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

 

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