Your Personal Finance Pro http://yourpfpro.com Personal Finance for Young Professionals Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:24:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 31591919 Best Ways to Avoid Holiday Sales Traps http://yourpfpro.com/best-ways-to-avoid-holiday-sales-traps/ http://yourpfpro.com/best-ways-to-avoid-holiday-sales-traps/#respond Mon, 11 Dec 2017 12:00:48 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7554 With just two weeks until Christmas many people who haven’t hit the stores yet will be hustling around to get their shopping done. Stores will be overflowing with people as some shelves begin to empty. But don’t worry. There are still plenty of holiday sales to help you save money. Or are there? Sure, you […]

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Avoid Holiday Sales TrapsWith just two weeks until Christmas many people who haven’t hit the stores yet will be hustling around to get their shopping done. Stores will be overflowing with people as some shelves begin to empty.

But don’t worry. There are still plenty of holiday sales to help you save money.

Or are there? Sure, you will probably still see signs advertising decent savings on holiday merchandise. But I guess what I am really asking is whether or not you will actually save money from these “sales”.

With Christmas becoming so commercialized we all know many stores are just trying to increase their profits before the year ends. They employ lots of tactics to help them do this.

So let’s talk about some of the best ways to avoid holiday sales traps.

Make a List

I almost always make a list before I shop. It doesn’t matter if I am getting groceries, other household goods, or Christmas presents. Having a list prevents me from forgetting to buy important stuff I need.

In addition, I try to stick to what’s on the list and stick to what’s in my budget.

But when I prepare the list I also figure out ahead of time about how much I am willing to spend on each person. This helps me stay on budget and avoid holiday sales traps when I shop.

Compare Prices

Before making a shopping trip I like to compare the prices at two or three stores. This is something I especially like to do if I am making a larger dollar purchase.

Sometimes comparing prices has saved me from $20 to $50 or more. This is one of the best ways to avoid holiday sales traps so you can avoid overspending.

Watch for Sneaky Sales Tricks

If you pay attention you will notice some of the sneaky sales tricks retailers use to suck you into a holiday sales trap.

For example, there is FOMO, or fear of missing out. Stores will offer a fantastic sale on a high dollar item but only have a few available.

Because you fear missing out you will go to the store hoping to snag one of these great deals at rock bottom prices. However, once you get there you find the store has sold out of the item.

To make your trip worth it you buy a few other items. Those other items are the trap because you end up overpaying for them.

Avoid Pushy Sales People

Some people cave in when pushy sales people try to stop them to try the latest perfume scent or makeup sample in a high end store. I avoid these sales people or ignore them when they try to get my attention.

All they are interested in is making a sale. Unless I actually have an item on my list and approach them, I steer clear of those areas of the store completely.

Don’t Procrastinate

Another of the best ways to avoid holiday sales traps is to not put off buying your gifts until the last minute. When you put off your holiday shopping you are less likely to pay attention to the price.

One of the reasons for this is, of course, desperation. As you become desperate to get the perfect gift, or sometimes any gift, you may end up paying more than you would if you planned more carefully.

Buy Throughout the Year

You can also shop throughout the year to avoid holiday sales traps. This is a very helpful way to afford Christmas on a tight budget.

Obviously that won’t help you out this holiday season. However, you can start earlier for Christmas 2018 by watching for real sales and shopping throughout the year.

Save Ahead of Time

Saving ahead of time is one of the best ways to avoid holiday sales traps. You can set aside money each week for Christmas next year and start your shopping earlier.

Open a dedicated bank account to put your money in and don’t use it for anything but Christmas gifts or other holiday related items.

Day by day Christmas is drawing closer. But there’s still time to get your gifts, avoid holiday sales traps use some the tips above, and save some money too.

Have you ever gotten caught in a holiday sales trap?

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How to Correct Your Vision for Less http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-correct-your-vision-for-less/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-correct-your-vision-for-less/#respond Mon, 04 Dec 2017 12:00:36 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7535 As other healthcare costs continue to rise, so do the costs for dental, hearing, and vision care. Regardless, it is just as important to maintain your health in these areas as it is your total overall health. The problem is that some people will put off going to their eye doctor, for example, to save […]

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As other healthcare costs continue to rise, so do the costs for dental, hearing, and vision care. Regardless, it is just as important to maintain your health in these areas as it is your total overall health.

The problem is that some people will put off going to their eye doctor, for example, to save a few bucks. But if there’s a problem, the longer you wait to see a doctor the longer the problem goes unchecked.

If the problem is a severe one, waiting could not only backfire and cost you more money but it could cost your vision. Rather than risking your eye health, try some other ways to correct your vision for less.

1. Compare Prices

When you have access to several different vision centers you could take your eyewear prescription and get it filled somewhere else if the prices are better. Compare prices from more than one vision center or discount store, such as Walmart.

But you don’t have to stop there to correct your vision for less. You could look for online eyewear stores to order contacts from and save money too.

2. Reuse Your Frames

Vision changes don’t usually happen overnight. It can take several years for a whole degree change in your prescription. You can use that to your advantage to correct your vision for less.

One way to get more out of your vision correction and save money too is by reusing your old glasses frames. Ask your vision care specialist if your current eyeglass frames could be fitted with new lenses. It’s possible you could save a couple of hundred dollars.

Of course, if they are damaged in any way you may not be able to cash in on this savings.

3. Take Advantage of BOGO’s

There are companies that offer a buy one pair of glasses get one half off sale occasionally. If your eye doctor’s office offers this type of special, you may be able to pair up with another family member and save.

Again, don’t forget about discount stores and online retailers who may have as good or better deals.

4. Choose Cheaper Frames

Some optometrists have cheaper frames that they do not set out on display. You may not see them or even know about them unless you ask.

Why don’t they put them out and let you know they are available? Obviously it’s because they will make more money off you if they don’t. You will be forced to buy the pricier frames if you are unaware that economy frames are available.

I generally wear my contacts throughout the day. As a result, I was having a hard time justifying spending over $500 for a pair of glasses I only wear a short time in the evening most of the time. That’s when the sales lady brought out the economy frames.

What was my savings? I ended up spending only a little over $100 for the glasses resulting in a savings of nearly $400.

5.  Ask About Rebates

But if you prefer contacts over glasses you can still save money on contacts too. Try ordering from a company that offers rebates.

You may be asked to fill out a couple of forms and add a package label before mailing off your rebate request, but it could be worth it. As an example, when I order my contacts I often get back between $50 and $100 in a rebate.

On drawback is that to maximize the refund I have to buy a whole year’s worth of contacts at once. But to get the rebate it’s worth it.

What other methods have you used to correct your vision for less?

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How to Give Gifts on a Small Budget http://yourpfpro.com/give-gifts-small-budget/ http://yourpfpro.com/give-gifts-small-budget/#respond Thu, 30 Nov 2017 21:00:30 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7525 Shopping for Christmas presents to give to friends and family is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. It ranks right up there with baking cookies and trimming the tree. I love to see the smiles they give me when the gift they opened is just the right one for them. But shopping for holiday […]

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Shopping for Christmas presents to give to friends and family is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. It ranks right up there with baking cookies and trimming the tree.

I love to see the smiles they give me when the gift they opened is just the right one for them.

But shopping for holiday gifts is a lot more challenging when you are on a budget. While some people find the challenge exhilarating others have a hard time being up to the task.

Is there a way to give gifts on a small budget and still see satisfied smiles from your family?

1. Make a List

Make a list and check it twice. I’m not kidding. First list everyone you want to get a gift for. Next slash the list to only those people you absolutely must buy a gift for.

When you give gifts on a small budget you must think in terms of what you must buy first. After buying those gifts if you have a little money in the budget left over you can start adding names back to the list.

2. Decide What to Buy

Once your list has been made you can determine what to get each person. Remember, you need to keep the cost down enough for each person to be able to get a gift for everyone on the list.

3. Shop When Items are On Sale

It isn’t easy to find inexpensive gifts that you like for the holidays. One strategy that may help is to buy items when they are on sale.

Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales as well as other sales throughout the holiday season to use your money wisely. If you made your list far enough in advance you can even shop in the spring or summer and save on off season and clearance prices.

4. Make the Gifts Yourself

If you are creative and talented you might be able to make many of the gifts you give and keep costs down further. For example, I can sew so I sometimes make gifts for my friends who can’t.

You can also set up an assembly line process to make similar gifts faster and cheaper. A friend of mine did this last year and saved a bundle.

5. Save on Internet Orders

Look for savings when you order gifts online by using coupon codes and rewards points. Some of the sources you order from may give cash back and other discounts. Look on their websites to get more information and take advantage of these money savers.

6. Avoid Shipping if You Can

Buying items in bulk may help you to avoid shipping charges. However, don’t order extra just to get the shipping free if it doesn’t make sense.

Did you know some stores will ship for free if you have items delivered to the store and then pick them up? Of course, you may have crowds to deal with, but it could save you enough to make the hassle worth it when your budget is small.

7. Comparison Shop

Comparing prices can help you give gifts on a small budget too. Check more than one store and the internet to see if the item you are buying is available elsewhere for less.

Don’t forget to look over items carefully to make sure features are the same or similar enough not to matter.

Holiday shopping can be a fun and rewarding experience despite the challenges of a small budget. Use these tips to help you give gifts on a small budget and still enjoy the happy smiles of your loved ones.

Are there other ways to give gifts on a small budget?

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Should You Delay Retirement Until Forced? http://yourpfpro.com/delay-retirement-forced/ http://yourpfpro.com/delay-retirement-forced/#respond Wed, 29 Nov 2017 17:45:55 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7522 Retirement is a subject not everyone likes to talk about. After all, who wants to admit they are getting older? Thinking about it can cause feelings of depression, fear, and anxiety. For instance, some people have concerns that they will be lonely or bored without having a job to go to every day. They may […]

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Retirement is a subject not everyone likes to talk about. After all, who wants to admit they are getting older? Thinking about it can cause feelings of depression, fear, and anxiety.

For instance, some people have concerns that they will be lonely or bored without having a job to go to every day. They may picture themselves sitting in a chair as they watch television and wither away with age.

Aside from those fears, there are other reasons you may wonder if you should delay retirement until forced.

Benefits of Delayed Retirement

Money Won’t Be as Tight

Working longer provides a steady income for more years which allows older workers to save more before retirement. Of course that infers that they budget their money and actually save during those years.

Higher Social Security Benefits

There is real worry among Gen Xers over the possibility that Social Security income will either fall short of their needs or not be available at all. At least part of those fears has been fed by the media.

According to some predictions it could run out around the year 2033, which is only 15 years away. But with some small changes, it could be extended until the late 2080’sor so, which buys time to fix the issues Social Security has.

But it could also help if as many of the older generation as possible delay their Social Security benefits until they are age 70. It allows the funds to grow rather than be depleted faster.

For the single aging worker the advantage is that the monthly benefit amount could be higher which can help with rising inflation and expenses. Although, waiting longer than age 70 most likely won’t increase the benefits they receive.

Larger Investments

Waiting to retire until they are forced can help the older work force when it comes to investments. It allows them a longer period of time to make changes and invest more toward the coming retirement years.

Additionally, working longer gives the aging work force the opportunity to invest in ways they may not have thought of previously, such as in real estate or mutual funds.

Disadvantages of Earlier Retirement

Money Could be Tight

If working longer provides income for more years then obviously the opposite is true of earlier retirement.  It may be harder for older workers to pay their monthly bills when they retire “on time” or early.

Social Security Benefits Will Be Lower

Once again, earlier retirement has the opposite effect on Social Security benefits of waiting longer to retire. The monthly benefits will be lower since it will potentially be spread over a longer period of time.

Smaller Investments

In addition to the other early retirement disadvantages older workers face they would also have less time for their investments to grow. This results in less money to go around for all of their bills.

These disadvantages could pose real concerns for the aging population about inflation and rising medical costs among others. But how can the problem be resolved?

Become Better Prepared

Develop Better Spending Habits

One way to prepare for retirement is to start changing spending habits now. Whether retirement is forced or voluntary Gen Xers can still make changes to impact their finances before retirement happens.

Along with changes in spending habits older workers can create a budget if they don’t already have one.

Making cuts in their spending in areas that make sense, such as frivolous or unnecessary spending, can also help. Some examples include, spacing out salon visits, eating out less, or changing from cable to streaming to watch television.

Pay Off as Much Debt as Possible

Getting debt paid off so they can retire with more income and fewer bills hanging over their heads is another good idea. They should pay more than the minimum payment on loans. Not only does it reduce the interest they will pay on the debt it will also pay it off quicker.

Review Insurance Plans

Sometimes people get stuck in a rut and simply keep paying every month on the same old insurance policies. But perhaps they should instead pay attention to the cost of the premiums as compared to the benefits and how they change over the years.

They should review their health insurance policy to make sure it not only meets their health needs but also works for their finances. In addition they should look at other policies such as home owners insurance, auto insurance, and life insurance to make sure changes are made if they are necessary.

Whether or not you should delay retirement until forced is up to you. But it is far easier to reach a decision when you know some of the facts involved first.

How do you feel about retirement?

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How Technology Can Grow Your Business http://yourpfpro.com/how-technology-can-grow-your-business/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-technology-can-grow-your-business/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 12:00:11 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7513 When you think about how much technology has changed in the last thirty years it can blow your mind. I know it’s pretty incredible to me, anyway. For example, computers used to be enormous, boxy, and heavy in the past. Now, though, they can easily fit into the palm of your hand. But the size […]

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Technology Can Grow Your BusinessWhen you think about how much technology has changed in the last thirty years it can blow your mind. I know it’s pretty incredible to me, anyway.

For example, computers used to be enormous, boxy, and heavy in the past. Now, though, they can easily fit into the palm of your hand.

But the size of our technology is not the only thing time has affected. Prices have gone down while capabilities and memory have increased.

All of these improvements in technology have caused an explosion in the ways computers and other technological devices can be used. Certainly, technology can grow your business if you choose to let it.

Electronic Calendar

You no longer need to drag around a thick calendar in a ring binder the way business people used to do twenty years ago. Instead, thanks to advances in technology, you can keep your calendar electronically.

Electronic calendars not only organize you but some allow you to sync your business calendar to your personal one. Want to sync to other family members and coworkers? No problem. It can be done.  Other features include reminders and recurring scheduling, just to name a few.

Meaningful Reports

Meaningful reports are another way technology can grow your business. Today’s computer software and online programs allow you to track sales, profits, expenses, and inventory through POS systems.

There are other ways technology can give you data to help you make good business decisions too.  Examples include tax and accounting software as well as invoicing systems, among others.

Social Media

Creating a social media presence is another way technology can grow your business. It is a great way to advertise, which is important in just about all businesses.

You need to get the word out that your products or services are available and social media can help. Set up a Twitter account as well as one with Facebook to get noticed and increase sales right away. Or, choose a different platform, such as Linked to make your business known.

One of the other great things about social media, besides just advertising for your business, is that it can be scheduled.  This can help you increase productivity and keep costs down further growing your business.

Business Email

Technology can grow your business through the use of email. For example, you can set up a business email that enables you to keep work messages separate from your personal ones. In addition, you can name it something that promotes your brand and professional image.

But that isn’t all you can do with a business email account. You can also send video through it. Visit bombbomb.com to see how they can help convert leads and improve your business.

Website

Having a website for your business used to be optional. However, times have changed and it is a must these days if you want to stay competitive in your market.

Because so many people shop online you could be missing out on sales and increased business without one. To make your profits even better, set up a mobile responsive website as well.

Virtual Assistant

Why hire a full-time employee when you don’t have to? Instead, hire a virtual assistant and save yourself some money. This is an additional way technology can grow your business.

Virtual assistant duties include a range of tasks. One is launching a website while others include email and social media management.

PowerPoint

PowerPoint is an additional way technology can grow your business. It can help you prepare and organize meetings so they are run efficiently, lowering business costs.

Of course, it also makes your business look more organized. And, employees generally recall more from meetings where PowerPoint was used.

Certainly it’s true that many things have changed over the last couple of decades when it comes to technology. But one thing that is for sure is that technology can grow your business.

Have technological improvements grown your business?

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Why Cyber Monday is Just Another Sales Gimmick http://yourpfpro.com/why-cyber-monday-is-just-another-sales-gimmick/ http://yourpfpro.com/why-cyber-monday-is-just-another-sales-gimmick/#respond Mon, 20 Nov 2017 12:00:33 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7490 According to Wikipedia, Cyber Monday has only been around for about 12 years. But since its inception, retail sales have grown into the billions. Cyber Monday deals are usually offered only on products consumers buy online. But do we really need another reason to spend money whether we spend it online or in the store? […]

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Cyber Monday is Just Another Sales GimmickAccording to Wikipedia, Cyber Monday has only been around for about 12 years. But since its inception, retail sales have grown into the billions.

Cyber Monday deals are usually offered only on products consumers buy online. But do we really need another reason to spend money whether we spend it online or in the store?

Retailers seem to think so. However, I am going to tell you why Cyber Monday is just another sales gimmick that you should avoid.

1. It Plays on Your FOMO

Many people know that Black Friday plays on the consumer’s fear of missing out, or FOMO. This is demonstrated by the lengths people go in order to “win” the good deals that are of limited quantity.

I believe Cyber Monday is just as bad if not worse than Black Friday when it comes to FOMO. People who missed the sales from the Friday before may feel pressured. If they don’t buy what they can the following Monday, Cyber Monday, they could miss out on something.

2. The Deals Aren’t Actually Better

Because Black Friday advertisements start going out around Halloween now, shoppers assume they can get the best prices from that point on until Christmas.

Not true. The best prices to be had are advertised later on as it gets closer to the holiday. December is actually when the prices are generally at their lowest. Of course, there is also a risk of the item no longer being available if it was a hot seller.

However, the more often and longer retailers can get customers to look at their products the more they will sell. It seems it’s just how we are wired – susceptible to their ploys.

3. It Plays On Your Mood

What consumers don’t recognize is how Cyber Monday plays on their mood. Once they start buying things they get hooked into buying even more.

For example, while browsing online for one thing they find five more. By the time they check out they’ve purchased more than they meant to purchase.

But they will never again get it at such a terrific price so it was worth it, right? At least, that is what they are told by the retailers who lure them into overspending.

What actually happens is that the customer feels good about what they bought and spent so they immediately go buy more. To put it more accurately, they go on a buying streak.

The fact of the matter is that Cyber Monday is just another sales gimmick designed to trick shoppers into spending.

Why do the retailers do this? Because when customers shop sales it leads to them making even more purchases, including things that aren’t on sale. The top selling stores know this and use it against us.

4. You Think You’re Saving When You’re Spending

Spending when you think you are saving is another way Cyber Monday is just another sales gimmick.

Let’s take for example the shopper who buys a fancy $500 purse for $150 dollars during a Cyber Monday sale. She got that purse for less than half price so she saved a ton of money, right?

Wrong. If she needed a new purse she could have spent under $50 at a discount store like Target instead.

The moral of this little story is that consumers should buy only what they need to buy. Then, shoppers should invest the rest, or at least as much as possible. That is how to really save money.

5. It Pulls in Millennials Shoppers

As I said before, Cyber Monday is a huge day for online shopping. It may have even surpassed Black Friday’s online sales and it’s only been a thing for a little over a decade.

One reason for its success is because the bargains are as good as or better than those of Black Friday, but only last for a short period of time. This entices shoppers to spend their money quickly before all the good deals are gone.

Another possible explanation is because they don’t have to fight the crowds by shopping online instead.

All of these seemingly positive aspects appeal to consumers and millennials in particular. These tactics pull in millennials and get them to part with more of their money.

Millennials alone are not to blame for their vulnerability. Everyone spends money they shouldn’t because retailers know how to pull all of us in. They use every trick in the book. That is why Cyber Monday is just another sales gimmick.

Clearly, consumers overspend on Cyber Monday in the name of saving as much as they can. But I believe recognizing that we do is the first step in the process of ending that cycle of behavior.

Do you overspend on Cyber Monday? If so, why do you feel compelled to spend more than you should?

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How to Make Money Going for a Walk http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-make-money-going-for-a-walk/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-make-money-going-for-a-walk/#respond Mon, 13 Nov 2017 12:00:47 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7477 It’s pretty common these days for people to have a side hustle to boost their budgets. Actually, I had a side hustle myself up until very recently when I quit my full-time job. Now I work my freelancing side hustle full-time instead. To other people, though, a side-hustle could be any number of different occupations. […]

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Make Money Going for a WalkIt’s pretty common these days for people to have a side hustle to boost their budgets. Actually, I had a side hustle myself up until very recently when I quit my full-time job. Now I work my freelancing side hustle full-time instead.

To other people, though, a side-hustle could be any number of different occupations. Some of them include cleaning houses, babysitting, catering, and painting the interiors of homes, to name but a few.

In addition to these, there is another way to side hustle that isn’t as commonly heard about by most people. The really cool thing about this particular method of side hustling is that it isn’t even all that hard of a job. For the most part it allows you to make money going for a walk.

Have a Good Attitude

The first thing you need to be successful at any side hustle is a good attitude. What I mean by that is, even though the job itself may not be difficult, you still have to work hard at it.

Furthermore, staying positive and working hard make all the difference when it’s a non-glamorous job. For instance, you can discover America’s simplest business, picking up litter for a living, if you have a good attitude and willingness to work.

Get the Right Equipment

Getting the right equipment for this job is not a difficult thing to do. You don’t need powerful equipment or big expensive machinery for these easy to complete tasks.

What you do need is a set of hand tools, the will to apply yourself, and a good pair of walking shoes, of course.

Understand Why It is a Good Business

Cleaning up trash and litter isn’t something every business owner wants to do for themselves. After all, although easy, it can be a stinky, sweaty job. However, you can cash in on their unwillingness if you choose to.

Another reason businesses don’t want to clear their own properties is because having you do it can save them time and money. At the same time it keeps their parking lots, sidewalks, and general surroundings clear of unsightly trash that could turn potential customers away.

Certainly there are other jobs you could do if you need money fast. But this is a business you can build and make your own if you apply yourself.

Moreover, the need for this service is growing. Malls, shopping centers, and just about all retail businesses have the need for litter to be picked up from time to time.

An additional reason it’s a good source of income is because it is a service that will be recurring. After cleaning up a property once it will probably need to be cleared again in a few days.

Market Your Services

In order to make money going for a walk you must get the word out. Advertise that you are free to be hired.

To promote yourself, try posting your availability on social media. You can use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and any others that permit you to promote your services.

Print flyers with your business name, contact information, and how you can help your customers. Post them in business that will allow you to, such as grocery stores or job boards in malls.

Increase your exposure by going door to door if you must. Present yourself professionally, as though you are going for an interview. Smile, and let the business owner know how you can help them save time, money, and more.

Ask for referrals from customers you already have. If you are just getting started, offer to clean up a couple of businesses for free if they will give you several referrals.

Having a side hustle can really help your budget when money is tight. But it’s even better when you can do something simple, like make money going for a walk. If you need extra money, consider making your community a cleaner place and getting paid for it at the same time.

Would you ever consider making extra money by going for a walk this way?

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Can You Host a Thanksgiving Meal on a Budget? http://yourpfpro.com/can-you-host-a-thanksgiving-meal-on-a-budget/ http://yourpfpro.com/can-you-host-a-thanksgiving-meal-on-a-budget/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 12:00:50 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7451 I’ve always felt like Thanksgiving is a holiday that is a bit under-rated. In comparison, it’s a lot less stressful than Christmas – except for the cooking, of course. Certainly there are fewer things to do, such as the decorating, shopping, wrapping, and parties you have for the Christmas holiday. For the most part, once […]

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Thanksgiving Meal on a BudgetI’ve always felt like Thanksgiving is a holiday that is a bit under-rated. In comparison, it’s a lot less stressful than Christmas – except for the cooking, of course.

Certainly there are fewer things to do, such as the decorating, shopping, wrapping, and parties you have for the Christmas holiday. For the most part, once the cooking is done, you can give thanks, eat more than you should, relax, and enjoy the company of family or friends.

But if money is tight, Thanksgiving can still be a bit stressful. Can you host a Thanksgiving meal on a budget?

Meal

What Thanksgiving is complete without a turkey and some pumpkin pie? To make sure your meal is scrumptious, plan the menu and shop for deals ahead of time. This is especially important when you are on a tight household budget.

If you can, ask other family members to pitch in and bring the side dishes, such as stuffing, potatoes, salads, and rolls. You could even get someone to bring a drink to help share in the expense. Make only the turkey and gravy yourself for about $30 to $40, depending on the number of guests.

Shopping ahead of time is an advantage, especially if you do have to prepare all of the food yourself. Scour grocery store sales flyers and clip coupons. Try to pick up canned, boxed, or non-perishable items when they are on sale and increase your savings with coupons if you can. Look for e-coupons to save even more.

Have you heard about those grocery apps you can get on your phone? Try one to keep costs in line.

Since you are the host you have control over what side dishes are served. Don’t include items that are out of season because they cost more.

Beverages

When you must host a thanksgiving meal on a budget skip the alcoholic beverages. Buying wine, beer, or other spirits will chew up your budget fast.

If alcohol must be served, add champagne to cranberry juice. It will still be a pretty holiday drink but cost you less than alcohol alone would.

Entertainment

There are plenty of ways to entertain while you host a Thanksgiving meal on a budget. You could pull out some board games or a couple of decks of cards. Or, play a lively gave of charades together. If you are too full of turkey to move, watching a movie together could be a quieter alternative.

If the weather is nice, go outside in the backyard or to a park and play touch football. Play a thankfulness game so each person can name what they are thankful for.

Decor

Be thankful for each other and don’t overspend or overdo the décor when you host a Thanksgiving meal on a budget. Keep it simple.

A couple of pumpkins, some pinecones, burlap, nuts and branches can serve as decorations. Jute string, burlap, brown craft paper and gourds are other items that may assist you in putting together creative displays.

Use what you have on hand to add to the mix too. Candles, Glitter, construction paper, and a bit of glue might pull it all together for very little cost.

Other Ways to Make it a Success

Other ways to make your Thanksgiving meal a success include doing as many things ahead of time as you can.

Set the table and check to make sure you have all of the ingredients you need the day before Thanksgiving. The last thing you want to do is run to the store at the last minute. You may end up paying extra for items that would have cost less if you had planned better.

Get your prep work done and don’t try new recipes. Use ones you are familiar with instead to avoid over or under cooking anything. It will cost you more and take more time if you have to make something else as a replacement.

Give yourself plenty of time to get all of the cooking done and reduce your stress.

Make sure nobody has any food allergies to take into consideration.

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to make you feel stressed. Use these tips and ideas so you can host a thanksgiving meal on a budget.

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5 Ways to Make Money Quickly http://yourpfpro.com/5-ways-to-make-money-quickly/ http://yourpfpro.com/5-ways-to-make-money-quickly/#respond Mon, 30 Oct 2017 11:00:04 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7430 A year or so ago, my husband and I had a talk about how stupid it is to spend so much money on things we don’t necessarily need. Money was tight at the time and we were trying to cut back on our frivolous spending. Trimming our expenses has allowed us to spend more time […]

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Make Money QuicklyA year or so ago, my husband and I had a talk about how stupid it is to spend so much money on things we don’t necessarily need. Money was tight at the time and we were trying to cut back on our frivolous spending.

Trimming our expenses has allowed us to spend more time together instead of constantly working. For example, recently we took a long awaited for vacation which we saved up for.

But with bills to pay and Christmas just around the corner not everyone has the ability to enjoy such a luxury. In fact, some people are struggling so much financially they may not have any presents at all let alone have enough to pay their normal monthly bills.

If your family is having money problems there are answers. Here are 5 ways to make money quickly that can help ease the financial burden.

1. Sign up With Airbnb

When money is tight and you need cash quickly, one solution could be to rent a room in your house. Sometimes, though, there are local laws with restrictions that apply, but signing up is a simple process.

Airbnb is a great way to earn money when you need it fast. Rent a room or two a couple of times and you could get your finances back in the black.

2. Offer Your Labor

Another opportunity to make money quickly when your budget is tight is to offer up your labor. There are tons of odd jobs people may be willing to pay for if they know you are available.

Post that you are available on social media or a local buy and sell web site. Some of the jobs you advertise for might include pet sitting and walking, mowing and trimming, residential or business cleaning, painting, or auto detailing.

You could also be a mover to make extra money on the side. Or, consider other tasks such as cleaning gutters, watering yards, trimming bushes, and washing windows.

Other people may even be willing to pay you to run their errands. Likewise, as cold weather approaches, consider shoveling snow as another service you are willing to do for pay.

Selling your labor is not a regular job with steady hours, but when you need extra money it can still help ease your money woes.

3. Drive for Uber or Lyft

Have you ever thought about driving for Uber or Lyft? To meet all of the requirements to drive it can take as little as two days.

But don’t worry if you don’t own a car. That doesn’t mean you need to rush out and buy one. In fact, an article from USA Today cautions against quitting your regular job in order to buy a car you can’t afford.

An alternative solution is to visit http://hyrecar.com/ to get more information on renting a car for Uber or Lyft.

4. Trade in Old Jewelry

A few years ago, I discovered two old 14K gold necklaces in a corner of my jewelry box. Because they were bent I hadn’t worn them in years. However, I hadn’t parted with them previously because of the high value of gold.

I thought they might be worth something one day so I kept them. It turns out I was right.

One of the jewelry stores in my hometown had advertised on the radio that they would pay for old gold jewelry. So, the next time I drove into town I traded them in for almost $100 cash.

Perhaps you should check to see if you have any old trinkets you no longer need lying forgotten in a drawer. They could turn out to be a gold mine.

5. Sell Stuff You Don’t Need

Decluttering can serve two purposes if you take the time to do it. It can give you cash and eliminate stuff you no longer need.

My daughter and I declutter unused items from our homes at least once a month. After gathering the items we no longer need we sell them on our local online thrift store’s Facebook site.

Generally the people who purchase them pay us cash for what they buy. Some items, like nice clothes, purses, shoes, or coats sell quickly.

Try cashing in on this idea yourself to make money quickly and supplement your income too.

When you’ve got bills to pay or Christmas presents to buy, making money quickly can help. Try one or more of these 5 ways to make money quickly or come up with your own plan to get quick cash for your needs.

Have you ever needed to make money quickly? If so, how did you do it?

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Cheap Holiday Candy Alternatives http://yourpfpro.com/cheap-holiday-candy-alternatives/ http://yourpfpro.com/cheap-holiday-candy-alternatives/#respond Mon, 23 Oct 2017 11:00:05 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7426 Time is supposed to be a constant, but I’m not sure I believe it. Fall seems to have arrived faster than ever this year. Not only that, but Halloween is just around the corner, and the other holidays will follow shortly thereafter. One thing I used to struggle with during the holidays is how to […]

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Holiday Candy AlternativesTime is supposed to be a constant, but I’m not sure I believe it. Fall seems to have arrived faster than ever this year. Not only that, but Halloween is just around the corner, and the other holidays will follow shortly thereafter.

One thing I used to struggle with during the holidays is how to address candy in our home. Because my son is a diabetic, and has been since the age of four, candy was mostly off limits for him.

He’s grown up and moved out on his own now, though, so it’s not really an issue for us anymore. However, there are several reasons, other than diabetes, why candy is not the best thing to give all young children at holiday times.

For instance, some children can’t have candy because of sensitivities to certain foods or dyes. Others may have allergies or become hyperactive if given too much sugar.

But what can people give as a holiday candy alternative that won’t cost an arm and a leg? Here are some cheap holiday candy alternatives you could use instead.

1. Stickers

Young children really like stickers they can use on pictures or in coloring books. Pick up a few packs and hand out a sheet or two to young kids for the holidays without breaking the bank.

2. Balls

Little bouncy balls keep some kids entertained for hours. Snag a few from a discount store or online party supply store for only a few bucks and give them out during the holidays.

3. Bubbles

What child doesn’t love bubbles? They have been a hit with youngsters for years and they never seem to go out of style. Pick up a few inexpensive small bottles to hand out to trick-or-treaters or put in stockings.

4. Glow-in-the-Dark Items

Tiny glow-in-the-dark creatures, balls, or other fun items always bring smiles to young faces. Give some of these to small party guests instead of candy and keep your costs low at the same time.

5. Stuff That Lights Up

Little pocket flashlights, glow necklaces, or glow bracelets are great fun for young kids when the lights go out. If you only have a few guests you could use these as a great holiday candy alternative.

6. Temporary Tattoos

Temporary tattoos are another item you can use as a holiday candy alternative. They won’t rot teeth and they’re cheap too. Give these away at Halloween or Christmas and yours will be the most popular house to visit on the block.

7. Hand Sanitizer

Children that are a bit older like pocket hand sanitizers. Pick up a few to give out as small gifts instead of candy and stay on budget.

8. Travel Size Lotions

Another cheap holiday candy alternative is small travel size lotions. Grab a few when they are on sale and use as small gifts in place of sugary sweets.

9. Matchbox Cars

Small kids love little cars they can collect or take with them to pay with. Purchase a few at a local discount store you can give away and still keep your holiday finances on track.

10. Fake Mustaches

Buy some fake mustaches for just a few dollars and distribute them instead of candy. Take it a step further and have everyone post pictures on social media of themselves wearing them.

11. Pocket Games

Pocket sized puzzle games or miniature card packs are great party favors and holiday candy alternatives. They don’t cost a lot so you can pick up several for only a few dollars.

12. Balloons

If you are giving balloons as a holiday candy alternative make sure you are giving them to the right age kids. Packages of balloons are inexpensive and have lots of colors so each child can get their favorite.

Even though it can be tricky trying to come up with cheap holiday candy alternatives that keep your budget on track it is possible to do. It also feels like a bonus when you see the smiles you’ve put on all those young faces.

What cheap holiday candy alternatives have you used?

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Can You Save at a Farmer’s Market? http://yourpfpro.com/can-you-save-at-a-farmers-market/ http://yourpfpro.com/can-you-save-at-a-farmers-market/#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 11:00:44 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7407 I love buying food from a farmer’s market whenever I can. Since my husband and I own a farm of our own we want to support other farmers when we can as well. But another reason I like the farmer’s market is that there are many different kinds of foods sold there. This makes shopping […]

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Save at a Farmer’s MarketI love buying food from a farmer’s market whenever I can. Since my husband and I own a farm of our own we want to support other farmers when we can as well.

But another reason I like the farmer’s market is that there are many different kinds of foods sold there. This makes shopping at one fun and entertaining.

During the fall I love to buy squash, pumpkins, and other seasonal produce I can cook in a slow cooker at home. It all seems so much fresher at a farmers market since they are able to skip the middle man and sell directly to the consumer.

Perhaps you have also considered shopping at a farmer’s market but hesitated to do so. If what’s stopping you is wondering whether or not you can save at a farmer market here’s some information that can help.

1. Compare Prices

One way you can save at a farmer’s market is by comparison shopping. Check over the sales ads your local grocery store sends out before heading to the farmers market.

Looking over the flyer first helps you figure out what is available there and at what price. Once you arrive at the farmer’s market you can compare prices to see what the best deal is. However, keep in the mind the products offered at your farmer’s market may be fresher than what is on display at the store.

2. Be Flexible

Make sure your list, if you made one, is flexible. This can help you save at a farmers market rather than overspending.

For example, if you weren’t planning on buying tomatoes but they are on sale for a good price, consider buying them in bulk anyway and freezing for your future recipes.

3. Look Around

When you first arrive at a farmer’s market, take a walk around first and look at all of the booths before you buy anything. This allows you the opportunity to check the freshness, stock, and prices of the vendors.

Once you have made the circuit once, go back to the produce suppliers that interest you the most and had the lowest prices. Adopting this strategy can help you skip booths that were overpriced or had items that were not as fresh.

4. Take Cash

Farmers markets are often very busy because there are many other people shopping for good deals just like you. Taking along small bills such as ones, fives and tens can help speed up cash transactions.

When you make it easy and fast for the vendors who are selling to you, they will be happy to give you good deals. They may even throw in an extra item which can add to your savings.

5. Buy in Larger Quantities

I touched on this above already, but you should consider buying items in bulk. Buying in this manner can save you the most at a farmers market.

Let’s say you have plans to can your own spaghetti sauce with the tomatoes you find at the farmers market. If you buy in large quantities you may be able to haggle a little with the vendor and save.

6. Buy Produce that is in Season

If you buy fruits and vegetables that are in season you will be able to get them at a lower price. Also, foods that are in season will likely be ripe and ready to be eaten.

7. Buy Passed Over Produce

Another way to save at a farmer’s market is to buy what has been passed by. When other people do not buy perfectly good produce that is misshapen or bruised the vendor may discount it.

Furthermore, farmers do not want to pack up and take home the produce if they can help it. This is an advantage to you and your wallet.

8. Know Your Farmer

Get to know the vendors at the farmer’s market, especially if you plan to go often. Developing a relationship with them can often get you discounts for being a repeat customer.

Complement them on their products and offer goods or services you have available to them as well. Let them know what you really liked about your last purchase. They love hearing from their customers because it helps them know how to change or not change what they are doing.

9. Don’t Let Bad Weather Stop You

If you really want to save, go to the farmer’s market even if it is raining. Likewise, if the weather is hot, you may get a discount from sellers who do not wish for their produce to get spoiled.

10.  Shop Late

When it is possible, shop later in the day. Using this tactic you may be able to get good deals because, again, the vendors do not want to take their produce back home.

As you can see it is possible to save at a farmer’s market if you know what to do when you get there. Use these 10 tips to help you save the most on your food budget.

Have you ever saved money by shopping at a farmer’s market?

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How to Use BillSnip to Save Money On Your Bills http://yourpfpro.com/billsnip/ http://yourpfpro.com/billsnip/#respond Tue, 10 Oct 2017 11:00:00 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7370 When you’re working hard to cut expenses, save on your budget, and reduce debt, each extra dollar you can put toward your bills feels like a win. This is especially true if you have had bad spending habits in the past. As you pay debt, another thing you may find yourself constantly doing is looking […]

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When you’re working hard to cut expenses, save on your budget, and reduce debt, each extra dollar you can put toward your bills feels like a win. This is especially true if you have had bad spending habits in the past.

As you pay debt, another thing you may find yourself constantly doing is looking for other ways to save. In fact, it can almost become addicting – but in a good way.

Unless you are really good at negotiating, though, you may discover it can be difficult to get reductions when dealing with creditors.  Let’s face it, not all of us are comfortable making those kinds of phone calls.

Therefore, having help could make all the difference. To assist you, below I am going to review just how to use Billsnip to save money on your bills.

1. Identify Bills

If your month to month bills are overwhelming you, lowering them can make all the difference to you and your budget. However, first you have to identify which bills could be lowered. Some examples include:

  • Loan rates, including fees
  • Credit card interest charges
  • Cell phone bills
  • Internet fees
  • Cable or satellite television bills
  • Various music streaming services
  • Storage unit charges

Of course, they are not limited to only reducing your bills for these services alone. There are many other bills they can help you with.

2. Send Bills

Getting the bill to them is actually pretty simple. Just scan your bill into your computer or take a picture with your phone. Then, text or email the bill to them. That’s it.

3. Let Them Do the Work

Billsnip has staff members who are trained in negotiation techniques. These personnel will first look over your bills and figure out approximately what your savings could be.

Next, they contact businesses for you thus eliminating wasted time on your part waiting on hold or making zero progress.

Once they help you free up additional cash you can use it to pay off other debt, invest it, or use the extra money in other ways that improve your finances. It’s that simple.

4. What They Charge

Their billing is pretty simple. They charge 35% of the amount they saved you. You can pay that fee monthly or pay the whole thing at once and get 10% off the total.

But if they aren’t able to help you, you owe them nothing. Discounts for future bills should appear on your statements.

5. Who Qualifies

Anyone needing help with their bills can use the services of Billsnip. If the idea of calling one of your creditors makes you break out in a cold sweat and turn green, you may want to contact them for help. They can call in your place and remove the anxiety.

If you have no time in your schedule to call those places to whom you owe money, contact Billsnip instead. They can make the calls you just don’t have the time to make yourself.

When you call Billsnip you are making additional progress toward a future of less debt. So, go ahead and contact them. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Do you need help negotiating your bills? If so, use Billsnip to save money on your bills and do the work for you.

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