How-to-Tuesday: Saving Money with these Simple Life Hacks

I love stumbling across new life hack tips. They have really helped me become organized all while saving time, stress, and money. Here are some great life tips and tricks that will help you save big money!

1. Need to get some paint out of your clothes? Don’t buy expensive chemicals, grab Olive Oil and scrub with a paper towel until the paint is gone.

2. Bananas losing their luster too soon? Save money next time by covering the top stem of the bunch with plastic wrap, they’ll last you significantly longer.

3. It’s warming up and ants the are invading. But you don’t need to buy harsh pesticides. Grab some corn meal from your pantry and sprinkle it around edges and crevices. The ants eat it but can’t digest it which ends their reign of terror in a few days..

4. Want to jam some tunes from your phone but you don’t have a speaker handy? Grab an empty toilet paper roll and cut a slit in it. Stick a couple thumb tacks on both sides and you’ve just created an amazing amplifier.

5. House smelling off and need to freshen it up? Don’t worry about purchasing air fresheners and sprays. Just grab a few dryer sheets and pin them to the front of a fan. Ahhhh… spring fresh for just a few cents.

6. Did you clog up your drain and don’t want to buy Drano? No worries. Grab half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar. Toss it down the drain and let it sizzle a few minutes. Finally, rinse it all out with hot water and enjoy your clean pipes.

 

Until Next Time,

Jessica M.

Money Monday: Dining Out

Hey Everyone!

Take a minute to think about all the types of things you did  with your friends, family, and/or co-workers last week. Now, how many of those activities involved food?

Whenever my friends and I make plans, we always seem to start our night by going out to eat.  It doesn’t always have to be a full meal though. Sometimes it is just for an appetizer and drinks.
I personally love going out and socializing with my friends. Yet, it is always a bit of a damper to get the bill. Eating out is not cheap and like everything else, adds up very quickly. As a young adult it can really be a struggle from time to time to balance out your social life with your bank account. Instead of totally giving up on your social life, consider these tips to help ease the cost for eating out:

 friends-eating1
1. Plan for Leftovers
Plan to have leftovers to take home! Most of the time the serving sizes at restaurants are quite large and could really provide for two meals. I purposely try to make this happen! Whatever I order I try to consciously only eat a little over half. This is good for two reasons. 1) It also helps me eat less in one sitting. It is so easy to overstuff yourself. I am sure everyone has experienced the feeling of wanting to just be carried out of the restaurant because you are so full. If you are consciously thinking that you need to save some for tomorrow, you are more likely to eat a normal amount. 2) As I get the bill, I can divide it in half. Say the meal totals $20, but in my head this delicious meal only cost $10 today and then $10 tomorrow. That is a meal you don’t have to make or buy tomorrow!

2. Find Restaurants with College Discounts
You can always find a restaurant that understands our lack of funds! Take some time and research some good ones. In my old college town, many restaurants had discounts on specific days of the week. Like $5 all you can eat wings or $5 Burger Baskets. Who knows what you will find! You might just discover your new favorite restaurant.

3. Coupons! Coupons! Coupons!
Take advantage of coupons! They could be in newspapers, magazines, online, etc. If you were planning to go out anyways, you might as well go somewhere that gives you a deal. Spending a few extra minutes to look for a coupon could save you a few extra bucks!

4. Set a Budget
Since we know this is part of our social lives, make room for it in your budget. Be realistic and stick to it. It is the best way to avoid the surprise of a very low bank account. Better yet, make a cash envelope. Set aside a certain amount of money to spend on food/dining out each week. You can only spend what you have in the envelope. Once you are out, you are out for the entire week. So spend wisely :)

 

What tips do you have to save money on dining out? Please share with us in a comment below!

 

Until Next Time,

Jessica M.

What is the Heartbleed Bug?

Hey Everyone,

So we have been hearing a lot about this recent “Heartbleed Bug” that has taken over the internet. But do you really know what it is or how it can affect you and your personal information?

Basically, this bug can scrape a server’s memory, where sensitive user data is stored. One encryption technology used to provide this security—OpenSSL—is now known to have vulnerabilities that could put your personal information at risk. Sites that have this bug are vulnerable to hackers who can then steal secure information like usernames, credit card information and passwords. If you have logged into any of the affected sites over the past two years it is possible that your account information could be compromised.

So What Should You Do?

1. Check which sites you use are affected. Here is an updated list of popular sites that were affected by the Heartbleed Bug.

2. Change your passwords for major accounts — email, banking and social media logins — on sites that were affected by Heartbleed but patched the problem. However, if the site or service hasn’t patched the flaw yet, there’s no point to changing your password. Instead, ask the company when it expects to push out a fix to deal with Heartbleed.

3. Make sure to keep an eye on sensitive online accounts, especially banking and email, for suspicious activity for the next week or so.

 

 

For more information about this internet hack, view the links below!

http://mashable.com/2014/04/09/heartbleed-bug-websites-affected/

http://mashable.com/2014/04/09/heartbleed-what-to-do/

http://heartbleed.com/

 

 

How-to-Tuesday: Finding the Perfect Wedding Gift on a Budget

If you are in your twenties, chances are if you’re not getting married your friends are! It’s just what happens at this age! So that means, with wedding season creeping upon us, you might find yourself attending a few weddings.

But for us 20-somethings who are invited, it’s hard to come up with the money to buy a gift from the couple’s registry. No worries though…. I’ve got you covered! Here are a few gift ideas that the bride and groom will love without breaking the bank. Some may require a little creativity! Check them out:

Customized Art Print

Custom Gift for Newlyweds // Personalized Engagement Gift // Modern Wedding Gift Keepsake Art Print // Anniversary Gift // Gift for Couple

 This is a unique gift idea I found on Etsy.com. This piece ranges from $24 to $50 depending on the size of the frame. If you are feeling crafty, this would be a super simple gift to create yourself. Find a cheap frame, create your design and depending on the size of your art print, you could print it yourself or take it somewhere where they will print it for you. Although it’s nice to get things from the couple’s registry, a unique gift is most definitely a great surprise!

Personalized Wine Labels

Set of 6 Personalized Wine Labels for Bridal Shower Gift or Unique Wedding Gift Highlighting "First" Landmark Moments as a Married Couple

Check out this set of personalized wine labels for a bridal shower, engagement, or wedding gift for the couple to drink as they highlight landmark moments together as a married couple. This gift includes 6 bottle of wine and wine labels for only $30 on Etsy! If the special couple are wine lovers, then you can’t go wrong with this fun and unique gift!

 

Personalized Cutting Board

Personalized Cutting Board, Custom Engraved - 12x15" or 12x18" - Wedding Gift, Anniversary Gift, Housewarming Gift

You can find this personalized cutting board on Etsy.com ranging from $44 to $56 depending on size and whether you want a handle or not. Or maybe you’re a fine woodworker yourself, and you can turn this into a DIY project!

Check out some DIY wedding gift projects on Pinterest if you are in a money crunch. There are tons of ideas that you can use to create the perfect gift for the special couple on their big day.  Do you have any creative ideas that you have seen or used? Please share with us in a comment below!

Until Next Time,

Jessica M.

Money Monday: How Much Does a Wedding Cost?

Are you recently engaged or starting to plan your big day? Unsure of how much a wedding actually costs? Well, there are a lot of 20-somethings out there planning their dream wedding while racking up a ton of debt.

The Knot, a top wedding website released the results of its annual Real Weddings Study. This report surveyed nearly 20,000 U.S. brides and grooms married in 2013. You may be shocked to know that the average cost of a wedding last year was almost $30,000. That’s like buying a brand new SUV!

Check out the infographic below to see the average cost of a wedding:

 

Are the costs on this chart causing you to have a major meltdown? If so, don’t worry! There are ways to reduce costs in each category. Consider buying second hand or asking friends and family to help you out on your big day!

  • For the venue, consider having the ceremony and reception at the same place. Outside or maybe in a family member’s back yard?
  • Friends or co-workers with a niche for photography may be willing to shoot your wedding/engagement pictures for a small fee.
  • Ask friends or family members who have great baking skills to make your wedding cake.
  • Consider a buffet over plated dinners to reduce costs.
  • If you are looking to cut back on decoration costs, this is your chance to get creative! Pinterest has a ton of DIY decorations that the average person could pull off. It may take a little longer, but your wallet will thank you in the end.
  • You only wear your dress for one night right? Consider buying/selling your wedding dress on sites like Craigslist. If you are considering buying your dress, you may just have to get a few alterations, but you will be on your way to looking like a million dollars for a small cost! Selling your dress will also help get some of that money back that you invested into your big day! Either way, it’s a win-win situation.

 

Keep in mind that your wedding is just one (very special) day. You don’t want to make financial decisions for one day that will impact you for many years to come, so don’t go overboard!

 

Do you have any wedding planning tips for those who are newly engaged?

 

For more budgeting tips to help you prepare for your wedding day, check out The Budget Savvy Bride , a website that helps brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank!

 

Happy Wedding Planning!

Jessica M.

 

 

 

Thrifty Thursday: Popular DIY Tricks

Confession: I’ve spent the last couple of years spending way too much money on decorations, and useful items you can find lying around the house . And while it’s still nice to go shopping for new stuff, I’ve stumbled across a couple of simple and money-saving DIY ways to keep you and your home looking wonderful without breaking the bank.

The term “Do-it-yourself” has become increasingly popular for us 20-something’s over the last few years. It is an attitude of self-empowerment and openness to learning. Do-it-yourselfers include those who build and fix things, cook “from scratch,” make clothes, crafts, decorations, and so much more. Plus, when you do it yourself, you might just discover new talents in yourself that you never knew you had. Check out some fun ideas below:

 

Sharpie Mugs

Make a Sharpie Mug

 

 

Nail Polish Key Covers

Nail Polish Key Covers

Flat Iron Travel Case

Make a Travel Flat Iron Holder Out of a Pot Holder

 

Window Shutter as a Mail Holder

Use a Window Shutter as a Mail Holder

 

Inexpensive Frames Turned into Chalkboards

Buy inexpensive frames, paint the frame, and paint the glass with chalkboard paint.

Scrabble Coasters

Scrabble coasters...with bad words or good :) what themes would u do?

For some creative and cheap DIY College/Apartment decoration ideas… Click here!

Do you have any DIY tips or tricks for young adults? Share with us in a comment below!

 

Until Next Time,

Jessica M.

Watch-It-Wednesday: Divergent

Divergent is a thrilling action-adventure film set in a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four (Theo James) and together they must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late.

If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I highly recommend doing both. Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent Trilogy, wrote her first book, Divergent, while on winter break in her senior year at Northwestern University.Her career took off rapidly with the success of her first novel, with the movie rights sold before she graduated from college. Impressive huh?

Check out the movie trailer here….

If you haven’t seen the movie and are looking to do so, check out the $5 Movie Tuesdays promotion at any Marcus Theatre. Click here to find a theatre near you!

$5 Tuesdays

 

If you have seen the movie, share your thoughts below!

 

Until Next Time,

Jessica M.

A New Graduate’s Guide to Personal Finance

Hey everyone,

For those of you getting ready to graduate college this Spring and you’re totally new or have little experience to the wonderful world of finances, this info-graphic has some great tips to help get you started on the right foot. Check it out!

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If you are looking for more information to help guide you with your finances after graduation, check out the rest of my blog! You can find topics including budgeting tricks, repaying student loans, auto tips, and more!

 

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr for all the latest updates, events and giveaways!

 

Until Next Time,

Jessica M.

Money Monday: Saving Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

Does your monthly cell phone bill send you into shock? It doesn’t have to. For many of us, cell phone bills are our largest monthly expense after housing and transportation. Not only are we talking a lot on our cell phones, but if we have a smartphone with a data plan, we’re texting, sending photos, checking email, playing games, surfing the web, and much more. Here are a few ways you can cut down on the cost of your mobile phone bill:

 

Adjust Your Plan to Fit Your Needs

Maybe you’re only with a certain provider because they had an awesome deal a year ago on the latest iPhone and now you realize you’re overpaying for a plan that doesn’t suit you. (i.e. You’re always texting, but never calling, and paying big bucks for calls.)  Examine your phone habits; then, pick a plan that best matches them. Talk to a representative from your cell phone provider to find an option that best suits you or research other cell phone companies to find a better deal!

 

Think About the Real Value of Insurance

If you buy a brand new phone, the cellphone company representative will likely suggest you buy insurance. Insurance can cost anywhere from $10 to $15 or more per month depending on the phone and carrier. While it may be a good idea to have insurance for the phone for the first six to 12 months, the value of the phone will decrease significantly within a year and you may end up replacing it with an upgraded version anyway. Consider canceling insurance coverage as the phone gets older.

 

Use Your Discount

Many companies and employers offer a discount on certain cell phone providers. Ask your supervisor if this is an option for you. Another way of getting a discount? Ask your service provider if you can get one based on the fact that you’ve been a valued customer for several years during your next upgrade. Student discounts also go under-utilized because people aren’t aware of them. If you’re a student, call your phone company and ask for a discount. Be prepared to provide your school email address as proof of your enrollment.

 

Join a Group Plan

It might be far cheaper for you to jump on your family’s or roommates’ plan – since there’s usually free or cheap in-network calling and texting – find out who they’re with and do a little research, then join in!

 

Track Your Minutes

Bad about tracking how much time you’ve spent on the phone each month? Sign up for free e-mails or text messages from overmyminutes.com - this service lets you know when you are close to reaching your limit.

 

Talk + Text for Free

Look into apps that provide free talking and texting options for anyone who has them downloaded, and tell your most-talked-to friends and family to get them, too. Some great options are Viber, Skype Mobile and Textfree, Snapchat and WhatsApp.

 

Don’t Call Toll-Free Numbers or 411

Dial 4-1-1 from a cell phone, and it could cost you $1 or more. Crazy! Fortunately, you can skip the charge and still get the information that you need by calling 1-800-GOOG-411, a free 4-1-1 service provided by Google.  You can also save toll-free calls for a landline phone and utilize the Internet you’re already paying for on your mobile for 411 related information.

 

Go Prepaid

If you’re really having trouble keeping track of your usage and just can’t help going over – then prepaid options might be your best bet. Many cell phone users are so conditioned to the phone-contract concept that they can’t even fathom switching to a prepaid phone. Prepaid plans vary. Some charge a daily fee; others charge only for the minutes you use. If you’re a light to moderate phone user, you can save a lot of money when you compare the costs to a traditional contract plan. You can set your phone budget and be more obligated to stick to it – or else you’ll be cut off.

 

Until Next Time,

Jessica M.

 

Fitness Friday: Deskercise

When you are busy working all day it can be hard to fit in exercise after the work day is done. Going home and sitting on the couch and relaxing sounds way better, right?

Well according to recent research, it is recommended that we get at least 30 minutes of cardio five times per week. Something is always better than nothing! And everyone has to start somewhere. Even if you’re chained to your desk 40 hours per week, there is still a solution for you. Short periods of aerobics, strength training, and stretching can improve fitness levels and heart health. The following exercise suggestions come from a list of ways you can exercise while at your desk! Here are a few worth mentioning:

  1. The Cubicle Wanderer: Walking during work is totally underrated. Take a stroll down the hall to catch up with coworkers or welcome a new employee. Or, instead of dialing extensions and sending lazy emails to the manager two doors down, put in some face time. Just beware of tempting candy jars when making the rounds
  2. The Stair Master: Want to avoid elevator small talk in favor of elevating the heart rate? Take the stairs! Accelerate on the straight-aways and take two at a time every other flight for a real leg burn.
  3. The Patient Printer:The boss lady just requested that a 200-page presentation be printed “perfectly.” Why lackadaisically stand by the printing pages when you could be sculpting your calves with calf raises? Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, press up onto the tippy toes, pause at the top, then lower back down. Repeat for three sets of 12-15 reps, or until the printing, faxing, or scanning is done. Ready to level up? Try raising only one leg at a time.
  4. The Silent Seat Squeeze: Believe it or not, some deskercises can be kept under wraps, and this isometric glutes exercise is one of them. To start toning, simply squeeze the buttocks, hold for 5-10 seconds, and release. Repeat until the agenda wraps up or the glutes tire. The results will be uplifting in more ways than one.
  5. The Seated Leg Raiser: When pay raises are nowhere to be seen, consider the leg raise. (Bonus: they’re hardly noticeable underneath the desk!) While seated, straighten one or both legs and hold in place for five or more seconds. Then lower the leg(s) back to the ground without letting the feet touch the floor. Repeat (alternating legs if raising them separately) for 15 reps. Underwhelmed? Loop a purse or briefcase strap over the ankle for added weight. Or, for more of an ab workout, add a crunch.
  6. The Shoulder Shrug: Not recommended for board meetings (unless you’re really on the fence). Simply raise both shoulders up toward the ears, hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat for 15 reps. Feeling unstoppable? Try advanced shoulder shrugs while standing and holding a paper ream in each hand.
  7. The Pinstripe Push-Up: This slightly modified wall push-up is more suitable for suits. Standing one to two feet from a sturdy wall (not a cubicle divider!), lean forward until palms are flush against the wall, with arms straight and parallel to the ground. Next, bend the elbows to bring the body towards the wall, hold for two seconds, then push back to the starting position. Complete 12-15 reps.
  8. The Fab Ab Squeeze: Another silent deskercise, this one can be covertly executed when walking down the hall or seated during a call. Simply take a deep breath and tighten the abdominal muscles, bringing them in towards the spine as you exhale. Stay squeezed for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
  9. The Desk Chair Swivel: Lucky enough to have a fun swivel chair? Use its twirl to your advantage with this oblique ab fix. Sitting upright and with the feet hovering over the floor, hold the edge of your desk with your fingers and thumb. Next, use the core to swivel the chair from side to side. Swish back and forth for 15 rounds.
  10. The Posture Perfecter: Perfect posture is a must for long days at the desk. Practice safe desk ergonomics by adjusting the chair height to make sure the feet, hips, and arms are at 90-degree angles to the floor. Engage the core to keep the back straight throughout the day. No slouching allowed!

 

For the full list of exercises you can do while at work, click here! Happy Friday everyone!

 

Until Next Time,

Jessica M.

 

 

 

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