Seven Ways to Save Big on Your Kids’ Halloween Costumes This Year



pumpkin

Between the haunted houses, the creepy decorations and the spooky costumes, Halloween is one time of year that we all love to be a little frightened. Unfortunately, however, the scare doesn’t always stop there. If you go all out on all of your Halloween gear, the fright might extend to your bank account as well. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to. Here are seven ways to save big on your kids’ Halloween costumes this year.

1. Use Items that You Already Own

You might be surprised at the number of costumes you can make using items you already own. For example, if your child already has a toy tool belt and tools, he could go as a construction worker. If your daughter already owns a beautiful white flower girl or christening dress, she could go as a bride.

2. Choose Quality Costumes You Can Hand Down

When it comes to Halloween costumes, you often get what you pay for. If your child will only wear the costume once, going cheap is fine. If you have multiple children and you intend to hand the costume down, however, choose a timeless and quality costume that will last for years.

3. Make Your Own Costumes

If you are crafty, why not make your own costumes? You can make a poodle skirt by cutting a very large circle out of a piece of fabric, cutting a circle out for the waste, and sewing in some elastic. Pirate eye patches, ghost costumes and spider costumes are all super easy to make as well.

4. Buy Pieces Instead of Entire Costumes

Instead of purchasing an entire costume, why not choose costumes that only require accessories? For example: Cat costumes only need black clothes, ears and a tail. Chef costumes only require a whisk and a chef’s hat. Artist costumes only require a set of paints and a beret. Ninja turtle costumes only need a shell, a weapon and a piece of fabric for a mask.

5. Watch for Great Deals

Whether you choose to purchase an entire costume or just pieces, be on the look-out for great deals. Many Halloween stores have coupons and promotions that allow you to get a great costume for cheap. You can often save big just by checking out the deals.

6. Buy Secondhand

Since most children only wear their costumes for one night before they are done with them, it is very easy to find like-new Halloween costumes for cheap. Check Ebay, Craigslist, garage sales and your local thrift stores or consignment shops. You never know what you might find! Your options will be a little more limited this way, but you are sure to get a great deal, so it is definitely worth a look.

7. Hit End of the Season Clearance Racks

If you can remember and afford to plan ahead, November is the perfect time to purchase Halloween costumes for the next year at great prices. Pick up a costume or two when they are severely marked down on clearance, and you’ll be all set well before the next Halloween rolls around.

Halloween is a ton of fun, but that doesn’t mean that it should cost you a ton of money. Use these seven ways to save big on your kids’ Halloween costumes this year, and save the frights for the haunted house. Your kids will have amazing and unique costumes that they will be proud to show off at a price that you can afford.

How much do you usually spend on Halloween costumes for your kids? What tips do you have for getting a great Halloween costume for less?

Three Ways to Eliminate Your Credit Card Interest Payments Today



credit cards

When it comes to paying off your debts, there are a lot of things that can get in your way. There are surprise medical bills, old habits that die hard, and–perhaps most annoying of all–interest. I absolutely hate paying interest. So, I set out to find ways to avoid it, and I came up with three really good ones.

1. Pay Off Your Balance

This should go without saying, but if you are continuing to buy things you can’t afford by putting them on your credit card, stop! You are only digging yourself into a deeper hole. If you have to put it on a card to afford it, you can’t afford it. Switch to cash and pay off your credit card balance as soon as possible.

2. Switch to a “No Interest” Card

In the meantime–while you are working to pay off your credit card debts–why not transfer your current credit card debt to a new card with a zero percent introductory interest rate? Now, I am NOT advising you to go card hopping constantly–this will hurt your credit. But if you don’t have much left to go, why not speed up the process by getting rid of the interest?

DO read the terms and conditions before you sign. It will completely defeat the purpose if there are huge fees or if the interest rate skyrockets before you are able to pay off your balance in full. This technique works best for relatively small balances on cards with high interest rateswhen you know you will have it paid off before the introductory period ends.

3. Make Payments Immediately

Okay, this one is going to take a little explaining, but it works really well if you can get the hang of it.

Say you had to use your card for an emergency expense, and now you have a $1,000 balance. If you stopped using your card to make any more purchases, you would pay interest on that $1,000 until you eventually got it paid off. That interest would really add up over time, especially if you couldn’t afford to pay the $1,000 off right away, and all of that money would be wasted.

BUT if you CONTINUE to use your card for the normal, everyday purchases that you would make anyways, and you pay off your new purchases as soon as you make them, then you can avoid paying interest on that original $1,000 all together.

Here’s how it works: Say, for example, that this month you need $600 for groceries, $125 for cable, $100 for a doctor’s payment, $75 for new clothes for your family and $100 for miscellaneous purchases. That equals $1,000. Instead of paying cash for those things or putting them on your card to pay off next month, pay them off as soon as you purchase them (or weekly works well too).

When you pay off all new purchases right away, instead of waiting until you get the bill for them, the $1,000 that you pay down on your card will go towards the original $1,000 first–not the new purchases. To you, it will be like you are ignoring that original $1,000 and just paying for new purchases. But to your card, you’ll be paying the previous balance off in full every month, which means NO interest! And then, the next month, when you pay next month’s bills, it will be applied to this month’s balance. And continue on this way each month until you are able to get your debt paid down.

Now, this technique won’t get your balance paid off–you’ll have to pay extra to do that. But it is a great way to avoid racking up interest when you really cannot spare any extra to pay down your debts right now. It kind of puts them in “limbo.” That original $1,000 balance is there, but you aren’t paying interest on it.

Obviously, these three techniques won’t work for everyone. If you are seriously behind on bills, have huge debts or have terrible credit, you probably won’t be able to eliminate your interest altogether. But if you have a smaller debt that you are working hard to pay off, these three tips are a fantastic way to eliminate your interest payment and get your debt paid off faster!

Five Reasons You Need to Start Meal Planning Today



Healthy food on table

Now that I meal plan every week, I find it almost hard to remember a time when I didn’t meal plan or to imagine how I ever went to the store without a list. Meal planning makes grocery shopping and cooking so much easier; I don’t think I could ever go back. Sure, I don’t always look forward to sitting down to meal plan when I’m especially busy–it does take a little time one night a week–but once my meal plan is done, I’m always glad I did it.

Haven’t started meal planning yet? Here are five reasons YOU need to start meal planning this week.

1. It Will Save You Time

How much time do you spend each evening looking into the cabinets wondering what you are going to make? How much time do you actually spend making those “quick” trips to the store? Even if you only spend 15 min a night trying to figure out what to make, that’s an hour and 45 min a week. Add in three 30 min “quick” trips to the store, and that’s over three hours of your life wasted each week. By sitting down one night a week for 45 minutes to an hour to make a meal plan and a grocery list, you can easily save yourself a couple of hours every week. Plus, your shopping trips will go much quicker as well.

2. It Will Save You Money

One great thing about meal planning is that it allows you to make your list around the items that are on sale or that you have coupons for every week. Instead of just going to the store and picking up whatever looks good, you can intentionally fill your list with items that you can get for less. or example, if hamburger is on sale this week, then this week would be a great time to make more hamburger-based recipes. Not only will you make fewer impulse purchases when you shop with a plan, but you will be able to buy the things that you do need for less as well.

3. It Will Save You Hassle

Figuring out what to eat very night can be a real hassle. Plus, who wants to make extra trips to the store at 5 p.m. when you just got off work or when the little ones are clamoring for dinner? By planning your meals in advance, you can make sure you already have the ingredients on hand, you won’t have to make decisions every night, and you can even do some of the prep work ahead of time. Get dinner on the table and get on with your evening faster with a meal plan.

4. You’ll Eat Healthier

What happens when you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry but you have nothing in your house that goes together to make a real meal? You hit the drive thru or order a pizza instead. While this is okay on occasion, many Americans have taken to eating convenience foods every night only is this very expensive, but it is very unhealthy too. Save your wallet and your waistline by meal planning instead.

5. You’ll Waste Less

Another great perk of meal planning is that you can plan meals with similar ingredients for the same week so nothing gets wasted. Have a recipe that requires half a bag of spinach? Plan another spinach recipe the same week and put that spinach to good use! Stop throwing out all of those leftover ingredients. Make a meal plan, and you’ll reduce your waste and your grocery budget.

Need a little bit of a meal planning boost? Try eMeals Meal Planning. eMeals offers a variety of plans including low fat, low carb, portion control, gluten free, clean eating, paleo, vegetarian, natural & organic, and classic plans. You pick your plan, get great recipes, shop and save, and cook and enjoy! eMeals helps to take the “guessing” work away so you can start planning great meals for your family.

Do you meal plan? If not, what’s stopping you?

Tailgating Fun with Jingit – Save on Your Tailgating Needs #TryJingit #shop



This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Jingit

Do you like to save money? I do! I love how easy it is to save money on everyday purchases. There are so many great coupons out there to help you save. There are also several great money saving apps to download that will help you save on your purchases as well! I never leave home without my smartphone loaded with . I use my money saving apps everywhere I go to save additional money on items I know I need!

Earn cash with your favorite brands when you download and shop with the Jingit App. You can save on essential grocery items such as milk, bread and eggs. Or even home goods like paper towels and dish soap. More offers are available every week from your favorite stores.

Here is how it works:

  • Reserve offers prior to purchase
  • Purchase item(s) and save receipt
  • Capture receipt to redeem offer
  • Get cash back

The app has many additional features that help save money.  Create a shopping list when reserving your offers or check in for more cash earnings. (A mobile phone with text messaging is required. The Jingit app is free.)

Jingit-2

Get your game on! For a limited time purchase tailgating supplies and earn cash with your Jingit app. For instance you can receive $1 cash back on ANY brand bag of charcoal when you shop at Walmart, Target, or Kmart. Enjoy the football season without breaking the bank by downloading the Jingit app!

Download the Jingit App and check out all the ways to earn cash.

#TryJingit #CollectiveBias

5 Easy Steps for Throwing the Perfect Yard Sale



yard sale

It’s yard sale season. And while you should definitely use yard sales to find great deals on furniture, toys, books and all sorts of other stuff, you should also consider throwing your own yard sale. You’ll not only get rid of some of your unwanted stuff, you make a few dollars (or several hundred dollars), too!

And while throwing a yard sale can be fun, it also takes a lot a planning to get it right. Here are five tips to help you do exactly that.

Treat Shoppers Like Friends – If you’re nice to people, they’ll be nice to you, which means they’ll be more likely to buy something and more likely to buy it for the price you asked. When shoppers arrive, don’t just sit in your lawn chair. Walk up to them, smile, greet them, and make small talk. Just like you would if a friend were visiting your home.

Offer Freebies – Have you ever noticed that yard sales that offer free coffee, soda and snacks (doughnuts are a good choice) usually have the most people? That’s because people like free stuff. And even if they only stop by for the free soda, they’ll still take some time to look around and they might even buy something.

Make Sure Your Stuff Looks New – Okay, you might not be able to make it look “new,” but you should at least take some time to dust it, clean it, or repair it as much as possible. This seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many sellers skip this step – and then wonder why no one wants to buy that barely used (but very grimy looking) toaster oven.

Start Early – Yard sale shoppers get up early, which is why the peak yard sale hours are between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. With that in mind, you should definitely resist the temptation to sleep in until 8 and then take an hour to set up your yard sale. Wake up at 5 (on a Saturday? Yes!) and be set up and ready to sell by 6 a.m.

Grab a Friend – Waking up at 5 a.m. and standing around your front lawn for four hours is a lot more fun with friends. For that reason, you should definitely invite a friend or two to bring some of their unwanted goodies and join you. You’ll not only have a companion to talk to during the slow periods, but all of your stuff put together will make your yard sale look bigger, and when it comes to yard sales, bigger is better!