Thursday, December 31, 2015

December 31st- Check those Gift Cards

Whew, we are just coming off of Christmas and some of us may have gotten gift cards. According to Gift Card Granny Over $40 BILLION gift card balances went unused from 2005- 2011. That's a lot!

Today I want you to search and see what gift cards you have. Make a list and make a notation about what you might need or want to get with those gift cards. I'm not telling you not to buy anything fun with your gift cards, but it is important that you just look and see what you have and see if you want to make any purchases with them. We don't want to lose that money!

As of right now I only have $43.xx in a gift card from The Limited. This is from a return I did from there about 6 months ago. I have it in my wallet and if I need a gift or perhaps they have a nice sale I'll know it's there. I doubt I use it this January though as I won't be stepping foot in a mall or shopping online. But I know it's there!

I also have $28 in Extra Care Bucks from CVS. Some expire January 4th, but the majority expire January 16th and 25th. I'll need to make sure I make wise decisions and purchase some things we may need from there as to not lose my extra care bucks.

What gift cards do you have? Do you have needs already projected that these cards may help with?

What if you don't want to use the gift card? Maybe it's for a store not close to you or not your style? I've had luck before selling them to and getting payment in paypal for the unwanted card. It's not for full face value, but I've found them to be fair and useful. I've used them twice and have been pleased....

What about you? Did you come up with any cards you have forgotten about? Any thing like Register Rewards ( from Walgreens) Coupons from places like grocery stores or CVS that you need to use before they expire?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What is included in the NO SPEND JANUARY?

Yesterday I posted about my plan on a No Spend January:

To many of you, some of the items I am forgoing may already be a part of what you are already doing. But to me, I wanted to really focus in on what we could work on this month. I need to make us more accountable.

We don't have cable, haven't had any sort of directTv or satellite in over 3 years I would say. We have a Roku player and Netflix and Hulu as well as Amazon prime. Not having cable saves us a lot!!

What can we spend money on in January?
Normal bills ( like electricity, water, phone bill, internet, car insurance etc.)
Groceries ( although I want to use up my pantry and buy as little as possible)
Gas ( my husband and I both work outside the home and although my drive is less than 8 miles one way, his is more like 28 miles one way, so gas is something we'll spend money on).

What are we NOT going to spend money on in January?
Eating out ( NONE AT ALL)
Things like coffee treats or drinks at work
Clothing, shoes or socks for any of us
hair cuts for any of us ( the little boy just had one and I can trim up my husband's if need be)
Really anything other than necessities

There are a few things that I literally just cancelled for January,so that money will be going towards my debt payout I'm hoping for in January ( $380.xx) on January 1st. The things I cancelled included:
1.Hulu ( It was only about $9.99 a month, but we found we rarely watched it and didn't need it, so good bye)
2. Gwynnie Bee  $35.00 ( This is a clothing subscription service that I .
actually loved, it would send nice clothes in the mail, then you could wear them and either send them back or buy them to keep. I've been doing this almost a year, and have built up several nice outfits, and just wanted to cancel this monthly cost
3. Birchbox- $10 a month ( This is a beauty samples subscription service and again, I loved it, but have too many beauty samples as it is, and wanted to cut it out).

So On January 1st, I'll be paying the $55 to my smallest debt.

What are some things you could get rid of for no spend January?
Another type of cable or satellite?
downgrading some features on your cell phone?
Maybe cancelling your home phone ( we have a Magic Jack only because we don't get cell service were we live)
any monthly subscription services
Maybe vowing to work through your freezers/pantries for your groceries instead of shopping for new?
Committing to using the shampoo, toothpaste, etc. etc. that you have on hand instead of buying more?

What are some other things you might could give up?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

No Spend January!!

C'mon, I know someone is with me on this. 

Despite my best homesteading frugal efforts, we have slipped slowly back into a bit more consumerist lifestyle that I would  like. I have reviewed our finances and found that there was certainly some frivolous spending that could have been avoided this past year. So, I would like to try to do a no spend January! I've seen other bloggers do it and have wanted to but have never thought there was a good month, but I think January 2016 is it!

Why do I want to do a no spend January?
1) to put a little extra money towards our debt. We don't have a ton of debt, but have more than I want ( any is more than I want) and would like to try to put a little bit extra towards our balances this month. Our smallest debt has a balance of $380.77. I want that GONE in January.

2) We have too much stuff! The kids have too many clothes, I have too many clothes, hubby has too many clothes, and other things like books, toys, smell good items etc.

3) With the Spring and Summer gardening seasons coming up I need to use up some of our pantry and freezer inventory from last year. What good is putting up all this delicious food if it just looks pretty on the shelf?

4) We haven't really had a winter yet, and I'm thinking January and February may be bad, so it'll be nice to just stay in and not spend as much time shopping for items we don't need. A nice book in the living room with a fluffy blanket sounds like a nice vacation to me!

5) I've really been slacking on my blogging. I seem to not have much to say, although I know I do have some interesting stuff to say.... so this will help guide me in some topics this coming month.

I plan on writing a bit about
the guidelines for my no spend January
some frugal recipes
ways I am using my canned goods
book reviews
fun things to do with the kids
my progress on paying off the smallest debt I mentioned above ( balance of $380.xx)
Some free sites I use to make money online
A more comprehensive list of goals for my No Spend January
and more.

I would love having some friends that would like to blog about this with me, or just follow me along. I think it's going to be fun guys! Who is in??

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The gift my daughter gave me

I've got three kiddos, we try to teach them what they need to know about being loving and sharing and generous and all that jazz. I try to practice what I preach. Sometimes I wonder though if my kids are really grasping the concepts.

Last night was our annual Ladies' Fellowship at church. Not only that buy it was my oldest daughter's birthday, she turned 10! She was very excited about the event, as they normally draw names and give out really nice gifts.

Last night was no different, there was wonderful food, beautiful decorations and the names of all the girls ( under 17 ) went into one bowl and then for the adults into another.

My daughter won a beautiful snowman. It had little lights on it that sparkled, a cute little hat. It was fun. She was excited. At the end of the program I noticed my daughter was by a little girl ( about 6 years old)that was crying. Not a fit type crying, but a few small tears. She was sad that she didn't win a prize. My beautiful, sweet, amazingly wonderful daughter didn't think twice before she handed over her prize and wrapped the little girls arms around it. The mother of course tried to make her take it back, but she didn't.

I. Was. So. Proud.

So, sometimes we wonder if our kids get it, if they have that servant's heart, that caring spirit, but just give them the opportunity and they will amaze you. Thanks Liv for the beautiful gift you gave your momma this year, without even knowing I was watching.