Taking Savings to a Whole New Level: Yesterday’s Tomorrow

It happens to everyone sooner or later – the big financial emergency that makes you feel like your life may crumble and fall. But if you have a good financial plan from the start, great big one time bills or financial emergencies aren’t as life altering as you might expect.

Yesterday's Tomorrow

Saving money is critically important in today’s society. Unfortunately, a majority of young adults are still struggling with high levels of debt and lack of a personal budget to help save for the future. For the past decade, Ad Council and AICPA’s Feed the Pig campaign has been working to improve financial literacy among Americans by encouraging them to make savings part of their daily lives.

The action you take today could change your life, really. But how do you know what financial decisions are the right ones? There are tons of resources and articles out there on what people think you should do with your finances, but not everyone could possibly understand where you come from, where you are going, and what your future financial goals are.

Yesterday's Tomorrow

Thankfully FeedThePig.org has great resources to help you figure out how and where to save more and spend wisely, including a new game called Yesterday’s Tomorrow. The game is like a “choose-your-own-adventure” in the form of a digital photo album! You get to develop a relationship with a future version of yourself – how incredibly cool is that? You get to jump through key life stages and instantly see the outcomes of those choices you make from teenage years through retirement. As you think through some life decisions like school, job, and awesome vacations, you’ll see how your choices may save, or lose money. No one wants to blow their money needlessly, right?

With kids and young adults today being so involved in gaming, what better way to teach them important life skills than with a game, something they can really relate to. And if my kids are going to be playing “video games” I would much prefer that they be learning something along the way. The new Yesterday’s Tomorrow game lets you not only have a little fun, but also see that financial literacy is important. I love that you can virtually see how adopting healthy financial habits can pay off!

Yesterday's Tomorrow

After using Feed the Pig’s resources, I realized that just by switching up how I spent my money, I could really begin to save. It felt impossible before, but playing through Yesterday’s Tomorrow helped me to focus more on my future self and realize the different ways to reach those goals for where I want to be financially. It is also a great game to show tweens and teens the importance and impact of specific financial decisions. At that stage in life, all they can think about is the fun stuff. This shows them how great the fun stuff can be, and how to get to a point where you can do the fun stuff without losing out on the important stuff too.

The game and FeedThePig.org helped us a lot. A majority of millennials (65%) attributed their lack of saving to impulse buying and not establishing a personal budget (62%), so I’m not the only one who has done this (and immediately regretted it!).

Yesterday’s Tomorrow helps young adults realize the importance of making positive financial decisions early in life, and shows the long-term benefits of being financially savvy. This unconventional approach to financial literacy is a win/win in my book – no matter what your age.

Yesterday's Tomorrow

What are your financial goals? Make sure to play Feed the Pig’s Yesterday’s Tomorrow and figure out how you can make them happen!

For more information and to play the game, visit FeedthePig.org!

Making Extra Money From Home

The following is a guest post. The opinions are those of the author.

 

Making ends meet when you are at home looking after your kids can be tough. But there are some ways to increase your earning potential that you can fit in alongside your mothering duties. Just read on to find out what they are.
Ebay

A very popular way of earning some additional income that can fit nicely alongside looking after the kids is selling things on eBay. Although most folks confine themselves to selling used and preloved items from their own collections to make a little extra cash.

 

However, this is not the only route to generating a side income. Another way to do this is to buy items in thrift stores. Obviously, check first that they are in good condition, sellable, and post-able and then resell them on eBay for a profit.

 

The thrift store makes a sale, you get a bargain, and you also have a fun trip for you and the kids to do in the day. You can even teach them how to do it, and maybe they will get the vintage shopping bug?

Of course, you don’t have to sell second-hand items on eBay. In fact, there are many people making a good living selling brand new items. But first, you have to decide what it is you are going to sell.

 

You can do this by looking at social media to see what is trending at the moment. Or perhaps it might be better to sell things that you already have some knowledge about? Like craft materials for a particular hobby you enjoy.

 

Then you need to source your products. Remember that buying wholesale works out cheaper by the unit so your profit margin will be larger. But you will need to work out how many you have to sell to make your money back and assess whether this is a viable option.

 

Surveys

 

If all of that sounds like a lot of work to juggle, with you already full plate, then maybe doing online surveys is a better choice to consider?

It works like this, the companies that have surveys on offer are doing market research for other companies. They need your honest opinions on things to give feedback to these companies on how well their product is being received and the like.

 

Therefore the companies pay the survey company to create and manage questions and get people to answer them. Which means that the survey company then passes some of their money on to you, in exchange for doing the survey.  It’s easy really!

 

But how does it work out in practice? Well, you can do most of the surveys on your smart device, which makes it super simple to earn some extra cash when you have a little time to kill. Like when you are waiting for your little one after a playdate, or when you are in front of the TV in the evening.

Before you commit to this though, you should be aware there are a lot of different companies out there such as Swagbucks. Also, not all companies pay cash, some pay in things like Amazon vouchers, so it’s best to be clear on this before you sign up.

 

Freelance sites

 

Another great way to earn some cash while not taking away from your other priorities like parenting is to register and apply for work through some the freelance sites like Fiverr. These sites are designed to allow you to pick and chose small freelance jobs according to your skill set and time level.

 

OK, so it might be hard to eke a full time living out of site like this, although some folks do claim to do it. But for topping up that bank account when the thing gets a bit low, it’s perfect.

 

Of course, you do have to have a marketable skill, before you can set yourself up as a freelance provider. Things like graphic design, illustration, copywriting, and coding is especially in demand.

 

Website testing

 

Lastly, a less well-known way of getting some cash earned when you have the kids to look after is to sign up to do some website testing.

 

This is where you agree to be recorded via audio, or video, as well as with the actions you take on the site. It’s purpose it to see how people actually use certain companies websites in real life and whether they can be improved to be more user-friendly.

You are also often asked to narrate what you are doing and how you feel about it for these tests, so it helps if you aren’t shy about giving your opinions.

Shopping With Groupon Online

Disclosure- This post was sponsored by Groupon. All opinions are my own. For more information, see “I Disclose”.

Shopping with Groupon is easy and can save you money. Groupon has already saved a lot of people tons of money- if you haven’t tried it, you should give it a go. Groupon has gained even more popularity as more and more establishments use the service and pass on some incredible savings to their customers. The way a Groupon works is that Groupon has offers which the customer pays for. These deals usually double the value of their money at the particular establishment, thus getting new customers in the establishment. If not double, it saves you money regardless, that’s just the average savings.  An example would be a cool new Japanese restaurant opens up and offers a $20 credit toward dinner. This saves you, who wants to get Japanese food anyway, or perhaps just like trying new places,significant savings and gets the restaurant new business. It also gives it exposure- maybe you (and thus others) had not heard of this place before, and now want to try it. When you try it, and like it, you become a regular customer. It’s a win-win.

There are tons of different types of stores with many coupons available from each. Some examples are Home Depot, Hertz(car rentals), Ebay, Lord and Taylor, Old Navy, AT&T, and Norton Antivirus- just a taste of the almost 9,000 stores with almost 80,000 coupons. There are a ton of options, you will certainly find coupons and savings that will be useful to you.

It is always nice to have a new “deals” site in your arsenal when online shopping, and Groupon should definitely be added to your favorites. You never know when that savings code to chip a little bit more off that final price could be found with just a few clicks.

Shopping With Groupon Coupons #ad

Disclosure- This post was sponsored by Groupon Coupons. All opinions are my own.

Groupon has saved a lot of people a lot of money- it has been what some might call a cultural phenomenon. Groupon has gained even more popularity as more and more establishments use the service and pass on some incredible savings to their customers. The way a Groupon Coupons works is that Groupon has offers which the customer pays for. These deals usually double the value of their money at the particular establishment, thus getting new customers in the establishment. An example would be a cool new Japanese restaurant opens up and offers a $20 credit toward dinner. This saves you, who wants to get Japanese food anyway, or perhaps just like trying new places,significant savings and gets the restaurant new business. It also gives it exposure- maybe you (and thus others) had not heard of this place before, and now want to try it. When you try it, and like it, you become a regular customer. It’s a win-win.

This has been an awesome way to save money and still go out and have fun. But buying in advance can be a bit odd for some, so Groupon has made up a new service called Groupon Coupons. The key way the new Groupon Coupons differs from Groupon is that there is no registration on the site in order to use the codes, and there is no upfront cost associated with them, either.

There are tons of different types of stores with many coupons available from each. Some examples are Lord and Taylor, Old Navy, AT&T, and Norton Antivirus- just a taste of the almost 9,000 stores with almost 80,000 coupons.

It is always nice to have a new “deals” site in your arsenal when online shopping, and Groupon Coupons should definitely be added to your favorites. You never know when that savings code to chip a little bit more off that final price could be found with just a few clicks. Groupon Coupons is curated, so you will only get the latest coupons and less expired or non working ones.

Skylanders Black Friday Deals

black friday

If your children love Skylanders, you are going to want to know about these deals.

Black Friday Deals

  • Starter packs at $39.99 at all major retailers
  • Senseis at $9.99 at all major retailers
  • Portal Owners Pack at $25 at WalMart
    • Owners of Skylanders SuperChargers, Skylanders Trap Team, Skylanders Swap Force or Skylanders Giants do not have to buy the Skylanders Imaginators starter pack and can get the Portal Owners pack instead and use the portal from the other games!
    • Included in the Portal Owners Starter Pack:
      • Skylanders Imaginators Video Game
      • 2 Skylanders Sensei Figures –  Master King Pen and Golden Queen
      • 1 Imaginite Creation Crystal – Fire Creation Crystal
      • 1 Sticker Sheet
      • Collection Poster featuring the complete set of Skylanders Imaginator Figures

 

Couponing Is The New Cool: Hints On How To Save

couponing

Couponing used to be the preserve of the elderly. It used to be something that our grandparents did. It used to be something that the younger generation would swerve sharply away from because, although it would certainly save them money, it was also very uncool. But things have changed. And now thousands of young people are choosing couponing – couponing is ‘in’.

Here are some helpful hints to get the most out of your couponing.

t’s all very well searching for great coupons and collecting them but check the expiration dates. No matter if you find the coupons online and print them out or if you clip them out of a newspaper, those expiration dates can cause havoc at the checkout. No matter how much you beg, the supermarket isn’t going to accept anything that has expired, so don’t even try. Save the coupons in date order and you should be able to use them all and not waste any of them.

Coupon Websites

Coupon websites such as the brilliant FreeCharge have a load of different coupons on their pages just waiting to be downloaded. Sign up to as many as possible and you could even get emails about the best deals. After a while you will be able to tailor your weekly shop to whatever coupons you’ve collected. Not only will this save you plenty of cash, but it could also expand your culinary experiences and get you to try things you’ve never eaten before.

Check The Junk Mail

Let’s face it, most of the time junk mail comes through the door we pop it straight into the bin. We might not even look at it. But that could be a big mistake. Instead of dumping the leaflets or booklets why not take a quick peek at them? There could be some interesting coupons lurking within those pages, and you might want to add them to your collection.

Stock Up

Even if you find a coupon for something you don’t necessarily want or need, you could still want to use them. You could stock up on useful items by buying them with the coupons and storing them at home. So what if you end up buying 40 toilet rolls? You’ll use them eventually, and if the deal is good enough it’s definitely worth it!

It’s Not Just Food

Saving money on essentials such as food and toiletries is fantastic. It’s great. It’s definitely worth doing. But the great thing about coupons in the 21st century is that it isn’t just about food. There are coupons available for pretty much everything. Want to go bungee jumping? You’ll find a coupon. Want to reduce your electricity bill? Coupon. Need to get away from it all in a gorgeous spa hotel? You’ve guessed it; there could well be a coupon for exactly that.

Couponing is definitely cool. It saves you money, gets you to try new things, and it means you’re always prepared thanks to kitchen cupboards that are bursting at the seams. What’s not to love about that?

How To Set Up A Coupon Binder

The following is a guest post by Outside the Box Mom:

Is the Coupon Binder Method for Me?

The advantages of using a coupon binder are that you have all coupons at your disposal, can take advantage of unadvertised deals, and it can be expanded for more storage. The disadvantages of using a coupon binder include the large, heavy binder, the time required to clip and file all coupons, the time required to remove all expired coupons, and the expensive supplies to setup. I’ve never used a coupon binder. For my current season of life, the con’s outweigh the pro’s. I have only used a coupon file and the insert method. I have written this tutorial as if I were going to do setup a coupon binder for the first time, myself.

how to make a coupon binder

The advantages of using a coupon binder are that you have all coupons at your disposal, can take advantage of unadvertised deals, and it can be expanded for more storage. The method also works for online coupons for your favorite stores. The disadvantages of using a coupon binder include the large, heavy binder, the time required to clip and file all coupons, the time required to remove all expired coupons, and the supplies to setup.

Supplies Needed to Make a Coupon Binder

  • 1-1/2″ (or larger) binder (zipper styles are more expensive but will stay together if dropped)
  • Baseball card pages ($4-$10 for 35-65 pages at national superstores)
  • Tabbed divider sheets
  • Presentation style folders with pockets (2)
  • Pencil pouch
  • Calculator
  • Scissors
  • Pen
I would estimate that all supplies would cost approximately $40.

How to Set Up a Coupon Binder

  1. The most important step is to [Read more…]

It’s Time For Coupons! All About Saving

The following is a guest post by Outside the Box Mom:

Last week, we discussed goals when using coupons. This week, I’ve listed some common reasons why people don’t use coupons.

I Don’t Have Time

Ten years ago, I used to do my own match-ups, clip every coupon, and check prices on every item I had a coupon for to see if I could get a good deal. That was before I was married with two children. Now, I file whole coupon inserts, check store deals blogs, make my list of best deals for the week, shop with that list, and skip some unadvertised deals I happen upon in the store (because I don’t carry all of my coupons with me). One hour a week could save you 50% on your grocery bill.

I Don’t Have Any Coupons

You could ask friends, neighbors, or co-workers to save their coupons from the Sunday newspaper for you. Or, you could print coupons online from sites like Coupon Sherpa using your own computer and printer. My friends and grandparents save their coupons for me. In addition, there is a free local newspaper in my area that includes the Sunday Smart Source coupon inserts. Each week, I have at least 6-8 sets of coupon inserts.

It’s Too Overwhelming!

Start small and slow. Pick the most expensive item or the items that cost you the most collectively (because you buy them most frequently). Then, work your way up to at least 10-15 items which you could get for much less if you used coupons. Once you begin to see your grocery bill decrease and your grocery budget stretch further, you will want to try more and more deals.

No Coupon on Products I Buy

According to moneysavingmom.com: “[t]here are often coupons available for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, flour, baking soda, toothbrushes, razors, toilet paper, and light bulbs.”

There are even coupons on pet products, organic products, restaurant meals, hair cuts, and other types of services. Many coupon blogs maintain coupon databases where you can search for coupons by brand name or item (example: “Purina” or “dog food”). While it’s fine to be brand specific on certain products (maybe 20% of items you regularly purchase), you will save the most money if you are open to other brands on the remaining 80% of items you regularly purchase.

Next week, we will discuss how you can overcome these common obstacles by changing one thing.

What makes using coupons too challenging for you?
This is an interactive series, which will feature answers to your questions. So, ask away!

Photo Credit

Outside The Box Mom features quick, easy, time-saving tips and solutions to help busy, working moms find balance, easy meals, deals, and time for moms. Follow her on Twitter.

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