8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month

The Christmas season is rapidly approaching, which can leave many of us panicking about where that “extra” money is going to come from for buying decorations, gifts, attending dinners, and the like. October is the perfect time to plan because believe it or not, there are a lot of ways you can save money in the next 30 days that can help you breathe a little easier knowing the holidays are coming.

8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month

Dave Ramsey, the king of getting out of debt and saving money, has LOADS of tips and tricks that are great ideas for life in general, but I decided to compile eight of them because not only do we want to save money, but we still want to be able to shop and have fun right? You can indeed have both! Here’s 8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month

1.) Visit the library: Did you know that part of your tax money goes to fund your local library? When my mom recently found out that FOUR HUNDRED dollars a year of her taxes were going to the library, she decided it was high time to make some use of it. She rents books, DVD’s, CD’s, and more. Emma Kate loves going to the children’s story time and we get lots of books and DVD’s. Her interests change so quickly it’s way better than buying all of that stuff anyway!

2.) Consignment shops: Not only do I sell Emma Kate’s olf clothes and toys at the local consignment shop, but I buy from there, too! I also am a huge fan of thredUP* and have gotten some amazing deals on brand new clothing!

3.) Cut cable: This one took me a while to consider because I was worried about my beloved football games, but now there are SO MANY other options for watching TV! netflix! Amazon Prime! Sling TV! Hulu! Cable has gotten so outrageous and cutting the cord can save you a ton. If you go to the Hulu website through this link, you can get a free trial, so be sure to check it out!*

4.) Check the sale papers: I feel like this is something people don’t do a lot anymore, but a lot of stores and grocery stores have weekly or monthly sale papers with the hottest deals. We use this for BOGO’s and certain days of the week that more expensive items like chicken or meats are on sale. I also use Cartwheel for Target and digital coupons for other stores. You don’t even have to go extreme couponing to save money. It adds up fast!

5.) Be electricity mindful: I was raised that when you leave a room, you turn off a light. I feel like more and more kids are not being taught to conserve these days, and it does drive me a little batty. Simple things like turning off lights, closing curtains and blinds and raising the air conditioning when you leave the house can save you a few dollars every month, which can really add up over the course of a year.

6.) Search for free activities: I know not all towns have a lot of free activities, but do some digging and you may be surprised. In Tampa, I’m subscribed to a weekly email for fun things for kids to do over the weekend in my city. Some have small costs, but most are free and there is never a shortage of things to do especially if we are willing to drive a little bit. Your kids don’t have to have the most expensive toys to have fun and make memories!

7.) Pack your lunch: The amount that this one adds up to is truly shocking. I know people who eat out for lunch at work every. single. day. That’s on average $50 a week, or $200+ A MONTH! Add on those who go to Starbucks daily and we are talking a pretty penny my friends. Sure I love a special treat or lunch on occasionally just like everyone else, but I have learned that not only is it better for my wallet to pack a lunch, but it’s better for my waistline, too! This one can be a hard habit to break especially for those who do this socially. Maybe try to go to just once a week, or when there is a special celebration. You could even try to get your coworkers to help hold you accountable and you all pack a lunch and go eat at a park one day together.

8.) Ask for discounts: There are so many places that offer discounts that just don’t advertise them (think AAA, senior discounts, kids eat free, etc.) My rule of thumb is always to ask! The worst they can say is no. You can also do an internet search, there are a lot of websites that list out stores and restaurants that offer discounts, free birthday rewards, or nights of the week for kids to eat free.

I hope you enjoyed these 8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month!

*If you sign up for Hulu or purchase form ThredUP with my link, I receive a small affiliate commission.

Related: Top 10 tips for saving money on your Disney World vacation

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Social Side Hustle: 21 Days to Becoming a Social Media Manager

It’s finally time you guys! What I have been promising for months now is finally done, and the doors will soon open for my e-course which is all about making money from home in social media. This course is for you if you want to work form home part time OR full time, learn how to automate work so that you are working SMARTER and not HARDER, and want a better life for you and your family.

I grew up in a very hard working family. It was instilled in me as a small child that you have to work hard to get what you want in life. While I still believe this to an extent, a lot of us have a tendency to take this a step too far. It hit me one day when I was complaining to my husband. I vividly remember saying to him: “It’s just not fair. I work SO HARD but don’t seem to be getting anywhere. I work way harder than XYZ, and they are doing so much better than me.”

Wow.

So much to digest in that simple sentence.

First I want to point out this isn’t a jealously thing, I am truly happy for those who are happy and successful, this was about me being really hard on myself and trying to “earn” my way to success. I thought that the more hours I put in, the more I focused, and the more sacrifices I made, it would all add up to success on my part. I mean, that’s the “rule” right?

Wrong.

While this is true for some people, what if I told you that you could be successful WITHOUT working more hours, without killing yourself and wearing yourself down, and without stressing about what to do next?

Work smarter, not harder.

As a social media manager, I have figured out a lot of ways, mostly by experience, research, and the knowledge of others, that have allowed me to work this way. I now spend way less time working than I did when I had a 9-5, but I am making more money, AND I get to work from home. How?

A lot of reasons. Not something I can share in one single blog post. Sure there is front in work, but once your processes are all set up, you can use tools and systems to your advantage and work smarter, not harder.

That’s why I created Social Side Hustle. Sure, you could spend years (like I did) spinning your wheels trying to crack the code, and sure, you would eventually figure it out because you are a smart cookie, OR, you could take my course, and learn everything you need to know to work for yourself from home, all in 21 days or less.

I will be sending out emails next week announcing my pre-sale, free webinar, and my launch, so you won’t want to miss it! Make sure you are on the list by signing up here, and you will also get a free social media manager checklist.

Get ready to work smarter and not harder!

 

10 Easy Ways to Save Money This Month

I recently moved from Mississippi to Florida. We quickly realized that it costs more in every sense of the word to live in our new state, so I have had to get creative with ways to save money every month while also decreasing our spending. Sometimes finding ways to save is just as important as finding ways to earn! Check out my 10 easy ways to save money this month and start saving today!

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1.) Don’t spend if you can’t pay: This seems like a no brainer, but a surprising amount of folks struggle with this one. In our house, we don’t make big purchases on our credit card unless we can pay them in full when the bill comes due. If we can’t, then we just do without. Sure I would love to buy new furniture for my house, but it’s currently not in the budget, so right now we have no bar stools. The month will come, but this month just isn’t it. So we just stand around in the kitchen when we eat. I kid, we have a table!

2.) Unplug/electricity: Did you know that even when your stuff isn’t on, but it’s still plugged in…it’s using electricity? I have tried to get in the habit of unplugging things like my phone charger and laptop when they aren’t being used. The two main lamps we use in the living room are on an extension cord we just unplug instead of turning on and off the lamps. It’s the little things that add up!

3.) Monthly subscriptions: How many of you get 27,000 magazine subscriptions every month? How many do you actually read? I have cut back and no longer get monthly magazines (I used to get about 4-5!) The magazines would stack up and mock me and I felt guilty for not opening them. A sad situation. Now I save money and don’t feel pressured.

4.) Stop being grocery brand loyal: Confession: I rarely used to check the prices of items against their competitors in the store, I just bought my favorite brands. I know right? Huge mistake. Not only because a lot of times a competitor may be on sale, but quite frankly for a lot (not all) grocery related items, you can’t really tell the difference in the store brand or name brand. I have saved a lot of money by price checking and using coupons before I throw something into my cart and buy.

5.) Buy consignment: People are constantly asking me where I get Emma Kate’s adorable clothes. Truth is, rarely do I buy her clothes new. If I do get something new, it’s from a pre sale Facebook group where I pay for things months in advance in order to get them super cheap. I can buy a second hand church dress for EK for a fraction of the cost at a consignment shop, and no one can tell it isn’t brand new. I started doing the same with furniture as well. I bought an old wooden dresser for $75 on Facebook, put a fresh coat of white paint on it and repurposed it as our new TV stand in our home. For under $100 we have a great piece of furniture that would have cost us hundreds at a store. I have totally gotten over the need to have everything “new”. You can find some great deals on second hand items if you take the time to research and are willing to put in a little elbow grease.

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Would you have ever guessed we bought this dress at a consignment shop? Nope!

6.) Eat out of your freezer and pantry: Before we moved, we ate out of our freezer and pantry for a couple of weeks to clean them both out, and I was amazed at the meals I could come up with. I also felt a little ashamed that we had so much food but yet I bought more and more every week. I have decided to make it a new thing where for one week every couple of months we eat out of what we already have at home. Don’t let that food expire and go to waste!

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7.) Stick to your list: This is a big pitfall for me, especially when it comes to a little store called Target and a little girl named Emma Kate. The dollar spot in particular is a weakness of mine because “it’s just $1.00” or “it’s just $3.00” but if I buy 5 items that is easily and quickly between $10 and $15! I create a list before I shop now and don’t stray from it. My kid really doesn’t need more toys and I don’t need more junky things to clutter up the house. Stop the impulse buying!

8.) Close the curtains: We moved into a bigger house which means a bigger electric bill. Did you know that windows are where most of the cold and heat comes into your house? I have started to close the blinds/curtains for rooms I’m not in during the day to help save on electricity. If I change rooms for an extended period of time, I just open up blinds/curtains in the new room, and close in the old room. No biggie.

9.) Cheaper phone plan: Bobby and I recently were able to save around $40 a month on our cell phone bill by switching our plan. We had an unlimited plan, but after looking at the past few months of data history, we realized we never even came close to reaching what the data limit would be on a plan that would have been way cheaper. If you have unlimited data, call your phone company and have them tell you how much data you are averaging a month. If it’s below one of the cheaper plan limits, switch!

10.) Sell items online: Not only do I buy furniture, clothing, and the like online…but I sell it, too. I am a member of several local Facebook yard sale groups, and have made a good amount of money selling everything from baby clothes and toys to furniture and electronics. It’s great for spring cleaning! Just make sure you take well lit photos and give good descriptions. Remember people like to haggle, so start your item at a price you are ok negotiating with. If you choose to do this, always meet in a public place in the daytime, and ask for cash only.

QOTD: What is your best tip for saving money?

How to Afford Your First Home

I was recently reflecting on the fact that in just a few days, we will have been back in Madison, Mississippi for a YEAR! It has flown by for sure.

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Our current home

We went from owning our home in Biloxi (which was our second house) to moving into a friends boathouse up here in Madison, to finally selling our Biloxi house and being able to buy a home up here.

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Our Biloxi home when it was still being built

Even though this is our third home, the home buying process was still special and the financial part of it is still a huge factor and something we worked hard towards. Even though we were very young when we got married, we were still able to purchase our own home as newlyweds. Make sure when buying a new home you have air testing done to make sure the air in the house doesn’t have any harmful chemicals.

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Our first home after we made an offer!

We rented apartments before then, and saved up our money from our jobs for a down payment. It wasn’t a glamorous house but it was ours (well, the banks!) Since we are now on our third house I feel like I am pretty knowledgeable of the home buying process and what it takes to make your dream of owning a home a reality, so here are my best tips.

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1.) Save save save: This one is kind of a given, but in an age where people want everything RIGHT NOW and they aren’t willing to wait to get what they want, it can be difficult to see the bigger picture. You can start with something as simple as a jar in your kitchen, or you can even set up a separate account at the bank and have a certain percent of your money you make go into that account. Set up a timeline, and work backwards to see how much you will need to save before a select date arrives. You will probably need to make some sacrifices along the way, so decide right now how important this is to you. Lunch out every day and Starbucks seven days a week may need to be cut down in order to make your dream a reality. It really adds up!

2.) Eliminate debt: I know this may seem contradictory to the previous point of saving, but by simply not purchasing things you cannot pay for RIGHT NOW, you will save yourself a lot of heartache when it comes to purchasing your first home. My husband and I have always had a rule with the credit card: If we can’t pay it off IN FULL at the end of the month, we don’t buy it. The exception to this for us has been a mortgage and student loans, and some people lump car payments into this as well. I’m talking about vacations, that cute new handbag, or that new couch you just “HAD to have”. Friends, we used TV trays as nightstands for the first few years of our marriage. Trust me, you do not “have” to have a brand new expensive couch. The less interest you have to pay on things you own, the more money that can to towards your new home. Even if you have already made mistakes in this department, you can start TODAY by not buying more stuff, and paying off the things you owe on. Baby steps, you can do this!

3.) Do research: There are a lot of other costs to think about when buying a home aside from the cost of the actual house. You need to think about closing costs, moving costs, and things you will of course want to buy like blinds or curtains, lawn equipment, etc. Be sure to include these things in your overall price so you don’t get surprised by them later on. Also, be sure to research locations and neighborhoods. Think about the value of a home location for resale purposes, it does matter!

4.) Get prequalified: So let’s say you have been saving, eliminating our debt, doing research, and you think you are ready to start looking at homes. You will need to know how much of a house you can afford, so be sure to get prequalified. Also, just because you are told you can spend up to X number of dollars, doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD spend that much.

5.) Be realistic: Everything around us today tells us we need a big fancy house with beautiful décor from the day we get married. TV shows and the like paint a very unrealistic picture of what most young couples can afford in a first home. Most people can’t afford their “dream home” for their first home, and that is NORMAL! You have to start somewhere, and having a smaller house and smaller mortgage to start with can help you save for a nicer and bigger house later on. (Also, ideally, your monthly housing payment shouldn’t be more than 28 percent of your gross household monthly income). For instance, if you don’t plan to have kids for 5-7 years, don’t buy a house with five bedrooms! Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and think ahead to the future and what your current need is, and match it to your price point. No one wants to be “house poor”. I know you have seen them, people who have a huge fancy house with minimal furniture and they can’t afford anything else because of their mortgage? Don’t be that couple! There is plenty of time for another purchase.

6.) Learn about home loans: CapitalOne is a great place to start! Their goal is to help first-time homebuyers understand how the home loan process works, which is why they have launched a new online learning center that features the know-how you’ll need to become the savviest homeowners on the block. The Capital One Home Loans Online Neighborhood is a free online resource where you can learn all about home buying. Buying a home is an important process, but certainly not a simple one – Capital One’s new online resource lays the groundwork with a glossary of terms you should know, an overview of the loans available and more. You can visit their website for more info.

Happy Buying!

QOTD: What was the hardest part of saving for or buying a home for you and your family?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.