Month

October 2017

How to Create a Budget that Actually Works!

How to Create A Budget that Actually Works

 

Some may view the word “budget” as taboo or kapu, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Like us, most folks out in the world have no idea of where to even start to create an effective budget. Having a budget is a critical financial tool for anyone regardless of their age or financial status.

There may be changes going on in your life right now such as a rise in your rent or the loss of a job. I personally am facing the rising cost of rent due to my lack of financial knowledge and putting things off. I have learned the hard way the cost of not being mindful of our finances. My husband and I both agree that we needed a budget to help keep us on track and reach our financial goals.

Studies have been done such as one by Gallup in 2013, that only a 1/3 of Americans create and stick to a budget. This just goes to show that many of us have no idea where our money is going or be able to account for our spending.

When you have a plan in place for your money it can help keep you on track and avoid any unnecessary spending or pitfalls that can cause you to go into debt or financial hardship. Creating a budget can be a challenge, but it can also be easier than people think. Now to begin.

Review Your Spending and Income

After you have spent some time tracking your income and daily spending, next you will want to review the transactions in your bank account to see how your money is moving. You want to review where you are spending the most. You may start to see a pattern and that you are spending more than you realize. If it seems that you are spending more than you make, a review may help you to see what areas you need to cut back on.

Anything I spend using my debit card, I write down in my planner on the day that money was spent.

Identify Your Needs and Financial Goals

Once you realize what your spending habits are, next you need to determine what your needs are. Needs are things such as food, housing, and clothing. Cable tv (which I’m still trying to get my husband to go without) is not a need but more of a want. I hardly watch tv these days and if I do its certain shows like Supernatural or Once Upon a Time, which I can stream as well.

Many debt or financial gurus will tell you to build an emergency fund, it’s important to count this into your budget. We all have a different set of financial goals and situations. Create clear financial goals so that you know what is happening with your money and the likelihood of sticking to a budget is more realistic.

Sticking with a Budget

When you create a budget don’t forget about it. Using your budget is just as important as the steps you take to create it in the first place. Put your budget in a place such as on the fridge so that you see it every day and can review if you would like to. Sticking to a budget will take work and will not always be easy to stick to. Remind yourself of why you created a budget or perhaps you’re saving for a new or trip you’d like to take.

If you find that you are having a hard time sticking to your budget, then perhaps you can try another approach such as the cash envelope method. With this method, you use several envelopes for things such as gas, groceries, treats, you name it. Each is designated a certain amount, such as $20 for gas and once that money is spent you need to wait till the next month rolls around. A cash envelope method is a great way to live within your budget.

Building Your Emergency Fund

You may have asked yourself, how do I even begin to build an emergency fund when I’m already barely making it? This is a common problem people are facing when they are trying to create a budget. It’s hard to create a budget for many expenses because you don’t always know what they will be in the future. Some expenses fluctuate and aren’t very predictable. An emergency fund can come in handy for unexpected expenses such as needing a new car battery.

A good amount for an emergency fund budget can start at just $1,000 to help with any financial surprise. Have a separate account or designated spot will discourage you from spending it accidentally.

Don’t Forget to Include a Budget for Fun Money

Be sure to include a few bucks at the end of your budget as “fun money”, this way you get to save money to have a little fun with and you don’t feel as if all you’re doing is budgeting. This can be a small portion of your income that is brought into use for anything to treat yourself. A little extra money will make sticking to a budget easier. It doesn’t hurt to treat yourself a little.

What May Cause You to Not Stick to Your Budget

One thing that may cause you to fail at keeping a budget is that your cost of living may be higher than what you actually earn. If you’re constantly spending more than you  make then creating a budget and trying to live with the means of your budget may be futile. You can always cut your expenses, increase your income or both to make up for the lack of finances. Another cause could be that you aren’t allowing enough flexibility in your budget or allocating enough funds for emergencies or savings.

For me personally, it’s our cost of living is higher than what we make. We got into a hole and it’s been a struggle to climb out. We got to where we had to make a loan to cover rent, then it begins a cycle. It’s hard to climb up but with a budget in place it’s not so bad.

 

Here’s 5 Quick, Easy Halloween Treats that You Can Easily Make!

Halloween is just around the corner, kids are getting excited about what they’re going to wear and the opportunity to get candy! Before I had kids I never really thought about making or bringing treats to school. This year I am going to attempt to make a Halloween treat for my son to bring to his classmates.

Now I don’t have a lot of time to spend on making something super fancy or complicated, easy and simple is the way I’m going! Here are 7 fun but easy spooky treats that you and your little ones will enjoy!

Dracula’s Dentures

Whip up this fun and spooky chocolate chip cooking dentures that will delight kids and adults alike. There’s not much to prepare this deliciously irresistible treat, you just need marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, almonds and vanilla frosting. This treat is so simple and easy that you can even have your kiddos help out as well. My kids are always wanting to help and this is a great way to let them.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • 1 Package (18.25 oz) chocolate chip cookie dough (you can make it even simpler by buying pre-made Chips Ahoy regular or chewy.
  • ½ cup prepared vanilla frosting that you tint with red food coloring or frosting that is already a shade of red.
  • 1 ¾ cup miniature marshmallows
  • 48 slivered almonds (if anyone suffers from a nut allergy you can substitute the almonds with pumpkin seeds or a slice of white gummy)

Directions:

If you are making the cookies prepare them as instructed on the package or according to the recipe.

  1. If baking, be sure to allow cookies to cool for 2 minutes, cut each cookie in half for a total of 48 halves.
  2. Frost the bottoms of all cookie halves with frosting and place 5 marshmallow teeth around a curved perimeter of 24 halves. If you want additional support, you can place an extra marshmallow behind the teeth. Top with the remain halves, insert two almond slivers or white gummy if you choose for the fangs. If the fangs won’t stay, dip the tips into the frosting.

Easy Pumpkin Krispies Treats

Instead of cooking up traditional rice crispy treats why not change it up and dish out Pumpkin Krispies! These treats are orange and sorta shaped like a real pumpkin but taste a lot better. This kid-friendly recipe is sweet and oh so delicious.

There’s not much to making this treat, prepare your basic rice krispie like you normally would but add orange food coloring when you put in the marshmallows. You can brown the butter and pour in a little bit of vanilla extract. Let the cereal mixture cool before shaping into pumpkin balls. You can use tootsie rolls as the stem and use m&ms for the eyes, candy corn for the nose.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • red & yellow food coloring or orange gel coloring
  • 5-1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal
  • mini tootsie rolls
  • candy for decorations, M&M’s, candy corn, etc.

Directions:

  1. Melt and slightly brown butter on medium heat in a large saucepan. Next, add vanilla extract and the marshmallows. Stir until the marshmallows have completed melted, add food color until you’ve reached the desired orange color. Add in cereal and stir until it’s blended well. Turn off heat and allow to cool until you’re able to handle them.
  2. Once it’s cooled, spray your hands with cooking spray, then mold cereal into pumpkin like circles. Unwrap the tootsie roll and press into each pumpkin for the stem. With a little bit of frosting, adhere candy for the eyes and nose.

Pretty Simple!

White Chocolate DIY Mummy Pretzels

These yummy miniature sized mummies are a delicious mixture of white chocolate, pretzel rods and of course candy! They’re sweet and yet a little salty as well, easy to make for those that aren’t an infamous chef. You can use a squeeze bottle to drizzle the melted white chocolate onto the mummies. You don’t need a lot of ingredients to make this tasty treat, just 3 simple ingredients and at least 20 minutes to make them.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • 18-20 pretzel rods
  • 12 ounces of white melting chocolate such as Ghiradelli
  • Candy eyeballs

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate according to what is described on the packing. Dip the pretzel rods into the white chocolate, covering approximately ⅔ of the pretzel. Remove excess chocolate by gentling tapping on the side of the bowl.
  2. On each pretzel rod place 2 candy eyeballs, let chocolate sit for 1 minute to avoid the eyeballs falling off. Place each rod on wax paper to help it set.
  3. Spoon remaining chocolate carefully into a Ziploc bag or squeeze bottle. Snip a small corner of the Ziploc bag. Drizzle chocolate over each pretzel, making sure to be careful not to cover the eyes. Pretzel must set completely before serving.

Monster Cupcakes

These monster cookies a spooktacular way to bring Halloween into your home or your child’s classroom. You can find recipes online to make the buttercream or use store-bought frosting for the top.It can be simple or as fancy as you’d like. To make the cupcakes, simply pick up a box of cake mix and make it according to the directions on the box. Add candy eyes and call it a day!

Mini Chocolate Bat Treats

These mini chocolate bat bite-size treats are easy to make and requires just 4 ingredients! Perfect for busy moms and families to make together.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Miniature sized Reeses Cups
  • Oreo Sandwich Cookies
  • Cream cheese frosting either premade or homemade
  • Edible eyes

Directions:

  1. Toss wrappers from the Reeses cups
  2. Break each cookie in half, then separate each piece to make four bat wings. Make sure to scrape off the frosting.
  3. Next, fill a plastic bag with frosting, cut off the tip of the bag so that you are able to pipe the frosting onto the back corners of each broken cookie piece.
  4. Take one cookie piece and press it on the left of the Reeses cup and place another cookie piece on the right side of the Reeses cup.
  5. Pipe frosting on the back of the edible eyes and be sure to secure on top of the center of the Reeses cup.

Halloween treats don’t have to complicated to be fun. Get the kids together and have fun making these delicious treats!

 

Delicious recipes courtesy of :

https://cutediyprojects.com/halloween/30-easy-and-spooky-diy-halloween-treats/