Category: Personal Finance

Guest Article: Child’s Birthday Party on a Budget

Child's Birthday Party on a BudgetThe following post was written by Melissa C. who writes for the Blog Content Guild.

Throwing a Child’s Birthday Party on a Budget

Throwing a birthday party for your child doesn’t mean you need to break the bank. There are lots of fun tips and tricks you can use that allow you to save money and will still allow for a memorable time!

First of all, if your child is very young, you don’t need to go out and buy a fancy cake from a bakery. These can be very expensive and, if your child is too young to even remember it, it is a waste of money. Many children love the Funfetti cake mix from Pillsbury that you can find at most grocery stores. You can make a fun cake yourself that will save a lot of money.

Instead of a cake, consider having cupcakes. You can make these yourself easily, or buy them from the bakery for usually cheaper than a cake. This takes the hassle out of having to cut a cake, and if your child is young they may enjoy playing with the cupcake far more than they would have enjoyed having a cake.

If you’re having a theme party, like a Mario party, save by buying minimal amounts of mario birthday party supplies. Instead, make some Mario-themed party-ware on your own. You can bake Mario-shaped cookies or a Mario cake.

Before heading to the store, survey what you already have with an eye for repurposing. If you have some leftover curling ribbon from Christmas, you could use it to tie around balloons. Similarly, some wire ribbon could help you decorate chairs and make the interior of your house colorful and welcoming.
Head to your local dollar store, especially goodie bag items. You can often find lots of stickers and small toys that you can put in small bags and tie with ribbons. It will look impressive to the children but won’t cost you an arm and a leg to assemble.

With some creative thinking and a little bit of planning, you can throw a great birthday party for your child without breaking the bank. Sometimes it could be easy to get caught up into the mentality nowadays of trying to have a birthday party better than any of the other children, but that’s not what is important. The important thing is to give your child a great, memorable time without stressing yourself out, and hopefully these tips will help you keep things in perspective and create a great celebration.

A Guide to Sucessful Budgeting

Budgeting is something a lot of us would like to be better at. But the thing is, successful budgeting isn’t actually that hard – you’ve just got to go about it in the right way.

So, what should you do to create a successful budget?

Well, first of all, it’s important to understand what budgeting is all about.

It’s about having full understanding and control of your finances – your income (the money you earn) and your expenditure (the money you spend).

To create your budget, start with writing down absolutely everything you earn each month (that includes your wages, any benefits you receive, child maintenance payments, etc.).

Once you’ve got this written down, you need to move onto your expenditure. You should write down everything your household is spending each month. Start with your priority debts (your mortgage/rent, secured loans, utility bills, etc.), and your everyday expenses (food, transport costs, etc.).

At this stage, you shouldn’t include your non-priority debts (credit cards, unsecured loans, etc.) – as you’ll account for these later on.

Once you’re happy that you’ve written everything down, you should subtract your essential expenditure from your income – this will leave you with what’s known as your disposable income.

Your disposable incomeis basically the money you have available to pay towards your unsecured debts each month – as well as saving and spending on non-essential/luxury items.

Working with your disposable income
Now you know how much your disposable income is, you need to figure out if it is enough to cover your monthly unsecured debt repayments.

To do this, simply subtract the amount you spend on debt repayments each month from your disposable income…

If your disposable income is more than enough to cover the cost of your debts, did you know you could save yourself a lot of money in interest if you paid more towards your debts each month? So, if you’ve got spare money left over after covering the required monthly payments, you should consider overpaying your debts. Just find out if you’ll be hit with any ‘early repayment charges’ for doing this.

For advice on how to make the most of your income, you could read some of the budgeting, debt and money saving guides on this website.

If your disposable income isn’t enough to cover the cost of your unsecured debts, you should take action straight away. You need to contact your creditors and explain your situation, and it might also be a good idea to seek professional debt advice.

The right advice can help you improve your situation – you might get a few tips on how to tighten up your budget, for example, freeing up the money you need every month.

Warehouse Clubs-Big Savings or Money Drain?

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First I want to mention I only have a Sam’s club near me so my experience is limited. I have been a member for a couple of years. Lately I haven’t noticed much in the way of savings. I’m finding better deals by just watching the other store sale ads. For instance, Sam’s has a 30 roll package of Scott’s toilet paper for over $22. I can buy 3 packs with the 12 rolls for $6-7 on sale and end up with more toilet paper for the same price. I’m not saying there aren’t good deals to be found at these clubs, but you should just ask yourself a few things before buying.


Can I get this cheaper on sale somewhere else?
Do I really need such a big size of this item?
Will we just eat it all quickly since it’s in the house?
Will it go to waste before we can use it?
Do I have enough room to store these bigger packages?

I am guilty of some of the above. I like buying my groceries and health/beauty items in bulk, but I have noticed some of the snacks don’t last as long as they should. Or I’ve had some items go to waste before we could use it all. I mostly try to stick to dry goods and frozen foods for this reason. I live in a bigger home, well big for 3 people, but I do have plenty of space to store items. I hope these questions can help you stop and think before buying something you don’t need or can’t use.

There are other savings such as the pharmacy, travel discounts, office supplies, tires, appliances, and such. I split my membership with my mom. I have a card and she has one so it does save money by only paying $20 yearly. I asked and it’s acceptable at Sam’s. I do save money on gas but I will be doing some more number crunching come renewal time next year.

Are warehouse clubs big money savers or money drains? I would love to read your thoughts.

Today’s Shopping Trip

On today’s shopping trip, I went to several stores to pick up all the deals for this week. I first went to Rite-Aid and bought the Garnier Shine and had a $1 off coupon. So total was $3.25 and I am getting back $3.99 with rebate.

Then I went to Walgreens and bought the Airwick Flameless Candle and Glade Scent Candle. I paid $6.46 with tax and I’m getting back $4 in rebates so total is $2.46 for both items. That was 99 cents each. I also bought 3 Glade refill candles for $2.45 after rebate and coupon. They had 2 of them on clearance for $1 and I got one free with that coupon. I like to give the Trio candles as presents to the lady that delivers my mail and such.

I went to CVS and got the following:
2 Trident gum
2 Colgate Total toothpaste
4 Herbal Essence Shampoos (they have one that I can’t get anywhere else)
2 Bic Soleil Razors
1 Schick Intuition Razor (have rain check from last sale)

I used $15.74 in coupons and 9.79 in ECB’s so grand total was $6.42! I spent $16.13 total on everything and I’m getting $7.99 back in rebates for a grand grand total of $8.14 for all of it! The razors are going to be part of those Christmas gift bags. I also had to do some Wal-Mart shopping and bought 5 Skintimate Shaving creams that were $1.47 each and after $1 coupons I got them for $2.54 with tax. Those will also go in the gift bags. I missed that sale when they were $1.74 each and I think that was Walgreens. I don’t know how I missed it, but this is still good. My nieces love the smaller ones to use when they sleep at a friend’s house. I had another wonderful shopping trip and saved so much.