How to Save More Cash When Managing Student Debt

Paying off your existing student loan or maybe even helping out a family member deal with their financial debt is often very overwhelming. Don’t worry! It is possible to pay the totality of your student loans. It might take energy and lots of perseverance, but with the right student loan repayment strategy it is possible to go from having thousands of dollars of debt to becoming debt-free. You might even be able to do it much faster than you have ever anticipated.  Getting your student loan done with fast is the one and only trick when it comes to saving money when dealing with debt.

Let’s say you have got a $30,000 financial loan using a 4.5% monthly interest rate that you pay back over 2 decades – you’ll spend $15,550 in interest. However, when you pay in precisely 10 years, you’ll save around $8,240. In the event you repay it within five years, you’ll save $11,993. That’s enough funds to acquire an exciting new vehicle or take care of rent for almost a whole year.

It’s equally important to remember that defaulting on your education loan can have some really serious consequences; not repaying student loan debt can be a whole lot worse than default on any other types of loans. Defaulting on your regular loans can possibly destroy your credit track record, which makes it difficult to do just about everything from signing up for standard utilities to renting a high-rise apartment. Your debt can also become bigger thanks to accumulating interest. Of course, many student loans are the equivalent of federal financial loans. This is what makes them worse. If you don’t do regular payments, the government can add charges or even take part of your weekly income by requiring your employer to hold back some of your salary and send it straight to government’s pockets.

Yet, sometimes it is undoubtedly more intelligent to settle different loans before college loans – if you have other debts with a larger annual percentage rate, pay that down first. You’ll also definitely want to build emergency savings before really starting to invest more money in your loans. But besides that, it is often really important to pay off your current education loans as soon as possible. It’s not always simple and easy, but it is attainable and will end up saving you more money in the long run.

This is a sponsored by TD Canada Trust. My opinion is 100% my own.

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Savings of up to $90 off HTC at Boostmobile

Boost Mobile Promo Code Page

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Does Money Really Equal Happiness?

”Happiness

Ever wondered what the price of happiness is for you? According to the latest research from Noomii, there is a specific amount of money that can make you happy! Seems like $75,000 is the magic number to increase happiness in people- which for me is a great number! Not only is that enough to cover your basic needs, but can give you the luxury of a little travel and spending as long as you budget your money well! But it’s just not about how much you make but how much your willing to spend of that money that will really make you happy!

Choosing to help others by donating or buying gifts can particularly help boost those happy feelings! Even though buying the hottest pair of skinny jeans, fastest car on the block or donating a truck load of necessities to a local shelter may seem like the best option for happiness,  spending time making memories with friends and family is always my favorite kind of happiness. You can always replace an item but creating memories is something you never forget and can always keep with you!

So what do you think your magic number would be, to be happy? Is $75,000 enough for you?

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Tips To Shop Re-Sale Shops + $1 Clearance Sale Starts Today at Once Upon A Child

Cleaning out last seasons clothes for the kiddos can sometimes be refreshing to be out with the old, but making way for the new can be a bit rough on the wallet. One way we stretch out our clothing budget is to shop re-sale shops and fill our kiddos closets and also pair with new items as well! Gives our girls a good balance of finding brand new items and gently used items all while helping us stay on budget! Here are some tips that we use when shopping local retail stores for the latest fashion items!

Having a plan of what you are wanting to buy is probably the most important task for our family. With 3 girls, shopping tends to become a time to re-create the latest fashion runway show, which in returns means several hours of shopping and several hundred dollar spent. But if we have a plan and know that we are going in looking for a few specific items, it tends to help keep them on track with time and money. Although our pictures from our dressing room fashion shows usually make for some great scrap book pages!

The quality and condition of the item are very important as well. Most re-sale shops tend to only take the best brands- which is a plus for you since you don’t have to take the high prices that come along with the best brand. But you still will want to make sure you are not purchasing something that has more repairs than what it is worth- zippers busted, holes in the knees, seams coming apart, stains, etc. Not that these are common, but getting home to only find a imperfection on something your just bought can be a real disappointment.

Just because you are shopping a re-sale store does not mean you should buy items without trying them on. Most re-sale stores offer dressing rooms just like clothing retail stores- so try it on and see if it works for you! Some re-sale stores, all sales are final. So making sure they fit right before you pay for the items is a must.

Shopping with the kiddos can be a tricky situation. I would recommend that you try to not shop with kiddos at a re-sale shop or you come prepared. One you will be there longer than a typical retail store since you will be shuffling through racks and racks of clothes. In return, they will get bored and want to leave, that will make you feel rushed, most likely making you spend more money. Second I do tend to spend more when I have them with me in general. They find things they want and you tend to add unnecessary items (such as candy or toys) to keep them occupied. But if you are shopping for them and want their opinion, you need to come prepared. Bring snacks, books, toys and cash only! I know this seems like a lot just to go shopping but honestly it helps! Keeping them occupied with snacks and toys/books seems to help our little ones and only bringing so much cash helps the older ones understand that we can only pay for what we have enough cash in hand for!

My favorite thing about shopping re-sale shops is making items our own! This weekend a local re-sale shop is hosting a clearance sale where everything on clearance is just $1! Which is a great way for me to grab a few new pieces to add to our girls wardrobe. But sometimes the items that are available are not always they style or look my girls want! So I have quickly learned that glitter, sequence and embellishments are my new friend! Taking a pair of jeans that I can find for just $1 and adding a few iron on flowers or gems for a few more dollars, makes a whole new look, that my girls absolutely love! This is also great for kiddos that are not thrilled with wearing clothes from the re-sale shop. Adding the embellishments makes the item all their own and a one of a kind!

Once Upon A Child $1 Clearance Sale Starts Today- see here for details!

What tips do you have for shopping your local re-sale shop?

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Tips To Sell On Craigslist- Why Your Items Aren’t Selling!

Recently we have been in the market for a new car and decided to check out Craigslist to see what we could find first. Sometimes searching other options instead of heading straight for the dealership, not only allows you to see what the going price is, the quality available but what seems to sell best in other places, besides the dealer.

After many, many hours of searching, calling, texting and visiting local people to see their vehicles, I quickly became frustrated with “things” that could have easily been avoided! If you plan to sell items on Craigslist or Facebook groups, here are a few tips that can help you sell your item quickly and for the right price- without the frustration for all parties involved!

First have a detailed description of the item you are selling! You honestly would not believe the amount of ads that we would pulled up that would just simply say…. 2010 Dodge Van- $12,000 call Ed at 555-5555. Seriously, there were ads just like this! I will not call you, email you or text you to waste my time of back and for with questions of what it looks like, how many miles, any work needed, color, etc- this should all be listed in the ad. You don’t need to go into great detail as to actual specs from the manufacturer, but be honest and share what you know about the item.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures! Show quality pictures of the inside, outside, any damage, any great features, etc of the item- none or one image will not get you the quick response you may want! This will also make potential buyers feel that they know what they are getting into before they call or email you, therefore making them feel more comfortable and that your item is what they want! Makes you seem honest and that you are not trying to scam the buyer. Take 5-7 quality images of the item you are selling from many different angles with a quality camera.

Do your research when pricing your item. I know there are many factors that go into your listing price, you may need to pay off debt, wanna take a vacation or just want to make a lot of money on it! But what you want to make off a item and what it is really worth maybe two totally different prices! There are many places out there to check prices of vehicles, priceless heirlooms and kids toys around the house. Check Kelly Blue Book for vehicles or ebay for used items- this will give you an idea of what others are selling their items for and if you can really get what you want out of yours!

Don’t list your home address, meet in a public place and take someone with you! This is not only for your safety but for the other party as well. Never invite a stranger to your home to check out anything that you would be selling or buying just for the mere fact you don’t know their true intentions. There are people out there that are looking for people that are vulnerable, they are looking for clues to come back and rob your home later. Do you have a dog, do you live alone, etc these are all things they will be looking for when they visit your home. Just don’t take that chance, especially if you have children. Not all people are bad, but to be on the safe side, find a local Target or grocery store to meet at!

If you want someone to contact you, you must add your contact information to the ad if you are not going to reply to the automated email! I had several ads that I had no other contact information other than the Craigslist email and after several attempts received no response! If you want to sell your item, list additional contact information or answer the emails!

Staying honest with your ad is probably the most important task for me, to be the most successful when selling your items! I seen an ad that stated a vehicle had 50,000 miles on their van, only to arrive and test drive the van to find out there was really 88,000 miles. When I asked why the ad stated less mileage, I was told they forgot how many miles were on the van when they placed the ad so they guessed! If it would have been just a few miles or even a few hundred miles difference, I would not have said a word! But 38,000 miles difference is huge- too big of a difference for us when we were not looking for a vehicle with that many miles. So you wasted my time and yours and you thought that your dishonesty would go unnoticed- not happy! He could have really just not known and really did guess when placing the ad, but as a buyer, I don’t want you to guess, be honest!

Are there things you feel help you sell your items on Craigslist? Let me know what you do to clear out your old unwanted items!

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Help Plaza Towers Elementary School in OK for FREE

Looking for a Way To Help PLAZA TOWERS school in Moore, OK but don’t have any extra cashDonate BoxTops to their school to help them rebuild!

You can mail your BoxTops to their school directly or you can donate 5 absolutely FREE by heading over to BoxTops Facebook Page- “like’ their page, hit the Summer Countdown tab and select Plaza Towers Elementary School zip code 73160.

That’s it, they will earn 5 FREE BoxTop points just like that!

Thanks I Heart The Mart!

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Shop Perk- Find Recipes & Money Saving Tips

ShopPerk makes smart shopping easy. Every day. For everyone. Get great deals on the things you need most. Compare stores in your area to find the best selection and the biggest savings. Find recipes and ideas that leave you more time, more money and more energy to spend on what you truly love.

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Frugal Tip: Decorate Your Home on a Budget for the Holidays

Dollar Tree Budget Decorating 3

Hosting Christmas dinner can be quite expensive. By time you purchase all the gifts you need, the food and decorations you will have maxed out your holiday budget. But there are little things that you can do to help cut your out of pocket cost with simple swap outs and shopping at the Dollar Tree to snag some great savings!

dollar tree paper productsWhether you want to use paper products or washable dishes for your holiday dinner, shopping the Dollar Tree will help keep your budget on track! With their large selection of holiday paper products- cups, plates, napkins and silverware- you are sure to grab all the needed supplies. Using paper products can be great for the fact that you do not have to do any dishes after your party, just pitch all your products in the garbage!

Now if you would rather have nice dinner dishes and a more formal look for your holiday dinner, then don’t worry you can grab that as well! I found these super cute black round plates and cream and black coffee mugs to help freshen up my dinnerware. On the plus side, these are items I plan to use for our everyday use as well and paid only $1 each!

Dollar Tree Budget Decorating

Don’t forget to add a little splash of decorative flowers, tinsel or garland on just about anything to spice up your holiday decorations! It’s not about spending $40 or $50 on a new centerpiece or table runner to make your home look festive! Simply add a few touches that showcase on old piece to liven up any room!

Dollar Tree Budget Decorating 2

Also add a new picture frame to the table near the front door to make your entry way warm and inviting! Plus this gives you the opportunity to show off your family to visitors during the holiday season!

Dollar Tree Budget Decorating 6

What items have you purchased from the Dollar Tree to help keep your decorating costs down?

dollar_tree_logo

I received a gift card in order to conduct this post. My opinion is 100% my own.

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Helpful Tips When Struggling with Mortgage Payments

For most home owners their monthly mortgage payments will be their biggest regular expense. With austerity continuing to bite, keeping up with the payments may become difficult or even impossible for some people.

The ongoing squeeze on family finances means many of us have less money to spend each month. Benefit and wage freezes and even salary cuts for some, combined with increasing prices for basic needs such as food, utilities and petrol mean it can be hard to make ends meet.

How to save money

It’s vital to keep up your mortgage payments if you can, so look for ways to save money in other areas. This can mean having to prioritize spending in a way that you might not have had to do before.

Take a good look at the household budget and work out how you can free up more of your money. Non essentials such as subscription TV channels and gym memberships can be cancelled (but check your contract first) while extras such as take away meals and even the occasional night out might all have to go.

Check your grocery bill for ways to save. Swap from brand names to supermarket own labels and make more of your own food, which is cheaper than buying ready meals. Turn the thermostat down a degree in the winter to help keep fuel bills in check.

While money is tight don’t be tempted into buying anything new unless it’s absolutely essential and don’t take out loans or credit deals to finance new products which will only add to your debt.

If you do have other debts that you are struggling to manage then talk to a specialist money adviser. They might be able to set up reduced payment arrangements for unsecured debts such as personal loans or credit cards which will then release some money that you can put towards paying your mortgage.

Talk to your lender

For some people money saving measures simply won’t be enough. If a breadwinner has lost their job then it’s very difficult to make up the shortfall in income simply by cutting back on household expenses.

It’s important to contact your lender as soon as you know you are struggling to pay your mortgage or if you anticipate that a problem may arise i.e. the threat of redundancy. They’ll have a special department with experienced staff who may be able to help.

Depending on your circumstances there are a number of options your lender might propose. For example they could agree to reduce your mortgage payments for a set time. If you are on a repayment mortgage they might only charge you interest. This will mean smaller monthly payments but you won’t be reducing the capital amount borrowed.

Another option could be to give you a payment holiday. You may be able to extend the term of your mortgage which has the effect of reducing your monthly payments but will cost you more in the long term.

Of course all this can put an incredible strain on families and it’s no surprise that many couples will really feel the pressure and may even separate. If you need legal assistance for family law Liverpool solicitors can help you at this very stressful time.

If your financial circumstances don’t improve, for example you can’t find another job, then it may not be feasible to continue living in your home but your lender may agree to you staying there while it is sold and you look for somewhere new to live.

Written on behalf of Hughes Carlisle solicitors who specialise in a variety of family related issues.

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Ways To Save on Christmas Cards

I share a few tips on how to save money on holiday cards over at Coupon Cabin- What are some of your best tips?

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Families Advised To `Stay Safe & Warm` This Winter

Families Advised To `Stay Safe & Warm` This Winter, So Let’s Make it Happen the Green & Cheap Way

If it’s cold outside, then you need to keep warm inside your home, but it is essential that you keep safe at the same time. Many people who struggle to keep their home warm during the winter months often turn to less safe and cheaper forms of heating such as paraffin heaters, naked flames and hot water bottles and heated blankets.

Look out for family and friends.

If you have family or friends who are elderly or vulnerable, it is essential that they stay warm in the colder months, so remember to talk to them and pop in from time to time to check all is well. Make sure they have plenty of warm layers on, that any equipment they are using is in good order and safe and that they are using any benefits they are entitled to, to help them beat their household fuels costs.

Tips to help keep you warm, day and night.

With this in mind, there are some quick and immediate solutions to help keep you and your family safe and warm this winter. Some quick solutions require no money outlay on your part, for example, simply turning your boiler down by 1 or 2 degrees could save you up to 10% on your overall heating bill. If you feel the chill, then add an extra layer to keep cozy and snug. To achieve this, an efficient temperature control system is a must and investing in a modern thermostat is a good idea. In addition, while it is tempting to fire up the boiler as the nights draw in, if you can delay the time of the year that you decide to switch your boiler back on to a little later in the autumn rather than the beginning of it, more savings could be coming your way.

If you are at home during the day, heat your main living area to around 64-69 degrees. If you need to heat the rest of your home, then aim for a lower overall temperature of 60 degrees. Where possible, instead of turning up the thermostat as soon as you wake up in the morning to gain that instant hit of heat, set your timer to come on a few hours before you rise from your bed. By doing this, your home will have reached and ambient and cozy temperature while helping to keep your fuel bill under control and you won’t be cold while you wait for the house to heat up.

At night time, your bedroom can be a few degrees cooler as lower, but not cold, temperatures can actually help you drop off naturally. Add an extra blanket or two if you really feel the cold and never underestimate the comfort bed socks and pajamas can offer. Never be tempted to use an electric blanket with a hot water bottle, even when the blanket is switched off and remember that electric blankets should be tested at least every three years to ensure they are safe to use – a service that various charities with the Fire Service can help with.

Sponsored Post via ENER-G are an internationally acclaimed renewable energy company who offer advice and support while choosing your electric & gas prices. Click for further information. My opinion is 100% my own.

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Ways To Save On Thanksgiving Dinner

I got the opportunity to share some Thanksgiving tips over at CouponCabin, did you use any of them this year?

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Find The Right Gift For Your Little Ones When On A Budget

Sometimes looking for the right gift for your kiddos can seem so easy until you actually hit the stores and try to find that right gift within your budget! We try not to over do it too much with a large variety of children toys and only buy one large gift and 5 or 6 smaller gifts. We have extended family that purchases gifts for our girls so they tend to get a lot of gifts and we don’t want them to become spoiled and loose the trued meaning of Christmas.

So we tend to try and buy their number 1 item of their Christmas list as their big gift! But then the smaller gifts more personalized, educational items, things they need and items they will keep for years to come. Whether it be the latest Wii Game, LeapPad or a engraved locket there is a lot of work that goes into finding gifts that mean something! Here are some tips as to how we try and find the right gifts for our kiddos and stay on budget:

  • What is on their Christmas list: Any parent wants to make their kiddos happy and make sure they think Santa is the best, so we tend to try and buy their most wanted gift as their bigger gift since that item tends to be the most expensive. But after that we do keep in mind what they want but don’t want to fill the tree with tons of toys that they will play with for a few weeks and then forget about them. Find gifts that you know will help enrich their minds or something they will cherish for years to come. I know what kids wants something they will cherish, but in the long run finding the balance between 2 will be the best option!
  • What is your budget for these gifts: Budget can be the biggest factor as to what gifts you buy and how many you can get. So figuring out what you can afford will help you get the most for your money. Sit down and come up with a number and then go through their Christmas list: is there just one item you can afford or are you able to purchase multiple smaller items?
  • Do Your Research: Make sure whatever you buy is worth your hard earned money and not something that is going to fall apart come January! Also be sure that the gift is age appropriate, will withstand the abuse of your child and of course affordable. Almost every online store offers customer feedback. This feedback can give you insight as to what other parents have experienced with certain products. Read them, it will help you understand the item, what is good and bad!
  • Additional Costs: Our 11 year old is on a mission to get a phone this year for Christmas. Although we do not feel that she is ready or needs a phone just quite yet, we need to figure in the additional costs of getting a phone for her. Many gifts can be a great idea, but when the gift receiver has to continue playing monthly access fees or purchase additional items to use it, the gift may not be the best idea. Consider everything that goes with it and what you may need to continue to purchase to continue using it!
  • All in all, are they gonna love it: Even though we want to purchase some items that they will get educational value from or keep and use for a long time, in the end it has to be something they really want! You can’t give a 4 year old a engraved gold necklace and get upset that they don’t jump up and down with joy that they didn’t get the latest Buzz Lightyear toy! Find a happy medium and get gifts that make them happy, make you happy and are easy on your pocket book!
Although this post was sponsored by Tesco my opinion is 100% my own.

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Tips for Planning a Holiday Party On a Budget

Dollar Tree

The holiday is quickly approaching and plans have already been underway for our family Christmas party! With this comes lots of shopping and lots of spending! But this year I am going to try and see how little we can spend on this normally expensive event! I will look to our local dollar stores, like Dollar Tree, to help me keep our party on a strict budget! Here are some tips I will use this year to save us money on our holiday party planning:

  • Make a List: I keep lots of lists, everything from what I am going to do that day, to birthday gift ideas, Christmas shopping ideas, etc. But I will keep a list of items that I need for our Christmas party- food, decorations, party supplies, etc. This way I will only purchase what I need but most importantly I will not purchase duplicates, which I tend to do pretty often!
  • Make a Menu: I have already planned out everything that I will need to purchase for our meal for Christmas. As I see items go on sale, I will buy them and hold onto them until I need them! Waiting til the week of, will cost you a lot more since not everything you need will go on sale that week! Plan ahead!
  • Ask Guests to Bring a Dish: Every year we have Christmas dinner at our house and we provide the majority of the food and drinks! But we do ask our guests to bring a side dish and or dessert to share with everyone. This helps make sure we have plenty of food with out the added cost of buying all of it!
  • Just Decorate the Main Areas: Decorate just the areas in which you will guests, dining room, living room, kitchen and maybe a bathroom or 2, no need to decorate rooms that no one will see!  Although I have about 10 large totes filled with Christmas decorations, you may not have as much as I do. So I tend to hit the Dollar Tree to look for cute vases to fill with ornaments, holiday candy dishes, holiday table cloths, etc. This will keep the cost low, while keeping your place looking festive!
  • Buy Holiday Paper Products: Although this may cost a little more than using our regular holiday plates and cups, it will save me time of not washing dishes and my sanity of knowing we will not run out of silverware and plates!

So what plans do you have this year for the holiday, any tips you want to share on keeping the cost low for your next festive party, leave a comment and share!

Dollar TreeThis post was sponsored by Dollar Tree. My opinion is 100% my own.

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