Today is Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day

Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day is here! When you buy a blizzard today, part of the proceeds go to the Children’s Miracle Network.  Why do I love this so much? Well, I was born three months premature and spent four and a half months in our children’s hospital.  Some of the doctors and nurses that treated me and took care of me in the NICU are still working there today.  It’s important to me to give back when I can. Over the years I have helped with my Dad’s charity motorcycle ride, answered phones at the telethon, etc.  Being able to treat myself to some ice cream while giving back is a win-win for me.

Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day.

Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day

So go out on your lunch break or stop by with your kids. Enjoy delicious blizzard favorites like  peanut butter cup, Oreo, french silk pie, or the blizzard of the month. Donating to Children’s Miracle Network is like giving back to your own kids and kids in the community. You hope you never have to use their services on an emergency basis, but you can take comfort knowing they will always be there. Go donate a miracle on Miracle Treat Day.

Photo courtesy of AnnRos via  Pixabay.com

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How To Make A Monthly Budget

How to make a monthly budget? A lot of people are confused by this.  Okay, so you’ve decided to take the bull by the horns and get your finances under control. You have listened to various financial experts and are going to start doing a budget every month. What information do you need? How long is this going to take?

I’ve been doing my budget for eight years and it usually takes me about an hour a month to write it all out. I do this before the following month even starts so I have a very good idea where we are at.

Here is how to make a monthly budget in just a few easy steps.

Step 1: I gather my checkbook, log into my bank account and grab a notebook. I take note of the balance in my checking account and then subtract what hasn’t come through yet. I write this number on the top left hand side of the page.

Step 2: I add my estimated paycheck amount to my bank balance for the first week.

Make A Budget

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Step 3: At the top of the page I account for our expenses for the month in two columns. Then I make four columns for the rest of the month. I label each of these columns according to how many weeks in the month. (Week 1,2,3,4,etc.)

Step 4: I go back to the page with our expenses listed and make notes of the due dates for each bill then allot a certain amount for weekly expenses like gas and groceries. Then I look at the calendar and plan out what bills are going to be paid which week.

Step 5: I add all our bills for each week. Gas and groceries are included every week.

Step 6: Next, I go back to the balance in my notebook and start subtracting bills. If I get to the end of Week 1 and there’s a balance leftover then that money gets rolled over to the next week and added to the next paycheck. I keep doing this until all bills are accounted for. If there is a balance leftover at the end of the month, I split it and put half of it in savings. That is how to make a monthly budget.

When you first get started, it isn’t going to go smoothly. Things will come up, you will forget small items like birthday presents, flea treatment for the dog or your kid’s soccer cleats. It takes about 90 days before everything is smooth sailing, but the peace of mind you will have knowing exactly what comes in and goes out will be priceless. This is how to make a monthly budget.

Photo courtesy of wapczocha via  Pixabay.com

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Discount Web Sites For Music, Movies, Books And More

Do you want to find some priced just right discount web sites? Are you a savvy shopper? Keep a close eye on your budget? Are you an entertainment lover, wine connoisseur, or candy fanatic? We all love to treat ourselves once in awhile. But books, DVDs and CD’s can be pricey. Wine can sometimes be out of sight and the packaging of candy seems to be getting smaller and smaller. The following web sites will help you indulge in your passions and save some cash. Here are some great discount web sites when you want to treat yourself to music, movies, books and more.

If you love music, try:

SecondSpin.com: I love Second Spin and have ordered from them various times. They offer used CD’s, DVD’s and Vinyl and prices are very good. They often run promotions and specials. Shipping is a standard $3.99 on all orders in the U.S. They also have a great variety. Order something that is defective? No worries, they will send you a return label for an exchange. This must be done within 30 days of ordering. Looking to make some money? They will buy your used CD’s and DVD’s. They will even reimburse you for the shipping.

Deep Discount.com: Deep discounts offers new movies/tv shows, cds, vinyl, fitness accessories, Blu-ray and DVD’s, electronics, video games, etc. Everything on the site is brand new.

More Discount Sites…

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If you love Books, try:

Book Outlet. I came across Book Outlet last year when I was Christmas shopping. They have a good selection of discounted books. Sometimes you will find what you’re looking for and sometimes you won’t. They do have really good prices. I got my Mom a cookbook by chef Lydia Bastianich for $13.00, normally $30. I also ordered other books for friends last year. Another perk is every time you order a book you get a $5 coupon for your next order. (Limit 1 coupon per order regardless of quantity.)

Thriftbooks. Thriftbooks is a new and used book store online. Each book must pass a quality control test before being offered for sale. Orders over $10 have free shipping. They are environmentally conscious in that they ship books in 100% recycled packaging. Also, if there is no demand for a book they either donate it to charity or recycle it, keeping more waste out of our land fills. They have reasonable prices and a very good selection.

Priced just right discount web sites.

Even more discount web sites.

If you love wine, try:

WineExpress.com. Wine Express has a lot of wines to choose from. You can purchase by the bottle or by the case. You can shop by type, country, expert rating, price, on sale, etc.

Tastingroom.com. Tastingroom.com sells sample size 50ml bottles. These are about the size of a pour at a wine tasting. Not only is this a great site for wine connoisseurs but also for those just learning about wines. This is because consumers can buy mixed sampler packs at extremely reasonable prices.

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If you love candy, try:

 Discount candy

Thewholesalecandyshop.com This web site is a candy lovers dream. You can buy all kinds of candy in bulk which is good for larger families. (Think treats for potty training? Or a special treat in a lunchbox?) You can also buy single candy bars as well. They also sell cough drops in bulk which would be good for large families in the winter time. This would also be a great web site to look at around Halloween time. They have lots of variety and good prices.

These are some great discount websites. So the next time you want to go on a mini shopping spree, have had a bad day, or just want something new, surf on over to these sites. You may find what you really want at a steal of a deal. Think of it as discount web sites at their finest.

Photo courtesy of jarmoluk via Pixabay.com

Photo courtesy of condesign via Pixabay.com

Photo courtesy of  JeffersonLiu via Pixabay.com

Photo courtesy of Pexels via Pixabay.com

 

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But Why Do A Budget?

Why do a budget? It’s that time of the month again. You sit down to pay the bills and once again, you are having a mini coronary because there is too much month left at the end of your ‘shoestring’ budget. I hear it all the time. “I don’t have grocery money.” “I’m behind on my light bill.” “I’m so stressed out.” It’s not that you don’t have enough money, it’s that you have a hard time managing it. And that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with you if you struggle in this area. It wasn’t until I picked up the book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey eight years ago that I learned how important a budget is.

I know what you’re thinking. Why do a budget? They are no fun and too hard to stick to. The number one reason I can give you to why you need a budget is that you will know exactly where each dollar is going and your stress level will go down. Maybe not at first, it takes tweaking and adjusting over about a 90 day period. But once you’ve got it down, you’re gold.

Why do a budget?

Why do a budget?

Here are some of the biggest perks of doing a budget every month:

*Knowing exactly what your monthly expenses are. Sitting down and listing your expenses on a piece of paper let’s you see where all your money is going. It is quite an eye opener. (You know, like that $180 cell phone bill you pay every month.)

*It helps you figure out what can be eliminated. When we got serious about getting out of debt, we didn’t have cable for about two years. We also got out of our pricey T-Mobile contract and started paying about $100 for both of our cell phone plans with Straightalk. ($80 savings right there-Boom!)

* Seeing exactly what’s coming in and going out is a stress reliever. When you can look and see exactly what needs to get paid during a certain week, it’s liberating. When you’re not struggling to remember due dates, it’s a huge relief. Not only that, you will feel like you’re giving yourself a raise. There have been times I have found an extra $50 hiding in there because we removed something (cable, high phone bill, take out) from the picture.

I have been doing a budget now for eight years. Every month, pencil and paper. (Yes, I’m old fashioned that way, I’m a writer after all.) But you can also use the software of your choice, whatever is easiest for you. I’ve learned over the years that money management is 80% behavior and 20% head knowledge. Our budget has worked wonders over the years. Try it and see if it makes a difference. Who knows, you may go from ‘but why do a budget?’ to ‘how did I ever manage without?’

 

Photo courtesy of fancycrave1 via Pixabay.com

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