Personal Finance

  • No Spend Challenge Rules

    Are there no spend challenge rules? Yes… and no.

    No spend challenges can be great for cutting back your spending and saving money for big financial goals. Whenever I mention them online people always want to no what the rules are and how to do one.

    The thing I love about no spend challenges is that you get to make up the no spend challenge rules for yourself.

    What Is a No Spend Challenge?

    A no spend challenge is set period of time where you go without spending money on anything outside of your essentials like bills, basic food, medical needs, etc.

    Also known as a spending freeze, these no spend challenges are a way for many people to reset after a period of excess spending. This is why many people attempt no spend challenges in January after spending a lot of money on Christmas.

    How you actually implement a no spend challenge in your own life is up to you.

    This type of challenge is pretty clear but you can make it as hard or as easy as you want. Some people go to extremes while others take a more loose approach.

    Either way people use a no spend challenge to quickly save money, pay off debt, and get back on track with spending habits.

    no spend challenge rules to save money

    Why Do A No Spend Challenge?

    Many people do no spend challenges for reasons like the following:

    • Putting more money toward paying off debt
    • Quickly saving up to pay for a big upcoming expense
    • Resetting your spending habits after a period of overspending
    • Building up an emergency fund
    • Building up a savings buffer to get ahead on expenses so you can live on last month’s income
    • Paying off the mortgage faster with a lump sum payment
    • Finally achieving debt freedom

    These are all great reasons people do no spend challenges.

    You may be doing it for one of these reasons or one completely unique to your situation!

    Related: 100 No Spend Challenge Ideas To Save Money

    What Are The No Spend Challenge Rules?

    There are no “official” rules for a no spend challenge.

    Instead there are rules and guidelines people typically follow that you can adjust for your own experience.

    When setting up your no spend challenge rules you need to clearly define your challenge. To do this you will need to answer some questions for yourself:

    • How long will your no spend challenge last? Will your no spend challenge be for a weekend, a week, or a full month? Will you do a no spend challenge for 30 days or a whopping 365? A month tends to be the typical challenge length but you have the freedom to challenge yourself to any duration.
    • Will you count days consecutively or cumulatively? Sometimes you have events where you will just have to spend money. If one of these events like a birthday or wedding falls during your challenge will you have to restart or will you just skip that day and count before and after? You get to make the rules based on your lifestyle requirements. You could challenge yourself to 30 days in a row or 30 days total skipping planned event days.
    • Will you have spending cheat days? Not everyone loves the idea of “cheat” days when doing a challenge but for some people they are essential. Consider your personality when setting the rules and if you need an all-or-nothing approach or you can allow more flexibility with cheat days.

    These are the areas where people adjust the most to fit their lifestyle needs while still keeping it a challenge.

    Typical No Spend Challenge Rules

    Despite all the flexibility in setting up no spend challenge rules there are some typical guidelines to follow.

    Typical Spending Allowed:

    • Mortgage/rent payments
    • Utilities
    • Phone bill
    • Internet bill
    • Groceries (basics only)
    • Medical & Insurance bills
    • Medicine
    • Gas
    • Transportation expenses
    • Debt payments
    • Credit card payments

    Typical Spending NOT Allowed:

    • Restaurant meals
    • Fast food
    • Coffee shops
    • Alcohol
    • Gas station purchases beyond gas
    • Salon services
    • Cable/Streaming TV
    • Clothing
    • Shoes
    • Gifts
    • Hobby Gear
    • Anything under the “want” category of spending

    The differences in these categories or what is allowed or not allowed in a no spend challenge closely follows what you NEED versus what you WANT.

    If you need it? Allowed. If it is an item you want? Not allowed. That’s a pretty simple rule to keep in mind when you are doing your no spend challenge.

    Related: 50 Things To Do Instead of Spending Money

    Things To Cut From Your Spending

    Obviously you want to cut as much spending as possible during your challenge. Here are some ways you can cut back spending for the challenge duration.

    • Cut all eating out. Plan all of your meals to bring lunch to work and not eat out at all for any meals.
    • Cut out all discretionary spending. If it’s not planned or in your grocery budget, write it down and wait a month.
    • Cut all of your personal spending. If you get any allowance monthly, cut it out entirely.
    • Cut out any entertainment spending. If it’s an event or concert already planned make it an exemption for the month but don’t add anything new.
    • Cut your normal grocery budget in half from what it normally is. Get creative with items you already have an things on sale.
    • Cut your food budget entirely. If you are able to eat out of your pantry and freezer for a month, consider cutting out all food spending. You could make an exemption for a small amount each week for fresh produce.
    • Cut something out in your own budget once you’ve looked through for things that could be eliminated.

    Related: Things To Stop Buying to Save Money

    No Spend Challenge Rules Example

    When I previously did my own no spend challenge month I set up some no spend rules and exemptions for myself.

    No Spend Month Challenge Setup & Rules

    For my no spend challenge month I created a no buy list which included things like:

    • extra activities
    • shopping for home purchases
    • clothes shopping
    • eating out at restaurants
    • snacks from our bodega at work

    Giving myself very specific rules was helpful. Tailoring it to things in your own life makes it more of a challenge specific to you. For example, not everyone would have to make a rule about bodega purchases but it was part of my no spend rules.

    I also set up my own specific exemptions based on our planned spending for the month. If it was a bill or already agreed upon spending then we still spent money on it.

    This included:

    • bills
    • mortgage
    • my husband’s softball league
    • planned items in our budget

    Giving ourselves these pre-planned exemptions made it easy to know what we could still do and what we had to say no to during the no spend challenge.

    Success Tips For No Spend Challenge Rules

    Now you know the typical no spend challenge rules you might be wondering: how can you actually complete this challenge?

    If you want to complete a no spend challenge there are some things you can do to succeed.

    Make sure you are prepared.

    Getting prepared for a no spend challenge is often the key to success.

    Your challenge success actually starts before the challenge date arrives. The things you do to get ready will make it possible to complete the challenge without any spending mistakes.

    Some things people do to prepare for a no spend challenge include:

    • taking an inventory of the things you already have purchased
    • planning out your meals to avoid restaurant spending
    • creating a list of fun free activities you can do
    • talking to those in your life about the challenge to help you

    These are some of the things you can do to prepare for a successful challenge.

    Understand your motivation.

    Another key to succeeding is understanding your motivation.

    Why are YOU doing a no spend challenge? What are you hoping to accomplish?

    Do you want to save money? Stop bad spending habits? Pay off a debt?

    Here are a few ways to understand your motivation and use it to complete the challenge:

    • journal your thoughts and feelings about spending money before and during the challenge
    • create a visual reminder of why you are doing the no spend challenge
    • make a list of the things you will feel or do when you complete the challenge
    • use a no spend challenge printable to keep yourself on track

    Determining your reasons and then reminding yourself of them will help you finish the challenge strong.

    Avoid temptations to spend.

    The whole point of a no spend challenge is to not spend extra money. This is hard to do because most people spend money constantly without even thinking much about it.

    Avoiding temptations to spend money is one of the best things you can do during a no spend challenge.

    Here are some things you might want to avoid during your challenge:

    • stepping foot in stores
    • browsing online shopping websites
    • going to restaurants
    • driving by fast food restaurants

    Depending on how you spend money you might have to change your routine during your challenge. Removing yourself from the places that encourage you to spend money is very helpful.

    Work to earn extra money.

    One things many people do during a no spend challenge is focus on earning money instead.

    When you are working more you are less likely to be out spending money. This can also benefit you because you are able to increase the financial impact of the no spend challenge.

    Need some money making ideas? Try these:

    You can also just sign up to work more hours or even start a new part time or temporary job. Making extra money will combine with all the money you save for a huge financial push in the right direction.

    No Spend Challenge Printables

    When I was doing my no spend challenge, I used my free time to create printables that made the process more fun for me. I had a lot of time to get creative and think about how different worksheets and techniques could help me get the most out of a no spend month.

    Printables have been the easiest way for me to get organized in order to accomplish my goals during a challenge like a no spend month.

    No Spend Challenge Printable Bundle

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  • The Simple Path To Wealth Review

    The Simple Path To Wealth Review

    In this The Simple Path To Wealth review I’ll share some of the lessons I learned and why I think this book is essential reading for most people. Learning money lessons from books like The Simple Path To Wealth helps many of us in our financial journeys.

    As we move from paying off debt to building wealth books like this are essential. They are creating the map for us to plan the way financially.

    This book by JL Collins is one of the most recommended books in the FIRE community.

    FIRE, or Financial Independence Retire Early, is a community of people who are living far below their means to save up money in order to retire early and live the way they want. Books like The Simple Path To Wealth outline how they are doing this and how you can do it too.

    Lessons From The Simple Path To Wealth

    Money Lessons From Simple Path To Wealth Video

    The Simple Path To Wealth is such a great book and it focuses on some of my favorite topics:

    • passive investing
    • using broad based index funds
    • tools for building wealth for FIRE
    • asset allocation for the different phases of building and preserving wealth
    • determining how much you need

    The book takes the complex concepts people often avoid and makes it easy.

    Here are the money lessons I learned from The Simple Path To Wealth:

    1. Save a percentage of every dollar you make.

    This savings lesson is super important no matter where you are starting. Being able to save a percentage of your income is critical to achieving every other financial goal.

    Saving money is a foundational lesson for personal finance.

    In The Simple Path To Wealth the concept of savings as a percentage of your total income is huge. You want to save a percentage of every dollar that comes in via income.

    This means you don’t pick and choose when you can save – you are ALWAYS saving at least some percentage of your income.

    2. Maintain a high savings rate.

    Saving a percentage of every dollar is foundational. But for people to move beyond just the basics you have to maintain a very high savings rate.

    In order to reach financial independence or retire early you have to maintain a high savings rate.

    For people in the FIRE community the ideal savings rate is as high as possible – often 75% or more. At the lower levels in that community people aim to achieve 50% of their income. This is the type of high savings rate that The Simple Path To Wealth encourages.

    This can be very difficult to start with and many people can never achieve it. With the high cost of living in many areas a high savings rate can be difficult to achieve.

    While it is obviously difficult and achieving it includes massive privilege, this high level of savings rate leads to financial independence quickly.

    You can see this in the famous chart shared by Mr. Money Mustache in this post about the simple math behind early retirement.

    When you save 50% of your income you have 17 working years until retirement. When you save and invest 75% of your income then you only have to work 7 years until financial independence and retirement is possible.

    3. Avoid fiscally irresponsible people.

    Avoiding fiscally irresponsible people is another key lesson to learn in building wealth.

    While you don’t have to dump your friends you do need to evaluate who you spend your time with and how they effect your money habits.

    Do your friends and family encourage you to overspend? Does your circle expect certain levels of spending? Do your friends make bad financial decisions and ask for monetary help?

    When you are constantly surrounded by people making bad decisions with money you are more likely to do the same. If none of your friends save and always spend money going out then you likely will too. If your friends all have $600 car payments then you are more likely to follow that path too.

    Changing up your circle can help you change directions with money too.

    Being around people who are smart with money can help you too. Spending time with people who make good financial decisions and grow their wealth can help you do the same.

    If they are always investing and talking about their investments then you will participate in those conversations. If your friends always look for fun and frugal activities then you will as well. You’ll spend less and save more if your friends and family are trying to do the same thing.

    Your success can be directly affected by who you surround yourself with so be careful with your choices.

    4. Avoid money managers.

    I always like to tell people they are smart enough to figure out how to invest with index funds and the author of this book agrees with that assessment.

    In The Simple Path To Wealth JL Collins advocates for people to avoid money managers and instead invest in low cost index funds.

    Instead of picking stocks or having a money manager do it for you, you skip all of the downsides to investing.

    By focusing on investing in index funds you are buying the market as a whole. You don’t pay commissions or high fees that you would with many asset managers. You also are investing in an asset that always goes up over time.

    Avoiding the fees that money managers charge helps you build wealth faster and keep more of your money.

    5. Money can buy you anything you want in life.

    One of the best things about money is that it can buy anything you want in life – including financial freedom.

    This is a key lesson in this book:

    “There are many things money can buy, but the most valuable of all is freedom. Freedom to do what you want and to work for whom you respect.”

    By building wealth you are buying your freedom. When you have enough money you get to make choices that you would not otherwise make. Money can buy you the freedom to spend your time how you want.

    The alternative is spending money on a fancy lifestyle you can’t afford just to impress others. When you do this and live paycheck to paycheck you end up a slave to the job you are working in with no ways to leave.

    If you are pursuing financial independence then you will resonate with this lesson. Saving your income, investing your income, and growing your wealth are buying your financial independence.

    One dollar at a time you buy your freedom.

    My Review

    When I first found out about the idea of FIRE I was not very interested. It sounded like being miserable saving money just to later live miserably on limited income.

    I also love working and figured I would always work in some fashion. Why bother pursuing financial independence if I like working?

    However, now that I’m working with fluctuating income I see the benefit in building up wealth in order to retire early – if I want to or need to!

    Reading this book and writing this The Simple Path To Wealth Review post has helped me solidify the idea that I do want to work toward financial independence.

    Having the money available to live the life I want without worry is very appealing. This is the major takeaway for me personally after reading The Simple Path To Wealth.

    The Simple Path To Wealth Review

    In addition to helping me settle on pursuing financial independence, this book definitely taught me and others some very valuable lessons.

    After posting my video recapping these lessons from The Simple Path to Wealth I had a lot of comments about how great this book is:

    • “This book changed out lives! Tops my list of favs.”
    • “Such a good resource!”
    • “I’m working toward that 50% savings rate where I can also live comfortably. It’s the motivator reminding me why I need to earn more and manage what I have well.”
    • “Thank you thank you THANK YOU for saying that investing is easy!! So many people say ‘investing is hard’ or ‘investing is confusing’ so ‘this is why you need to pay ME to teach you!!”. We are a lot more capable than we give ourselves credit for.”

    For those who have already read this book it was a resounding agreement. This book is a must read for anyone curious about money or achieving financial independence.

    Want to read this book and see if you agree with the lessons in this The Simple Path To Wealth review?

    Get The Simple Path to Wealth: Your Road Map to Financial Independence and a Rich, Free Life

    Read More

  • 10 Financial Goals For 2022

    Are you trying to choose financial goals for a new year? These financial goals for 2022 can help you choose something for your own list.

    This financial goal list is just ideas to inspire you. Maybe you can add one or two to your own goals list for the year! I’ve included a couple in my own financial goals for 2022 and hope this can inspire you too!

    Invest In Crypto

    Cryptocurrency has an interesting year in 2021 as it became more mainstream and got lots of media coverage.

    Previously it had been relegated to smaller segments of the population but now many people have added cryptocurrencies to their portfolio.

    A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography. This means it is almost impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. Most cryptocurrencies are also decentralized networks based on blockchain technology – this means they are not controlled by any one source.

    With cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase giving out Bitcoin sign up bonuses for referrals, many more people have jumped into the world of crypto in 2021. It was a year of massive growth and adding cryptocurrency to your portfolio might be the right goal for the new year.

    If you want to invest in crypto in the new year you should plan to start small. Sign up for an account where you can purchase crypto like Bitcoin.

    Then do research. And more research. Read from trusted sources and try to understand what you are buying and investing in with cryptocurrency.

    Unfortunately there is a lot of hype and gimmicks with crypto so you have to be careful. That’s why learning and doing research is so critical. The more you understand the better your experience will be.

    Increase Your Giving

    A lot of people are still struggling and your generosity could help them. Increasing your giving is a great goal to work towards at any time.

    To accomplish this goal you can choose causes you care about. There are many ways to give money including:

    • tithing to a church
    • contributing monthly to a charity you care about
    • lump sums to important causes
    • donating to GoFundMe drives
    • sponsoring a child
    • creating a scholarship
    • giving a huge tip to a server
    • random acts of kindness

    The list could go on for a while! Hopefully those suggestions give you some ideas of how you can give more money and increase your giving in the new year.

    If you are reluctant to give more because you don’t know how it will be used then you can do a couple things. First, you can always check out charities on independent sites like Charity Navigator that rate the use of money collected. And second, you can do the mental work needed to release the money and give without strings or conditions.

    This is one of the best and most noble financial goals any of us can work towards.

    Ask For A Raise

    Asking for a raise is always a great financial task to undertake. Earning more income for the good work that you do can help you financially.

    Many companies are now offering employees more money and better benefits because employees have more power.

    There is no better time to ask for a raise than now.

    There is also a huge reason why you must ask for a raise: inflation. The cost of everything is going up and your salary needs to increase as well. When inflation goes up by 6% but you only get a 1.5-3% raise then you are effectively making less money.

    Asking for a raise protects you financially.

    Find A New Job

    The great resignation of 2021 led many people to quit bad jobs and find better ones. Many people found new jobs or created businesses. I quit my job in August 2021 and it was one of the best decisions of the year!

    I Quit My 9-5 Job

    Right now there are many millions of jobs open. All of these open positions mean employees have a lot of power and opportunities.

    Not happy where you are? Chances are you could find a better job with better pay in the new year.

    It’s easier to increase your salary by large amounts by getting a new job. Unfortunately most companies do not reward loyalty so they won’t increase your salary as much as a job change will.

    When looking for a new job you should customize your approach and resume to have the best chance at good jobs. It’s important to take your time and find the right fit with the best opportunity.

    Create A Will

    Unfortunately you never know what will happen or when your life will end. That’s the sad reality of life that we will all face. Knowing this means that you should create a will if you haven’t already.

    This is a goal that might not sound fun but is important to your family. Creating a will and other necessary documents will help take care of loved ones. It is especially important if you have young kids.

    The legality of a will varies by location so you’ll need to do research on what you need to do for this financial goal.

    Get Ready For Tax Season

    No one likes spending much time thinking about taxes but this financial goal can help you have a smoother experience. Getting ready for tax season before it comes is a great way to

    Here are some ways you can prepare for paying taxes next year:

    • educate yourself on changes for the new year
    • choose help via a CPA, tax software, etc.
    • start pulling together documents and things you need
    • get organized with your digital items as well as physical

    Starting out the new year with a plan for staying organized with your tax stuff will make the process easier. If you have an uncomplicated tax situation this is much easier. If you have a more complicated return then this is critical and definitely a goal to pursue.

    Deal With Your Money Emotions

    Money is emotional. It creates many strong feelings within all of us. Those feelings can lead to unconscious and conscious behaviors like overspending, impulse spending, over saving and more.

    Many personal finance gurus forget to talk about money emotions. Instead they only focus on the numbers and the math. This leads many people to quit budgeting and never progress financially because they struggle to understand why they can’t stick to the math.

    It’s because your money emotions affect EVERYTHING!

    Dealing with your money emotions is a great goal to set for the new year. This isn’t a goal that is easy to measure but you’ll see many benefits as you continue to work on it.

    You can work on your emotions around money by journaling, going to therapy, reading books, doing worksheets and more. The inner work to understand and deal with emotions around money will pay dividends for years to come.

    Automate Bill Payments

    For most people automating money is the best financial goal. It leads to less stress and fewer mistakes with money. It also means you won’t pay any late fees!

    Automating your bill payments also represents a higher level of financial security. When you are struggling with money it is impossible to automate bill payments because you don’t know if the money will be there when the bill is due. Being able to automate bill payments means you have created a budget, organized your money, and feel confident in having your bills paid.

    If you struggle with automating bill payments you can try the separate bill pay account method.

    With this you simply open another checking account that is for paying bills ONLY. You will never use this account for anything else and don’t even need a debit card attached. Deposit the amount needed for bills every month (with a cushion) and only pay bills from this account. Having the money there means you can set up auto-payments and never worry about not having the money!

    Review Your Subscriptions

    Do you know how much you spend on various subscriptions every month? Probably not! There are soo many now that most of us have no idea what we are spending.

    Set a goal to review your subscriptions and make cuts in the new year.

    Check your statements to make sure you’ve found all of the charges. Evaluate if they are actually used or worth the amount you do use them.

    You can cut some of these subscriptions to save money and achieve other financial goals on your list. This can be a great thing to add to your financial goals for 2022!

    Try A Money Challenge

    Money challenges are a great way to make saving money fun.

    Easy Savings Challenges For 2022

    You are more likely to achieve a money savings goal when you do a structured challenge. It gives you a secure goal with a date in mind and the structure you need to achieve it. You can do a structured savings challenge or even a no spend challenge.

    This can really help if you struggle mentally with saving money or getting ahead. It can show you how money adds up quickly.

    Here are some of the savings challenges in my shop:

    Financial Goals For 2022

    Those are a few financial goals for 2022 that you might want to try. I hope this inspires you to set goals and take action!

    Want more financial goal ideas? Check out these related posts:

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  • 5 Easy Savings Challenges

    Do you want to save more money this year? Saving money can be hard but these easy savings challenges make it easier and more fun.

    Easy Savings Challenges For 2022

    Savings challenges can make saving money easier and more fun. It’s one of the best way to hit all your savings goals and actually achieve the amount of money you want to save. Keeping your goals visual and having these challenges in front of you guarantees you will hit your savings goals.

    Let’s look at 5 easy savings challenges you can try in the new year or anytime!

    Save $1,000 In 30 Days

    Save $1,000 In 30 Days Challenge Video

    The $1,000 In 30 Days savings challenge is all about saving up $1,000 quickly. This challenge has multiple options so you can save a daily amount every day for 30 days. At the end of the month you will have $1,000 set aside for your savings.

    This challenge is great for many reasons:

    • short term so you don’t have to save at this rate forever
    • can be accomplished quickly
    • gives you a sense of accomplishment early in saving money
    • save up enough for a starter emergency fund or emergency need FAST

    This challenge can be difficult for many so it might be too much to start with. You can do the next two challenges where you save up for the whole year to get just over $1,000 as well.

    Get the $1,000 In 30 Days Savings Challenge HERE!

    52 Week Savings Challenge

    52 Week Savings Challenge Tracker Printable Bundle | Money Challenge Trackers | Savings Tracker PDF 1

    The 52 week savings challenge is great because it eases you into saving money. You will save a certain amount per week all year long, but you start small with just $1 and work your way up to bigger amounts at the end of the year. At the end of the year you will have over $1,000 from what you saved each week.

    This is a fantastic savings challenge for people wanting to start saving in the new year. It eases you into it but also creates the habit – putting away money into savings every week is a great habit to have.

    If you re interested in more ways to build a weekly savings habit also check out my Transfer Tuesdays series.

    Get the 52 Week Savings Challenge HERE!

    52 Week $20 Savings Challenge

    52 Week Savings Challenge Tracker Printable Bundle | Money Challenge Trackers | Savings Tracker PDF 1

    The 52 Week $20 Savings Challenge is a great one to try because it requires just saving $20 every week for the entire year. You can do this with saving $20 in cash or by moving $20 to your savings account each week.

    At the end of the year you will have $1,040 in your savings if you complete this challenge.

    Get the 52 Week Savings Challenge HERE!

    Save $10,000 In One Year

    How to Save $10,000 In A Year Video

    With the $10,000 Savings Challenge you will save $10,000 in one year’s time. There are multiple options for this challenge and each one gives you a certain amount to save per week. When you save that amount weekly all year you end up with $10,000!

    In this challenge each week you save anywhere from $50 up to $300 in order to save $10,000 in one year.

    Get the $10,000 In One Year Savings Challenge HERE!

    Save $20,000 In One Year

    Save $20,000 In A Year Video

    This savings challenge is straightforward and operates just like the $10,000 in a year challenge. There are two options available that will both lead you to save $20,000 in one year.

    With this challenge each week you save anywhere from $100 up to $550 in order to save $20,000 in one year.

    This is a great challenge if you want a stretch goal, need to save up a downpayment for a home, or are working toward financial independence.

    Get the $20,000 In One Year Savings Challenge HERE!

    Impulse Spending Savings Challenge

    control spending stop impulse buys - pennies not perfection

    With this challenge you write down all of the impulsive purchases you wanted to make but did not during the week. Then you total up that amount of what you would have spent. Move that number into savings.

    This one can actually be the hardest to do if you have a problem with impulse spending. But it can also be the one that is most life changing because it focuses on multiple areas:

    • stopping impulse spending
    • making conscious spending decisions
    • saving money that would have been spent

    This tackles multiple areas that can often be a problem when people can’t save money. Because it requires more internal work and effort this challenge can be a bit harder than just saving money.

    Get the impulse spending cards in the Money Printables Library!

    How To Get These Easy Savings Challenges

    These savings challenges are all available in my money saving printables shop. They are also all included if you purchase the Money Printables Library which is the vault for all past and future money printables.

    Most of them are included in the Savings Challenges Printable Bundle with additional savings challenges that you can print and use again and again.

    The Savings Challenges Printable Bundle includes:

    • Save 1,000 Dollars In One Year | 1,000 Dollar Savings Challenge Tracker Printable (2 options)
    • Money Saving Challenge 1K | 1,000 Dollar Savings Challenge Tracker Printable (4 options)
    • Save 10,000 Dollars In One Year | 10,000 Dollar Savings Challenge Tracker Printable (2 options)
    • Save 20,000 Dollars In One Year | 20,000 Dollar Savings Challenge Tracker Printable (2 options)
    • 52 Week Savings Challenge Tracker Printable Bundle | Money Challenge Trackers (8 options)
    • Savings Challenge Goal Tracker Printable | Piggy Bank Savings Goal Tracker (2 options)
    • Money Savings Goal Tracker | Dollar Bills Savings Tracker Printable (4 options)
    • Weekly $ Amount Yearly Savings Challenge (9 Options)
    • 80 Savings Tips to help achieve your savings challenge goals

    This printable bundle includes the best selling savings trackers from the money printables shop. Each printable included is designed to help you track your savings as you challenge yourself to save more money and hit big financial goals.

    Get the Savings Challenge Bundle HERE!

    Want even more ideas? Check out my friend Kelly’s list of savings challenges!

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  • Things To Stop Buying to Save Money

    There are plenty of ways to save money but one of the most effective is simply no longer buying items. Many of us buy things out of habit and convenience but letting these expenses go can save a lot of money. Here are some things to stop buying to save money and get ahead financially.

    Things I Don’t Buy To Save Money

    Things To Stop Buying To Save Money

    Saving money is critical to any financial goal from paying down debt to investing. To accomplish big financial goals you need money.

    Going generic, collecting coupons, searching for deals, using cash back apps, reducing bills and cutting out spending can really help save you money.

    Taking a close look at what you buy and cutting out things that you buy can make a huge difference for you financially.

    This list includes things you should stop buying to save money and ways you can fill that need instead. It covers both services and material goods so hopefully it inspires you to cut just one thing from your list.

    Laundry Dryer Sheets

    Laundry dryer sheets can make your clothes softer and smell nicer but in the end they aren’t a great use of your money. These disposable sheets are also a bad thing for the environment.

    With laundry dryer sheets you are buying them over and over again which adds up to a lot of money over time for something that is single use.

    As an alternative you can purchase laundry dryer balls that are a one time purchase and work just as well. These laundry balls keep your laundry nice and soft but don’t require you to spend money over and over again.

    Personally we purchased these dryer balls and I’ve heard good things about the wool dryer balls as well. For just over $10 you can eliminate the need to buy dryer sheets again which will save you money in the long run.

    Lawn Care Services

    Lawn care is one of those service people quickly outsource when they become homeowners.

    The argument is often that the amount of time spent managing your lawn care is not as much as you pay. However, the other side of that argument is even more compelling. By not spending money on lawn care services you are able to save money that could be used elsewhere.

    You also can consider lawn care to be a good source of exercise and time outside – both critical to good health. Your health is priceless and doing your own lawn care saves you money and improves your health at the same time.

    Plastic Containers

    Plastic one time use containers is a terrible use of money when you have so many great alternatives.

    Instead of buying plastic containers for food storage that eventually wear out and get thrown away, you can spend a tiny bit more to get good glass containers that will last for years or decades.

    We purchased a set of glass Pyrex food storage containers over 6 years ago and we continually use them to store food successfully. It’s been one of the best $30 purchases and has saved us a ton of money over the years.

    Shoes You Don’t Wear

    How many pairs of shoes do you own versus what you wear? Most of us tend to buy more than we actually need – shoes included.

    In my personal situation I’ve continued buying cute high heels even though I rarely if ever wear high heels. I love the **idea** of high heels more than the reality. So I’d buy more shoes that I ended up never wearing.

    Stopping yourself from buying shoes (or other clothing items) that you will never wear can save you a ton of money.

    how to save money shopping

    Fast Fashion

    Fast fashion seems cheap when you look at the price tag but the costs behind it are immense. Not only will you be purchasing more and more items as they go out of style and wear out quickly, but you will also be supporting problematic issues like bad working conditions.

    Because fast fashion items are not made well they often barely last a full season. This means you are replacing your whole wardrobe multiple times a year if you are continually buying fast fashion items. This can be expensive!

    A better alternative to save money is to pay a bit more upfront for quality items that will last longer. Another idea is to shop second hand and purchase items at thrift stores. Either way you’ll be saving money by avoiding the continual new fast fashion purchases.

    Dog Toys

    Do you buy your dogs a ton of toys? If you are like most dog moms and dads these days you do. People spending a lot of money on their pets.

    However, dogs are more than happy with natural items as toys. You can also make dog toys out of household items or free items. Dogs don’t need to get a shiny new toy with an expensive price tag to be happy. They love spending time with their owners and going on walks more than anything!

    Skipping out on buying your dog new toys all the time can save you a lot of money. Alternatively even just finding ways to purchase dog toys at a discount could help.

    Related: How To Save Money On Dog Food & Expenses

    Cable TV Service

    Cable TV is incredibly expensive and cutting this expenses is always on lists about how to save money. You can save hundreds or even thousands per year if you cut cable television out of your budget.

    Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+ are much cheaper and provide as much entertainment as cable tv does but at much cheaper prices. By switching to these services instead of cable you will save a lot of money.

    One way we keep our streaming costs minimal is by switching out which services we pay for each month. We will go a few months using Netflix and when we get tired of that we will switch to Hulu and so on.

    Movie Theater Tickets

    Even before Covid I stopped buyiung movie tickets to watch a movie in theaters. The price was constantly rising without giving you a much more comfortable experience.

    Now movie theater tickets are more expensive than ever in order to make up for losses while they were closed. For the same price of taking your family to see one movie you can pay for multiple months of watching the movies on streaming services. Buying movie tickets is often a waste of money due to the inflated prices and you are better served by paying for the movies at home than in a theater.

    With kids especially it’s much easier and more fun to stream the movie at home where you can watch and pause in the comfort of your own home.

    Water Bottles

    Disposable water bottles are bad for the environment and for your budget. They rarely cost under $1 and can cost anywhere from $1.50 to $5.00 for a single bottle of water.

    When you stop buying water bottles you’ll be able to save that money instead. You can purchase a reusable water bottle to keep yourself hydrated without paying for single use bottles.

    Even factoring in the price of the reusable bottle and any filters you might need you will recoup that money in no time and then save much more over time. And as a side benefit you will feel great about also helping out the environment.

    save money by not spending money on buying coffee at coffee shops

    Coffee on the Go

    I spend a lot of money buying coffee at Starbucks and various local coffee shops – and so do many of my friends. A coffee shop habit can cost more than you think. The convenience price of buying coffee on the go can be incredibly high

    If you drink coffee in the morning five days a week, you’re spending a lot of money each month on coffee. Comparing this to how much it costs to buy the supplies to make coffee at home you can save a lot of money.

    One way to break your coffee convenience spending is to tally up what you are actually spending each month on coffee outside of your house. You can get your bank or credit card statements to check these numbers. One month when I did this I realized I had spent a couple hundred dollars at coffee shops – that inspired me to cut back drastically.

    Getting into the habit of making coffee in the morning can save you hundreds of dollars each year.

    If you’re pressed for time in the morning, you can buy a coffeemaker with a timer. You can set the timer the night before to brew your coffee the next morning. If you want to make your coffee “fancy” like the shops do then you can buy the extra tools and syrups to make similar coffees.

    Related: 13 Tips To Save Money Eating At Restaurants

    Light Bulbs

    Did you know certain light bulbs can cost you more money? The efficiency of light bulbs effects how much you are spending over time when buying lightbulbs.

    Switching one old incandescent bulb with a new energy efficient bulb saves you more than $40 over the bulb’s life, according to the U.S. Energy Star program website. If you’ve got three old bulbs and you replace all three with energy efficient bulbs, you’re saving over $120 for just a few minutes’ work.

    Not only do energy efficient bulbs last longer, but the bulbs also use less electricity, saving you money on your monthly utility bill.

    Paper Subscriptions

    This probably doesn’t apply to many people anymore, but stop subscribing to newspapers and magazines. You likely don’t even read these but they can be difficult to cancel.

    Subscription renewals often become habits, but you might as well be throwing your money in the trash because very few people read these. Most publications have online editions or apps or social media where you can follow along and get just what you want.

    Expensive Phone Plans

    Phone plans can be incredibly expensive with all of the additions, fees, and upgrades. These plans often don’t offer any better service than a pre-paid plan that is a fraction of the cost.

    In fact, I’ve used pre-paid plans for years now and have saved thousands of dollars each year.

    Instead of paying $200 a month for our phone plan we pay $50 with Mint Mobile. Ditching a full scale paid plan at a major carrier will save you a ton of money. That $150 difference adds up and is more than enough to buy new phones or save the difference.

    Related: 7 Money HABITS Keeping You Broke & In Debt

    Save Money By Buying Less

    The things listed here are just a few of the things you might want to consider not buying anymore. The things to stop buying to save money on this list are just for inspiration and you may have more ideas after reading this.

    When you buy less, you spend less, and that gives you a chance to save more money. It also has additional benefits like clearing out clutter from your home and providing a calmer environment and lifestyle.

    Most of us already have too much **stuff** in our lives and could benefit from buying less things. Saving money by doing it? Even better!

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  • 33 Money Saving Tips For A Frugal Christmas

    Having a debt-free, frugal Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holidays but it does mean you’ll have an enjoyable holiday without feeling broke. 

    When you’re mindful and intentional about your spending during Christmas you can have a frugal season and enjoy everything the holidays are meant to be about. 

    There are many ways you can save money during Christmas and have a very frugal season. In the video above I share my favorite frugal living tips for the holiday season and Christmas gift giving specifically.

    Here are 33 more tips for you to have a frugal Christmas. If you’re wanting to save money on the holiday season, keep reading!

    1. Make a budget for your Christmas spending. Put a limit on your total spending for all things for the holiday season and commit to sticking to that dollar amount. Promise yourself that you won’t spend over the amount you’ve assigned to the holidays.
    2. Assign dollar amounts to each type of Christmas spending. Give yourself a firm budget for all the types of spending you might do. Going to buy decor? Set a strict budget. Buying Christmas presents? Give yourself a budget for gifts.
    3. Create a Christmas sinking fund in a high yield savings account and save up each paycheck in order to pay cash for Christmas. You’ll save less per paycheck if you start early but even a few paychecks before Christmas can make a difference.
    4. Make a commitment to a cash-only Christmas using only what you’ve saved in your sinking fund or can cash flow. Promise yourself you won’t be using credit to buy more than you can afford.
    5. Let everyone know you are committed to a cash only Christmas. Be open with all of your friends and family and let them know about your decision to have a frugal Christmas.
    6. Be prepared to say “no” when needed to additional spending when it is outside of your budget. If you can’t afford another holiday season excursion or special meal out, then be prepared to say no. Offer more frugal suggestions but be firm in your decision not to overspend.
    7. Manage your kids and family expectations by sharing what your budget is for gifts. If they are old enough, let your kids know what to expect based on the budget for the year. 
    8. Choose a “shop for the kids only” rule with extended family gatherings. Buying for adults is unnecessary in most cases and children opening gifts will provide joy and savings to everyone.
    9. Do a White Elephant or Yankee Swap with friends or extended family or choose a fun game to play like the Saran Wrap game. This can be a fun experience together instead of trading expensive gifts. 
    10. Give cookies or other baked goods and food items as presents. Most people love to get cookies or other delicious treats as gifts and all this takes is a bit of time and a small amount of money.
    11. Give a service or use a talent/skill/hobby as gifts instead of buying something. Use whatever you are naturally gifted at to offer as a gift. 
    12. DIY your gifts for friends and family. There are lots of cute DIY gifts on Pinterest that are easy and delightful to receive. 
    13. DIY your Christmas decorations by using what you already have or can scavenge outdoors and at thrift stores. Again, Pinterest and YouTube videos are your friend for DIY ideas! 
    14. Use a fake Christmas Tree this year and for many years to come instead of buying a new fresh tree each holiday season. With a fake tree you only have to spend once and can get them very inexpensively with coupons and sales.
    15. Set a dollar limit on gift swaps and gift exchanges. If you’re doing a white elephant or drawing names or anything in a group then make sure to set a max dollar amount for your spending. During the price setting you can help guide the conversation to keep the price reasonable. 
    16. Use the 4 gift rule for kids where they receive 4 gifts. 1 thing they want, 1 thing they need, 1 thing to wear, and 1 thing to read.
    17. Set aside a set amount of money for unplanned miscellaneous holiday expenses. Planning for the unexpected makes those unplanned expenses not strain your budget or cause any stress.
    18. Use coupons and sales to save money on your holiday meal shopping. During the holiday season many of the favorite items go on sale so use the opportunity to your advantage!
    19. Take advantage of your supermarket’s gift card promotions. You can buy gift cards at a discount or for major bonus fuel points. Combine that with a credit card cash back and Fetch rewards for even more savings and then give those cards as a gift or use them to save when buying other gifts.
    20. Use cash-back and reward apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, SavingStar and Shopkick. For everything you buy you can receive cash back which adds up and allows you to have even more money to spend on Christmas.
    21. For online shopping, use Ebates for cash back and find store discounts by using RetailMeNot, Coupon Cabin, and Coupon Sherpa. Install Camel Camel Camel to track prices for things you may want to buy on Amazon to get the best price.
    22. Sign up for stores’ email lists to get a discount and download store apps to get coupons and further discounts. Most stores will offer coupons within their apps. 
    23. Give gifts that meet a need and will be used throughout the year. For your family this is easy since you likely know what they need. If people ask what you want, request something you need and would buy anyway.
    24. Take advantage of post Christmas deals. Plan to buy yourself or your kids clothing after Christmas when clothing is deeply discounted for the season. Get all of your Christmas decor and wrapping paper for next year after Christmas when it’s 70-90% off.
    25. Gift coupons for future services or experiences. Things like making a family member dinner or giving parents a night of babysitting can be a wonderful gift to be redeemed in the future.
    26. Comparison shop before you purchase items to find the best prices. Take advantage of stores that have price-matching policies or lowest price guarantees to get the absolute best price on anything you want to buy.
    27. Consider buying used where you can or regifting things that you haven’t used. Not every gift has to be something new. Team up with family that’s also trying to be frugal and swap items the other will use. 
    28. Use daily deal opportunities to get gifts at a much better prices. You can use flash sale sites like Fab.com, and Zulily and also browse Amazon’s Today’s Deals, Black Friday Deals, and Outlet Deals
    29. Plan to use coupons and follow coupon sites like Living Rich with Coupons, Money Saving Mom, and Krazy Coupon Lady to find deals throughout the season. These sites are dedicated to finding coupons that will save you money. There are tons of sites and YouTube channels you can follow to find the best deals.
    30. Sign up for Amazon Prime’s free 30-day trial if you are not already a Prime member. You can take advantage of sales and free shipping during the holiday season. 
    31. Plan your meals outside of your holiday meal. Prepping your meals can keep your wallet and health together during the holidays and stop you from heading to an expensive restaurant. You can use a service like $5 Meal Plan to eliminate stress of meal planning.
    32. Find ways to earn extra money on the side to afford the Christmas spending you want. If you want to spend more without dipping into debt then you need to earn more money to cover the difference. You can offer skills or services like dog walking or just sell unwanted clutter around the house to earn money for Christmas.
    33. Skip gifts altogether for Christmas this year. Think about doing a special activity together as a family or volunteering instead of buying gifts to give each other.

    Remember that ultimately the holiday season is not about buying things or spending money. If you’re religious then it is one of the holy days and if you’re not then it’s a time to spend with loved ones. Find the reason for celebrating Christmas beyond consumption and you’ll be able to keep it frugal with no problem.

    Remember that usually presents for Christmas are not life changing and you likely do not remember what you received last year. Focus on spending time with your loved ones and making memories together instead of items you’ll buy that will be quickly forgotten.

    Loved these frugal tips? Sign up for the newsletter and subscribe to the YouTube channel to get more frugal tips for saving money throughout the year!

    frugal christmas money saving tips

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  • Budget Categories List

    Are you a budgeting beginner? Trying to revamp your budget after time off? This budget categories list can help give your budget a refresh!

    Sometimes it helps to see a list of expenses and budgeting categories to help find all the expenses you might have in a month.

    The following is a long list of budgeting expense categories and even it is not comprehensive! Before you budget I highly recommend you sit down and try to write out every budget category you might use with this as a starting point. 

    Ideas For Budget Categories

    Income

    • Salary (paycheck)
    • Side hustle
    • Bonuses
    • Tips earned
    • Reimbursements
    • Alimony (received)
    • Child support (received)
    • Gifts (received)
    • Investment income
    • Passive income

    Housing

    • Mortgage
    • Rent
    • Home Owners Association (HOA) fees
    • Home improvements/upgrades
    • Property taxes
    • Home maintenance/repairs
    • Home warranty
    • Lawn care
    • Home security system

    Utilities

    • Electricity
    • Internet
    • Cable
    • Phone
    • Heating
    • Garbage
    • Recycling
    • Water
    • Sewer
    • Natural gas

    Food

    • Groceries
    • Restaurants
    • Fast food
    • Coffee shops
    • Alcohol
    • School lunches
    • Work lunches
    • Events
    • Costco membership
    • Grocery delivery service

    Transportation

    • Car payment
    • Gas 
    • Charging costs if electric
    • Car maintenance (oil changes, tire rotation)
    • Car repairs (when something breaks)
    • Annual car fees (registration, inspection)
    • Car tags
    • Car wash fees
    • Parking fees
    • Car taxes
    • Public transportation (subway, taxis)
    • Uber/Lyft ride sharing cosots
    • Tolls (EZ Pass)
    • Roadside assistance (AAA)

    Clothing

    • Adult clothing
    • Kids clothing
    • Dry cleaning
    • Alterations

    Kids

    • Daycare or Tuition
    • Babysitters
    • Extra-curricular activities
    • Toys
    • Kids sports gear
    • Allowance
    • Baby necessities (diapers, formula)
    • Tuition
    • School uniforms
    • School supplies
    • Child support

    Personal Care

    • Haircuts/barber
    • Hair coloring
    • Nail salon
    • Eyebrows
    • Massages/Spa
    • Makeup
    • Toiletries

    Medical 

    • Doctor visits
    • Dentist visits
    • Hospital visits
    • Prescriptions
    • Over the counter medication
    • Glasses, contacts, contact solution
    • Vitamins/Supplements

    Insurance

    • Medical insurance
    • Dental insurance
    • Vision insurance
    • Mortgage insurance
    • Renters insurance
    • Car insurance
    • Life insurance
    • Property insurance  
    • Disability insurance
    • Long-term care insurance
    • Identity theft insurance
    • Pet insurance

    Wellbeing

    • Gym memberships
    • Personal development
    • Therapy
    • Coaching
    • Conferences

    Household

    • Cleaning supplies
    • Laundry supplies
    • Paper products
    • Tools
    • Furniture
    • Appliances
    • Home decor
    • Pool supplies

    Subscriptions

    • Magazines
    • Professional Society annual fees
    • Netflix/Hulu
    • Amazon Prime
    • Music (Spotify, Pandora)
    • Sports TV subscription (like ESPN)
    • Software subscriptions
    • Identity theft protection

    Recreation

    • Bars
    • Movies
    • Concerts
    • Sporting Events
    • Hobbies
    • Hosting parties
    • Books
    • Family membership fees
    • Pocket Money

    Pets

    • Veterinarian visits
    • Pet food
    • Toys, accessories, beds
    • Pet clothes
    • Pet medication (i.e. flea shots, heart worm medication)

    Giving

    • Tithes
    • Offerings
    • Charity donations
    • Miscellaneous giving
    • Tips

    Gifts

    • Holiday gifts
    • Birthday gifts
    • Wedding/wedding shower gifts
    • Baby/baby shower gifts
    • Service gifts 
    • Other occasions

    Travel

    • Vacation
    • Trips to see family
    • Trips for weddings, 
    • bachelor/bachelorette parties
    • Souvenirs
    • Baggage fees
    • TSA Pre-check or Global Entry

    Services

    • Financial advisor
    • Lawyer
    • Tax professional
    • House cleaner
    • Yard care

    Miscellaneous

    • ATM fees
    • ID renewal fees
    • Postage
    • Holiday spending
    • Family pictures

    Taxes

    • Federal taxes
    • State taxes
    • City taxes
    • Property taxes (could be under Housing)

    Savings

    • Emergency Fund savings
    • College savings
    • Retirement savings
    • Car replacement savings
    • Health Savings Account/Plan
    • Long term savings goals 
    • Short term savings goals
    • Investments

    Debt Repayment

    • Credit card debt
    • Student loans
    • Medical debt
    • Personal loans
    • Auto loan payments
    • Extra mortgage payoff
    • Alimony

    How To Use The Budget Categories List

    This list. of budgeting categories should be used as inspiration to get you started with your first budget.

    First, look the list over and write down all the categories where you know you spend money or expect to spend soon. Not every category will apply to your budget.

    Next, use the list of budget categories you’ve written down to plan out your monthly budget. Give each category an assigned spending amount.

    Then, track your spending and assign each expense a budget category so it’s applied properly.

    Finally, reconcile actual spending to your budgeted amount. What categories were under budget? Which were over budget? Where do you need to make some changes?

    Evaluate what spending happened during the month that was outside of the categories you chose. Should you add a new budget category for this expense?

    Budgeting Tips

    Budgeting can be difficult to grasp at first but for many people it becomes second nature. It’s definitely a skill you can practice and improve over time.

    We have a lot of different budgeting tips and tricks here that can help.

    How To Create A Paycheck Budget

    Learn more from these budgeting guides:

    We also have multiple printable guides to help you write out a budget. Writing out budgets can help you process the information in a different way that helps you better stay on track financially.

    Practice your budgeting skills with these budget worksheets:

    Monthly Budget Planner

    This monthly budget printable is a grouping of everything you need to plan and track your monthly budget. These monthly budget worksheets are designed to help you keep your budget on track by writing it down each month and tracking where your money goes.


    Financial Bundle: Budgeting, Savings, Debt Payoff

    This financial planner bundle is a grouping of everything you need to plan your budget, grow your savings, and achieve your debt payoff. It is perfect for anyone who wants an all-in-one solution to get started and get organized!

    Budget Categories List Final Thoughts

    Budgeting is HIGHLY personal so this list has many things that do not and will never apply to your lifestyle. Your budget is going to be specific to you and how you want and need to spend your money. 

    Some people love to break down their budget into as many categories as possible. Others like to keep it super simple with just some big overarching categories.  It can be as complex or as simple as you want it.

    budget categories to try in your budget

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  • 13 Free Self Care Ideas

    Unfortunately we’ve been sold the idea that self care must cost money. Self care is shown as luxurious items, spa days, and things that often don’t fit in the budget. But honestly there are many free self care ideas that make more of an impact on your mental health than any luxurious purchase.

    If you are looking for free self care ideas to help improve your life and mental health then look no further.

    These free self care ideas will help you take care of yourself without spending money. 

    free self care ideas

    Free Relational Self Care Ideas

    These free self care ideas focus on dealing with other and the impact they have on you.

    Say no to something on your schedule.

    Most of us get super busy and overwhelm ourselves with our number of responsibilities and things to do. Pick one thing this week that you’ve got on your plate and say no to it. Wipe it off your planner and set yourself free from something you have been on the fence about doing. Saying no to things to give yourself more free time or bandwidth for things you really love is a great act of self care.

    Cull your social media and email lists.

    Chances are you currently follow some Instagram accounts or email newsletters that you thought might be great, but really don’t make you feel that good about yourself. It’s ok to let go. Go through your online feeds and cut out the accounts and sources that make you feel worse when you see them. This might include hiding friend’s feeds or unfollowing accounts that make you want things you can’t have in this moment. Cut out the things that invoke negative emotions and feelings when you scroll through.

    Send an encouraging message to someone you love.

    Sending positivity into the world helps you feel better so I find doing this an act of self-care, even though it is for someone else. This really means it is a win win. Write a letter or an email encouraging someone you love or telling them how much they mean to you. Many of us go through life without ever knowing our full impact so getting these kinds of messages can truly make a difference to someone. Use your time to let people around you know what they mean to you. 

    Free Emotional Self Care Ideas

    These free self care ideas focus on handling your emotions in healthy ways.

    Express your emotions freely.

    Pick up a journal or just make a voice not or video expressing the emotions you feel -whatever they are. It’s okay to be angry, sad, happy, depressed, joyful. Express those emotions and get them out into the world. You may want to do this with a trusted friend but try doing it on your own and being honest with your feelings before approaching someone else. Self-care is also learning how to be honest with our emotions and accepting the good ones and the bad ones.

    free self care ideas - express emotions in journal and keep gratitude lists - penniesnotperfection.com

    Make a gratitude list.

    Write down all the things you are grateful for or try writing down three things each day you are grateful for. I recently looked back at old notebooks where I started doing this back in 2013. I realized flipping through the pages that at my highest and lowest moments there was always at least 3 things a day I had gratitude for in my life. If you haven’t ever tried to start a gratitude habit then just try doing it for one day, like today! Write down all the things you have in life that you can be grateful for. 

    Compliment yourself.

    If you are like me then you generally have a very negative voice towards yourself. This negative self-talk is harsh and generally not how anyone else would ever speak to you. As an act of self-care, give yourself 1-2 compliments right now or when you are done watching this video. You might not even fully believe them but giving yourself compliments regularly helps build that positive self-talk habit and that my friends is a huge act of self-care. 

    Create an uplifting or soothing playlist for yourself.

    I have a couple YouTube playlists of my favorite songs I’ve put together that always put me in a good mood. I also have a playlist of my favorite calming songs and sounds like ocean waves. Creating these was an act of self-care and bringing them up to listen when I need it is a free way to take care of my emotional self. You can also do this with positive and uplifting videos or podcasts.   Replacing anything you are listening to that creates negative emotions will be a huge benefit.  Filling up that content consumption with positive and uplifting music or words will do  even more for you.

    Free Physical Self Care Ideas

    These free self care ideas focus on things you can physically do with your space or body.

    Tidy up your personal space.

    Most of us think of decluttering and cleaning as a chore, but honestly you guys it is an act of self-care. Clutter has been proven to cause negative feelings and emotions and those of us with fragile mental health need to do all we can in our physical environments to create a healthy mental space. Getting rid of clutter and keeping a tidy and clean space especially at home is a free way to take care of ourselves both physically and mentally. 

    free self care ideas - go for a walk in nature - penniesnotperfection.com

    Take a walk outside.

    When the weather cooperates this is one of the best free self care options out there. Being outside in nature, even if it’s just around trees in your neighborhood park, is both very calming and invigorating. Even just a 10 minute walk outside can improve your mood and get your blood flowing. When I stopped looking at walking as a form of exercise and a form of self-care instead it was a huge game changer. 

    Do some stretching exercises.

    A lot of us think that if we can’t get a full workout in that it’s not beneficial, but stretching is one of the biggest things where a little goes a long way. Take a stretching break during your day and do some stretches. You can look up quick stretching or short yoga routines on YouTube if you don’t know where to start. Stretching and yoga are free and can be done really anywhere. You’ll definitely feel better after and your body will thank you. 

    Free Financial Self Care Ideas

    These free self care ideas focus on things you can do financially to take better care of yourself.

    Make a plan for your money.

    Disorganization with finances often leads to debt and stress. You don’t know if things are going in the right direction and often they are going the wrong way with money. Getting organized and making a plan for your money is a free way to practice financial self care. Take some time to create a budget and make sure your income will cover all of your expenses for the pay period.

    If you are new to budgeting you can check out these posts:

    Sell things you don’t need around the house.

    Clutter is obviously a detriment to most people. Selling extra items you don’t need is a way to eliminate clutter and also make a bit of money doing so. This activity is free to do and ultimately gives you some money back with whatever you earn from selling items. You can use this money to grow your savings, build an emergency fund, or invest for your future. These actions will further the benefit of this self-care activity.

    Create a debt repayment plan.

    For many people debt can be a burden that negatively affects their mental health. Sometimes it even causes catastrophic results. Even if you feel like debt isn’t that big of a deal you should make a plan to repay your debts. Paying off debts will lift the burden you might feel and it will also give you back more of your income every month. Making a debt payoff plan is easy and a great act of self care. Not fully convinced? Checked out 10 Best Reasons To Get Out Of Debt.

    Setting Up A $200,000 Debt Snowball + How To Set Up A Debt Snowball

    Focusing On Free Self Care

    These ideas can help you take care of yourself without spending money. Copy this list and save it for whenever you need to give yourself a little love but don’t have a huge budget to make it happen. 

    Remember that self-care isn’t just the vision you are sold of luxury and pampering. It’s also doing the hard stuff, building routines, and overcoming negative experiences. Reframing how you look at certain activities makes you realize that self care actually encompasses many different things and types of activities.

    Take care of yourself in every way. You deserve it!

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  • How To Get Free Baby Stuff ($100 Worth)

    I love free stuff. Who doesn’t enjoy getting things for free? Getting free stuff is even more important once you have a new baby and many new baby expenses. In this post I’m sharing how to get free baby stuff and showing the $100 worth of free stuff I got from the Amazon baby registry.

    Amazon Baby Registry

    Create an Amazon Baby Registry for surprise gifts, registry completion discounts and more.


    I earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    Getting free baby stuff when it’s things I need? AMAZING. That’s why I loved the Amazon baby registry and it’s many, many perks – they give you $100 of free baby stuff for using it!

    If you’re expecting a baby then you need to be using the Amazon registry system to get as much free stuff as possible! Using the Amazon baby registry for most of your baby shower gifts is an easy strategy to use to maximize all the free baby stuff you can possibly get.

    My Experience Getting Free Baby Stuff

    In the video above I’m sharing my experience redeeming the $100 Baby Bucks bonus for the Amazon baby registry.

    I used this benefit to get a lot of free baby stuff like wipes, diapers, diaper genie refills and even a high chair!

    This is all stuff that would have had to come out of my normal budget but instead I was able to get it all for free!

    All of the items I got for free from using the Amazon registry were useful and things I would have bought anyway so it really did save us a lot of money using this strategy when planning for our baby’s arrival.

    Because I used the Amazon baby registry and loved it so much, the links I’m sharing in this post are affiliate links, which means at no extra cost to you this site will make a commission. I only share links to actual items I’ve bought or used and recommend. I highly recommend this registry for getting free stuff!

    Why We Used The Amazon Baby Registry

    There are a lot of options for baby registries out there and many people use multiple.

    There is no real reason to exclusively use just one, but we focused on Amazon’s for a few reasons including the option to get $100 in free items.

    Other reasons why we used it:

    1. It’s easy. It’s super easy to setup, it’s easy to use, and it is easy for out of town friends and family to access. Since we had a lot of out of town family buying us gifts, Amazon was an easy choice.
    2. You get free stuff! Even if you don’t get the $100 you get a welcome box full of surprise items for parents and baby worth $35. You can see what came in my Amazon baby registry welcome box here.
    3. You get a registry completion discount. Every baby registry does this but it’s a nice perk nonetheless in case you didn’t get items you really need.
    4. You get $100 baby bucks which means you get $100 in free baby stuff! It’s an ever changing supply of items to choose from so you can’t buy anything you want, but we got a ton of great stuff we will use. – This awesome feature was stopped during Covid and has not returned, unfortunately!

    Here’s a look at what our registry dashboard looked like after we had claimed our item. Once you are eligible for the baby bucks you’ll be able to choose the items you want to redeem for free via the baby bucks bonus page.

    What We Bought With The Free $100 Bonus

    The baby bucks bonus is a specific page where you can buy an assortment of diapers, wipes, and other baby products.

    There is no guarantee of what will be included there when you visit the site. As an example, here’s what I got for free with my Amazon baby bucks:

    • Amazon elements baby wipes – One truth of baby life, you will use a lot of wipes! the 9 pack of baby wipes seemed like a great buy, especially when we have to supply wipes to daycare every so often.
    • Diaper genie refills  – The diaper genie has been great and we were just running out of refills from our first pack when this came up! Score!
    • Water wipes value pack – I loved the sample of these wipes I got so grabbing a few more packs of them was a great choice.
    • Fisher Price space save high chair – This high chair is a great example of the “other” baby items available through this bonus program. It was something we needed to buy anyway and we got it for free! It also saw the best baby rocker ever listed too!
    • Baby Aquafor – This got left out of our video because we were already using it. I stocked up on a few tubes of baby aqaufor because it is amazing for any type of skin issue. We’ve used it for preventing diaper rash, cradle cap, and other little skin problems. I’ve also heard it’s good for sunburn for adults!

    All of these items were high quality and things we needed! We used everything up and the high chair has lasted for multiple years now.

    Update: this perk for the Amazon registry was removed during the last couple years. I’m hoping it returns for people but currently it is not listed as a feature.

    How To Sign Up For The Amazon Baby Registry

    Signing up an Amazon baby registry is very easy. To start a registry takes less than five minutes from start to finish.

    how to sign up for amazon baby registry fast

    Of course, adding products and deciding on which ones are perfect for your baby can take much longer!

    Luckily they give you a guide to the most popular and wished for baby items on Amazon. This means you have a great start to highly rated products other moms and dads already trust.

    You can select these items quickly and create a fully stocked baby registry in less than ten minutes.

    free baby stuff from amazon

    Not only do you get $100 in free baby stuff with this registry when you purchase/receive $1,000 in items, but you also get a cute welcome box full of goodies for baby!

    How To Get The $100 Baby Bucks Bonus

    Update: Amazon has removed this and it is no longer available. This section is still here to show what they were giving with the hope that it returns!

    You can get $100 worth of baby stuff completely free with the Amazon baby registry. Free, free, FREE! Can you say free stuff?

    These baby bucks can be used for things like diapers, wipes, diaper creams, or anything in a certain section on the site.

    Sometimes there are bigger items included as well. We actually bought our high chair with it!

    However, there are a couple things you have to do to get this deal:

    1. Sign up for a baby registry on Amazon.
    2. Make sure your account is a prime membership account. Sign up for Prime if you haven’t already. You can also do a 30 day free trial of Prime.
    3. Complete $1,000 in purchases from your registry. Purchases can be made by you or others.
    4. Check to see your Baby Bucks completion is eligible in your account after you’ve hit the goal and had the baby.
    5. Use the link provided in the Baby Bucks section to complete your shopping.
    6. Do this within 90 days or you will lose out on the option!

    Some people have told me that they want to get the bonus items but would not hit the $1,000 spent. I understand we were blessed to have so many items gifted to us from the registry.

    However we still had a strategy in place to make sure we hit the amount. I wanted to make sure I would get $100 in free baby stuff.

    If you aren’t sure you’ll have a baby shower or have people purchase $1,000 in items then you can use the tips below to hit that number.

    Here are a few tips for how to hit the $1,000 spent on your baby registry:

    1. Start the registry early in the pregnancy. It’s a lot easier to accumulate $1,000 in purchases over many months than all at once at the end! You can also add items you need during pregnancy and buy them as needed from the registry.
    2. Use the registry to stock up on items you will need. You can add things like diapers and wipes that you will use for baby, but you can also add household items you will use and then buy those as well. There are many household items you will need stocked up once the baby arrives.
    3. Use Amazon as your only registry option. Most people have 2-3 baby registry options in order to give people options for their purchases. However, if you want to strategize in order to get the $100 in free items, then you should consolidate. For this use Amazon only so you will likely have higher spend amounts there.
    4. Tell people about your goal. If people are considering buying you a baby gift to help you out they will be likely to purchase it from Amazon if you tell them it will give you extra benefits. Being open and honest about the ability to get a $100 baby bucks bonus from your Amazon registry will motivate others to help you get to your goal.

    Those are just a few of the ways you can work with the baby registry to get the minimum spending amount you need for the extra bonus.

    Amazon Baby Registry Welcome Box

    One of the first free things I received with the Amazon baby registry was a free welcome box!

    The welcome box contained lots of free baby stuff that I used for months.

    Some of the items mentioned that I received in the box (affiliate links):

    Note on the video: it was missing the Avent bottle! I forgot I took it out to research it and then completely forgot it. Even more great stuff in the box than the video even covers!

    The registry box you receive will differ in items depending on when you start your Amazon baby registry and the time of year it is. They include a variety of items and the value is much much higher than I expected.

    Each season the items in the box differ slightly. This means if you have multiple babies then you’ll have the opportunity to get different items.

    If you haven’t signed up for an Amazon baby registry yet, what are you waiting for? Get started and enjoy your free stuff!

    How To Get Free Baby Stuff ($100 Worth)

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  • Free Crypto Sign Up Bonus Offers

    Free crypto might be the best crypto. When I started investing in cryptocurrency I did not have a lot of extra money so I got creative in how I stacked my crypto. Luckily many companies offer crypto sign up bonus offers to new customers.

    Yep, you can get free crypto just for signing up for various accounts.

    This isn’t the best long term strategy but it can give you a great boost to start.

    As you consider all of these offers you should take into account the platform but also remember that you can also transfer crypto between platforms and to your own cold storage.

    Free Crypto Sign Up Bonus Offers

    Below I’ve listed all of the free crypto sign up bonus offers I’m currently aware of and have used personally.

    These bonuses are either paid directly in crypto (often in Bitcoin) or in other assets that you can sell and then use the cash to buy crypto. I’ve listed as much information as I currently have at the time of writing this post in 2021. I’ll make updates but please remember the sign up bonuses may have changed.

    Free Bitcoin Sign Up Bonus on BlockFi

    BlockFi – Use this referral link to get $10 in Bitcoin free on BlockFi when you sign up, fund your account, and maintain a $100 balance for 30 days. 

    free crypto sign up bonus on blockfi

    BlockFi gives you the opportunity to earn at a minimum $10 worth of Bitcoin when you sign up for a new account. This is for just maintaining a balance of $100 for the necessary time period (usually one month – two months depending on the promotion).

    BlockFi also offers additional ways to earn free crypto paid out in BTC by referring friends to the platform. You can earn anywhere from $10 in BTC to $40 in BTC by getting people to sign up for BlockFi. (I’ll get a bonus if you use my link, so thanks!)

    Sign Up: Get the BlockFi crypto bonus here

    Learn MoreBlockFi Referral Code & Link details

    Free Bitcoin Sign Up Bonus on Coinbase 

    Coinbase – Use this referral link to get $10 of free Bitcoin on Coinbase when you buy or sell $100 in any crypto. 

    Coinbase-Referral-Link-sign-up-bonus

    Coinbase is an incredibly popular and secure cryptocurrency exchange used by millions worldwide. They offer a large number of cryptocurrencies on their platform and add more each month.

    You can get $5 in BTC by signing up for Coinbase normally but using this referral link will double that amount.

    Once you sign up and put in money and purchase ANY cryptocurrency Coinbase will send you a free Bitcoin bonus.

    Even better? Coinbase gives you multiple chances to earn additional crypto.

    They give you changes to earn various cryptocurrencies on the platform by watching educational videos.

    You can also earn free crypto by referring people to Coinbase. For each person you refer to use Coinbase you will get $10 free Bitcoin.

    Sign Up: Get the Coinbase crypto bonus here

    Learn MoreCoinbase Referral Link details

    Free Bitcoin On Celsius

    Celsius – Use this referral code 103458c044 to get $50 of Bitcoin free when you transfer $400 or more to Celsius to earn money. 

    celsius referral code for sign up bonus

    Celsius is a blockchain-based platform that started in 2017 and allows customers to earn interest on or borrow cash against their crypto portfolio.

    They offers a higher crypto bonus by paying $50 in BTC for signing up and depositing $400 or more. This is one of the best ways to get started since the bonus is 5 times what some others offer.

    Sign Up: Get the Celsius crypto bonus here with code 103458c044

    Learn MoreCelsius Referral Code + Sign Up Bonus details

    Free Crypto Sign Up Bonus On Voyager

    Voyager – Use referral code E4BA06ADB or this referral link to get $25 of crypto free when you sign up and make $100 in trades.

    With Voyager you can get a $25 crypto sign up bonus when you use a referral link. You have to download the app and make at least $100 in trades before you receive the bonus.

    Voyager is one of the best options for buying crypto with their commission-free pricing structure on trades. Their mission is to make crypto simple and they offer up to 12% interest and over 60 different cryptocurrencies.

    Sign Up: Get the Voyager crypto bonus here

    Free Crypto Sign Up Bonus On Cash App

    Cash App – Use this referral code RSJQKLK on this link to get $5 free on Cash App when you send $5 after signing up. Use that $5 to then buy Bitcoin (BTC) on the app.

    free crypto sign up bonus on cash app

    Sign Up: Get the Cash App crypto bonus here with code RSJQLK

    Learn MoreCash App Referral Code details + How To Use Cash App Tutorial & Review

    Final Crypto Sign Up Bonus Thoughts

    Getting a crypto bonus offer makes many accounts more appealing than they otherwise might be.

    Remember to always evaluate each platform and move your crypto if the platform with the bonus does not fit your needs.

    Most of these crypto sign up bonus offers are paid out in Bitcoin. If that’s not the coin you want to hold then you can always trade it for others on most of these platforms. (Cash App only has Bitcoin available.)

    Cryptocurrency is here to stay and developing a long term strategy that includes increasing your portfolio is a necessity. Pick the best cryptocurrency exchange platforms that will fit this need and your long term strategy.

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