Moms: Earn $150 Writing About a Financial Change or Journey


Like Freebies4Mom, I recently signed up to receive Daily Worth’s personal financial newsletter for women. Today I was so surprised and excited to see this opportunity:

“If you have been planning to embark on a major financial change, this could be the moment you’ve been waiting for. Daily Worth will pay you $50 per post, for up to three posts [/articles] that chronicle your financial progress in the coming months.”

As moms or moms-to-be, I think we all have a ton of knowledge to share about financial change! Money is so emotional, and there are so many monetary changes that happen to new families once baby is on the way! If you’re chosen, you’ll also benefit from one-on-one advice from Daily Worth tailored to your personal financial situation!

Daily Worth will select their new writers next week, so sign up for their newsletter and apply to write for them today!  Good luck!

Mint.com: Free Online Budgeting Software


I’m really good at saving money, but I’m very bad at budgeting and tracking our spending as a family. I’ve been researching free online budgeting tools that are safe, effective and user-friendly, and I keep hearing about Mint.com. I’ve heard so many great things about Mint, I’m jumping in to give it a try today!

Your turn: Do you use Mint.com or another online budgeting tool?

How to Throw Big Birthday Parties on Small Budget

baby deals(photo credit: Jessica.Diamond)

The following is a guest post from my sister, Molly. As usual, Molly remains my frugal inspiration and showers me with helpful ideas to save money every day. This post is especially noteworthy for me, since my babies are turning 1 and two in the coming weeks, and I’m busy planning a party for them!

We have a large family; with 4 kids of our own, cousins and friends, I’ve both thrown and observed many birthday parties over the years!   I have found many ideas to keep me in budget.
::Party Location:: Have the party at home.  It can be inside, outside in a backyard, or even in a decorated garage!  Public parks can be a great possible place to have a party, too. Look for one with grills for public use, swingsets and a playground for the kids. If there’s a little built-in entertainment, you won’t need to plan as many games and activities for the kids!   A sledding party or skating party at a municipal ice rink is a great idea and usually does not cost anything at city parks.
::Plan Plan Plan:: I shop all year.  I pick up  party favors and invitations when I see them on clearance throughout the year. I even found a stack of kids birthday party invites at a sidewalk sale a few summers ago for 10 cents per package. I bought them all (hey, with 4 kids we’ll get around to using all of them!) and now my little ones can pick the ones they like best for their own party. I get paper plates, napkins and silverware for free or nearly free after coupons and stash them away.  I also snag toys and games when I see them on clearance and keep them in the gift closet so my kids always have a present when they get invited to a birthday party. Post-holiday sales are a great way to find party supplies and gifts on the cheap.  You can almost always find plain red napkins and plates on closeout after Valetine’s Day. They’re a festive color and will go with multiple themes, so why not pick them up and store them for the party? I store everything in one spot so I know what to buy when the party is getting close.
::Mind Your Menu::  Food is expensive! Thoughtfully pick the food you’re going to serve and stick with it.  Don’t get caught up in special dietary needs of one or two people when you’re trying to feed 30! Usually a simple turkey sandwich or cheese and crackers will be enough to satisfy those who absolutely can’t eat what you’re serving. Everyone else can be flexible! Remember that you need to do what is right for your budget.  hot dogs, sloppy joes and  taco’s are all great choices.  Also, skip the alcohol!  Have a punch bowl or lemonade for everyone instead of alcohol  and sodas.  If you really want, to serve soda go with 2 liter instead of cans.  A simple , frugal menu can be achieved for a variety of themes!  If your child wants a pizza party try “take and bake” or Little Caesars, check your local coupons for the best deal. Or skip the meal altogether and have a cake and ice-cream party!  My kids really only eat the desert anyway! bar One party we attended had a Build-Your-Own-Sundae dessert bar: a bucket of vanilla ice cream with all different types of toppings – it was a blast.  This year we made our own ice cream cake and it was a hit.  I found the recipe online and it was simple.  If you are in doubt about trying to make your own cake make one before the party to try it out.  Cupcakes are a great idea, no one has to cut cake and they turn out cute!
::Think About Invites:: Invitations can be handmade or printed out on your computer; there are lots of templates online. .  Sometimes we use a photo of the “Birthday Boy/Girl” and print up information and glue it to the back of the photo.
::Don’t Forget the Dollar Store::  The Dollar Tree in my area has great party supplies.  Solid color or white plates matched with more expensive character and theme napkins.  Michaels is another  great place to pick up items with that40% off weekly coupon!  They carry birthday cake supplies, decorations and lots of other party supplies.
::Go Easy on Games::  Usually, the most basic games are the most fun! Every year we make a homemade piñata for one of my kids.  It is super easy and super fun for kids!  The “filliing” can be simple – candy bars, Dollar Store toys, Fruit snacks, surprise gift bags, etc. It’s way more about breaking open the pinata than what’s inside! Egg races, 3-legged races, and scavenger hunts are other easy and entertaining games.
::Don’t Ditch your Decorations:: Lots of commercial decorations can be reused from year to year.  My kids also enjoy art projects, so they love making homemade banners and posters for the Birthday boy or girl! One of my kids favorite things is to blow up balloons (bought at the dollar store) and tie them on our mail box and railing outside. It’s so easy, traditional, and all of the kids love doing it. The littlest ones love going to the window and seeing their work!
–Remember the Birthday party is all about the celebration, not what you serve or the amount of money you spend!  remember to HAVE FUN!
Your Turn: What ideas do you have for throwing a fun party on a budget?
We have a larger family so over the years I have had many Birthday parties and attended a lot of Birthday parties.  I have found many ideas to keep me in budget.
–Party Location!  Have the party at home.  It can be inside, outside in a backyard, or even in a decorated garage!  Public parks can be a great place to have a party.  Sometimes they have grills and a playground.  A sledding party or skating party is a great idea and usually does not cost anything at local parks.
–Plan Plan Plan – I shop all year.  I pick up napkins, plates, plastic silverware, party favors, invitations on clearance.  I also pick up kids gifts cheap and keep them in a box in the closet so my kids always have a gift if they get invited to a Birthday party.  After holiday sales are a great way to pick up party supplies or gifts.  After Valentines day pick up the red napkins that are 75% off!  I store everything in one spot so I know what to buy when the party is getting close.
–A one size fits all food.  Food is expensive!  Pick the food and stick with it.  I know you may have people coming that are on special diets but you need to do what is right for your budget.  Hot Dogs, sloppy Joes, taco’s are all great choices.  Skip the alcohol!  Have a punch bowl or lemonade for everyone instead of soft drinks.  If you are going to serve soda pop go with 2 liter instead of cans.  We have had all different types of parties.  If your child wants a pizza party try “take and bake” or Little Caesars, check your local coupons for the best deal.  If you want to keep your costs low have a cake and ice-cream party!  My kids really only eat the desert anyway. One party we attended had a build your own sundae dessert – Vanilla ice cream with all different types of toppings – it was a blast.  This year we made our own ice cream cake and it was a hit.  I found the recipe online and it was simple.  If you are in doubt about trying to make your own cake make one before the party to try it out.  Cupcakes are a great idea, no one has to cut cake and they turn out cute!
–Invitations can be handmade or printed out on your computer there are lots of sites to print them.  Sometimes we use a photo of the “Birthday Boy/Girl” and print up information and glue it to the back of the photo.  Use your imagination and search the internet for ideas.
–Shop the dollar store first!  The Dollar Days Store in my area has great party supplies.  Solid color or white plates matched with more expensive “Character” napkins.  Michaels is a great place to pick up items with that weekly coupon!  They carry birthday cake supplies, and other party supplies.
–Games for kids.  Every year for one of my kids we make a homemade piñata.  It is super easy and super fun for kids!  The prizes can be simple – Candy bars, Dollar Store toys, Fruit snacks, surprise gift bags, use your imagination.  Family Fun magazine has a ton of ideas for Birthday parties!  They have a great website too.
–Decorations can be homemade or reused year to year.  My kids enjoy making homemade banners and posters for the Birthday boy/girl.  One of my kids favorite things is to blow up balloons (bought at the dollar store) and tie them on our mail box and railing outside.  It is a Birthday tradition.  Use the comics to wrap those gifts!  Kids love it!
–Remember the Birthday party is all about the celebration!  remember to HAVE FUN!

Frugal Ways to Show Your Love on Father’s Day

baby deals(Photo Credit: Culvert Cafe and Catering)

I am always looking for ways to cut costs, and Father’s day is no exception! With all the advertising and commercialization of the holiday, it’s hard to avoid going overboard with expensive presents. But, like most gifts, it’s the thought that truly counts.  My fabulously creative and thoughtful sister came up with several ways to tell Dad or Grandpa that you love and appreciate them without spending a lot of money:

  • Have the kids make cards: You can supply the paper and crayons, the kids can provide the creativity! You can even print out a card template online to get them started.
  • Make Dad breakfast in bed: Even toast and cereal is special when the little ones help, plus your kiddos will be so proud of themselves for contributing!
  • Do something together: Keep the day focused on family time and have it all planned out. Pack a picnic lunch and play catch at the baseball field, Frisbee at the park, or take a hike together. Just be sure it’s something dad will enjoy!
  • Make a photo gift: If you’re anything like me you have roughly a billion photos of your adorable children. You can order a photo mug for less than $10, and it’s an easy way for dad to show off pictures at work.
  • Create a handprint gift: Uses fabric paint and make hand prints or foot prints on a shirt, beach towel, or pillowcase.  If you have more than one kid, make a card out of giant posterboard and have the kids personalize it with their own little hands (Grandparents love this one!).
  • Make a coupon book from Mom to Dad: Think of things dad loves that he doesn’t get to indulge in very often: Sleeping in, going to a car show, etc. Make some certificates and make dad happy!
  • Clean his car:  What man (or woman) doesn’t want a clean car? Clean out all the junk from the inside, dust the surfaces and wash and wax the exterior. Give the kids sponges and bowls of water so they can help wash the outside.  It will look great and he will love it!
  • Make a gift basket:  Use items from your stockpile or pick up a bunch of small items (be sure to check out your dollar store!).  The themes are endless:  Car Care, Men’s body care, handyman, tasty treats and so much more!
  • Create a Thoughtful Card:  Pick up a nice greeting card for $.50 at Dollar Tree. Write a letter or card to him telling him a special memory or time when you thought he was a great Dad.  Have the kids help.  It is amazing what kids will tell you when you ask them to say special things about Daddy, and I guarantee it will touch his heart!

Remember Fathers Day is supposed to be about showing the dads in your life that you care for them.  Make Dad feel important and appreciated; that’s what really matters!

What are you doing for Father’s Day? Will you be giving gifts or doing something special? Share in the comments below!

10 Ways to Go Green With a Baby and Save Money at the Same Time!

baby deals(photo credit: seanmcgrath)

I’ll be the first to admit it: there’s quite a bit of room for improvement in my life, especially when we’re talking about living a greener lifestyle. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and I’m guessing a lot of you BGB readers are doing the same! Today I came up with a list of (mostly simple) ways to go green with your baby and hopefully save some cash, too! If you have ideas to add, please leave a comment to share them with other readers.

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Saving Money 101: How to Get Coupons

The following is a guest post by my sister, Molly. She and my mom have taught me almost everything I know about saving money!

If you are reading this websit eyou know that coupons can save you a lot of money.  Pair a coupon with a store sale, clearance deal, rebate or ,if you are lucky enough to live in an area that double coupons you can get excellent deals.

But How do I get a coupon stash started? That’s the question lots of people who want to start saving money ask. It might seem like the first newspaper you buy after you commit to start clipping coupons has useless coupons for products you wouldn’t use, or it might be a holiday and there aren’t any coupons at all! Here are some other ways to start building up that coupon file:

::Print: Check out the online coupons at Coupons.com or SmartSource.com.  If there is a great diaper coupon I know I want more of, I’ll ask my mom (or my sister!) to print them for me as she would not use this coupon anyway.

::Let the Companies Know You Like Them: You might get some coupons by sending an email to your favorite companies.  It just takes a few seconds and sometimes they send you out coupons as a “thank you” for being a loyal customer.  If you sign up on the products website as an email subscriber, join their club, become a fan on facebook, sometimes they send out coupons or samples in the mail or printable deals via email.  If you’re worried about cluttering up your inbox with a bunch of mass mailings, a second free email account works great for this!  If you sign up for a free samples of products they usually come with coupons in the mail.

::Buy or Trade Coupons: Sometimes it is worth it to buy coupons on Ebay.  Just be really careful that you will get the coupons in the mail before the deal is over!  You can also join message boards on websites such as afullcup.com and Hot Coupon World to trade coupons.  How this works is you list what you have to trade and other people list what they have to trade.

::Keep Your Eyes Open: Coupons are in all sorts of places! There are tearpads on displays and all over gas stations and grocery stores. There are “peelie” sticker coupons stuck to a number of products at any given time. One of the grocery stores in my area has a bin of coupons in the front of the store for customers.  I bring the ones I do not want and take the ones that I want.  I have read that some libraries do this also.  If you belong to a playgroup or mom’s group consider starting a coupon box where everyone can share their coupons!

::Buy the Sunday Paper: Even if you were disappointed the first time you looked at a Sunday insert, keep trying! As you learn more about coupon shopping, you’ll find better deals and more uses for many of those coupons that seemed worthless at first glance!  If you do not get the paper ask your non-couponing family members or neighbors if you can have their coupon inserts.  Most people are glad to give them away and reduce waste since they’re going to throw them out anyway!

Spend a little time gathering coupons before shopping and you could save a tone of money!