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Our Favorite Budget-Friendly Halloween Costume Tips

My kids love Halloween. More than the candy, they thrive on having the opportunity to wear their “dress-up” clothes out of the home. There’s nothing quite like pretending to be someone you idolize. Unfortunately, the budget doesn’t always accommodate the expensive costumes they’d prefer, which is why I’m always searching for new, inexpensive ideas. A single post on Facebook netted a bunch, so I thought I’d share a few with you. 

#1: Gum Stuck to Shoe

If you have a pink shirt (and possibly pink pants as well) this is an easy costume to put together. Just attach the bottom of a shoe to the top of your head and you are immediately transformed into the gum stuck to the bottom of a shoe. While your costume will be more identifiable with pink “gum”, you may want to mix it up and go as a wintergreen version.

#2: A Ghost

Have an old white sheet lying around? Place it over the head, cut two holes for eyes and ta-da! You are a ghost.

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How to Improve Your Finances: Wisdom from The Latte Factor

The very first personal finance book that I ever read was David Bach's Smart Women Finish RichII was in my early 20's at the time, and it was the financial education I never got in school on how to improve your finances. It opened my eyes to a lot of things - about how spending is a reflection of our values, the power of saving consistently over time, and how to avoid common financial mistakes. 

Over the years, I have read some of David Bach's other books as well, so I was looking forward to the release of his latest, The Latte Factor.

This book is different from Bach's other books. It's a parable that teaches basic personal finance concepts through the story of a young woman named Zoey. The text is very readable for a book about personal finance, and Zoey is a very relatable character. If you are having a hard time figuring out how to save for the things you want, I highly recommend it.


3 Ways to Improve Your Finances According to The...

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50 Ideas for Free Family Fun This Fall

family activities Sep 26, 2019

The weather is getting cooler, which means that it's time to consider alternatives to playing in the swimming pool and at the lake. Check out the following 50 ideas for free family fun this fall.

  1. Go to a playground - Fall provides so many beautiful days to visit local playgrounds.
  2. Go for a hike - Fall is my favorite time of year for hiking. I love watching the trees change colors, and the sound of the leaves crunching on the ground.
  3. Visit the public library - In addition to free activities for families, our local libraries also have a lending library of toys and games. Yours might, too!
  4. Attend a free concert - Many communities offer free concerts in the park. Our local libraries often have free concerts, too.
  5. Take a walk on the beach and collect shells - Depending on what part of the country you live in, it may be too cold for swimming. There are other ways to enjoy the beach, though. Building a sandcastle and collecting seashells are great fall activities.
  6. Watch a movie together...
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Why This Busy Mom Loves Amazon Prime & How to Get It Discounted

budgeting saving Sep 25, 2019

I was reluctant to become an Amazon shopper for years, and now, I can't imagine life without it. More than anything else, I use it to keep us stocked with necessities like toilet paper, tissues, and laundry detergent. It may not always be the cheapest option, but there is enormous value in knowing we have those things stocked, and I don't have to worry about them.

Haven't tried Amazon Prime? Use this link for a free 30-day trial.

5 Reasons I Love Amazon Prime

1. Never running out of necessities

Subscribe & Save has indeed been a lifesaver for me. It means never running out of essential items like soap and toothpaste. I use Subscribe & Save for most of our household goods. You get a discount for subscribing, but more importantly, we don't run out of the things we need when I'm too busy to go to the store. However, if I still need something that I didn't subscribe to, I can order it through Amazon Prime and have it two days with no extra shipping cost.

2. Saves...

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How to Save Money While Raising a Family

budgeting saving Sep 23, 2019

Wondering how to save money while raising a family? You are not alone. I can't tell you how many moms have told me they can't save money because their kids always need something. I can relate. I have three kids that are continually growing out of clothes and shoes, wearing a hole in their backpack or any number of other things. With that said, it's absolutely possible to save money while raising a family.

Related post: How to Create an Annual Household Budget

10 Tips on How to Save Money While Raising a Family

Commit to saving

First and foremost, successful saving starts with commitment. Saving consistently and automatically is essential to reaching your financial goals, but you won't be successful without a goal. Consider the following:

  • What are you saving for?
  • How much money do you need or want to save?
  • What's the timeframe?

Once you have your goal in place, automate those savings deposits. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  1. Set up automatic transfers from your spending...
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Budgeting: A Teachable Moment with my Pre-Teen

budgeting kids and money Sep 21, 2019

What are you teaching your kids about money?

Have you considered what lessons you want your children to learn about money? As a financial advisor who works with people on some deeply ingrained money issues, I have thought A LOT about what I want my kids to learn about money. The thing is, if you don't think about it in advance, you could miss some great teachable moments.

My kids are all getting to the age where they are having a better understanding of money. Even at such a young age, they all seem to have a unique relationship with money. If I could share one ounce of wisdom with them, it's that they are in control of their own financial situation. It's interesting, though. My youngest, who is seven, seems to have the clearest concept of money. My daughter, who is ten, spends money the instant she gets it. I don't think she cares what she spends it on. She just loves to spend money.

My oldest, who is 12, is just starting to get the picture. I will say that his experience with Boy...

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Need some quick cash?

increasing income saving Sep 15, 2019

As they say, "one man's trash is another man's treasure."

Experiencing periods of financial strife has happened to almost everyone. When it happens, it can bring on feelings of worry and anxiety. But one way to make some quick money is to sell some belongings you don't use or no longer want. From big-ticket items to clothing and tchotchkes, you might be surprised what you can sell to thicken your wallet. 

Follow these strategies to make the most from your sales:

1. Consider selling almost everything.

Make a list of the items you'll sell room by room and jot down reasonable prices to ask. Don't worry; you won't miss them once they're gone. Are your rooms over-stuffed with too much furniture? Sell your least favorite pieces. Sell that extra recliner in the back bedroom that's piled with junk. Sell the junk on it, too! 

You don't use your bread maker anymore? Sell it to someone that will. What about the wrong size clothing or those you dislike? If you don't wear them, sell...

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Tips to Negotiate a Higher Starting Salary

career Sep 10, 2019

In life, everything is negotiable and starting salaries in a new position are no exception. Regardless of whether you are returning to the workforce after staying home with your kids or you're trying to uplevel your job, you are a knowledgeable professional. Know your worth. You have experience under your belt and other valuable skills that employers should be charged a premium for utilizing.

Give yourself your worth by negotiating your starting salary within a new company. Not only will it put you on a better financial footing, but it'll also make you seem like an ambitious businessperson.

5 tips to confidently and successfully negotiate a higher starting salary:

  1. Be prepared. Negotiation is all about the legwork. Do your research on the company, their current salary offerings, and the average salary in your locality. If this is your first time negotiating a salary or your first time in a while, it can be daunting. Practice with a friend or family member to give you...

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10 Easy Ways to Minimize Your Household Expenses

budgeting saving Sep 07, 2019

Are you having trouble building up your savings? Running a household can be expensive. With so many different expenses, it’s easy for costs to get out of control unless you’re careful. You can certainly find more exciting ways to spend your money than paying too much to your auto insurance company! You can even add to your savings account each month.

Related post: Creating a Household Budget

10 Easy Ways to Avoid Spending More than Necessary on Household Expenses:

  1. Prescriptions and Over-the-Counter Medications. Always ask if a generic version is available for your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Generics can cost as much as 85% less. There are also online services that will inform you of the best prices for your medications. GoodRx.com is a well-known example.
  2. Entertainment. Find ways to spend less money entertaining your family. Movie night at home costs a fraction of taking your family out to the movies. The park is free. During much of the year,...
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Don’t Let a Financial Setback Ruin Your Mindset

budgeting money mindset Sep 04, 2019

I just got an email from some clients of mine. It's a young couple I've been working with over the last year. Quite frankly, I adore working with them because they implement my recommendations and are seeing fantastic results. At any rate, the email was letting me know that one of them was recently in a car accident and her car was totaled. Fortunately, she's okay besides some bumps and bruises.

It would've been very easy for them to throw their hands up in frustration and give up when faced with this financial setback. Instead, they reached out to make an appointment to discuss their options. A year ago, they probably would've entered into a loan they couldn't really afford that would continue to set them back every month. What a difference a year makes!

The Most Important Step to Maintaining a Wealth Mindset

Making the decision to shift to a wealth mindset is the first step of many towards building a wealth legacy. Taking action is the second step. Both steps are essential...

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