Living Richly on a Budget http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com Sat, 24 Jan 2015 01:36:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 99 Cent Clothes Sale at ThredUP 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...

The post 99 Cent Clothes Sale at ThredUP appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>




$.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

The post 99 Cent Clothes Sale at ThredUP appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/99-cent-clothes-sale-thredup/feed 2
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...

The post Grocery Sale Cycles – When Do Things Go on Sale? appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
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.

Subscribe Me Now

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

The post Grocery Sale Cycles – When Do Things Go on Sale? appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/grocery-sale-cycles-when-do-things-go-on-sale/feed 68
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...

The post Taking Better Care of Yourself in the New Year appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
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?

 

 

 

The post Taking Better Care of Yourself in the New Year appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/taking-better-care-new-year/feed 0
$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...

The post $50 Sprouts Gift Card Giveaway and New Store Opening (Ended) appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
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

The post $50 Sprouts Gift Card Giveaway and New Store Opening (Ended) appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/50-sprouts-gift-card-giveaway-new-store-opening/feed 30
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...

The post Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts – Use It or Lose It appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
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

The post Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts – Use It or Lose It appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/health-care-flexible-spending-accounts-use-it-or-lose-it/feed 3
Stretch Your Holiday Shopping Budget http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/stretch-holiday-shopping-budget http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/stretch-holiday-shopping-budget#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:53:06 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15494 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chase Ultimate Rewards. All opinions are 100% mine. December is one of the busiest months for everyone. Everywhere you go, it’s crowded and the parking lots are filled up, like no other time of year. That’s why I love to do my holiday shopping […] Read more...

The post Stretch Your Holiday Shopping Budget appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chase Ultimate Rewards. All opinions are 100% mine.

December is one of the busiest months for everyone.

Everywhere you go, it’s crowded and the parking lots are filled up, like no other time of year.

That’s why I love to do my holiday shopping online to avoid the crowds.

It’s easier to get all the items on my list online and get them shipped to my door and avoid all the challenging things that come with taking a child out, like meltdowns at the mall!

You know what I’m talking about, parents!

It’s hard to concentrate on what I’m buying in a store, when my curious toddler is running around touching everything and asking me questions.

When I shop online, I stay sane, on track (avoiding unnecessary purchases that happen when I’m in the store), and within budget.

And I can shop at anytime of the day, like when my daughter is sleeping.

stretch holiday budget

Photo: JD Hancock

I’ve already finished 90% of my Christmas shopping and I used a gift card to purchase these toys! I was even able to get myself a dustbuster (which I love!) with the leftover balance. Isn’t that such a parent thing?

On top of that, I earn rewards with my credit card that I use towards other gifts. If you’re going to spend the money anyway, why not earn rewards on top of it?

In my opinion, the best rewards are the ones that can be earned quickly and easily, without having to jump through hoops.

With Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can redeem the points you earn for travel, gift cards, VIP access to concerts, sporting events, or even cash back. Rewards can be used for travel on any flight at any time without blackout dates or restrictions.

The newly designed UltimateRewards.com makes it easy to track your current rewards points, how many rewards were earned per transaction, lets you bookmark your favorite rewards to find it easier later, and customizes recommendations for rewards you might like based on your card activity and offerings that you “like,” and more.

Ultimate Rewards are available to those who have a Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire and Ink from Chase credit card. And during the holidays, Chase offers extra incentives to cardholders with Ultimate Rewards.

I love how easy it is to redeem rewards with Chase. Starting at 2,000 points, it is $20 in rewards. You can use it towards a reward or simply get cash back via direct deposit.

Redemption towards gift cards are available at the same prices as in the store without outrageous markups that are often tied to credit card rewards programs.

With Ultimate Rewards, $50 in earned rewards will buy a $50 gift card. It’s as simple as that.

There are those rewards programs that take forever to earn rewards that it’s discouraging. Why even bother?

With Chase, I can easily earn $20 in rewards in a month. Who couldn’t use an extra $10, $20, or $50 a month?

Using credit card rewards to buy gifts is another way to stretch your money during the holidays. It’s like getting free stuff for doing things you’re already doing, like grocery shopping, eating out, and buying gas.

Another great way to take advantage of these rewards is to use it as cash back for your savings, emergency fund, or vacation fund. Or use them exclusively for gifts.

How do you stretch your budget during the holiday season?

Visit Sponsor's Site

The post Stretch Your Holiday Shopping Budget appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/stretch-holiday-shopping-budget/feed 0
Do You Qualify for a Free Cell Phone? http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/qualify-free-cell-phone http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/qualify-free-cell-phone#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 23:42:46 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15488 If you’re down and out and living paycheck to paycheck, the last thing you want to think about is bills. But what if you could get rid of one recurring bill forever? There is a little known program for those with lesser income called Assurance Wireless run by Virgin Mobile. It provides a free phone and […] Read more...

The post Do You Qualify for a Free Cell Phone? appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
free cell phoneIf you’re down and out and living paycheck to paycheck, the last thing you want to think about is bills.

But what if you could get rid of one recurring bill forever?

There is a little known program for those with lesser income called Assurance Wireless run by Virgin Mobile.

It provides a free phone and phone service to those who qualify.

In California, users can get unlimited calls and texts!

Drawbacks:

  • You have to upgrade your phone to be able to text like a normal person (about $30-$50 from Virgin Mobile) as the free phone does not have an onscreen keyboard.
  • Say goodbye to smartphones.

Assurance Wireless does not support smartphones. They are only compatible with touch screen phones (phones without apps). So Androids and iPhones don’t work with this program.

The Details:

  1. Get 500 free minutes and unlimited texts for the first 4 months (in California, it’s unlimited call minutes).
  2. You qualify either by income or program based. That means you qualify for Assurance Wireless if you are on another government program, like health insurance.
  3. This program is part of the Lifeline service where you can get a free landline or cell phone.
  4. Only one account per household.
  5. Not available in all states or areas.

See if you qualify at Assurance Wireless.

 

The post Do You Qualify for a Free Cell Phone? appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/qualify-free-cell-phone/feed 0
How We Slashed Our Cell Phone Bill By More Than Half http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/slashed-cell-phone-bill-half http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/slashed-cell-phone-bill-half#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 22:21:18 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15480 Our budget has been getting tighter lately. And this has motivated me to search high and low for different ways to save money and cut expenses. So even though it has been tough, really tough for our family, there is a glimmer of hope because I have found unexpected resources and programs to help. Cell phones […] Read more...

The post How We Slashed Our Cell Phone Bill By More Than Half appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
Our budget has been getting tighter lately.

And this has motivated me to search high and low for different ways to save money and cut expenses.

So even though it has been tough, really tough for our family, there is a glimmer of hope because I have found unexpected resources and programs to help.

Cell phones are a necessity nowadays.

Since I’ve gotten a smartphone a few years ago, I have to admit that I have become dependent on it. I thought I could get away without a data plan but because I’m a blogger, I need to be able to post to social media on the fly.

A smartphone also helps me get directions to a new place without a paper map. If I get lost, I can always make a call or use my maps app.

Our last cell phone plan for my husband and me was a whopping $170/mo including tax and unlimited data. As we were going through expenses, that bill seemed excessive.

We waited until our contract ended and started searching for deals on other carriers. I even consulted with my Facebook fans and got lots of great suggestions.

Most people mentioned Straight Talk, which looks like a great option if you have your own phone.

We were looking to upgrade our phones as they were getting slow. I was on an iPhone 4 and it was running out of memory.

cut your cell phone bill in half

 

Last year, I attended a Sprint event and got a Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. I didn’t know anything about Android phones but learned to use it and came to like it.

It does everything my iPhone does except Facetime, iMessage, and Find iPhone. I will miss Facetime though.

We didn’t want to pay taxes on a new phone so we waited to figure out the right thing to do.

On Thanksgiving a friend gave my husband his old Sprint Android phone so that sealed the deal.

Sprint Framily Plan

I heard about the Sprint Framily (friends and family) Plan where if you get a certain number of people on a group plan, you can get your bill down to $25/mo. It starts at $50/mo for the first person and includes unlimited talk and text and 1 gb of data. Unlimited data is just an extra $20/mo.

When a new person joins the plan, it goes down $5/mo for everyone. That means when a 2nd person joins, the bill for everyone drops to $45/mo. For a 3rd person, it’s $40/mo. and so on.

$25/mo. is the lowest you can get. Up to 10 people can be on a Framily plan.

My husband knew of someone already on a Framily plan with 3 people so we joined their plan.

1. Bill can be as low as $25/mo. if you have at least 6 people on your Framily plan.

2. Sprint will waive the $36 activation fee for AAA members.

3. Unfortunately, you can only join an existing Framily plan. New members cannot start a new Framily plan.

See below on another way to save.

4. Everyone gets their own bill.

5. This special pricing lasts until the end of 2015.

Cut Your Bill in Half Event

Speaking of cutting your bill in half, I just found this new promotion that starts on 12/5/14.

Bring in your current cell phone bill and Sprint will match the features and cut your rate (minus taxes) in half! See details here.

The post How We Slashed Our Cell Phone Bill By More Than Half appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/slashed-cell-phone-bill-half/feed 0
10 Easy Steps to a Solid Debt Payoff Plan http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/10-easy-steps-solid-debt-payoff-plan http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/10-easy-steps-solid-debt-payoff-plan#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:36:46 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15464 When you have a lot of debt hanging over you, doesn’t it feel overwhelming? How are you going to pay it off? Will you pay it off… like before you reach retirement age? Where do you start? When I had $8,000 in student loans, I felt like this. You may have more or less than […] Read more...

The post 10 Easy Steps to a Solid Debt Payoff Plan appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
When you have a lot of debt hanging over you, doesn’t it feel overwhelming?

How are you going to pay it off?

Will you pay it off… like before you reach retirement age?

Where do you start?

When I had $8,000 in student loans, I felt like this. You may have more or less than this. And the circumstances of how you accumulated debt may be different.

You may have lost your job and weren’t able to find a new one as quickly. Your new job pays peanuts and doesn’t cover your family’s health insurance.

Or maybe you had a health emergency and your insurance didn’t cover a lot of your bills. Or you don’t have insurance.

You’re living on one income with small children and are barely making it. You’re on disability and can’t return to work.

You used your credit card for every purchase and didn’t have enough to pay it off. The balance and interest grew out of control! It happens to the best of us, even me.

Let’s focus on how you’re going to pay it off, with a clear cut plan.

debt payoff plan

1. If you have credit card debt, stop using your card(s) and switch to cash.

This is a hard adjustment at first, but force yourself to do this now so you can start moving forward on paying off debt, rather than create more debt.

You’re in debt payoff, crisis mode now. Look for any extra cash like coins and go to Coinstar.

Return any recent purchases that still have tags and are returnable. Trade any unused gift cards for ones that you can use like for groceries.

2. Write down all of your debt on a sheet of paper, an Excel sheet, or use my Budget Printables.

For example: Student loan $8,000, Credit Card #1 $5,000, etc.

3. List the interest rates, due dates, and minimum payment amount.

4. Figure out how much money you have in your budget to pay off debt. Write this number down on your Debt Payoff sheet.

5. Cut expenses.

Can you cut cable, lower your car insurance (with a low mileage discount if you don’t drive that much), sell something, cook more at home, or cancel unnecessary subscriptions?

debt eraser tracker 300

6. Figure out which debt to pay off first.

Pay more than the minimum amount on this debt to pay it off.

You can focus on the smallest debt amount, called the Debt Snowball Method by Dave Ramsey, to build confidence and momentum. Or you can pay off the one that bothers you the most, like loans from family or friends.

There’s no right or wrong way. Do whatever will make you feel better and will relieve the most stress.

As long as you’re paying off debt, you’re making progress. Any bit of progress is progress and you’re getting somewhere. Each step, each $50 payment, gets you one step closer towards your goal of paying off your debt.

7. Research ways to earn more money, doing side jobs or working overtime.

Put that extra money towards your debt. An extra $20, $50, $100 can really help you reach your goal faster.

And if you get a windfall, like Christmas money or a tax refund, use it to pay down your debt!

8. Get into the debt payoff mindset.

Tell yourself that you will pay off this debt. And if you need a timeline, then figure out how long it will take so you have an end date.

This actually provides some relief as you’ll know that there will be a concrete end date. That you won’t be paying off debt forever.

You might even pay off your debt sooner than this.

9. Get your significant other onto your debt payoff plan.

You can pay off your debt on your own. But if you and your significant other are not on the same page financially, it will be hard to stay debt free.

It may take months or even years for the financial trust to develop. Be patient and gentle. And talk openly while asking for their feedback and input.

10. Celebrate each win.

After you’ve paid off each debt, give yourself a reward, a small treat. I like to celebrate by visiting my favorite food truck. I cook a lot at home so not having to cook is a reward.

You don’t necessarily have to spend money. A reward can include walking on the beach or taking a hike.

 

Photo Credit for Credit Cards: Sean MacEntee via Flickr

The post 10 Easy Steps to a Solid Debt Payoff Plan appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/10-easy-steps-solid-debt-payoff-plan/feed 2
7 Easy Meals with a Rotisserie Chicken http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/easy-meals-with-rotisserie-chicken http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/easy-meals-with-rotisserie-chicken#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=4165 Need to make dinner quick but are starved for ideas? Don’t be tempted to do take out when you have these meal ideas to go to. With a store bought rotisserie chicken, the possibilities are endless. Costco seems to have the best price for rotisserie chicken at $4.99. Or use left over rotisserie chicken from […] Read more...

The post 7 Easy Meals with a Rotisserie Chicken appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
Need to make dinner quick but are starved for ideas?

Don’t be tempted to do take out when you have these meal ideas to go to.

With a store bought rotisserie chicken, the possibilities are endless. Costco seems to have the best price for rotisserie chicken at $4.99.

Or use left over rotisserie chicken from last night’s dinner.

Here are meals that I’ve made with a whole or left over rotisserie chicken.

And by easy, I mean there aren’t a lot of ingredients so you’ll be able to picture what’s in it.

1. Chicken Apple Salad Sandwich

No cook meals are great for those nights when you don’t have time to cook. Start with shredded rotisserie chicken, diced granny smith apple, mayo, and pepper to taste. Scoop it onto your favorite bread. Voila! Dinner is ready!

2. Chicken Salad

Shred chicken onto a bed of your favorite lettuce greens. Add sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, salad dressing, or whatever else you want. Easy!

3. Chicken Ramen

What’s easier than ramen? To make it heartier, add shredded chicken and your favorite frozen veggies. Done in under 10 minutes. My favorite brand of ramen is Koyo Tofu and Miso Ramen because it’s all natural and doesn’t have preservatives or MSG like the other brands.

 

easy meals with rotisserie chicken

4. Chicken Noodle Soup

It will warm you in the winter or when you’re sick. Add sliced carrots, celery, shredded chicken and chicken bouillon (according to package directions) to boiling water. Boil around5 – 10 minutes or until you can pierce carrots with a fork.

Add cooked noodles or pasta when done. My favorite bouillon is Better Than Bouillon, found in jar form. It’s all natural, doesn’t have MSG, and makes my soups full in flavor. They also have an organic, low sodium version, which is the one I found at Costco.

5. Chicken Quesadilla

Chicken quesadilla is easy and quick to make. Warm tortilla in a pan and add shredded chicken and shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese. Fold in half and flip when brown. Here’s an easy chicken quesadilla recipe found on All Recipes.

6. Chicken Congee

Congee is rice porridge, an Asian comfort food. We eat this when we’re sick, for breakfast, or anytime of day. Cooking congee is a little more challenging than the other meal ideas listed here, but after awhile, you’ll get the hang of it.

It may become a go-to meal for you because you don’t have to add a lot of ingredients. You’re just boiling rice but adding extra water to it so that you get a watery rice soup consistency.

And the rice is boiled to the point where it’s broken up and the starch makes it creamy. It’s easier and quicker to boil already cooked rice, rather than raw rice, which is a good way to use up leftover rice.

Add desired amount of rice to pot and add water. The ratio of water to rice depends on how thin or thick you want your congee to be.

Honestly, I don’t really measure, I just add water until I like the consistency. When it boils, some of the water will evaporate so you can always add more water to it as it cooks.

Start with a 1:2 ratio of rice to water, then add more water as needed. Boil for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the congee is the desired consistency. Add shredded rotisserie chicken, sliced ginger, scallions, etc. Here’s a congee recipe for reference.

7. Rotisserie Chicken with Veggies and Rice

When I’m tired or don’t have a lot of time, I buy a rotissserie chicken, then cook rice and veggies. If you’re super tired or busy, you can even cook the fresh or frozen veggies in the rice cooker with a steamer basket!

Place veggies in the last 5 minutes of cooking rice. If you don’t want to bother with cooking rice, just add a salad and dinner is ready.  

The post 7 Easy Meals with a Rotisserie Chicken appeared first on Living Richly on a Budget.

]]>
http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/easy-meals-with-rotisserie-chicken/feed 2