College Poor No More: Book of the Week

College. The simple word can strike fear in the hearts of parents everywhere when they consider the costs associated with a four-year degree. Whether you help your kids pay for college or not if they decide to attend college there are a lot of options they have to help cut costs and save more. That’s why I’m excited to share this week’s book of the week, College Poor No More. Author Michelle Perry Higgins shares sound advice for students who are considering college. It’s geared towards your students-not you, which is refreshing.

Even better? The proceeds from the book give back! 100% of the profits from this book will go to providing scholarships for deserving students.

College Poor No More

college poor no more

College Poor No More: 100 $avings Tips for College Students

In College Poor No More! Michelle Perry Higgins offers 100 ways to avoid money shortages that plague most college students, and teaches them how to get the most out of the dollars they have.

Slated for release on May 1, 2015 by New Year Publishing, the book is aimed for high school graduates, college students and a perfect gift from the parents and grandparents that love them.

You can pre-order the book on Amazon.

Book Giveaway

As a newsletter subscriber you can enter to win our book of the week each week and get tips and advice that are exclusive to our newsletter. Sign up for our email list and you’ll get info on how to enter to win.

About Michelle Perry Higgins

Michelle Perry Higgins

Michelle Perry Higgins is an award-winning financial planner, mother of two, and author of the Amazon best-selling books: The Everything Binder: Financial, Estate, and Personal Affairs Organizer and Stocks, Bonds & Soccer Moms: 7 Steps to a Balanced Life. Michelle is on the Wall Street Journal Expert Panel and is a much-in-demand contributor to such esteemed media outlets as CNBC, CBS, Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, and the Los Angeles Times amongst others. Michelle serves on the Saint Mary’s College Women’s Leadership Council as it is her passion to give back by mentoring young women and helping to raise scholarship funds.

Happy reading!

Kelly

Buying pre-owned cell phones makes cents

Affiliate disclosure

Are you in the market for a new phone? While I have a great post about upgrading your phone if you’re buying a new phone for your child, purchasing a new one for a family member, or looking to upgrade before it’s time via your current contract you should consider pre-owned phones.

Not the ones from Craig’s List or your local yard sale group-instead purchase from a company that buys them from users, checks them, and certifies your purchase with a money-back guarantee.

You may remember I shared how we sold our old phones with Gazelle-a simple way to earn some cash. Gazelle has a new premium service which enables you to do just that at prices that won’t break the bank.

6 Reasons to buy pre-owned cell phones
1. Save Money

Save big money on your phone purchase. You don’t have to pay full price for a new phone.

2. No Contract or Strings Attached

No need to buy into a contract and no strings attached. Just buy a pre-owned device and you won’t have payments, a contract, or be obligated if you lose or damage your phone or it gets stolen.

3. Certification 

The Gazelle certification includes a rigorous 30-point inspection to ensure the devices are fully functional.

4. Risk-Free

Gazelle offers you 30 days to return if you are not happy with your purchase.

5. Teach Responsibility

A certified pre-owned smart device is a great solution for parents looking to fit their child with his or her first cellphone, a brand new cellphone may not be the best choice, and for good reason.

6. Customer Satisfaction

Recognized by an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and a 9.5/10 Reseller Ratings review average means you can trust purchasing from Gazelle.

Now that you’ve heard all of the great reasons to choose a certified pre-owned device from Gazelle, go to buy.gazelle.com to find a device for you or a family member.

 

Kelly 

10 ways to save or spend your tax refund {sponsored}

Sponsored post disclosure

It’s tax season so for many Americans it’s also tax refund season. Tax refunds may seem like a windfall, but with some well thought out planning you can use your tax refund to reach your financial goals. While you may find yourself tempted to splurge on vacation or buy a new wardrobe I have lots of practical ideas for spending and saving your refund. Even if you aren’t getting a refund this year you can apply the same idea to any money you receive.

10 Ways to Spend & Save your Tax Refund

save or spend tax refund

1. Knock out debt: If you have high-interest debt like credit cards this should be your first choice. Paying off debt will create more money in your monthly budget and you’ll save a small fortune by not paying those high interest rates.

2. Beef up your emergency savings: Emergency savings are always helpful to have. You never know when you’ll need to replace your furnace or get lose your hob. The more you have saved the more comfortable you’ll feel when life throws you a curveball.

3. Pay down loans: You’ve already spent the money on your education or home, so pay it back by putting your refund towards those loans. Not only will it help you reduce the number of payments, but it will feel good to make a dent (no matter how small) in your loan balances.

4. Invest: Investing money is the ultimate way of paying yourself back in the long-term. Put your tax refund in mutual funds or buy stocks to help you earn even more in the long run.

5. Donate: Consider donating a portion or all of your refund to a charity or nonprofit. It’s a great way to give back at a time when most charities are receiving fewer donations.

6. Save your refund for retirement: Every dollar you save now can have a huge impact on when you can retire in the future, so consider putting your tax refund into an IRA. Not only will you be saving for your future, but you may get a tax deduction for 2015, too.

7. Save your refund for college costs: When you put your refund into 529 plans for your kids (or future kids) not only will it continue to grow, but you may also receive a tax deduction for 2015.

8. Treat yo self (in moderation): Like Donna and Tom it’s okay to have times where you treat yo self even with your tax refund. Set aside 5-10% for something fun like a spa day, dinner out with your spouse or partner, or those new shoes you’ve had your eye on.

9. Add your refund to savings: If you have different savings buckets (vacation, holidays, etc.) then you can add your refund to your savings or break it up between various goals. For instance, if you’re saving up for a new home you may add it to your house downpayment savings account or if you are saving up for next holiday season you can sock it away and know you’re that much closer to a great holiday.

10. Buy a Car: If you’re in the market for a used car you can put that refund to work as a downpayment on your next car or add it to your car fund for when you’re ready to make pay for it in full. A solid downpayment can help you reduce your car loan rate significantly and you could just walk off with the keys to your dream car sooner than you think.

If you’re considering purchasing a used car take a look at DriveTime, the largest used car dealer in the US. They help people find and finance vehicles if you have credit issues. They currently operate more than 120 dealerships in 21 states.

You can learn more about DriveTime at their website. If you’re in the market for a used car you can use their excellent search tool to help you find exactly what you’re looking for at a price you can afford. If you’re ready to shop you can get approved online before you buy. Still considering what to purchase or when to buy? They have a blog full of great info you can use to help educate you about the car buying process.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of DriveTime. The opinions and text are all mine.

11 Tips for Teaching Kids About Money from Discover {sponsored}

Sponsored post disclosure
Teaching kids to be responsible with money and teaching them how to be fiscally responsible is a huge challenge. From the moment they are able to ask for things there are opportunities to teach kids about how to manage their money. It doesn’t matter if they’re 3 or 13 there’s always more to discuss.

As a mom of four I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve. Below you’ll find 11 tips to help you teach your kids about money.

11 Tips for Teaching Kids About Money

11 tips to teach kids about money

  1. Set family goals. Setting family goals will help you work together as a team to spend less, save more, and achieve family goals. Younger kids may have small suggestions like saving up to go to the movies while older kids may want family goals to be larger like saving for a week long vacation.
  1. Start a family piggy bank. From a young age kids love to find money, count it, and save it. Create a family piggy bank to save for something everyone wants like a swing set for the backyard or a trip somewhere special. We’ve saved for a number of family goals this way and even if the savings don’t cover the full cost it certainly helps!
  1. Teach kids how to find the best prices. Savings can be significant when you hunt down the best price. Help kids shop for the best price by starting at the grocery store. When our kids were preschoolers I gave them a budget for items like a snack food or a box of cereal. Then we could move on to back to school shopping or clothes shopping. They’ve learned to research and hunt for better deals on whatever they want to buy.
  1. Teach the difference between cash, credit, and checks. Since we use credit more than cash now the differences may not be as obvious to kids. It’s important for them to understand the benefits and drawbacks of all three.
  1. Show them your pay stubs. For older kids it’s important to share the nuts and bolts of managing money. While it may be unusual to show your kids your pay stubs it can be an important tool for teaching kids. Then they understand how much of your paycheck goes to some guy called FICA.
  1. Share the family budget. Likewise sharing the full family budget can be incredibly eye opening for kids. $1,000 may seem like a lot of money until they realize that you spend that much on your mortgage each month.
  1. Start a bank account for tweens and teens. Tweens and teens should have a bank account and an attached savings account to help them manage their own money. Check with your local bank and find out what options they offer.
  1. Share the magic of interest. The magic of interest can be a big motivator to save from a young age. Recognizing that money can grow can be a game changer for kids.
  1. Have kids track stocks. While it may not be financially sensible to actually purchase stocks, allowing kids to follow a stock and track its’ growth can be a great way to teach them about the stock market and investments.
  1. Talk college costs with older kids. College costs are rising and most families can’t keep pace with their college savings. It’s important to talk to your kids as they get older about what you can and can’t cover, options they may have, and their own thoughts on their education. There are many options and ways to cut costs, but the key is to be clear about what costs you can and can’t cover.
  1. Help your school teach fiscal fitness. If your school doesn’t currently have a financial curriculum in place share the Discover Pathway to Success program with them. You can help your school apply for a grant.

Resources to learn more:

Discover’s Pathway to Financial Success Program has great resources to help guide your discussion, teach kids, and a curriculum for schools, too. You’ll find videos on how to talk to your kids about money, resources for parents on being a good financial role model, games for kids to play, and suggestions for teachers and schools.

What tips do you have for talking to your kids about money?

Kelly

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Discover as part of the Discover Preferred Network.

Sunday Roundup February 15th: Thanks Obama, Transparent, and Prime Pantry

Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day and are not too frozen (if you’re somewhere warm-don’t answer that!). We had a delicious meal out the night before Valentine’s Day since it saved us some dough. Unfortunately we were freezing the whole time! The freezing temps and wind here in PA are crazy! I’m ready to pack up and move South! Thankfully there’s plenty to keep me distracted online and I’ve shared a few things to read, shop for, and a few of my favorite finds.

Sunday Roundup

Centsible Reads & Videos

Obama BuzzFeed video

Pretty much the funniest thing I’ve seen all week, though I do wonder why the President’s mirror isn’t clean. Thanks, Obama.

Vital signs to the cloud

New technology for your health is always neat but when it’s practical it’s even more amazing. This CliniCloud stethoscope and thermometer is being developed to send your doctor your vital signs from the cloud. This could be extremely helpful in keeping sick kids home and make diagnosing illness easier and faster.

What’s in my bag?

Ever wanted to know what I carry in my purse and how I stay organized? I share what’s in my bag at Mom Advice.

Advice on contest and sweepstakes

For bloggers, social media managers, and community managers this is important legal information about the legalities surrounding contests and sweepstakes from Sara F. Hawkins.

Missy Elliot Tribute

The little girl from the Missy Elliott videos grew up, but she still has moves! Here’s a tribute video she made after seeing Missy’s performance at the SuperBowl. Read and watch here.

Disney and ADHD

One of the reason we love going to DisneyWorld is because we can adjust our schedule and spend our time in ways that fit our family’s needs. Ellen shares ways a Disney vacation can be adjusted for a child with attention issues like ADHD. Read it here on Understood.

MoneyChat the book

#MoneyChat THE BOOK

Dorethia Conner Kelly runs a weekly chat called #MoneyChat that helps followers and readers learn the ins and out of managing their personal finances. Now she’s written a how to handbook that fills the gap between the financial information we all need and how we really live our financial lives. She explains financial terminology and complex financial concepts in easy-to-understand language including:

  • How to not just create a budget but prioritize one
  • How to create an emergency fund when there’s no money left over
  • How to save toward college in under 10 years
  • Why you should invest and where to begin
  • How to come up with extra money when you need it without patronizing a payday-type loan establishment
  • The best place to put your savings

The book is available starting this week, so be sure to pick up a copy at your local bookseller or on Amazon.

Discover gives you your FICO score 

Discover offers free FICO scores to cardemembers. It’s a great bonus for being a Discover card holder. You’ll be able to see and track your FICO score each and every month.

Watch their fun SuperBowl video.

Centsible Deals

Disney Store

The Disney Store is having a huge Family & Friends sale where you can get 25% off! If you’re planning to shop for birthdays, upcoming holidays, or a trip to DisneyLand or DisneyWorld now is the time to buy and score great deals.

25% off at Disney Store

Get 25% off at Disney Store

Stella & Dot

I am a big fan of Stella & Dot’s purses. I carry one every day. Now you can get an adorable Capri Pouch from Stella & Dot for only only $9.95 with a $50 purchase!*  This Hot Pink/Poppy colored pouch is a steal and such a great pop of color for your wardrobe or an easy to find pouch in your handbag. This offer is only valid until supplies run out or 9pm PST on 2/17.

Ulta

I have heard nothing but GREAT things about the Clarasonic and this is a great deal and you get tons of great extras. Get this deal through 2/21.

Clarisonic Mia 2 targeted cleanse in amethyst, $149.

Plus receive a Clarisonic cosmetic bag, gentle hydro Cleanser & Deep Pore Daily Cleanser with any $99 Clarisonic purchase.

Gymboree

Gymboree has a huge President’s Day sale this weekend where you can get up to 80% off. 50% off all markdowns mean you’re going to get amazing deals on clothes for kids and Gymboree clothes last for such a long time. I often resold our Gymboree clothes after the kids wore them.

Get 30% off new collections and an extra 50% off markdowns for savings up to 80% during Gymboree’s President’s Day Sale!

Crazy 8

Crazy 8 is also having a sale with 30% off new arrivals and up to 70% off and you’ll get free shipping, too.

Get an extra 30% off for savings up to 70% during Crazy 8’s President’s Day event!

Audible

Audible offers up all kinds of audiobooks and if you sign up you can get two free audiobooks.

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

 

Centsible Picks

Centsible Picks 215

1. Transparent

Transparent is an award-winning show from Amazon. Prime members can stream it for free. I started this show out weeks ago and binged it in two days flat. It’s such an amazing cast and the storylines feel like you’re peeking into someone’s real life.


Transparent – Only on Amazon Prime Instant Video – Winner of 2 Golden Globes Including Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy

2. Dermalogica

Dermalogica is a wonderful brand of skincare and while it is pricey this hydration kit with a $50 purchase is a great way to try out their line, and the hydration line is great for winter. I’m a huge fan of the oily skin kit (shown below, but also use the hydration products all winter long. Online Only you’ll get free Dermalogica hydration essentials kit with any $50 Dermalogica purchase from Ulta.

Oily Skin Kit

 

3. Invisibilia Podcast

Invisibilia is a podcast from NPR that explores ‘all the invisible things’ or the forces and emotions that drive us. The podcast is fascinating, fun to listen to, and while some debate the science shared it’s still a great listen. You can read more and find episodes here. Just a warning you’ll get hooked.

4. Prime Pantry

I’m a HUGE fan of Amazon Prime and their Prime Pantry service is just awesome. You fill a box with pantry items and pay a flat shipping fee for delivery. Prices and selection vary greatly by location so you may have to spend some time doing a price comparison with your regular grocery prices. We’ve found we got the biggest bang for our dollars by packing the box with essentials.


Introducing Prime Pantry – Everyday Essentials Delivered to You

5. Enviro-Logs

These environmentally friendly logs are made from 100% recycled waxed cardboard and burn cleaner than firewood. With 30 percent less greenhouse gases, 80 percent less carbon monoxide, and 86 percent less creosote. You can read more about Enviro-Logs. They’re available at home improvement stores.

What have you read, written, or what deals have you found this week?

Kelly

*The Capri Pouch must be manually added to the cart after you have reached the $50 threshold. The discount will occur in the cart.

Images from Amazon, Dermologica, Enviro-Logs, and NPR. 

The Opposite of Spoiled: Book of the Week

Do you love to read as much as I do? Starting now (as in today!) I’ll be sharing a new book each week. I often have requests from authors and their publishing houses to share and review books. If I said ‘yes’ to them all I’d be drowning in books! Instead I’ll be sharing info about the books, links to where to buy them, occasionally interviews form the authors themselves, and I’ll be giving away a copy (or more) of each book to email subscribers! (sign up for our email list right here)

The Opposite of Spoiled

When I started educating myself about personal finance it was only natural for my kids to catch on. Finding ways to teach them personal finance basics and help them learn to be savers is so important. I’m encouraging them to make mistakes now before the stakes are higher and more expensive. I’ve written about everything from allowances to birthday spending, but I haven’t covered it all. That’s where The Opposite of Spoiled comes in. Ron Lieber, a writer for the New York Times, crafted this must-read book for parents who want to teach their kids fiscal responsibility.

About the book & author

For many parents, conversations with their kids about money can be as awkward as talking about sex. The New York Times “Your Money” columnist Ron Lieber—a parent himself—says that if we have our kids’ best interests at heart, we need to shatter the taboos around talking with them about money.

The award-winning writer offers a persuasive parenting manifesto filled with solid, tested advice on how to help our children make better financial decisions, develop better habits, and acquire the tools they’ll need to grow into grounded young adults with good values and habits. With a warm, personal touch and stories drawn from families with a wide range of incomes, Lieber combines a practical financial primer with a foundation of values and virtues, tackling all of the basics: the tooth fairy, allowance, chores, charity, savings, birthdays, holidays, cell phones, checking accounts, clothing, cars, part-time jobs and college.

In the book, Lieber answers some of the most pressing questions that parents have about money, from the toddler years until their kids go away to college, such as:

  • Should you tell your kids how much money you make?
  • What’s the point of an allowance, and what should the terms be?
  • Should every child work — and pay for some of college themselves?
  • How do you explain why some friends have more money and some have less?
  • What’s the best way to make giving a family activity?
  • When does a child tip over into materialism, and what can you do about it?

Want a preview of what you’ll learn in the book? Read this thought-provoking piece from the New York Times, “Why You Should Tell Your Children How Much You Make.”

Enter the giveaway

Sign up for our email list right here and get learn how to enter to win.

Buy the book

Purchase The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money at your local bookseller or Amazon.com.

Kelly

H&R Block Tax Software: Make the Switch for Free

Online tax software makes filing your taxes relatively easy. There are a handful of products that allow you to file online. While they may seem similar this year more than 50% of TurboTax Basic or Deluxe users may be required to upgrade to higher-priced products in order to access and e-file the same tax federal forms they used last year. It’s an unwelcome surprise for many users.

In response, H&R Block is offering any impacted TurboTax customer a free copy of the H&R Block Deluxe + State for 2014 tax season. Many of the federal forms and schedules that are no longer included in TurboTax Basic or Deluxe are still included in H&R Block software at no additional charge.

Those who have already purchased TurboTax Basic or Deluxe and would like to try H&R Block may email H&R Block at SwitchToBlock@hrblock.com and include the following information:

  • Name, address, and phone number
  • Type of operating system in use (Windows/Mac)
  • A photo, scan, or email showing proof of TurboTax Basic or Deluxe purchase

H&R Block will then send a link for one free download of H&R Block Deluxe + State – they’ll even help recipients get started by importing last year’s tax return from TurboTax. It’s that easy!

Kelly

Roundup February 8th: Naptime, Shoes, and Coconut Milk

Last week after a week at Disney World we came home to snow, cold, and I immediately came down with a cold. Not just any cold it turns out, but bacterial bronchitis. I’ve spent most of the week in pajamas with my butt firmly planted to the couch when I’m not doubled over coughing up a lung. Thank goodness I work from home where pajamas at 3pm are acceptable attire. (And sorry to the delivery drivers who have witnessed my messy self this week. I’m pretty sure I look like an extra from the Walking Dead.)

It’s nothing a little rest and some medication can’t fix, but it has led to lots more reading time this week, so I have a ton of links, deals, and more to share.

Sunday Roundup

Books to Buy

Naptime with Theo and Beau
I met Jessica Shyba at my very first blog conference many, many years ago. She was lovely and sweet and so incredibly stylish. She’s one of those people you just immediately love because she has such an incredible heart.

I’ve always been a fan of her writing and photography so it was thrilling to see her work and especially her photos of her toddler and their newly adopted puppy became a viral sensation. She captured something sweet and lovely and shared it and the world fell in love with photos of Theo and Beau. This week she launched a book, Naptime with Theo and Beau, that shares their heartwarming story. A portion of every book sale goes to the SPCA where Theo was adopted.

Order now through February 28th and you will get a bookplate signed by Jessica, Beau, and even Theo! Details can be found on Jessica’s blog.

Naptime with Theo and Beau

New book from Harper Lee
This week came a huge announcement in the literary world. Harper Lee is publishing her second book. The author is known for her legendary work To Kill a Mockingbird. This second novel is a ‘prequel’ and titled Go Set a Watchman: A Novel. The release is not without controversy, though representatives for Ms. Lee claim they are unfounded. You can read more about how the second book was found and details surrounding the controversy at the NYTimes. I will still be purchasing and reading the book. July can’t come soon enough.

Reads from Around the Web

Making Friends
It’s difficult to make friends as an adult. Busy schedules, kids, spouses, work–they all mean it’s challenging to find time for friends. Whether it’s due to life changes or location I often talk to other women who are having trouble finding new friends or keeping older friendships. Most of my friends I see online-even local friends that live within a 5-15 minute drive. So when I came across this piece from my friend Marci about using a friend matchmaking service I was intrigued. The Toronto based company, Yes New Friends, helped match her with three women. Reading her stories only makes me wish the service was available where I live!

Serial News
Have you listened to the Serial podcast? Big news for the podcast’s fans. Adnan Syad has been granted an appeal! Read all about it on NPR.

Starbucks to offer coconut milk
Non-dairy drinkers, vegans, and paleo/whole food dieters rejoiced at the news that Starbucks will now offer coconut milk. People like me jumped up and down while milk drinkers shrugged at the news. While it appears it’s full of added sugar I’ll consider it a small win since I usually on Starbucks on business trips and vacation.

Living on one income tips
Whether you’re living on one income now or trying to get by on one and save the other you can never have too many tips. Some of my advice was included in this roundup of tips and advice. As a veteran one income family (we lived on one income for 12 years) I am always happy to see pieces like this.

Tipovers: what you need to know
Tipovers are a horrible, tragic, and preventable way that children are injured and killed in this country each year. Simply put it’s when an object falls on a child. It could be a television or a piece of furniture, but the outcome is the often horribly tragic. This piece on Philly.com shares the stories of several area families. Please take the time to prevent these tragedies in your home by securing furniture to the walls.

Survey says: You’re teaching your kids the wrong way about money
Research shares that the best way to teach kids about money is not traditional programs or financial literacy classes, but rather real world experience. Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

Deals

Shoe Sales
Easy Spirit is known for their comfortable footwear. I’m all about comfortable shoes. When we got married I even found the perfect pair of strappy heels at our local Easy Spirit store. They were cute and comfortable–a win-win. Today is the last day to save 20% off-a great deal if you’re in the market for new shoes.

Crocs get a bad rap. They are great for the pool, gardening, creek playing, backyard rock hunting, and more. Find some great deals below.


The Economist

I’m not much a magazine person, but The Economist is a great magazine. It’s one of the few I enjoy reading, and you can get a great deal on it now.

Favorite Finds

This is a little roundup of my favorite things this week.

Badger Balm

If you have dry winter skin Badger products are amazing! We have sensitive skin so we need hydration, especially for our hands, without a lot of chemicals. Badger Balm fits the bill. They make a variety of products all of which I love!

Vitamin D and B12

Vitamin D and B12 are my BFFs in the winter. While supplements and vitamins aren’t always necessary, I have been diagnosed with deficiencies in the past for both. This is common, especially for women, so if you have an upcoming physical or need one I highly recommend you get checked. In any case the recommended course for me has been to use vitamin supplements to keep a larger deficiency at bay. You can buy vitamins online at LuckyVitamin and get free shipping on orders over $49. Find some other deals below.

The best hair dryer

I’ll tell you a great secret-sometimes high-end doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot. Years ago I went on a trip with a brand and they set me up overnight at the Four Seasons. (I know!) My hair looked amazing on the trip and I totally attributed it to the awesome hair dryer. I asked them if I could buy it and they told me it was only $20! I bought it and brought it home and have used it ever since. Sadly it bit the dust (not because it dies-but because it got goo on it from a home improvement project) and I found you can buy the same one at Amazon for $20! Buy it here.

A lesson on Black History Month
My friend Amiyrah is an amazing writer (and person!) and she’s also a girl after my own heart-when she researches something she loves to share. As a homeschooling mom she decided to research a curriculum for Black History Month and generously put it together in a $5 curriculum you can buy on her site. This is great for parents who want to give their children lessons after school, for teachers, and of course for homeschooling families. Read more and buy it here. It’s designed for kids from 2nd grade and up and covers a ton of history and includes great activities as well.

What do you have to share this week?

Kelly

Organize your finances to meet financial goals with Popmoney {sponsored}

Sponsored post disclosure

It’s a new year which means it’s time to recommit to all kinds of goals from fitness to financial goals. While it can be easy to give up on resolutions that are vague like ‘I’m going to spend less in 2015,’ or ‘I’m going to cook every meal at home this year!’ making a resolution turn into reality requires a plan.

Below you’ll find simple to-dos that will help you organize your finances and help you reach your financial goals. Whether you’re planning to pay off a credit card, save up for a vacation, or create a bigger savings cushion, you can use these tips all year long. With a plan in place and a system to help you succeed in 2015, you’ll go from resolution to done.

How to Organize your Money & Meet your Financial Goals

how to organize your finances

Commit time each week.
We all love easy solutions, but there’s no replacement for time. Set aside time each week to go over spending, pay bills, and organize emails and papers related to your finances. I recommend setting aside a full day to get started and after that it should only take you 1-2 hours each week to stay on top of your finances.

With that first day you’ll set up a payment system, check account balances, update your net worth, and file and shred papers.

After that, you’ll only need an hour or so to double check spending, savings goals, organize your paperwork, and pay your bills.

Sign up for bill pay and use it!
Bill pay is offered for free as a part of the online banking service at almost all banks and credit unions. You stay in control when using it to pay your bills, just enter the payment amount and date you want the bill to be paid. No writing checks, no stamps, and no going from site to site to pay your bills.

Depending on the number of bills you typically pay, you should set aside about 30-60 minutes the first time because you’ll need to enter some basic information about the biller such as the address, your account number, etc..

Set up alerts on your phone.
Sign up for text alerts from your bank(s) and credit card company (or companies). Check your accounts online and see if they offer text alerts. It’s a great way to stay on top of payments as well as get fraud alerts on the go.

Go paperless.
Going paperless is a great way to organize your finances. You can sign up to receive e-bills, which contain all the same information as paper bills but are delivered online, directly to your online banking account. It cuts down on paper of course, but going paperless also gives you more time. No need to sort and store bills and file or shred them. You’ll simply be able to pay online with a few clicks in bill pay. You can also sign up for reminders so you don’t forget to pay.

Set up automated savings.
No matter what your goals, setting up an automatic savings is a great way to ensure you meet your financial goals. Create a savings account online or at your bank and commit to a regular weekly savings amount. Start small (perhaps with $25 per week) and increase your savings amount each month. Before you know it you’ll have a hearty savings account you can use for emergencies or to fund a goal like a down payment on a home.

Use Popmoney.
The Popmoney personal payment service allows you to manage regular payments easily and on the go. Send payments to your after school sitter, split payments for services you share, or send money to your college-aged kids.

What is Popmoney?
The Popmoney® personal payment service lets you send money to, or request and receive money from, friends, family or just about anyone, online or through your mobile device.

More than 2,300 participating banks, such as Citibank, PNC, SunTrust, and a host of community banks and credit unions offer Popmoney through online or mobile banking.
A list of participating banks is available at Popmoney.com. The service can also be accessed at Popmoney.com or through apps for iPhone and Android devices.

Find more info:
For more information about person-to-person payments or to sign-up, visit www.Popmoney.com. Follow Popmoney on Facebook or twitter.

Kelly

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Popmoney.

Amazon Prime on Sale for $72! Today only!

Amazon Prime is on sale today for only $72! It’s a great bargain considering all you get from an Amazon membership.

Prime members get free streaming of Prime TV, movies, and award-winning original content like Transparent.

More importantly you get free 2 day shipping on a variety of items to be shipped anywhere. You can ship items to yourself, friends, family members, and even when you’re on vacation. We used it on our trip this week to get much needed grocery supplies at cheaper prices and without the hassle.

You can sign up for a 30 day free trial, but I highly recommend signing up for the full membership for a year to try it out.

Trust me-you’re going to love it.

Click below or head to Amazon.com/TransparentPrime for the sale.


Kelly