Money Habits To Make Your 2018 Sparkle

Hey, there sexy mamas!

Hope the New Year is treating you well so far! To help usher us into a what will hopefully be a fantastic year, I wanted to bring you some tips on money habits to make your 2018 sparkle! Read on for some kick-booty advice on slaying your finances this year!

Money Habits To Make Your 2018 Sparkle

Could your year have gone better financially? If 2017 was characterized by poor money decisions, having to carefully budget and worry about unexpected expenses, then there are ways to look forward to a much brighter future in 2018. It starts with a few simple steps, such as consolidating any debt and trimming your outgoings. This should leave you with more of a cushion to cover anything you didn’t budget for. Here’s how…

make your 2018 sparkle | neveralonemmom.com

Check Your Utilities

It doesn’t pay to be loyal when it comes to your gas, electricity and other bills such as broadband. Despite the huge array of comparison sites out there, many of us still aren’t taking ten minutes to make sure we’re getting the best deal. Your circumstances will change over time, so the tariff that is best for you will also change. You could save up to $300 a year just for a quick check! The onus is firmly on providers to make it easy to switch so there shouldn’t be much hassle for you as a customer. Save those dollars where you can! 

Pay Down Your Debt

Wouldn’t it be amazing to wake up one day completely debt free? While this is a completely achievable reality, you have to be smart about your borrowing. Many people just let their repayments tick along. What you actually need to be doing to make inroads in the amount you owe is proactively managing the situation. Consider finding a debt consolidation loan through a service like Evolution Money. That way you can reduce multiple payments into one monthly amount. If you have credit cards, try transferring the balance onto a card with an interest free period to then pay it off in the timeframe.

Seek Out Cashback

If you’re planning any big purchases this year, then make sure you go through a cashback website like Ebates. I personally use and love this site, it’s only an extra click when you’re shopping online and boom! Automatic cash back! You’ll get a percentage of what you pay back – and when it’s a larger purchase, like white goods, this is well worth doing. You can even earn cash back for purchases made via your mobile phone using their app. 

Money habits to make your 2018 sparkle | neveralonemom.com

Set a No Spend Zone

You may be in the habit of small, daily purchases. They don’t cost much individually, but add them up over the course of a year and they can make a significant dent in your budget. Often these habits don’t really bring us happiness. So one trick to to set a ‘no spend week’ or even just a ‘day’ in the month where you don’t spend any money at all. Prep your lunch in advance if you work out of the home and bring a coffee your own coffee travel mug. Leave your debit card and any cash in a drawer. You may be surprised how effective this is at breaking a pattern of mindless spending.

Waste Less Food

Food waste is a huge environmental problem, and it’s also an issue for our wallets with the cost of the weekly shop rising all the time. But we can get better at correctly estimating portion sizes and find creative recipes for leftovers. Finding out information on how to correctly store food and using our freezer more can also help. Love Food Hate Waste is a great place to start.

If you want to do something for your family that could also help boost your financial standing, check out my post on owning stock with Stockpile!

I know as single moms it can be a serious challenge to save money and get finances in order, so I hope these tips will help you get on track and make 2018 your richest year yet! 😉

A collaboration.

Don’t forget to like, comment & share!

Love always,

JessXO

 

Christmas cards in one click with PhotoMania

Christmas cards with PhotoMania | neveralonemom.com

Hey mamas! I hope you’re all having a wonderful Holiday season! This week I wanted to bring to you all the classic joy and memories of Christmas cards  and the easiest and best way to create this  years   Christmas cards  in one click with PhotoMania!

Christmas cards with PhotoMania | neveralonemom.com

As single moms, we don’t always have the time to do things such as send out cards, whether they be via snail mail or online. Also, the cost of having professional pictures taken to cards created is just too much for our tiny single mom wallets. Well, this will all change for you! I am excited to show you how amazing your Christmas cards will look using a simple click! With PhotoMania , you get to choose the effects, backgrounds, and fun editing of your own photos! Just choose your favorite photo of your little ones or whatever you think will make the best card and upload the photo to their site. It’s fast, easy, fun and FREE! 

To make it even better, PhotoMania has an app and a Chrome extension so you can add some personality to your favorite photos any time you want! Once you’ve created your Christmas card masterpiece, just save it to your phone or computer and send it out to all your friends and family! Booyah! 

Christmas photos with PhotoMania | neveralonemom.com

So what are you waiting for? Go right on over to PhotoMania  right now and start creating!  Have fun! Don’t forget to share and subscribe to my single mom tribe!

May your Holidays be wonderful!

Love, Jess XO

This post was proudly sponsored by PhotoMania 

 

 

Own Stock With Stockpile!

Stockpile | neveralonemom.com

Hey hey!

How’s it goin’ pretty mama? Today I want to share with you something pretty darn awesome. Stockpile, a fractional stock site where you can buy, sell and invest in real stock!

Stockpile | neveralonemom.com

Own Stock With Stockpile 

Why is this exciting and why am I telling you about it? Well, let’s take a moment to think about our futures. As single moms, we struggle and work our fabulous booties off to provide the best lives we can not only for ourselves but for our kids. It’s not easy and sometimes it would be nice if we had something a little extra to contribute. Financial security is huge to any family, but especially to us single moms. With no man of the house to bring home the bacon and provide that security of work it’s all on us. We have to find ways to keep everyone alive all on our own. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there’s was something we could do now that could have the potential to add a little bit of financial security to our family? Set our kids up for the future by only one small investment, or several? Well, there is!

 

With Stockpile you are automatically given a $5 gift card to help towards the purchase of your fractional stock. So this means the amount on your gift card is the amount of stock you’ll get. It’s an easy and affordable way to buy into stock from big companies! Want to own a small share of Amazon? You can! It would be a great gift for your kids on their birthday’s or Christmas, or to gift to other relatives or friends! Or just to own all yourself!

 

“What could be cooler for a money-minded kid than getting a gift card emblazoned with the logo of a hot company such as Apple, Tesla, or Facebook?”

– Consumer Reports

 

Are you excited yet? I know I am! So what are you waiting for? Get in on this hot tamale train today and get yourself a little piece of something big! You can go right here to get started!

 

If you have any more questions about how Stockpile works, just click the link above and check out the site! Any questions you have should have an answer in the FAQ’s.

You’re welcome & enjoy!

 

You know I’ve always got you 😉

Love your girl, Jess XO

Kids Birthday Party For Less.

                                  Kids Birthday Party For Less.

                                                                 Got A Birthday Party Coming Up?

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So my son’s birthday is right around the corner, and every year we have a small get together at our house to celebrate his birthday. Also, every year I try out new ideas to save money since birthday parties can be quite expensive to pull off no matter where you have them. Even though only a few of our closest family and friends come over, it still ends up being a financial stressor.  Being a single mom on a low income I try my best to find ways to save money on everything, and now that it’s birthday time again and I am planning his next year of fun, I have decided to share with you some of the small ways I have learned how to save big when it comes to home birthday parties for your kids.  They will love their party, and you will love the price tag that comes with it, guaranteed. 😉

 

 

Games & Entertainment:

So when it comes to planning games and entertainment for your kid’s party, it’s good to have a theme for their party to go off of. Every year my son picks his birthday theme, we’ve done Yo Gabba Gabba, Pirates, Dinosaurs, Star Wars and Spiderman. So, whatever your kid is into right now will be the perfect theme. You can create games and entertainment that coincide with the themes. For instance,  when we did my son’s pirate party, I made up a simple little treasure hunt with clues hidden all over the yard that led him to the treasure which was buried under a bush and was filled with chocolate coins. I put the whole thing together the night before in just  a matter of minutes and the cost was only about $12. I found a cardboard treasure chest at a toy store and bought a pack of chocolate coins there too.  Made the clues with just pieces of paper. Super simple and he totally loved it! So whatever theme your child is going with, you can come up with a game or activity to go along with it. You can also do regular party games too for almost nothing. A ring toss game, for example, you could do with just a piece of cardboard  cut into circles for the rings and anything that they can catch on. A decorated broom even, or whatever your creative mind can come up with. I found that a coat rack or a blow-up pool toy with arms or a neck (like an animal) works perfectly. Musical chairs? That costs nothing, and to make it even more fun, play a really fun song that the kids like and have them all wearing party masks that may obstruct their vision a little. The giggles will be endless! Ideas for entertainment that would not cost much would be to put in a movie that everyone could enjoy, maybe one that works with your theme somehow and put all the pillows and cushions in the floor. What about a costume party? You could ask all your guests, but more particularly the kids to come dressed in a costume that correlates to the theme! How fun would that be? Another idea would be to spend a small amount of money on a lifesize cut out of the main character of  your’s child theme! For my son’s pirate birthday I just happened to have a life size cut out of Captain Jack Sparrow out in storage from my Pirates of the Caribbean obsessed teen years ( Ok I admit…adult years too…) and I put him up right in the middle of the living room and organized a photo booth so everyone could come and stand next to Jack and have their picture taken! The image of my 90-year-old grandmother next to Captain Jack Sparrow is one I will never erase from my mind. That picture is priceless! And what about a build your own cupcake table? We are doing one this year and I’m so excited! Just bake as many plain cupcakes as you want, then lay out all the fixin’s! (I let my inner okie out a little…sorry.) Line up some different choices of icing, sprinkles, nuts, crushed candy pieces, gummy worms, whipped creme etc and have everyone build their own custom cupcake! Yum Yum! For more DIY game ideas, check this out: http://bit.ly/1PX08KT

Decorations:

One of the best parts of throwing a birthday party is putting up all the decorations, right? (Sarcasm) Not only can it be a pain in the booty but decorations can also be expensive. Especially if you’re really going all out. Now I have learned the hard way about when, and where to buy the decorations. So here’s your best bet moms: If you’re going to be looking for more than just a banner and a few balloons I advise not to go to the party supply store. Their prices are ok, but if you’re wanting to decorate the whole house you will regret shopping there once you get to checkout. So where do you go then? Your pal Amazon. That’s right! You can find almost anything on Amazon for your kiddos big day. Any character, any theme, and the prices are pretty nice too. Less than you’d pay at the party supply store. Also, for plain balloons and other more generic decor, paper plates, cups etc just head to the Dollar Store! You’ll find everything you need there and for just $1 each! Score! You’re saving money all over the place. 😉 And as for when, the earlier you start picking up things the better and it will save you money in the long run.

Now if only I could help put it all up and take it down…..sorry, you’re on your own for the one! Love you, though…..

Party Favors:

So basically the same thing goes for the party favors as for the decorations. You can find some awesome party favors in the $1 and under section at the party supply store. This works great if you’re having less than 5-6 kids. So you can just get however many you need and not have a ton of extra. But if your child has invited a ton of friends then I recommend going back to Amazon. You can get great party favor packs for 8 or more kids for a really good price! The Dollar Store also has good choices for small cheap toys than can be thrown into bags as favors. To check out an awesome option from Amazon go here: http://amzn.to/2dYBnjK

Food:

Ok, now that we’ve got the games, decorations and favors covered, what about the food? If your guests will be expecting to eat while partying hard at your casa, you’ll want to have something prepared. We’ve done it all at my house. We grilled burgers and hot dogs one year, we went all fancy and got veggie kabobs and steak kabobs another year. We had pizzas last year. But all of those just cost way too much money. So this year we are having his party later in the afternoon and just having snacks, appetizers, cupcakes and a small cake. I’ve calculated the costs and it’s SO.MUCH.LESS than having tons of meal food for a dozen people. I will be putting together my own veggie tray, chips and dip, home made spinach dip and maybe home made Chex Mix or something like that. It’s so much easier and cheaper to throw snacks together than meal food. I’m sure your guests won’t mind as long as there is cake lol. Now as for the cake…that’s generally where the money gets blown for these things. The prices that most bakeries charge are insane! I have a friend who is a cake decorator and I feel like a horrible friend for not having her do my son’s cakes. But she simply charges too much. If I could afford it, then that would be another story. But I just can’t. So, the grocery store bakery works just fine! And their cakes are actually really delicious and you can have them decorate them for you however you want or just do it yourself! At most grocery stores with in-store bakeries, the cost for an average sized birthday cake is under $25, so it’s not bad at all and if your family uses EBT, the cake is covered! So don’t stress over the cost of a cake.  But if you still are having struggles getting a bakery cake, then baking one yourself from scratch or a mix works just as well and costs even less! No one will object to a home baked cake!

So there you have it. Simple ways to save money on your kid’s next birthday party! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Relax and enjoy your child turning another year older….how did that happen anyway?

Love & too many balloons…

Jess XO

How To Be A Cool Mom On A Serious Budget

Mom On A Serious Budget? No Worries, I Got You!

When you’re a single mom, it’s hard to make ends meet….that is, when you don’t have one of those fancy jobs, because being a mom is already a full-time job and when there’s no man in the picture to bring home the bacon…things can be tough. Having a smaller income can make simple things like buying good quality clothes for your little ones, keeping up with organization, groceries, toys, and activities can be a lot and can leave you broke and struggling. Our kids come first and so making sure all of their needs are met and they have everything they need to be healthy, happy and stylish is a top priority. So what’s a mom to do? Read my blog for great tips of course!

I Like To Consider Myself A money savings guru….

For years now, since the birth of my son I have searched, scavenged and hunted for the best deals, the cheapest stores, the greatest sales etc and it’s much easier than you think to save yourself a few bucks when buying things for your kids or even keeping yourself from looking like an extra from The Walking Dead.  So here are my top tips for pinching those pennies!

CONSIGNMENT STORES.  You have probably heard of these or even have shopped in one before but consignment stores are a heaven send.  Trust me, once you’ve had the consignment experience, you’ll never go back! Not only can you buy gently used clothes, toys, books, bedroom furniture and more at a children’s consignment store for amazing prices, but they will pay you for yours! That’s right! When you’re kids have outgrown their clothes, toys, videos, bed sheets etc, and as long as they are still in great shape, the consignment store will take them, and you will have two options, you can either take the cash once your items have sold in the store, or use it as credit to buy things from the store! When I first learned about this I was mind blown! Just think…when all the items that you’ve donated have sold, you can use the credit to buy all new stuff from the store and therefore never spend a penny! Practically an exchange! Like what? How cool is that? Oh, and consignment stores are also for adults too! Just find one that sells woman’s apparel or any adult consignment store and the same thing applies there! I can’t tell you how many name brand, super cute clothes, handbags and shoes I’ve gotten for free just by selling things I no longer wear to my local women’s consignment store! Check out all the consignment stores in your area! You won’t be sorry and your wallet will be just as happy!

Free Online Printables. Need activities for the kids? Do they like to color? Do you homeschool? Well, the world of free online printables is your new friend! I use these printable activity pages, storybooks, color pages and homeschool lessons all the time for my son, no need to pay for expensive school books, coloring and activity books,  just search up what you’re looking for and simply print it out! Easy peasy.  Everything from toddler activities, preschool, all the way up to high school age activities and stories can be found online in a free printable format. Saves you time, money and keeps the kiddos busy! Here are some great websites to start you off! http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/printables-list    http://www.jumpstart.com/parents/worksheets    http://www.thekidzpage.com/colouring_menus/activities/

Image via Pinterest
Image via Pinterest

Dollar Stores & Thrifting. Shopping at The Dolar Store and thrift stores are a lot less icky than they may have been back when. You can actually get all sorts of treasures at these places. Everything from toys, party supplies, wrapping paper, snacks, home organization, school supplies and more can be found right in The Dollar Store.  Thrift stores are treasure troves, I love thrifting and hit my local thrift shops every month and never walk out empty handed. They are great places for finding play clothes, household items, movies, and things to use for amazing DIYs. Pinterest anyone? Don’t be afraid to shop these kinds of places, you won’t regret it if you do. 😉

Groceries & Coupons. So this may be a no-brainer, but when you want to save some dough when buying some dough, grocery coupons come in handy. I’m not talking go all Extreme Couponing on me and have a basement full of boxes of rice, packages of gum and sticks of deodorant but….coupons are wonderful. Clipping coupons seems like such a chore and let’s be honest…a little Stepfordy? So, I wish to welcome you to the new generation of couponing. Most grocery stores have rewards or member cards, if you don’t have one already, you need one. They’re free, so just ask for one at checkout. Once you get your card set up, you can go online to the store’s website and add coupons to your card, and when you purchase those items at the store and swipe your card you save all kinds of money. Boom. Also, there are websites that email you coupons you can print out and also ones you can use for various places online! Pretty awesome stuff if you ask me, so if you want to save a little money while running your errands, picking up dinner and so on, remember to get some coupons! Here are some websites for online coupons: http://www.coupons.com   http://www.coolsavings.com/coupons   http://www.redplum.com/section/printable-coupons

You. So, you’re a mom…and that means it’s nearly impossible to squeeze in some time for self-pampering and keeping yourself from looking like a mess. When you do find the time, it’s easy to splurge for a fancy mani-pedi, hair stylist, or facial. But are those things really necessary? They’re expensive, and when you’re on a serious budget it’s just not smart. So why not just do it yourself? You can! You don’t have to be a pro, or even really know what you’re doing, it doesn’t take much talent to keep yourself fresh and fabulous. With the use of the proper tools, you can give yourself your own manicure for well, nothing. If you need a little help, there are plenty of YouTube tutorials to help you out. Hair color need a boost? Instead of paying a crazy amount for someone to color your hair for you, just pick up a box of a good quality non-toxic hair color and do it yourself! Or if you’re too afraid of ruining it, ask a friend to come over to help and make a girls night out of it! No worries! For a deep skin cleansing and detoxing experience, homemade facials are just what you need. You probably have all the ingredients you need right in your kitchen! No cost involved and only a few minutes of time! Just whip up some skin food and slather the natural gunk on your face, and let it get to work improving your complexion. Just look up home facial recipes, they really do the trick! Lastly, do you struggle with finding the time and money to work out? Well, not anymore sister. Did you know that YouTube has millions of workout videos? It sure does. Most of them you can customize for time 5-30 minutes, your level, your fitness goals, trouble areas, and what equipment you already have or don’t have at home.  Skip the gym memberships, expensive treadmills, workout systems and so forth. Just hop on YouTube, pick a video that suits your needs for the day and get on it, then boom, all done! Quick, easy and most importantly, free! You’re welcome. Some great channels to get started with are PopSugar Fitness, and Cassie Ho of Blogalaties.

Budget Friendly Stores & Kids Activities.  When you want to go shopping or take your kids out, it’s good to find places that don’t cost a lot or anything at all. When the regular department stores are calling your name and you need to keep the spending low, opt for less expensive stores that have the same high quality stuff as the expensive places. For instance, I love shopping at Ross, Burlington Coat Factory is amazing as well, and when shopping online Zulily has great sales on the cutest things for the kids, home, and you! So skip the big shiny store and head into the more budget friendly store, trust me, you’ll be glad you did. When it comes to activities for the kids, we are tempted to pay the big bucks for things like the membership places for classes, playtime and all that jazz? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about….or what about sports? Do you have any idea how much sports cost? Like geez you might as well by car. So, when you need to save some money, just take the rugrats to the park, let them run and play, kick a ball, climb, swing and roll around in the grass. Same benefits, but it’s free. Playdates are actually great too, organize for a few of your kids friends to come over, plan a craft for them to do, teach them how to play hopscotch, put out some snacks and let the magic happen. Your kid doesn’t really need some fancy class, or to be the star soccer player, at least not until you can actually afford for them to be. Keep your priorities in check, and when they need/want some fun socialization or fresh air, just go for the free options at hand. They’ll be fine, I promise and you will be able to keep the bills paid. It’s not easy being a single mom with a low income, but just do the best you can and save money wherever you can, and when they get older, they will thank us for it. At least, we hope they will, right?

Keep on keepin’ on, working hard and being money wise. You’re fabulous and no one can say otherwise. When times are tough, we gotta get tough too and I know we can handle it. For more tips, ideas and fantastic blogs such as this, please follow my blog and stay tuned for more coming at ya soon.

Much love, peace out.

-Jess XO