Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Teaching Kids about money, budgeting, paying bills....

Teaching kids about healthy financial habits can be daunting when you are still struggling with healthy habits yourself. It doesn't have to be daunting though, discussing some of those hard issues in terms that they can understand can be healthy. It's sort of like saying "look see mom/dad made some mistakes, we all do, and we are working on fixing them" and then explaining how people fix their financial mistakes.

All of that being said I have an older daughter she is *almost* a teenager *yikes*, at 12 she gets a lot more than she did at say 3. She sees and hears me talking about budget and bills often. A few weeks ago she asked me about how a budget works and "how do you pay your bills?" I was surprised by this. She has always been a fairly observant child. Her father and I are not together, he is no better with money than I used to be he just had lots more of it than I did to spend. Our daughter has never really seen a good example of saving, spending, and paying bills... until now. has a really great blog/article about teaching kids budgets, I encourage you all to read it. In fact is a really great (and free even!) website to check out and familiarize yourselves with. I think for my child though going more in depth is what she is asking for.

With my daughter's needs/wants to learn personal finance and budgeting this week we are starting something new. I will give her an allowance for time she has worked over and above family chores that everyone does, she will work with me to create a budget on saving to spend on a goal, savings for college, and spending money. I will take her to the bank and help her learn to fill out deposit slips (and when the time comes withdraw slips) and how to balance her savings accounts and keep track of what money is for what things. I am also going to show her my pay, where things go to, where they come out and how much is left at the end of the month/day/week... Not all kids can handle that I don't think nor should they, my child seems to have a need/want for that to understand. This need/want stems a bit from how she learns anything new and her abilities to really take the information in.

Most of all, I want my child to have a better understanding of personal finance than I did so when she makes mistakes she knows how to correct them. I was never taught anything about budgeting, making money, paying bills, writing checks, or balancing a check book. Nothing at all, I was thrown into it and failed miserably, I'm working at teaching myself now but I'd like for my daughter to know better. Whether she makes the right choices by having the right knowledge is totally up to her. I can instill the right things and educate her with the knowledge and then it is in her hands on how she applies all of those things.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Its a bust...

The garage sale had one successful day, but not it is a bust. We had hoped the weather man would be wrong but he was not and it is very stormy here today.

I made about $40, my boyfriends sister made about $130... the other two at the sale didn't do as good, either way one day of sales and over $200 worth of stuff was sold between 4 people that isn't bad.

Since the sale was at my boyfriends sister's home and she doesn't want to hold the sale tomorrow as planned this is what I have made. She may be willing to do another sale on another weekend, I hope so because I have a bed that I think will sell for a decent price otherwise everything is going to goodwill.

I'm a little disappointed, but I have taken today for some much needed R & R and that has been nice. I love the rain and so I can try and be happy with that. I can't say though that I wish I had a house to hold a sale at instead of depending on others to do this.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tomorrow is the day

Tomorrow is the day that we start our garage sale. I don't have much, mostly books, stuffed toys, a few knick knacks, and a few various other things, and then a twin sized bed. I might have an entertainment center too.

Tonight everything gets priced, books 75 cents or 2/$1, movies $1 or $2 (gotta check with the other girl I'm doing this with to see what she has hers priced as), stuffed toys 25 cents for small ones up to $2 depending on their size etc...

Anyway I hope I do this right, sale starts tomorrow, ends on Sunday. I have to work on Sunday but my boyfriends sister will sell, sell, sell for all of us so it is ok.

Really, I'll be happy to get rid of some things and have some money. I hope to earn enough to buy our new comforter set.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More shout outs.

The other day I did a post that was supposed to be about Making Extra Cash it really turned into a shout out. I wanted to continue to do the shout outs so here they are.

Another single woman (and single mom too boot) Jen at Lifestyle of a Divorced Single Mom, she not only knows how to juggle one income but doing it with more than one kid. She knows the unexpectedness that can come up and the expected that does but you just don't have it to plan for. Not only that but Jen is one of the main reasons I realized I could really do this budgeting thing, she gave me a great spreadsheet that really is detailed and works. She has been doing great at her goal setting and holding herself accountable each month, again she inspired me so look for something new from me soon.

There is Brian (oh, yes a man who happens to be married even so far he has broken the mold on my shout outs), he is the author of Over 40 Overweight and In Debt, I think he's got a correlation there indeed. In fact, I haven't read it yet but Frugal Dad (another great PF blogger) just posted an article on being overweight and in debt. Brian has just gotten back to blogging again and I hope he stays around I always enjoyed that he is just real in his posts he doesn't putz around and make excuses we are both in the same boat here overweight and in debt, maybe with some blogger collaboration we can both attain our goals together. I'm so excited to read Frugal Dad's article today and hopefully Brian will see it too.

One of the more successful single moms in the PF blogosphere is Single Ma at Fabulous Financials. She really is an inspiration about being all you can be and striving for the best. While I can tell we don't have the same career interests we do have similar mind frames. When I see that she has gotten so far and worked hard but I can go back and read that she too made mistakes along the way I'm inspired. Like Jen at Lifestyle of a Divorced Single Mom, Single Ma is a great goal setter and a true inspiration. Single Ma is a the point I could be at if I had worked things differently, while I was in a feel sorry for myself phase about being a single, unwed, teen aged mom she was out working her goals for the future and it shows. In fact, her blog is ear marked and her about me section is shared with any new teen mom I come across.

There are so many that deserve a shout out but many of you probably already know about Trent at The Simple Dollar, Weakonomics, The New Frugal Mom, not to be confused with The Frugal Girl, Spilling Buckets, Smarty Pig, My Money Shrugged and many more you can see on my blog roll.

If you know of others not on my blog roll or in my shout outs I'd love to read them, many of the people I read daily are found through others blog rolls so I encourage all of you to update yours frequently. I plan on making it a periodic thing I do.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Grocery Shopping

I do my grocery shopping in what I call three tiers. I shop typically at 3-4 different stores. Save-A-Lot, Aldi, Kroger and Meijer.

I first shop for the sale meats at the beginning of the month, I stop at Kroger and check for great deals on their 'Managers Specials' which is meat that needs to be sold that day or the next. Sometimes there is nothing but often times I find really good deals. One time I got two New York Strip steaks for $1.75, often times I find a flat flank type steak that is large enough to feed two of us for a normal dinner of steak and something with it or three of us for steak fajitas and walk out paying less than $4 for the steak. Next I go to Save-A-Lot and find the good deals on meats there. I stock my freezer usually for a few weeks to a month.

Next, I come home and I separate and put things away.

Within a week or so I check out the sales ads for Kroger and Meijer. I plan out meals based on the meat I have in the freezer and what is on sale and where. Usually one or the other store has better deals it varies. I plan out my shopping trip to one or the other store, I omit anything that I can get at Aldi's for cheaper based on the sales there.

By the third week we are running out of things that we get at Aldi's and it is time for the meals for items I need there. I again check Meijer and Kroger's sales ads just in case and decide Aldi's, Meijer, or Kroger and shop accordingly.

With this plan I end up spending somewhere between $40-$70/week not bad for someone that hasn't used coupons and is feeding 3 people breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

My next goal is to incorporate coupons. I hope to have a stock of staples we use most often by getting them as cheap as possible through sales AND coupons. With any luck I can take it a step further but for now to learn how to do this right I'll do it with our staples.

Since our local farmers markets are open finally I shop there too and get produce really cheap, there is a great one on my way home from work so it takes barely anytime to stop in every week or two.

Recently, I stuck to a fairly strict budget sort of like an envelope system. I didn't trust myself totally with an envelope system so I purchased a prepaid credit card and loaded my grocery money on there. If I had a true emergency that I had to redo my grocery budget I could but I kept it strictly for food, not even other things such as toiletries. It worked out really well and I think I'm ready to go to an envelope system now it really helped keep me in control knowing for a fact there was only so much there before it was gone. I may even make and document a grocery shopping diary.... who knows

I have to admit I'm not the best at following a list but I have been trying, making lists and remembering them is also an issue I'm working on.

Photo by: Amy.Arch

Making extra cash

Recently, I posted about earning some extra money and starting a side business. I was really excited, and I'm still in the beginning stages of starting what Samantha Gregory @ Rich Single Momma calls a Side Hustle (I just love that name for earning extra cash).

Samantha isn't the only blogger I've been reading who posts about earning extra income Dawn at Fighting Foreclosure has some really great ideas too. In fact I'm having a garage sale this weekend, she just had one too. I was going to sell books online with what I read from Dawn's blog but decided against it, I don't have the space to store them so off they go into the garage sale. I will be selling my textbooks online though and it will be helpful to re-read Dawn's on-line bookstore posts.

I really enjoy reading blogs from other single women making it by budgeting and being financially healthy, by far because I have been a single woman making it on my own I relate far more to them. Others out there have some great advice but I have to take it in and apply it to my situation with a little more attention than that of advice or words I've read from another single blogger.

For instance, Immer at Mein Taglich Brots who is starting her journey down the Bankruptcy road, she is a little ahead of me plus its great to know I'm not alone. I'm hoping this garage sale will in part help pay for my attorney to file. Then there is Betty at Bouncing Back from Bankruptcy who has completed the Bankruptcy process and it is refreshing to read her posts to see what life is like for someone afterwards. Oddly, it just occurred to me like both of the other bloggers they are single women too. I think I may come up with a blog roll for people in the PF blogosphere that are single. I find I get the best/most applicable PF information right in those types of blogs.

I read each blog I read though because I enjoy them. This post wasn't meant to be a big shout out but it has turned into one. Perhaps I should change the name, but I think I will leave it alone for now... maybe I'll do a part two later on with more of my thoughts... yes, yes I will.

Disclaimer... if you did not make it in this blog post it isn't because I don't love reading your blog its just that its still early when I started this and the reason I'll be doing a part 2... not everyone will make it but eventually I'll likely have posted your blog at least once on mine because you all have made me think and ponder and evaluate... soon enough you'll write a post and I'll say oh yeah, how cool is that? And I'll want to shout it out to everyone who reads my blog. That's just who I am. Holy, run on sentence.... I'd fix it but if you know me personally you know I probably would have just spoken all that in one big ole run on sentence ha.

More to come on my earning extra cash and thoughts on it....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I got my first bite

I think there was a time where I mentioned doing a side business of my own. Well I got my first real bite from a co-worker. YAY!!

In the past I have done some work writing resumes and cover letters for friends. This time it was a paid job, I got paid $25 for less than two hours of work doing a cover letter for a co-worker who is moving to a new state and looking for a job there.
Currently, my next phase in this business venture is to get a website up and running. I'm in the process of educating myself on that whole deal. This includes seeing what the costs are for my own website and if I can do it on my own or if I need to hire someone to do that for me.

I'm pretty excited to have my first paid job and he is extremely happy with the results. Now I will have a paid testimony as well as several unpaid testimonies to put onto my website as well. I'd like to get that going and up and running by the end of the month.

My ultimate goal with this is that I will be able to generate enough income to help support my household and purchase health insurance while I finish school. I have enough incentive to really make a go of this and try to make it work.

I found in helping people I'm good at it, I work in customer service as it is. I know what people want and how to make them happy but further I know how to help people turn things around and find resources while they are trying to do so. I was thinking with background and education one of my thoughts is I would be a really great career counselor. Its just a thought right now but I'm on my way to seeing if that is something I would love to do paid by starting this side business.