ALL the Back-to-School Deals in ONE PLACE!

This isn’t my first blog about the best place to buy school supplies, and I’m sure it won’t be the last! But we’re smack dab in the middle of all of these amazing back-to-school deals and I’ve gone through the top store’s weekly ads and found you ALL the bargains! I literally geek out over school supplies, so please excuse me! Not to mention, I’m a list maker and I go through tons and tons of paper so when I can get a notebook for $.17, you KNOW I’m going to jump all over it.

Target – Weekly Ad

Target

This week at Target, if you spend $30 or more on school supplies, you’ll get a $5 Target gift card. And if you spend $50 or more on school supplies, you can get a pretty cool $10 Target gift card. Text SCHOOL5 for the $5 gift card coupon or SCHOOL10 for the $10 gift card coupon.

WALMART – Weekly Ad

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Walmart 2

I’m going to be honest with you, Walmart is my favorite place to buy the back-to-school basics because they probably have the best deals! I mean, you can get a binder, some binder dividers, a notebook, and a folder for UNDER $3! I use binders and notebooks and folders all the time and I’m almost 30!.. Well, I mean I’m almost 28, allow me to not get carried away!

STAPLES – Weekly Ad

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Office Depot – Weekly Ad

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Office Depot is doing something kinda cool. As long as you spend a minimum of $5, you can get packs of loose sleeved paper for $.01. You cannot beat that!

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You can get TONS of school supplies when there are such great deals out there, but not all kids are quite as lucky. My friend Nick, founder of the non-profit Make Caring Cool, has started a back-to-school initiative where he’s trying to collect enough supplies for all the kids in two schools in the Norfolk, VA area! A lot of the children in these two schools come from low income homes and dont have the tools they need to succeed everyday at school. I’ve attached a direct link to the donation page below where any amount of money you can donate will go to good use and be very helpful to get these kids the supplies they need, but if you’d like to take a look around at Make Caring Cool’s page, you can click right here. You won’t be disappointed. There’s lots of amazing things going on over there!

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Donate to Make Caring Cool’s Back-to-School initiative here!

 

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Travel Fund

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed that Sam and I went to Boston for the weekend to visit some family. We had so much fun, even though it felt like it was below zero outside! But we survived and ended up eating and drinking our way through Boston.

Yes, that is our mess. We are pigs!

Yes, that is our mess. We are pigs!

I haven’t shared it on my blog yet, but my father passed away in early November of last year. He was pretty young and I think about him constantly! Anytime Sam and I are planning on going somewhere or doing something I think to myself, “Hmm, I wonder if my dad ever had the chance to do this, or go to this place.” Not sure if that is normal or not but whatever. I made my new years resolution to experience more things and go to more places.

On our 4 hour drive up to Boston, Sam and I decided that every year we want to travel to at least 2-3 places we’ve never been before. Doesn’t have to be to some extravagant place and doesn’t even have to be super far from where we live. Maybe just for a weekend trip or a few days longer, but just somewhere that neither of us have been before. I’m pretty excited to start coming up with ideas of places to go, but thinking about how much money it’s going to take makes me a little nervous. We save a lot of money each month and some of the money we save goes into our “travel fund” so that should help cover our trips throughout the year but I’ve also started doing the 52 week money challenge in order to save money that we can use as spending cash while we’re on one of our adventures. I don’t think people understand how easy it is to save with that damn challenge. I love it!

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Where have you traveled to? Your favorite vacation destination? Favorite weekend getaway location? Give me ideas!

Happy hump day!

Three of My Most Popular Budgeting & Savings Posts!

On Thursday I finally reached 100,000 views on my blog! I was kinda freaking out a little bit! Feels pretty crazy knowing that over 100,000 people have come to my blog at some point for some reason. So thank you to everyone for checking it out!

Anyways, in the past three weeks my views have spiked because at the beginning of every year everyone wants to get their budget in order, along with other things like lose weight, adopt a healthier lifestyle, out with the old and in with the new, and all that good stuff. A few of my budgeting and savings posts from 2013 and 2014 were getting a lot of attention because they’re super easy to use so I thought I’d link you to them in one post so that you can easily find them.

1. Monthly Budget Spreadsheet! – Before you can determine how much money you can and should be saving a month you need to figure out your monthly budget! I promise it’s not as painful as it sounds and doesn’t take too long to put it all together. But honestly, it’s a necessity!

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2. Yearly Budget Spreadsheet! – Once you get your monthly budget together the yearly budget spreadsheet is just a place to keep you on track all throughout the year. It’s also fun to see how much money you’ve saved at the end of the year!

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3. The Revised 52 Week Money Challenge! – It’s not your average 52 week money challenge. Believe it or not it’s actually a little more challenging. See which of the three challenges tickles your fancy!

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All of the links to download the spreadsheets and the 52 week challenges are in each of the posts. I hope they help you and happy saving!

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Financial Tip Friday – Saving -vs- Investing

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Deciding what to do with your savings can be very difficult. You try to split it up between emergency funds, rainy day funds, retirement funds, college funds, etc. Knowing what funds to put into savings and what need to be investing is simple!

Money that you need to spend in the next few years, lets say 1-5 years, belongs in savings. This includes a down payment for a house, emergency funds, vacation funds, basically anything that you may need to get your hands on quickly. Put it in a low risk savings account or money market account. Try to find a savings account that has a decent APY. As of right now, I use Capital One 360 for all of my savings and the APY is, ugh, just ok. Shop around before opening up any account!

Money that you don’t need for at least seven years is money that should be invested. We’re talking about things like retirement funds and college tuition funds for young children. I am no professional financial advisor and for these kinds of funds, I couldn’t tell you where to invest all your cash, but do it wisely and if you need to dish out some money to talk to someone that’s knowledgeable in investing these things, do it! Totally worth it!

I hope this helps! Have a great weekend!

Financial Tip Friday! – Cut Some Financial Fat

This is the time of year when budgets are being made and people are making financial decisions that can change the outcome of their entire year!. It’s also a great time of year to cut some financial fat out of that budget!

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When you’re sitting down with your spouse, partner, roommate, or even just with yourself and you’re discussing your budget, make sure you lay everything out on the table and see what you really need to be spending your money on this year.

Like, do you really need to be enrolled in Netflix, Hulu, & Redbox? Probably not. Is that Verizon Fios Quantum High Speed internet really making a huge difference? I can tell you from personal experience, NO!  Wasting money on things like disposable coffee cups when it’s way better for your wallet, and not to mention a little thing called the environment, if you just use a regular traveling mug! I didn’t mean to go all green on you.

You don’t need to cut down to the bare necessities but really analyze what it is that you’re actually utilizing!

Happy Friday!

Financial Tip Friday! – Don’t Stress

I’m coming to you live from Brooklyn, NY this morning with a very important tip!

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My financial tip for you on this cloudy, damp Friday, is to not stress yourself out over your finances. I’m a worrier by default. I think I inherited it from my mother. I worry about getting a flat tire. I worry about getting places late. But more than anything I always worry about my finances. Worrying isn’t going to help you pay your rent this month, but a solid plan and a strict budget will!

Also, I know I talk about saving money all the time and it’s one of the most important things that you can do, but you also need to live a little. For a few months I’ll be on a savings kick where all I wanna do is just save money because I look at my bank account and I see the benefits of all that savings. And then sometimes I just want to blow it on something fun, like a 2 night stay in Brooklyn and a couple tickets to the Nets vs Heat game which I will be attending tonight! (OMG! Lebron James and I will be in the same room!)

Moral of the story, or of this blog or whatever… Don’t spend all of your time worrying. Spend a little time worrying, a little time having fun, and a lot of time in control! And in the words of my grandfather, when he came to my mother in a dream (true story!), “Don’t worry so much … I worried my whole life and everything always worked out.”

Have a good weekend!

Retirement Calculator – Are you saving enough?

I’m fairly young to be thinking about retirement, even though I so often dream about those long, leisurely days, but I’d like to be prepared for when the day finally comes. I also want to have a plan well before then so I know how much money I should have saved. Thinking about retirement and the money I want to have saved for all of the things I’d like to do, quite honestly, terrifies me. It’s not on the top of my worry list right now but it’s only a matter of time before it nears.

Today I was surfing the CNN Money page and they have a retirement calculator.

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You enter your age, what age you’ll be when you retire, how much money you have saved for retirement already, and your annual salary and the percentage at which you’re saving and voilà! It lets you know how much you’ll probably need and how much you’ll have if you stick to the same annual salary and percentage of contribution.

No matter how old you are, it’s a great tool to utilize once in a while to keep you on track. It probably sucks to be old but you don’t want to be old AND poor!

Check out the money calculator here.

Financial Tip Friday! – 52 Week Money Challenge REVISED!

Welcome to Financial Tip Friday! The first of many, I hope.

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52 Week Money Challenge

52 Week Money Challenge

I’m sure you’ve seen this image before. The 52 Week Money Challenge was posted everywhere at the beginning of last year and has resurrected itself yet again in 2014. It’s an awesome and super easy way to save $1,378 in one year. Even though it’s very easy, I failed the challenge last year. I kept forgetting about it or the end of the week was an inconvenient time for me to go and get cash out so I’ve been looking for a better way to approach the challenge.

Last year, She Makes Cents came up with an incredible way to participate in the 52 Week Money Challenge by doing it BINGO STYLE! Check it out:

Bingo Style 52 Week Challenge

Bingo Style 52 Week Challenge

By using this method you can spare yourself the larger contributions later in the year around the holidays by making the larger deposits whenever you can throughout the year! At the end of the 52 weeks, you’ll still have the same total amount. You can check out Danielle’s post here and if you’d like her bingo style template you can email her at shemakescents@gmail.com.

I’ve also come up with a way to really intensify the challenge this year!

Level 1 – First Quarter Double

1st Quarter Double

This is a great way to save almost $100 more by just pushing yourself a little harder to save more money.

Level 2 – 26 Week Double

26 Week Double

By doubling the totals for half of the year you’re able to save $351 more dollars and the most you’ll have to save a week is $52.

Level 3 – Full Year Double

Full Year Double

Now this challenge is not for the faint of heart. This is some serious savings. Saving almost $3,000 in a year on top of what you’re already saving is something crazy! My husband and I both get paid bi-weekly but our pay days happen to fall on opposite Fridays, which is fabulous! So every Friday one of us is getting paid so this could definitely be a challenge that I may have to try and really push myself to do. It won’t be easy and if it becomes too much then I can always go back to the original challenge and still be ahead of the game.

So my challenge to all of my readers is to push yourself and try amping up your 52 week money challenge this year! Try one of these levels of savings and let me know how it goes but hurry because tomorrow is the end of week 1 so decide how much you’ll be saving!

Here is the link for you to download all of the PDF’s of level 1-3 of the 52 Week Double Money Challenge:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/iowa63dh2ultdzp/OFkNedXjLk

Don’t forget about your new yearly budget!

In case you missed it or forgot about my financial budget spreadsheets, here they are!

Part 1: Monthly Budget Spreadsheet – LINK!

Monthly Budget Spreadsheet!

Monthly Budget Spreadsheet!

Part 2: Yearly Budget Spreadsheet – LINK!

Yearly Budget Spreadsheet!

Yearly Budget Spreadsheet!

Here is the link to download the spreadsheets along with the PDF version. Kick some New Year budget butt! Even if you’ve already done it, the new year is a great reason to look over it once more and possibly make some modifications, like maybe increasing the amount of money you throw into savings every month!

If the link to download the spreadsheets does not work, email me at kate@coordinatedkate.com and I’ll email them over to you myself!