Living Richly on a Budget http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com Thu, 14 May 2015 04:51:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 101 Free or Low Cost Things to Do with Your Kids This Summer http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/free-things-to-do-with-kids http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/free-things-to-do-with-kids#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 04:14:18 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=14280 Summer is here! Are you looking for free things to do with your kids? How will you keep them entertained? Before the days of the Internet, we did lots of low-tech activities. I certainly built a fort, had a scavenger hunt, and made home movies. Share these with your kids to build fun memories. Unplug and enjoy. Check out my […] Read more...

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Summer is here! Are you looking for free things to do with your kids?

How will you keep them entertained? Before the days of the Internet, we did lots of low-tech activities.

I certainly built a fort, had a scavenger hunt, and made home movies. Share these with your kids to build fun memories.

Unplug and enjoy. Check out my list of free or cheap things to do with your kids to have fun.

101 things to do with your kids this summer

 1. Go to a museum or aquarium. Check your local library for free passes.
 2. Make a rubber band guitar.
 3. Build a fort.
 4. Bake cookies.
 5. Make popsicles.
 6. Play board games.
 7. Fly a kite.
 8. Make your own play kitchen.
 9. Write stories.
10. Create your own newspaper or magazine.
11. Make cartoon flipbooks.
12. Have a picnic.
13. Build sandcastles at the beach.
14. Ride bikes.
15. Have a scavenger hunt.
16. Plant a garden.
17. Make your own movie with your phone camera or video camera and edit on computer.
18. Camp in the yard.
19. Build the longest flying paper airplane.
20. Make a sailboat out of a laundry basket.
21. Make a comic book.
22. Put together a scrapbook.
23. Make homemade cards with rubber stamps.
24. Visit the library and get free books from the Summer Reading Program.

25. Check Groupon for deals on kid’s activities.
26. Get a discounted family membership to a theme park, aquarium, or zoo with a Groupon.
27. Have a dance party.
28. Go to a park with a water play feature.
29. Visit the pet store.
30. Watch a movie on DVD and make popcorn.
31. Build a cardboard castle.
32. Visit friends or family.
33. Play hide-and-seek.
34. Attend a free workshop.
35. Visit a construction site.
36. Go bowling (kids bowl free).
37. Visit a farm.
38. Visit the zoo.
39. Learn magic tricks.
40. Make ice cream or frozen yogurt.
41. Ride a train or bus.
42. Write letters and mail them.
43. Make a care package for a soldier.
44. Make your own indoor ball pit.
45. Make your own pizza.
46. Brew ice tea.
47. Play frisbee.
48. Make s’mores.
49. Pitch a tent in the living room and “camp” indoors.
50. Go to story time or movie events at the library.
51. Teach the kids to play chess.
52. Finger paint.
53. Catch bugs.
54. Make your own playdough.
55. Bake a cake or cupcakes and decorate.
56. Build a volcano with clay, baking soda, and vinegar.
57. Have a tea party.
58. Feed the birds.
59. Go fruit picking.
60. Play card games.
61. Make a Chinese rubber band rope and play Chinese jump rope.
62. Play Jacob’s ladder with just a string.
63. Make a paper fortune teller.
64. Make a paper ninja star.
65. Make an origami dollar ring.
66. Make an origami dollar shirt.
67. Play Jianzi or Chinese Hacky Sack.
68. Make tissue paper flowers.
69. Play the Asian bean bag toss game (Otedama), similar to jacks, and sew your own bean bags filled with rice.
70. Create paper plate masks.
71. Make paper dolls and clothes using these free printable templates.
72. Play store with paper money printables.
73. Make shadow box puppets (printables for Bambi with background).
74. Pick flowers and make a necklace.
75. Learn simple secret codes.
76. Make paper boats and float them in water.
77. Make your own ballerina tutu (no sewing needed).
78. Play with stacking cups.
79. Ripping magazines, great for toddlers.
80. Play Mancala with an empty egg carton and beans.
81. Make a sand castle out of cornmeal dough.
82. Put together a sensory box.
83. Make balloon animals.
84. Make cardboard trains or cars.
85. Make a cardboard play house.
86. Make a cardboard pinball machine.
87. Make a cardboard dollhouse.
88. Make a cardboard aquarium.
89. Make a cardboard pirate ship.
90. Make a straw flute.
91. Make a coffee can drum.
92. Create your own sandbox.
93. Use sidewalk chalk to draw a racetrack or hopscotch layout.
94. Make a marble launch with a pool noodle.
95. Make Star Wars light sabers out of pool noodles!
96. Make Lincoln Logs out of toilet paper rolls.
97. Play frisbee golf with laundry baskets.
98. Make frisbees out of paper plates.
99. Make a marble maze out of drinking straws and a shoebox lid.
100. Have a spy training day.
101. Make giant bubbles.

I’ve done more than half of these as a child. Which one is your favorite?

 

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Why I Love Living in California http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/why-i-love-living-in-california http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/why-i-love-living-in-california#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 04:47:12 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=16049 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of California Association of REALTORS®. All opinions are 100% mine. I was born and raised in California and I love it! I don’t think I’ll ever move away and most people don’t. I grew up in San Francisco with a view of the ocean outside […] Read more...

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of California Association of REALTORS®. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was born and raised in California and I love it!

I don’t think I’ll ever move away and most people don’t.

I grew up in San Francisco with a view of the ocean outside my window!

I loved to walk to the beach whenever I wanted to get away or go shopping in downtown San Francisco.

The weather never gets colder than 50 degrees most of the year. And it never snows.

We have the best artisan foods, specialty food items, top rated restaurants, a wide array of authentic ethnic cuisine, and fun events that happen every month. For those with food allergies, you’ll find many restaurants who will happily cater to your needs.

why i love living in california

I currently live in South San Francisco, minutes away from San Francisco and 10 minutes away from the beach. Everything is close by. I mean everything!

We are 5 minutes away from 2 Costco’s, 3 Targets, drugstores, many different supermarkets including Asian grocery stores (which I can’t live without), a gourmet coffee shop (as well as several Starbucks and Peet’s), and easy access to the freeway.

I love the convenience of being close to everything and having options on where to buy my groceries and things I need.

Many tech startups are based in the San Francisco Bay Area, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. Every time I hear about a new tech business and I look up their address, 90% of the time, I find that they’re in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The other thing I appreciate about living in California is the diversity of people. People are more versed in other cultures and food here.

And unlike other states, California is a long state. This means you can drive 8 hours and still be in California.

That also means there’s so much to explore without ever leaving the state. If I wanted to get away, I could drive 2 hours south to beautiful Monterey and Carmel.

I could go 4 hours north to visit scenic Mendocino or 2 hours north to the famous Napa Valley for wine tasting and the best food.

Or I have the option of driving 8+ hours south to go to Los Angeles or visit Disneyland. And I have all these places that I can visit without ever crossing the state border.

When we had to move 3 years ago to a city 45 minutes east of San Francisco, we used a REALTOR®. And I’m so glad we did because she found us a place very quickly that fit our budget, was in a nice neighborhood, and across the street from a popular strip mall, which made grocery shopping and running errands very convenient. It also made the process of moving less stressful!

Find a REALTOR® at Champions of Home.

If you know someone interested in becoming a REALTOR®

Hashtag us with #ChampionsOfHome.

Visit Sponsors Site

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Free Printable Mother’s Day Cards http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/free-printable-mothers-day-cards http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/free-printable-mothers-day-cards#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 09:30:18 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=16007 Welcome to our April Blog Hop! This month we are focusing on all things Mother’s Day…it’s only a couple of weeks away! Get ready for some great ideas, inspiration and how to as you move along through the blog hop. You may just be starting the blog hop or may have come from Abby Winstead at Winstead Wandering on our […] Read more...

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living with style

Welcome to our April Blog Hop!

This month we are focusing on all things Mother’s Day…it’s only a couple of weeks away! Get ready for some great ideas, inspiration and how to as you move along through the blog hop.

You may just be starting the blog hop or may have come from Abby Winstead at Winstead Wandering on our Living with Style Blog Hop. If you get off track at any time, the full lineup below will help you move along from blog to blog so you make sure to see and learn from all of the articles featured here today.

Mother’s Day is coming up and it’s time to think about what to get your mom or that special mom in your life.

Cards from Dollar Tree are great but so are printable cards as there are some cute designs now… all for free!

I love these designs as they are so different than the ones found in stores.

I printed one for my daughter to doodle in and she loved it.

 

free printable mothers day card

Lady Bug Card by Greetings Island

This is one of the cutest, simplest designs on this site. Greetings Island has lots of other designs for printable Mother’s Day cards, 7 pages of them!

I also love that the designs include the inside and is customizable. Printing on 2 sides is kinda tricky so do a test one first.

They even have envelope designs.

printable mothers day card

Bicycle Card by She’s Kinda Crafty

Wow, this is SUCH a beautiful card! I love, love the elegant bicycle design and refreshing colors.

I’d smile if I got this card for Mother’s Day. =)

printable mothers day cards

Pop Up Card by 1 Dog Woof

This pop up card is an unexpected way to say Happy Mother’s Day. It may take a little more skill to pull this off but mom will love it.

The next stop is Laura Gelnett at Making It Happen Together on Living with Style Blog Hop! Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you again next month!

Full Blog Hop List:

  1. Natalie Bradley at Soirée by Natalie Bradley
  2. Rhonda at MultiTaskingMaven
  3. Sofia Linha at Something On Everything
  4. Kristy Stewart at Under My Gabled Roof
  5. Lory Robinson at The Robin’s Nest Designs
  6. Pam Bennett at The Birch Cottage
  7. Lisa Milligan at Harmony and Happiness
  8. Dianne O’Donnell at Scrutinizing Life
  9. Ann Fontaine at The Clumsy Wife
  10. Leah M. Briick at Briick by Briick
  11. Jamie Srock at All That Srocks
  12. Lani Padilla at Simply Fresh Vintage
  13. Karissa Ancell at A Fresh Start
  14. Ellen Ocampo at Baby Boo Gifts
  15. Pam B at Hey, Miss Adventures!
  16. Kendra Sawyer at Wonderland Kind of Mind
  17. Anna at Anna International
  18. Abby Winstead at Winstead Wandering
  19. Fanny Seto at Living Richly on a Budget << you are here
  20. Laura Gelnett at Making It Happen Together
  21. Sarah at Ark in the Desert
  22. Keisha Sibert at Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams
  23. Bethany at Salty Blonde

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Is Bargain Hunting Making You Poor? http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/is-bargain-hunting-making-you-poor http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/is-bargain-hunting-making-you-poor#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:38:23 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15998 Are you a sucker for deals? Are you obsessed with saving that you end up buying things you don’t need and never use? Do you wonder where your money went, at the end of the month? Is your place cluttered with stuff? If you’ve answered yes to all of the above, you may have a […] Read more...

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Are you a sucker for deals?

Are you obsessed with saving that you end up buying things you don’t need and never use?

Do you wonder where your money went, at the end of the month?

Is your place cluttered with stuff?

If you’ve answered yes to all of the above, you may have a problem.

A few weeks ago, a local grocery store had a 50% store closing sale. And of couse, I had to go.

Unfortunately, I went a 2 days after the announcement of the sale. By the time I got there, most of the stuff was gone, most of the necessities.

So feeling a little disappointed, I did what any bargain hunter would do. I scoured the shelves to see what else I could get.

After all, 50% off is a really good deal. In the back, I discovered tropical flavored ice cream that I’ve always wanted to try. I bought 6 pints of it!

While making another round, scanning the shelves, I found lemonade and stocked up on 8 bottles of it. OK, I went a little crazy.

I added some other snacks along the way. And when I left, I was proud of myself for scoring these deals.

is bargain hunting making you poor

One week later, I found myself not wanting to drink lemonade anymore. Too much sugar. We only drank one bottle.

And I started eating the ice cream, 3 pints, not by all by myself. Then I got sick with the flu or cold and realized that I shouldn’t be eating ice cream in the first place.

Deals become clutter.

When I look back, 7 bottles of lemonade that no one will be drinking, is cluttering the shelves in our already crowded garage. And there are 3 pints of ice cream taking much needed space in our freezer.

I focused on how much I was saving, half off, instead of thinking of how much it really costed me, $40. And it was $40 spent haphazardly instead of putting it towards something better, more on target with my goals.

That $40 could have been used to pay down debt or put into savings for a vacation. Instead, it was wasted on things my family won’t use and don’t need.

Deals can trick your brain.

Deals have a way of tricking our brains into spending more. When you normally would not buy something, once it’s on sale, our mind goes a little haywire.

OMG, I start thinking illogically. Instead of “do I need this?” My mind says “but it’s on sale!” And all hell breaks loose.

So the next time I come across a deal, I ask myself these two questions:

1. Would I buy this at full price?

2. Do I need this? (Sometimes your brain can convince you that you need something when you really don’t. How tricky is that?)

The thing about spending is it should intentional, not willy nilly. If you want to make the most of what you have, spending it on whatever deal comes your way will not help you reach your financial goals.

It will not help you get out of debt or save and grow your money.

Are you lured by deals? How do you restrain yourself?

Want to free step-by-step guide on creating a budget? Join the 7 Days to Shape Your Budget Challenge and get a FREE budget worksheet!

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The Power of Home Equity http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/the-power-of-home-equity http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/the-power-of-home-equity#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 18:08:53 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15988 This post is written and sponsored by U.S. Bank. Seems you’ve got a bit of a dilemma on your hands. That big project you’ve had in your head for what feels like forever is now actually coming together on paper and just waiting to be started. You have the time to do it and – […] Read more...

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This post is written and sponsored by U.S. Bank.

Seems you’ve got a bit of a dilemma on your hands. That big project you’ve had in your head for what feels like forever is now actually coming together on paper and just waiting to be started. You have the time to do it and – best of all? – you want to do it. There’s just one problem. You need funds, because without them, your dream project stays on hold.

But fear not! If you’re a homeowner, and have equity in your home, you may have some options. One possible funding opportunity could be a second mortgage through access to your home equity. You may be able to take out what’s called a home equity line of credit (HELOC), or a home equity installment loan.

Unfamiliar with the idea of using your home‘s equity as collateral on a loan? No problem. Before you go any further with your plans, check out the Achieve Your Goals site. It’s a new financial resource from U.S. Bank. It’s a great resource with a variety of articles on financial topics such as home equity.

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While the end result – access to funds – is essentially the same through both a home equity credit line and installment loan, and they both use your home as collateral, they are structured differently. So you’ll want to see which of these makes the most sense for your unique circumstances.

On the other hand, a HELOC or Home Equity Loan may not be the right move for you if:

  • You plan on moving soon. You’ll need to pay back the line or loan when you sell your home.
  • You might not be able to afford monthly payments. Remember your home is used as collateral.

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The HELOC

With a U.S. Bank home equity line of credit, you may be able to borrow funds (up to the limit on your line of credit) on an as-needed basis to finance what you want, when you want, without having to reapply. For example: buying a new vehicle, consolidating debt or a starting a home remodeling project. There’s no need to reapply as the need for funds arises (as long as you don’t exceed your amount of credit). Also, HELOC interest rates tend to be lower than credit cards or unsecured loans.

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Home equity loans

A home equity loan is essentially an installment loan. You apply for a specific loan amount and make monthly payments to pay it off. A home equity loan can be a great way to consolidate debt or pay for a one-time expense like that big project that’s begging to be finished. A U.S. Bank home equity loan can be a great way to go: competitive rates, low monthly payments and the bonus of potential.

With U.S. Bank you have home equity options. This makes getting a loan or line an even better choice!

Visit Sponsors Site

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My Worst Couponing Fail http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/my-worst-couponing-fail http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/my-worst-couponing-fail#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:19:42 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15973 While I don’t subscribe to Sunday newspapers anymore, I still use printable coupons. Since Sprouts opened this year near me, I’ve been going there for grocery deals. I haven’t used a lot of coupons lately but decided to on my last visit. Also, I had my daughter with me which makes shopping a challenge. And […] Read more...

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While I don’t subscribe to Sunday newspapers anymore, I still use printable coupons.

Since Sprouts opened this year near me, I’ve been going there for grocery deals.

I haven’t used a lot of coupons lately but decided to on my last visit.

Also, I had my daughter with me which makes shopping a challenge. And I went around 3pm, when the lot was full. But I got a parking space after someone just left. Awesome!

All those things didn’t deter me as I was getting some good deals on produce and using only 2 coupons – one for dairy-free ice cream and laundry detergent. The deals were so good, like getting these items at half off.

Anyway, at checkout I presented my 2 coupons to the cashier. Even though my daughter was with me and telling me she was hungry during checkout, I made sure to watch the register to make sure the coupons were scanned.

All was well and I loaded the groceries and my daughter in the car and left my prime parking spot. However, as I was driving in my car 5 minutes later and was stopped at a stoplight, I happened to glance at my receipt.

I noticed 2 weird transactions, the amounts were the same as my coupons. I had a $1 off coupon for dairy-free ice cream and a $2 off coupon for laundry detergent.

worst couponing fail

These items on the receipt weren’t specific like the others. It just said $1 dairy item and a $2 laundry item. I knew I didn’t buy a $1 dairy item or a $2 laundry item and my coupons didn’t show up on the receipt.

But I remembered that the cashier had scanned the coupons.

Then I realized that she scanned the coupons as items.

WTH??? Are you freakin’ kidding me?

I didn’t even know that was possible! I was so LIVID! Steam was coming out of my ears.

I had just driven there during a busy time and didn’t want to drive back with my hungry daughter and melting ice cream. Ugh! And find parking… again!

I thought it was just $3. Forget about it.

Then I realized it was really $6 that I had lost – $3 overcharged and $3 I would have saved.

I lost money because I used coupons. Really?

So I dropped my daughter off at grandmas and rushed back. It was only a 5 minute drive.

And when I went back and to the same register, it was a different cashier but I didn’t realize it at the time. I was so upset that I yelled at her by mistake. My memory gets hazy when I’m angry.

Seriously, I wasn’t going to leave until they gave me a refund.

The manager came out and we walked over to the right cashier as she was working a different register. I guess she switched in the short time that I was gone.

The cashier apologized and I got my $6 back. All was right again in the universe.

I will still shop at Sprouts.

And to cool off, I treated myself to window shopping at the brand new Bed, Bath, and Beyond nearby. And it worked.

OMG, I just can’t believe that this can happen, that a cashier can scan your coupons as items instead of discounts. So instead of saving money, you end up losing money!

Now I tell myself this:

Look at your damn receipt after checkout.

I usually do but sometimes my daughter wants something and I get distracted.

Lesson learned.

Do you have a major couponing fail?

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10 Smart Tips on How to Make Your Money Work for You http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/10-smart-tips-on-how-to-make-your-money-work-for-you http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/10-smart-tips-on-how-to-make-your-money-work-for-you#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 17:05:12 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=2021 In this economic climate, you need every dollar to work for you as hard as it can. Whether you’re having a hard time finding a job, are struggling to make ends meet, or need to pay down debt, it’s time to get a plan into action. Here are 10 tips to help you make your […] Read more...

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In this economic climate, you need every dollar to work for you as hard as it can.

Whether you’re having a hard time finding a job, are struggling to make ends meet, or need to pay down debt, it’s time to get a plan into action.

Here are 10 tips to help you make your money work for you, to live richly – on a budget.

Tip #1 – Prioritize Your Spending

Before you do anything with your money, you should have a goal in mind, whether it is to retire comfortably or go on vacation to the Caribbean. Look at your monthly expenses and decide what is most important to you and what falls down on the list in terms of priority.

Tip #2 – Live Within Your Budget

Learning to live within a budget can be difficult at first, but it is a good habit to have. Sit down and evaluate your monthly expenses and the amount of income you have every month. Hopefully, your income is larger than your expenses, but if it is the other way around, then you need to go to your priority list and do some trimming down of expenses.

Tip #3 – Invest in Your 401(k)

While many companies no longer match or contribute to 401(k) plans, if you have one available at your place of work, you should take advantage of it. Even investing a small amount of money every paycheck will make your money work for you throughout the years.

10 smart ways to make your money work for you

Tip #4 – Comparison Shop

There are lots of apps available for smart phones these days that can help you price compare while you shop. While you use your phone to compare prices, you should also consider comparing phone plans. Even if you are shopping online there are price comparison applications like PriceGrabber or MagicHand. Use these apps to make sure you are getting the best price and saving money.

Tip #5 – Use a Shopping List

This sounds old fashioned, but it works. Before you go shopping, whether it is for groceries or anything else, make a list of what you need and stick to it. This prevents you from impulse buying items that you do not need and do not want to spend money on.

Tip #6 – Save Money

There are lots of ways to save money while having fun. With the savings, you can invest money so that it is working for you.

Tip #7 – Consider Downsizing

Lifestyles change, consider downsizing. Some of us have lost our jobs or our kids are finally leaving the nest.

Not everyone actually needs a big house to live in, particularly after your children are gone and have moved out on their own. Even if you are still raising your kids, you may want to consider downsizing as a way to decrease your expenses and have more money available to you for saving or investing.

Go through your house and make a list of all of the items that you could put in storage or just plain get rid of. Look at buying a smaller house or renting for a period of time.

Tip #8 – Pay Down Your Credit Card Debt

If you have trimmed your budget and eliminated non-essential spending, then you should have money available to pay down your credit card debt. Credit card debt is one of the means by which many families find they are drowning.

Find a low interest credit card to transfer your debt to. Once you eliminate this debt, then you can put your money to work for you in other ways. Pay at least double the minimum monthly payment and you will definitely save in interest and other fees.

Tip #9 – Diversify Your Investments

One of the best ways to make your money work for you is to invest it. This way you can make your income grow and your wealth increase. Do not put all of your investments into one product or tool. Instead, diversify into stocks, bonds and other investments so that you can weather the storm better if a financial storm comes along.

Tip #10 – Have an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund should be able to float your financial needs for at least six months or longer. You can create an emergency fund by having a savings account or other financial account in which you save money. This way, your money is not only there for emergencies, but also is working for you by gaining interest or increasing in value over time.

You must make the commitment to be the master of your money and not the other way around. If you implement the 10 tips above into your financial routine, you will be well on your way to making your money work for you.

This guest post was contributed by Charles at CreditDonkey, a website helping readers, like you, find credit card rewards to make your money work for you.


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Can’t Pay Your Taxes in Full? Here’s What to Do. http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/cant-pay-taxes-full http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/cant-pay-taxes-full#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 05:43:50 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=14235 In a tough economy, doing taxes can be a nightmare. Maybe last year you lost your job, became self-employed, or had to cash out retirement accounts early to survive. You didn’t withhold enough taxes from your paycheck or pay enough estimated taxes last year. Consequently, you’re stuck with a large tax bill. If you can’t […] Read more...

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In a tough economy, doing taxes can be a nightmare.

Maybe last year you lost your job, became self-employed, or had to cash out retirement accounts early to survive.

You didn’t withhold enough taxes from your paycheck or pay enough estimated taxes last year.

Consequently, you’re stuck with a large tax bill.

If you can’t pay your taxes in full by April 15, what can you do?

Here are a few options and take a deep breath. You’ll be OK.

1. File by April 15th.

No matter what, file your taxes on time, even if you can’t pay the full amount. There will be stiff penalties if you don’t file your taxes on time.

Even if you request an extension to file taxes, you still have to pay 90% of what you owe by April 15.

2. Borrow Money.

Can you borrow money from family or friends? This may not be an option for everyone.

Whatever you do, don’t get a payday loan or high interest online loan. It will make your problems worse. There are better solutions.

3. Pay with a credit card.

Credit card interest rates can be as high as 20% or more. Use this option with caution.

4. Request an installment agreement from the IRS.

The IRS allows an installment agreement once every 5 years. If you paid your taxes in full the past 5 years, owe less than $50,000, and you can pay in full within 120 days or less, you can apply for an online payment agreement.

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Photo Credit: PT Money

There will be a fee of $120 for a standard agreement. If you pay by direct deposit, the fee drops to $52. If your income is below a certain level, then it’s $43.

You will also pay interest. Check IRS.gov for the current interest rate and for more info. It’s not as high as you think though.

If you go with this option, pay the most that you can by April 15th. Then figure out what you can afford to pay each month. After you apply, you will hear from the IRS within 30 days.

5. Offer in Compromise

For those who don’t qualify for an installment agreement or other payment alternative. It lets you settle your tax debt for less than you owe. Go here for more info.

6. Adjust Withholdings

If you owed money this year on taxes, it’s time to adjust withholdings on your W4 form from work. You may need to have more money taken out from your paycheck so you don’t owe a large amount next year.

If you’re self-employed, then think about putting more into estimated taxes.

Check out the IRS’ Eight Tips for Taxpayers Who Owe Taxes.

Disclaimer: I am not a tax professional. This is not tax advice. Please consult a tax professional or the IRS for more info on your specific situation.

 

 

 

 

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Why Couponing Won’t Solve Your Money Problems http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/why-couponing-wont-solve-your-money-problems http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/why-couponing-wont-solve-your-money-problems#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:31:02 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15899 In the past few years, couponing has become very popular due to shows like TLC’s Extreme Couponing. I’ll admit that I had dreams of saving hundreds of dollars off my grocery bill by simply following their methods. So I subscribed to the Sunday paper and every week I checked couponing blogs and tried to match […] Read more...

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In the past few years, couponing has become very popular due to shows like TLC’s Extreme Couponing.

I’ll admit that I had dreams of saving hundreds of dollars off my grocery bill by simply following their methods.

So I subscribed to the Sunday paper and every week I checked couponing blogs and tried to match up store sales with coupons.

But you know what? I didn’t get the same results as the people on TV.

I didn’t save hundreds of dollars, only a few dollars or enough to justify the cost of a Sunday newspaper subscription!

Why Couponing Won't Solve Your Money Problems

I couldn’t amass a stockpile of canned goods or toilet paper, not that I had room for that anyway.

I felt like a failure.

What did I do wrong?

Well, the TV shows aren’t realistic. The show features people who are shopping their biggest “scores”.

They’re not doing regular grocery shopping. They admittedly spend months putting together these once-in-a-lifetime deals.

Is it worth the cost of Sunday newspaper subscriptions?

And I felt like the couponers on TV never accounted for the cost of Sunday newspaper subscriptions into their budget! Did you feel this way?

They would say,”I saved $500 off my grocery bill”. But how much did they spend on newspaper subscriptions and couponing clipping services?

After those costs, how much did you really save?

I went to a couponing workshop sponsored by my local newspaper. They brought in an extreme couponer to give us tips. At the end of the workshop, they were selling us 5 newspaper subscriptions for $90!

After that, I knew that it wasn’t worth it.

If couponing works for you, then good for you!

But it doesn’t work for me.

Are you buying foods that your family will eat and products they’ll use?

My family has food allergies and chemical sensitivities, which means we don’t buy a lot of processed foods. We don’t buy a lot of canned goods, frozen meals, junk food, soda, or snacks.

I suffered through food allergies during the time I was subscribing to the Sunday paper. And each week, I’d pour over the coupons and pass over coupon after coupon of foods I could not eat and products I could not use. I felt like the newspaper subscription was a waste of money since I didn’t earn my money back.

We don’t buy the food that we see on the couponing shows. And the majority of the coupons are for processed foods and products that we don’t use.

I also believe the key to health is not in a new food product that claims health benefits but in eating the foods that will help your body be in balance. And that’s different for each person.

We buy whole foods and natural care products. Unfortunately, Sunday paper coupons do not help us.

Is that deal really a deal?

Plus, I also noticed that although CVS has great deals and coupons, they’re not really deals. I compared CVS prices to those at Target and Target was cheaper without coupons! What the heck?

Is it worth your time?

Yes, there are deals out there where you can get products for pennies on the dollar. But I never felt like driving out 10 minutes to the store, with my 3 year old daughter in tow, and spending 5 minutes to get the item and wait in line were worth saving me $3. The gas and my time weren’t worth it.

As much as I can cut my expenses, I realized that that wasn’t going to be enough to pay off debt, pay the bills, and to earn enough to have “extra.”

The key to solving my money problems is to make more money.

There, I said it. You have to make more money no matter what.

You have to find ways to bring in more income in order to dig yourself out of debt, in order to have enough to make ends meet, in order to have more than enough.

Do you know any millionaires who couponed their way to riches?

That being said, I do coupon with printable coupons (if it takes less than 10 minutes) and for other things, like searching for coupon codes for big ticket items because that doesn’t take a lot of time. Today, I saved $37 after 2 minutes of Googling.

What do you think? Do you coupon? Is it worth your time?

 

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Important Steps to Home Ownership http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/steps-to-home-ownership http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/steps-to-home-ownership#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 00:20:45 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15858 This post is written and sponsored by U.S. Bank. So, you’re ready to make the big leap into home ownership? Good for you. Home ownership can be a great experience and holds a number of tangible and intangible benefits. But first, you need to actually buy that property, which, especially if this is your first […] Read more...

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This post is written and sponsored by U.S. Bank.

So, you’re ready to make the big leap into home ownership? Good for you. Home ownership can be a great experience and holds a number of tangible and intangible benefits. But first, you need to actually buy that property, which, especially if this is your first home, can feel more than a little complicated.

Understanding the mortgage process

Since a home is arguably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, being prepared is key to having a successful experience. Doing some homework ahead of time – specifically on mortgage prequalification, the type of mortgage that’s best for you and determining how much home you can afford – will benefit you when it comes time to take the plunge.

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U.S. Bank is a great resource to help you navigate the often complex home-buying process. And if you’re really new to this frequently perplexing world, look no further than Achieve Your Goals, a new financial resources site from U.S. Bank. It’s full of information on a wealth of topics, including a My Home section filled with great articles on everything related to mortgages, homes and the home-buying process.

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What is prequalification?

Prequalifying for a mortgage is an important step in the home-buying process. It lets everyone involved know you’re serious about buying a home, and is a great way to help keep the process running smoothly. To see how much you may be able to borrow, and under what conditions, complete a mortgage prequalification request with U.S. Bank to get the ball rolling. You may be surprised what you may possibly qualify for. To do this, know that you’ll need to be a legal U.S. resident and 18 or older. Also, you’ll need to know your pre-tax annual household income and monthly household debt.

If you have been pre-qualified, the next step is determining what type of mortgage makes sense for your individual circumstances, as there are various types of mortgage loans. There are plenty of resources available where you can learn about the different types of mortgages that could be available to you.

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How much home can you afford?

First, figure out your plans for occupancy. Are you intent on living in the house for only a few years? Or maybe for the rest of your life? Are you in the military? Or have your eye on your dream home? Your answers to these questions could determine the type of loan and home that will work best for your personal buying experience.

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Whatever your circumstances are, give it some thought ahead of time. To get estimates of what your mortgage payments could look like, try this U.S. Bank mortgage calculators.

Once you’ve been prequalified, determined what type of mortgage makes the most sense for you and know how much home you can afford, you’ll be ready to start looking for that dream home.

Happy house-hunting!

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