I’m Wondering: What are you Saving for in 2016?

wondering

We’ve got a big one we’ve been saving for for quite some time now.  A house! We’re hoping to put a large down payment on a house that’s a bit bigger than what we have now. :) (more than two bedrooms…ha!)

I’m Wondering:  What are you saving for in 2016?  What are some steps you plan on taking to achieve your goal(s)?

7 Items you Can Sell for Cash Right Now

7 Items you Can Sell for Cash Right Now

7 Items you Can Sell for Cash

Have you found yourself short on cash? Are you looking for quick ways to make a buck or two? Whatever the case or circumstance may be, there are plenty of legit ways to make some fast cash. Take a peek below at 7 items you can sell for cash right now, so you can have the money you need for your next utility payment, car payment, or whatever the case may be!

1. Scrap jewelry.

Do you have broken or unused gold and silver jewelry? Gather it up and take it to your local jewelry store. Most stores will weigh it for you and make you a cash offer for it. It doesn’t matter if it is broken or unsightly, they just want it for scrap. So gather up that jewelry and see if you can get some cash for it!

2. Scrap metal.

Scrap yards pay for all sorts of metals these days. You can take your empty soda cans; scrap copper, aluminum, even silver flatware. They will weigh it and make you an offer, and you not only free up some space at home, but gather some cash as well. See what scrap metal you may have in the garage or shed that you can scrap and trade for cash.

3. DVDs, Video Games

Are you done watching some of the DVD’s in your collection? Are you tired of some of your video games? Pawn shops take both of these items and will offer you cash. You can even sell these items online via Ebay or Craigslist, or take them to a resale shop that specializes in their sale.

4. Old toys.

Many old toys are worth cash these days. Old dolls, Barbies, doll clothing, old board games, old metal trucks, cars, and a host of other toy items are worth cash. Sell these items to a collector via Ebay or Craigslist, or you can even take them to an antique shop to see if anyone is willing to make you an offer on them.

5. Old paper items.

Would you believe that old postcards, old photos, magazines, cookbooks, maps, and other paper items are worth cash? Collectors go crazy over these items and are always on the prowl for them. Sell these items to a collector via Ebay or Craigslist, or you can even take them to an antique shop to see if anyone is willing to make you an offer on them.

6. Designer accessories.

Do you have designer shoes, bags, belts, sunglasses, and other accessories? If so, savvy shoppers are looking for them! Sell these items on Ebay or Craigslist and see if you can’t get a few bucks for them. It will help if they are in gently used condition and accompanied with any paperwork that authenticates them.

7. Electronics.

Your old cell phones, televisions, and computer parts and pieces are worth cash. I’ve seen many people have success selling their old cell phones in Facebook buy & sell groups. Pawn shops and resale shops are always looking for televisions and computers, so consider those options as well when you need to make some quick cash.

The next time you find yourself in a bind, take a look around the house to see if you can find any of these 7 items you can sell for cash now. You might find that making a few extra bucks isn’t hard at all, plus you get will be getting rid of clutter in the process!

I’m Wondering: What Part of Your Grocery Bill Always Costs the Most?

I’ve got the cost of groceries on my mind lately so today’s question is once again related to groceries!

I’m Wondering:  What part of your grocery bill always costs the most? (Meat, produce, dairy…etc.)

Have you got something you’ve been wondering about that I could feature in a future I’m Wondering post?  Submit your question to us here!

How to Financially Prepare for Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom

Becoming a stay-at-home mom takes some preparation. These tips will help you find out How to Financially Prepare for Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom!

Being a stay-at-home mom is such a rewarding job! Unfortunately, while it pays in many immaterial ways, being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t come with an actual salary. If you want to be a stay-at-home mom, you need to prepare for the financial changes that come with quitting your job and taking care of your kids all day instead. These tips will help you discover ways Financially Prepare for Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom!

How to Financially Prepare for Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom

1. Lower Your Expenses

The number one thing you need to do to financially prepare for becoming a stay-at-home mom is to lower your expenses. Right now you’re used to being a dual-income family, and your current budget may be working well. But, will it still work once you remove your income from the equation? Run the numbers, and then see what expenses you can lower or cut out completely to make everything balanced again. If you haven’t been practicing frugal living before, this would be a great reason to start!

2. Save More

Less income means less money instantly available for emergency expenses and less money going toward long-term savings goals. If you want your family to be financially sound while you’re a stay-at-home mom, then you need to make sure plenty of money is set aside in savings. Ideally, you’d have enough money saved that if all your current sources of income disappeared, your family would be financially fine for at least 6 months.

3. Pay Off Debt

When you financially prepare for becoming a stay-at-home mom, don’t forget your family’s debt. When you’re a stay-at-home mom, debts will have to be paid without any help from your income. Make things easier for yourself later down the road and pay off as much debt as you can now while your income can still contribute. That way, when your family is working off a single income, your monthly payments toward debts can be much smaller.

4. Practice

Practice makes perfect! To financially prepare for becoming a stay-at-home mom, make a practice budget excluding your income. Then try to live through a week or month with that budget. This will let you see first-hand what lifestyle changes you may need to make, and expenses you may have to cut. When the practice period is over, you’ll be able to make a much more informed budget that will actually work when you make the switch for real!

5. Find Ways to Make Money at Home

Just because you’re a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean you have to feel left out from bringing in some supplemental income! Depending on how much time you expect to have each day, consider starting a freelance career, or selling on eBay, or just doing some surveys for money each day. There are lots of ways to make money from home, regardless of how busy you may be! (Check out this post for more ideas on ways to make money from home.)

Have you ever been a stay-at-home mom? How did you make it work financially?

I’m Wondering: Does “Click & Collect” Save You Money?

wondering

I’ve got a great question for you today from Cindy!  She’s wondering:

I’m wondering if the new online shopping and picking your groceries up at the store is a good money saver? (Click & Collect.) I might be able to save money on groceries by only picking out online what I need for the week without the in-store distractions of other items I don’t necessarily need being on sale. Has anyone given it a try at Superstore?

Have you got something you’ve been wondering about that I could feature in a future I’m Wondering post?  Submit your question to me here!

Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Debt in 2016

Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Debt in 2016

Credit card debt is something that millions of us struggle with. It’s like a vicious cycle that never stops, unless you of course can get rid of the credit cards. However, it’s no secret that emergencies happen and sometimes those credit cards can be a lifesaver. Check out these tips for avoiding credit card debt in 2016.

Credit card debt is something that millions of Canadians struggle with. It’s like a vicious cycle that never stops, unless you of course can get rid of the credit cards. However, it’s no secret that emergencies happen and sometimes those credit cards can be a lifesaver. Check out these tips for avoiding credit card debt in 2016.

Use the Envelope System

If you have never used the envelope system, it’s basically a bunch of paper envelopes, nothing fancy. You create a budget and use the envelopes as a way to hold the money for your various budget areas.  For example, you might leave $50 for eating out for the month. That $50 would go in your eating out envelope and once it’s gone it is gone.

Set Up That Emergency Fund

It’s absolutely nearly impossible to stay out of debt if you’re not able to pay things off when they arise. Start setting up your emergency fund now, so you can stay out of trouble later. It’s recommended that you have at least three months of living expenses saved up, but you can do what you feel is best for your situation.

Cut Up the Credit Cards

Of course one of the most common sense ways to avoid credit card debt is to cut up the credit cards. Instead of relying on credit cards, you can build up a savings. Having your emergency fund in place will help you avoid using a credit card when emergencies arise.

Avoid Big Purchases

Many people use their credit card to purchase bigger items that they cannot normally afford. Friends, this is called living above your means. You probably don’t need a new television or a bigger bed if you cannot pay cash for it. Sometimes avoiding these big purchases can help you be thankful for what you already have. Instead of using a credit card, start saving cash for your next purchase.

Don’t Put Someone Else on Your Credit Card

For some reason there is an option that allows you to put someone else on your credit card. This will rack up your credit card amount fast. The only one who should have access to your credit card is you. If your credit card gets lost or stolen, this can mean big trouble for your finances. If you’re trying to avoid credit card debt, it’s probably best to not put someone else’s name on your credit card.

Know the Details of Your Credit Card

There are some credit cards out there that come with a hefty price tag. They lure you in with their lovely interest rates and then pounce on you whenever the promotional interest rate is up. Always read the fine print to your credit card.

Do you have some credit card debt to work off this year? How are you going to accomplish that? What are your tips for staying credit card debt free?

How to Create a Budget Binder

Setting up a Budget Binder in your home is a terrific strategy for staying on top of your finances.  It should not only be a record of what is spent, but it should include your estimations for what will likely be spent in the coming year(s).  This binder or manual should be a go-to for all of your questions regarding what you can afford and how long it will take to reach your financial goals.

How to Create a Budget Binder

Here’s how to create a Budget Binder:

  • Find a binder that works for you. I really like this Hilroy binder, but any binder will work. I would choose one that has at least a 1″ spine width.
  • You will also want to have some tabbed dividers so that you can separate your budget binder into sections. With the Simply Frugal Budget Binder kit, I provide 12 inspiring quotes that you can print off to create divisions for each month of the year. These Redi-Tag Removable Index Tabs are perfect to add to each quote/divider. These tabs are writable and repositionable so you can move them around or use the same one if you need to refresh the page.
    budget binder months
  • I like to divide my Budget Binder up by months. (One section for each month of the year, January  – December) In each section/month, I include a Weekly Expense tracker, a Monthly Budget Summary, a Monthly Bill Payment Tracker, a Monthly Income Tracker and a Monthly Expense Tracker. In the back, I have a Savings Goal worksheet and a Debt tracker. (all papers are available in the Budget Binder Kit.) But you may want to divide yours up by every fund you have (Auto, Childcare, Clothing, Grocery, Utilities, Travel, banking, loans, etc.

    budget binder pages

    Some sample pages included in the Simply Frugal Budget Binder Kit.

  • Also in the back, create a section for account information and include names of financial institutions, addresses, contact information, passwords and any other details that would be worth having at a glance.
  • You can also add pouches to hold receipts, a page to record prices on your favorite items, or anything else that might be useful in keeping your family in the black!

SimplyFrugal.ca has all the printable pages listed above in the Budget Binder kit that should help keep your family in the black!

Do you keep a Budget Binder? What pages do you keep handy in your family or business budget binder?

I’m Wondering: What is your #1 Grocery Saving Tip?

I thought I’d rekindle something here at Simply Frugal. :)  I love hearing from you guys and enjoy the conversation that can be had with the “I’m wondering” questions I’ve asked in the past. So, I thought I’d get those “I’m Wondering” questions going again!

Let’s get started shall we?

I’m Wondering:  What is your #1 Grocery Saving Tip?

Have you got something you’ve been wondering about that I could feature in a future I’m Wondering post?  Submit your question to us here!

Tips for Getting Out of Debt After the Holidays

Tips for Getting Out of Debt After the Holidays

Tips for Getting Out of Debt After the Holidays

Many Canadians go into debt each year to give gifts to those they love for the holidays. Now that the damage is all done, and if you’re one of those people, it’s time to take a serious look at what needs to be payed off. You will need a plan and I’m here to help you with that!

Check out these tips for getting out of debt after the holidays:

Get a Total

Before you can tackle the debt you created, you will need a total. Gather up all of your credit card statements or loan amounts to see what the grand total is. Try not to beat yourself up when you see the total. :) So you got a little caught up in the season… now is the time to get back on track financially.

Create Goals

After you know how much money you’re owing from the holidays, it’s time to create goals to get the debt paid off. For example: “By May, we want to have $300 of our debt paid off.” Your goals should adequately reflect how much debt you are in. Of course, you’ll want to be out of debt way before next Christmas, so this doesn’t happen again!

Pick Up Extra Work

If your current budget is being taken care of by your income and there’s nothing leftover, getting extra work might be your next step. There is so much extra work you can pick up even after the holiday season is over. Consider shoveling snow or even working part time at the mall. Or perhaps you could try selling some of your unwanted/unneeded stuff!

Create a Christmas Goal

Just as I mentioned earlier, without a goal in mind for next year, you will be in the same place each time with debt. It’s important to create a goal for Christmas earlier in the season. Set an amount of what you want to save and go from there. If you can swing it, start saving weekly or each time you get paid. It makes a lot more sense to save cash now rather than use credit later. (In other words, credit is for cash you may not have!)

Use Cash From Here on Out

It’s one thing to use credit cards and to get into debt over the holiday season, but it can be detrimental to your family’s income if you continue this path. Your best bet is to use cash from here on out. You can even put cash in envelopes to keep yourself from spending above and beyond what you budgeted for. Cash is always your friend when budgeting and spending.

Do you have any tips for getting out of debt after the holidays? I’d love to hear them!

Top 12 Posts of 2015

Top 12 Posts of 2015

I thought it would be fun to have a look back at what the top 12 posts for 2015 were on Simply Frugal!  Some of these posts were not written in 2015, but thanks to Social Media, they’re still popular!  I’d love to know what your favourite post was in 2015? Let me know in the comments!

container gardening mistakes to avoid

1. 5 Container Gardening Mistakes to Avoid

free apron patterns

2. Free Apron Patterns

Urban Barn Make Room

3. Free Online Room Planning Tool

get started container gardening

4. How to Get Started Container Gardening

Looking for a recipe for delicious Whipped Shortbread Cookies? Well, here it is. This is it!

5. Whipped Shortbread Cookies

banana-muffins

6. My Favourite Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

menu planning tricks

7. Menu Planning Tricks

uses for old magazines

8. 10 Uses for Old Magazines

delicious puffed wheat squares

9. Delicious Puffed Wheat Squares

oatmeal

10. Easy Breakfast Refrigerator Oatmeal

20 Ways to Refashion your Clothes

11. 20 Ways to Refashion your Clothes

Having a well-stocked pantry can save you from unnecessary trips to the grocery store. Here's a list of basic pantry staples to have on hand at all times!

12. Basic Pantry Staples List (and Free Printable)