healthy snacks with a meat counter, bulk food bins, deli counter, fish and seafood, vitamins and supplements, and health and body care.

When I lived in Concord, CA, I would go to the Walnut Creek Sprouts store. I would stock up on Nut Thins and organic vegetables. I also liked their selection of gluten-free bread as they have a better selection than Whole Foods.

The coupons and weekly deals are good too. I can’t wait until they open because our community has been waiting for something like this.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, here’s the info on the store opening:

Store Opening in Daly City, CA

Sprouts
301 Gellert Blvd
Daly City, CA 94015
(where Circuit City used to be)

Wed, January 7, 2015
7:00am – 10:00pm

* Update: Check out the special preview party on Tues, January 6th!

From the Sprouts Farmers Market – Daly City Facebook page:

Want to get a taste of what the new Sprouts Farmers Market opening in Daly City is all about? We’re opening up our exclusive Preview Party to 1,000 fans! RSVP and receive a coupon for 10% off your entire purchase, valid only at our Preview Party. You’ll get to sample some of our favorite products before the rush of Grand Opening on Wednesday. For more details and to RSVP, go to: http://bddy.me/1tyrfON

Sprouts Locations

Stores are located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. See if there is one near you.

I’m sorry if there isn’t a Sprouts near you. =( Let them know that you want one in your area!

sprouts gift card image

 

Enter to win a $50 Sprouts Gift Card

Note: You don’t have to live in the San Francisco Bay Area to enter.

Details: Enter by 11:59pm PT 1/5/15. Must be 18 years or older and a U.S. resident to enter. Winner will be chosen by Random.org on 1/6/15.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts – Use It or Lose It http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/health-care-flexible-spending-accounts-use-it-or-lose-it http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/health-care-flexible-spending-accounts-use-it-or-lose-it#comments Sat, 27 Dec 2014 00:19:05 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=4566 While everyone else is rushing around purchasing Christmas gifts, I’m frantically working to get my Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) in order. For those of you unfamiliar with Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts, a HCFSA allows the participant to purchase qualifying health items and health services with pre-tax dollars. Sometimes these accounts are called […] Read more...

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While everyone else is rushing around purchasing Christmas gifts, I’m frantically working to get my Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) in order.

For those of you unfamiliar with Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts, a HCFSA allows the participant to purchase qualifying health items and health services with pre-tax dollars. Sometimes these accounts are called Health Savings Accounts (HSA). Usually participation is through an employer.

During the open enrollment period, the participant decides the amount of money to contribute to the HCFSA by estimating how much they and their dependents will spend on qualifying health items and services for the coming year. There is a minimum and maximum contribution amount so check with your HCFSA administrator for those numbers as they may change every year.

(As of 2011, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are no longer eligible for reimbursement UNLESS the participant has a physician’s prescription.) Once the enrollment period for the HCFSA ends, the participant cannot make changes to the contribution amount unless there is a qualifying life event such as a change in marital status, new birth/adoption of a child, death of a dependent, change of employment and a few other events.

Every pay period, an amount of pre-tax money is automatically withheld from the participant’s paycheck to fund the HCFSA. Each company has their own administrator that manages the HCFSAs. Some administrators provide their participants with debit cards that deduct from the HCFSAs when used on health purchases.

health care flex spending

Other administrators require their participants to purchase the qualifying health items or services first and then submit the receipts for reimbursement by mail, fax or electronically. At the end of the year, any amount of money in the account that has not been used is forfeited by the participant. Participants have until mid-March of the following year to submit their claims for reimbursement.

SO I’m frantically trying to spend the rest of our HCFSA money by year-end before I lose it. Long story short – we were able to increase our HCFSA contribution because of the birth of our son, but our health insurances covered more of the bill than we thought they would so we’re left with a large chunk of money that needs to be SPENT SOON.

Here are some tips for making the most of your HCFSA because IF YOU DON’T USE IT, YOU LOSE IT! If your HCFSA provides you with a FSA debit card, then they’ve saved you the hassle of copying and submitting receipts. For those of you who have to submit your claims manually, you may find the information below helpful.

Know the numbers.

Know your contribution amount, how much you have been reimbursed, and how much you have left to spend (disbursable balance). For those of you who have been requesting reimbursements throughout the year, you probably have a good idea of how close you are to getting your full contribution back. For those of you who haven’t been submitting your expenses, now is the time to get familiar with your account. Contact your flexible spending administrator ASAP and ask them how much you have left to spend.

Find your receipts and calculate what you’ve spent.

Compile all the health receipts that you haven’t submitted to the administrator. Your administrator can provide you with a guideline for what is reimbursable. Add up the receipt totals and then subtract that from your disbursable balance for this year and you will get the amount you still need to spend. Remember that if you purchased non-health items with your health items, you’ll need to do some math in order to find out how much you will be reimbursed. (Sales tax on qualifying health items can also be reimbursed.) Most stores will indicate the qualifying health items with a letter or symbol next to the item number. For example, Walmart uses a “H”; Walgreens and Costco use a “F”; and Target uses a “+” and also lists the health item total on the bottom of their receipt.

Make a list to keep organized. 

Most administrators require you to send in a claim form with the copies of your receipts. All claim forms must include the date(s) of service, the provider name, claimant name (you or your dependent) and the amount being requested for reimbursement.

Submit the claim form and copies of the receipts for reimbursement. 

If your HCFSA administrator has a quick turnaround (before the end of the year), submit the receipts for reimbursement ASAP. Although you may be tempted to wait until March, it’s a good idea to get your reimbursement earlier. Why? Because some items that you think qualify for flexible spending may not really qualify. I purchased Vaseline from Target and Children Saline Drops from Walmart. My receipts indicated that they are qualifying health items, however those claims were rejected by my administrator.

Shop!

Once you know how much you need to spend, shop! It is better to overspend (on items you need) by a little than to forfeit your flexible spending contribution. Simple math. Let’s say you are in the 25% income tax bracket. For every flexible spending dollar spent on qualifying items and services, you save 25 cents. For every dollar forfeited by not spending it, you lose 75 cents.

Shop online!

There are so many websites that make shopping for qualifying health items easy. Websites like FSAstore.com, drugstore.com and walgreens.com take the guess work out of HCFSA shopping by displaying a “FSA” symbol next to the qualifying health item. Unless you have an over-the-counter prescription from your physician, stay away from “FSArx” items because you won’t be reimbursed without the prescription. You may pay more on these online stores, but if you have the time, comparison shop onamazon.com. I filled up my check-out basket from one of these online stores with qualifying health items and then I searched amazon.com for those same items. I ended up purchasing from Amazon because it was less expensive. You may be tempted to procrastinate and shop online on New Year’s Eve but this is not a good idea since most online stores do not charge your credit card until your order is shipped. Play it safe and shop earlier.

Ideas for what to buy:

  • If you have a lot to spend, make a trip to see an optometrist to update your prescription and get a new pair of glasses or contact lenses.
  • Buy items you need for the home: First-aid kits and supplies, bandages, gauze, medical tape, hand sanitizers (like Purell, Germ-X and Nexcare), bath tub rails or grips
  • Buy items for personal use: heart monitors, blood pressure monitors, hearing aids, incontinence supplies, anti-arthritics (glucosamine or chondroitin), flu shots, nasal strips, neti pots, sunscreens (must be SPF 30 or higher but not cosmetic products and lotions that contain SPF)
  • Buy family planning and baby items: condoms, birth control pills, Viagra, pregnancy tests, ovulation kits, birthing classes, Lamaze classes, breast pumps and lactation supplies, diaper rash cream
This guest post was written by Helen T. She’s glad to finally put her English degree to good use. 
Photo Credit: Images of Money

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