admin / November 27, 2018

Easy to Make, Budget Friendly, Candy Cane Wreath

I know some of you love to make crafts (especially during the holiday season), so I asked my friend Sue to share one of her easy to make and very budget friendly Christmas crafts with you. Sue has her own craft blog and this month’s theme is homemade cards so go check it out.

 

 

If you’re on a tight budget, yet love to decorate your house for the holidays, you don’t need to spend a fortune. In fact I have the perfect thing you can make and all the supplies are from the Dollar Store. Can’t get any cheaper than that, can you?

The Dollar Store has a wire frame shaped candy cane and ribbons to make a cute and easy decoration. If you’re worried that you don’t have the skill to create it, don’t fret. Not only is it a cheap but I promise you this creation is super easy.

The only tools you will need are a scissors, hot glue gun and your own two hands. If you don’t have a hot glue gun, you could use any form of super glue. However, a hot glue gun makes it easier.

Directions

The first step is to wrap the end of the candy cane wire with ribbon. I chose to use a red ribbon that is decorated with white snowflakes. The end is wrapped kind of like a Christmas present. Tuck the ends of the ribbon under at the bottom and glue it to the wire. Then take the ribbon and wrap it around the wire three times moving up the wire as you go. After the third wrap, give it a shot of glue to make it stay together. Continue to do this until you get to the top of the candy cane. Then again glue it to the wire.

 

 

The ribbon has probably bunched up a bit in a few spots so take the ribbon and push it up to stretch it. Be gentle so you don’t rip the ribbon apart where you have glued it. It doesn’t matter if you can see the wire in spots because you will be covering that up with the white ribbon.

Once you are satisfied you have the red ribbon placed where you want it, it is time to do the same with the white ribbon. I first glued the end of the white ribbon to the red ribbon on the back of the wired candy cane. This time as you are wrapping the ribbon around the wire, you will want to leave a space between the ribbons to give it the stripe candy cane effect. Again after the third wrap give it a shot of glue to keep it tightly together. Continue to wrap and glue the ribbon until you get to the top of the candy cane wire. Then take the end of the white ribbon and tuck the ends under and glue it to the wire and red ribbon.

 

 

It should resemble a candy cane now. All that is left is for you to decorate it to your liking. I used a solid red ribbon and made a bow. Then I glued a silver bell on to the ribbon and glued red mini ornaments down the bottom front.

This candy cane design can be used in color that you wish. And with the supplies this cheap, several can be made to decorate your home or make as last minute gifts.

Supplies:

Wire candy cane- $1.00

Red wired snowflake ribbon (9 feet long)-$1.00

White wired Merry Christmas ribbon (9 feet long)-$1.00

Solid red wired ribbon (9 feet long)-$1.00

Silver jingle bells (9 count)-$1.00

Mini red glittered ornaments (16 count)-$1.00

Total: $6.00

This can be made in an hour and for $6.00. For that price you can’t go wrong. Give it a try.

Be sure to visit my blog @ suemcconnell.com and find other easy crafts you can make that are affordable. This month it’s all about homemade Christmas cards.

I can also be found at my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/DIYcraftblogger/

Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/suemcconnell93/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/sue44mc/

 

admin / November 7, 2018

Canadian Free Stuff

 

 

Over the years of running Budget Smart Girl, I’ve had lots of Canadian subscribers ask me about coupons and deals for them. Finally I have a site for you to check out. Here’s an interview with Theresa Bruce who runs CanadianFreeStuff…

 

Budget Smart Girl (BSG)-Tell us about you and your site?

Theresa Bruce (TB)-I first started out this free Canadianfreestuff back in 2000 as a hobby, and at that time loved getting free samples in the mail – Back in those days there were some fabulous free offers you could receive. My mailbox had something new and cool every week back in those days. Free T-shirts and other fabulous finds were hot back in those days. But the industry has changed so much – When it comes to getting Free Samples – It’s now being a Product Tester or Reviewer in order to get full sized free samples.

 

BSG-What gave you the initial idea to start a money saving site and when did you launch it?

TB-I started out Canadianfreestuff.com in order to help out other Canadians to save money – Free Samples and Coupons and free to enter contests. – Coupons were plentiful back in the day with huge savings like Buy 1 Get 1 Free on many everyday brands – but with the course of time, coupons are getting smaller for savings and now you have to do more legwork by either print coupons, or do a Mobile Rebate such as Checkout51 and Caddle.

 

BSG-How often do you update coupons and deals?

TB-We Blog approximately between 20-30 Money saving ideas every day of the week – a Mixture of Freebies, Mail-in Rebates, Coupons, Deals, and Contests.

 

BSG-Do you have a favorite money saving tip?

TB-My Favorite Money Saving Tip is to know your Prices. Example for me: Laundry is a good deal at 10 cents per load. This is my purchase price and I’m not “brand” specific. But if your brand specific and only, for example, buy Tide Free & Clean your best price might be $015 per load. To me, Points & Coupons are just “extra” savings. Now that I’m empty nester I don’t “coupon” much anymore. Now when I see my “Folgers” Coffee on sale for less than $6.99 I’ll simply purchase 3 of them, and patiently wait for another sales cycle to come along and purchase another 3.

 

BSG-Any other sites you recommend for the budget minded?

TB-Some other Great Canadian Budget Sites:

ttps://canadianbudgetbinder.com/

 

https://www.milliondollarjourney.com/

Be sure to check out Theresa’s site at www.canadianfreestuff.com

 

admin / July 12, 2018

Are You On Track With Your Financial Goals?

 

 

We’re almost mid-way through the financial summer makeover/challenge so how are you doing? Are you on track to meet the financial goals you set?

Here’s my update. I’ve been keeping track of money I spend and what I spend it on. It’s taught me a couple of things. One, there’s always room for improvement because even the most budget conscious of us will splurge once in a while. It’s human nature I guess, and yes, like a diet it’s sometimes a good thing because it stops you from going off the diet completely.

Second thing is that being accountable if only to myself, is improving my ability to be totally honest with myself about asking is this really a necessary buy?  I’ve stopped myself from buying a few things that didn’t fit into that category. Most of the things I’ve purchased in the last few weeks have been necessities and items I think will help the bottom line in my writing/coaching business.

If you’ve not given this exercise a try, do it and see what happens and leave a comment with your results.

Here’s the expense tracking sheet I’ve been using so feel free to print it out and use it for your own use-

DATE PAID TO METHOD DESCRIPTION CATEGORY AMOUNT
1-1-18 Something Grocery Store Visa Food items Groceries $172.79
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Notes: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….….

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………

 

 

admin / July 6, 2018

Ways to Save with Amazon

Before I begin, a full disclosure, I recently signed up to be an Amazon associate which means I can earn affiliate fees if anyone clicks on or makes a purchase through one of the links I’m providing in this post… and actually that’s my first tip for saving and making money on Amazon is to become one of their associates.

Coupons

I never thought I’d find coupons on Amazon but yes, they have them and here’s a link (no, this isn’t one of the affiliate links). You can use them for lots of stuff and another way to shave off some money from your order.

https://www.amazon.com/Coupons

 

 

Prime Member and Prime Day

For years, I put off signing up for a Prime membership at Amazon thinking I’d never use any of the perks but I was wrong. I get free books, a way to watch shows and movies and avoid cable fees, 2 day shipping with no minimum order. I know in the long run I save money and they also have their Prime Day coming up with exclusive offers for Prime members. If you’re not already a member and want to give it a 30 day free trial here’s the link-

<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/b?node=13887280011&ref_=assoc_tag_ph_1524210592968&_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=pf4&tag=susiep-20&linkId=9788a57d92ac3c4d88c21f9668407248″>Prime Day – Prime Membership $3 bounty</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=susiep-20&l=pf4&o=1″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

 

Prime Pantry

Another perk of membership is access to their Prime Pantry where you can get lower prices on food and household items. I have found some great deals on many items. Use this link and get $10 off orders of $40+ with trial

<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/pantry/info?ref_=assoc_tag_ph_1524210592962&_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=pf4&tag=susiep-20&linkId=b0b54c6ba01f700707336eb45c62489a”>Prime Day – Prime Pantry $3 bounty</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=susiep-20&l=pf4&o=1″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

 

Deep Discounts

I guess this says it all, use this link to a section that has items that are discounted-

<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/b/?node=517808&ref_=assoc_tag_ph_1384415829728&_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=pf4&tag=susiep-20&linkId=e9b74e19c8a0a384882e47d89e86af83″>Shop Amazon Outlet – Clearance, Markdowns and Overstock Deals</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=susiep-20&l=pf4&o=1″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

 

Kindle Countdown Deals

If like me, you’re an avid reader, you know the cost of books can quickly eat into your budget. Check out the Kindle Countdown Deals where authors and publishers discount their books. I should also add that with Prime membership you get access to lots of books and magazines you can borrow and even a free first read each month. Here’s the link for the countdown deals-

<iframe src=”//rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?o=1&p=14&l=ur1&category=kcdhol13&banner=01FGZ1BAFT2A4A7SSER2&f=ifr&linkID=48d0a1e31319fefe500b2e806e7662a6&t=susiep-20&tracking_id=susiep-20″ width=”160″ height=”600″ scrolling=”no” border=”0″ marginwidth=”0″ style=”border:none;” frameborder=”0″></iframe>

 

Amazon Fresh

And while I have tried this yet, I’m about to because it’s now available where I live. Groceries delivered to your door. Perfect for when you forget something and don’t want to head to a store to be tempted to buy more than you’d planned. Use this link to get $30 off your first order

<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/fmc/offer?ref_=assoc_tag_ph_1524210592959&_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=pf4&tag=susiep-20&linkId=70b5fca5bdb3707d3a3403f90d31f9dd”>Prime Day – Amazon Fresh $5 bounty</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=susiep-20&l=pf4&o=1″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

admin / June 21, 2018

Budget Smart Girl Tries Brandless

 

I recently heard about a company that sells food online. Not just any food but good for you stuff that’s organic and non-GMO. Added plus…I was told everything was $3 and shipping is free when you spend $39 or more.

Last week I decided to give it a try.

 

The company is called Brandless. The packaging is plan and simple which reminds me of the generic products you used to see at supermarkets but I have to say the taste is a whole lot better.

I haven’t sampled everything I ordered but so far, so good. The sweet potato tortilla chips…well, I’ll give them a ten. Same goes for the hummus chips and ginger sesame dressing.

 

I actually order some products as a way to restock the pantry. The soups are $1.50 each and while I do make my own soups most of the time, I don’t know if I could beat that price if I factor in these are organic, plus there’s my time to make the soup. Same goes for the fruit spread that is a huge jar and definitely worth $3 because I pay a lot more for a smaller jar and oftentimes it’s not organic.

They also sell household products, skincare items and stuff for your office. I especially like the body wash and mint foot cream.

So far I’m impressed with the food and service and thought I’d share my experience with you.

Here’s a link to their site-

https://brandless.com/

Here’s a link to their blog which has some great recipes too-

https://life.brandless.com/

And finally, if you do decide to shop at Brandless here’s a link that will earn me $6 off my next order.

You’ll also be able to sign up and earn referrals too-

https://refer.brandless.com/s/efh3w

 

Anyone already tried Brandless products? If so, what do you think?

admin / June 7, 2018

Track Your Spending

 

Welcome to week one of the summer money makeover

Have you decided what you’re going to tackle between now and September 1st?

One of my major goals is to track my spending.

It used to be much easier when I wrote checks to pay bills and buy groceries because I’d write down what I spent and who I paid, along with how much was in my account.

Those days are long gone and with them my organized system of seeing where the money was going.

Recently I’ve been reading lots of financial books (reviews of them coming soon), and one piece of money advice they all have in common is, you need to know what you’re buying so you can look for patterns in your spending habits.

Of course, certain payments are necessary but what about the odd $20 here and there?

It doesn’t sound like a lot but spend an extra $20 five times every month, and well, you get the picture.

I’m planning to look at not only how much I’m spending but what I’m spending it on. Is it a need versus a want item? Could it be an ongoing charge for something I no longer need (see my previous post about that topic). Could it even be for something that I can negotiate at a lower cost or switch to a competitor?

By the time September rolls around, I hope to have a clearer picture of my spending habits and if there’s anything I’m overspending on or if I’ve been prone to impulse buys…yes, we all have those even the budget minded.

I think I might use simple pen and paper to keep track but if you want to go the more sophisticated route I know there are lots of sites and apps for tracking spending. Some of them are free while others have a monthly fee.

I’ve found a couple of articles that cover some of the more popular sites and here are the links-

 

https://www.npr.org/2011/05/18/136394339/sites-that-help-track-your-spending-and-saving

 

http://www.wisebread.com/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget

 

Anyone else have suggestions about keeping track of your spending? What method do you use? Anyone else have the same goal for this summer make-over?

Have a money saving week.

Be sure to hit the subscribe button above so you don’t miss a post.

 

admin / May 31, 2018

Summer Money Makeover

 

It’s not yet ‘officially’ summer but Memorial Day’s been and gone so I thought we’d kick off a summer financial makeover.

What gave me the idea?

Over at my writing site, I’m setting up a summer writer’s retreat where we’ll get books started or half-finished ones will get completed. It’s running from June 1st through September 1st. Three months to get something done that maybe you’ve been talking about or even just dreaming about doing. So I thought how about something similar here at BSG.

What would your financial makeover look like?

Maybe you want to finally set up a budget?

Perhaps you want to get started on saving for that emergency fund you’ve always hoped for?

Maybe you want to save ready for holiday purchases or next year’s vacation.

It could be you want to organize your pantry or stop throwing away so much food?

Maybe you want to educate yourself on money matters?

My goal for this three month makeover is to track my spending and get an in depth view of where my money’s going.

How about you, and are you up to the challenge of doing something for your financial good? Can we count you in? If so, leave a comment.

Throughout the next three months I’ll be posting tips and hints to keep us motivated. Which reminds me…what would you most like to see here at BSG? I’m planning content and I’d love your input.

Would you like to see book and product reviews, interviews with experts and everyday people who have saved and worked toward financial independence? Recipes and food centric posts? How about details about side gigs you can do to make more money?

Let me know because this is your community and if you haven’t already done so, check the subscribe area above and don’t miss a post.

Oh and before I go, if anyone’s an aspiring writer and wants to join in on the summer writing challenge, here’s the link to my writing site www.thiswriterslife.com

admin / May 24, 2018

The Added Cost of Fear and Uncertainty

 

 

What if it breaks, what if the car breaks down, or I lose my cell phone…

We all have one of those days, sometimes one of those weeks. Put it down to bad luck or the universe not being on our side. We’re human so that makes us worry and companies know that. Sometimes it’s the fear and uncertainty of everyday living that costs us more money than it should.

What got me thinking about this? I’ve been reading a couple of financial books (I’ll be reviewing them here on BSG at a later date), and both of them mentioned that oftentimes we pay more because a company has played into our fear.

For example, the extended warranty on the TV you just purchased. The security system in your house because you’d never forgive yourself if someone broke in and took all your stuff.

Now don’t get me wrong, some of these things are a great idea but some of them can be a waste of your money. So how do you separate the real fear from the fear factor companies would like you to feel as you make a decision about handing your money over to them?

Do Your Research

I remember my late father would check and check on prices, deals; you name it, before he purchased something. Back in those days, they Internet wasn’t around so he had to either physically go to a store or make lots of phone calls. It’s a lot easier now because you can surf the web. Things I look for are-What’s the general feedback about the product? Are people reporting the same issue? Has the same part broken for just about everyone? This not only helps you decide if you want to buy something in the first place but buy its extended warranty too?

Get a Second Opinion

You wouldn’t take one doctor’s word about an illness, treatment or surgery and the same goes for buying things or fixing things. Get a second opinion before you buy an extended warranty or have work done to fix an issue in your home or car.

How Valuable Is This To Me?

Another thing both these books have in common is they talk about the relationship between money and value. How much do you value something? Are you willing to pay more for it? I always think if I use something for my work and I’d lose money if it broke and I had to replace it then I’m more inclined to take an extended warranty or buy a better brand or model.

Bottom line is don’t get talked into something before you’ve done your homework, don’t let a salesperson play on your fears, but judge each situation on a case by case basis. It’s what I’ve learned to do, what the authors of these books have learned to do, and in the long run it can save you money.

 

What’s your criteria for buying extended warranties or added services? Share it with the BSG community and if you’re not already a subscriber, think about joining us so you don’t miss one single post.

 

admin / May 16, 2018

For Subscribers in The European Union

 

I’m not sure if this applies to BSG (or not sure if I fully understand the whole thing), but next week the European Union has a new law coming into effect about subscribers to lists etc. I’ve been told even those of us who live in the US have to address this issue. So if you’re a subscriber based in one of the European Union countries and you don’t wish to be on the subscriber list any longer you need to unsubscribe before May 25th.

Thank you-BSG.

admin / May 10, 2018

Compound Interest-Friend or Foe?

Compound interest…

Two words that make me think about my maternal grandmother.

I know what you’re probably thinking why would something connected to money make her think about grandma?

Let me explain…

My grandmother was widowed when she was just 51 years old. She was a very independent lady, didn’t rely on her family, didn’t want to burden my parents so she’d adopted a mindset that made sure she was financially secure to the day she died (at 87). She had two ways of looking at money and debt.

First one was, make money work for you and save up for something you want and then buy it. Never buy it and pay for it later.

I hope you’re seeing where the compound interest factor plays into this.

When I was seven, my grandmother opened my very first savings account for me. She added, if I can remember correctly, ten pounds and taught me my first money lesson of life. That money left in the account would continue to grow and grow due to compound interest. Ten would become eleven, twelve etc. without me having to add any more of my own money. That was money working for me and not me working for money.

 

One other thing she always did when she knew she needed something like a new winter coat was think ahead. Throughout the summer she’d put part of her pay check aside ready to buy the coat when the temperature dipped. She knew that if she had to pay for a coat on credit, she’d not only pay its actual cost but she pay more because of the added interest just for the privilege of borrowing money (yes, compound interest again!) That’s money working against you and not for you.

 

There have been lots of articles lately on how much credit card debt people are carrying and just as many written about the possibility of interest rate increases. It’s actually what got me thinking about compound interest and my grandmother.

Compound interest can be your friend as in the case of having a savings account, adding to it and not touching the money. Or it can be your foe when you have credit card balance and the compound interest causes you to get deeper and deeper into debt until one day you realize you’ll be paying it off until even after you retire.

So think about if you want compound interest to be your friend or foe. Is now a good time to start paying more toward your credit card debt and once that’s done be like my grandma and make money finally work for you and not against you.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post and my trip down compound interest memory lane, if so consider subscribing to Budget Smart Girl so you don’t miss more money and budget related goodies.

Happy saving.

 

 

Check out the new Budget Smart Girl Store Dismiss