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!

Happy New Year!

My sister was in NYC for NYE last night and took this awesome picture!

My sister was in NYC for NYE last night and took this awesome picture!

Happy New Year, everyone! I know, I know.. I walk in after a good 6 months of not blogging and think I can just start over without any explanation. Let me start by saying, I apologize. I’ve been fairly busy with work and personal stuff and needed some time to just really think about where I want this blog to go and what I really want to utilize it for. Good news… I’ve made a decision! (Sounds so serious but I promise this is no Lebron James situation here!)

I decided that I really miss blogging and I want to start blogging again regularly. Now, regularly for me might mean two or three times a week but I’m nowhere close to being able to blog every day. I want to bring a lot of useful content to my space and not only help myself becoming a better and more responsible adult but I want to be able to help others also.

My goals for this blog throughout this new year consist of the following:

1. I want to bring more financial tips and tricks that I’ve learned, read, or came up with.

2. I want to learn how to coupon. For some people, couponing is really easy but for me it seems super complex and I’ll be blogging about everything I learn in the hopes that it’ll help others too.

3. I want to do a monthly DIY project. I want to keep it cheap but creative. Whether it’s redecorating a room or creating new storage solutions, it’ll all be here!

4. I want to learn how to go grocery shopping the proper way. How to plan weekly meals and then go to the store and get the things I need without having to make multiple trips (and hopefully be saving money with all the couponing that I learn to do 🙂 )

I’ll come up with more ways to evolve this blog throughout the year so stick around! Now that the holidays are over and everyone is kinda getting back in the swing of everyday life I think it’s a great time to start. I hope you guys are with me because this year is going to be great!

Not Back-to-School ALREADY!

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Have you noticed that back-to-school sales are slowly but surely making their way into the weekly circulars? Have you also noticed that I’ve totally been slacking on the blog? My bad! But there’s a reason behind it which I’m excited to share with you all.

Anyways, back to the school supplies. I know people REALLY don’t want to hear about school supplies in the middle of July but buying early will really save you some money. I was at Walmart on Sunday and freaked out over $.97 binders! DORK ALERT, I know. I can’t help myself. They also have sales on notebooks and folders and some other awesome stuff that I couldn’t resist. I even got a 6” desktop fan for my desk at work since the AC in our building is, at the very least, inconsistent. If you’re in need of some school supplies for yourself or for the kids Walmart is the place to go this week! I’ve looked at a lot of the store circulars and though Target has some sales they’re not as great as Walmart’s sales. One subject notebooks for $.17. $.15 two pocket folders and Crayola markers and colored pencils for under $1! Not to mention the chocolate pudding snack packs for $1! (YUM!) It doesn’t get much better than that. I also picked up some index cards which I really only use for my grocery lists and a few reminders here and there and they were under a $1 also. I love Walmart! I don’t go very often because 1) Target is a lot closer to me and 2) They’re renovating their store and the parking lot is a mess and the store itself looks like it was hit by a bomb but my most recent trip was definitely a success!

So, the reason I’ve been kinda ignoring the blog lately is because I kinda got a promotion at work! I’ve really been craving a change and more responsibility at work and the opportunity finally came and I was very excited to grab it. I’ve been training for the last week and a half and it’s been exhausting and nerve-wracking. I’ve been training all day and then coming home from work and re-writing my notes. I’ve been a very busy chick but I know it’ll pay off in the long run. The majority of my new position is accounts payable but a lot of it has to do with keeping records and staying organized which I love to do any ways. It’s just so hard to take in all this information in such a short amount of time. I hope I retained all of it but we’ll see. WISH ME LUCK!

And Happy Hump Day! (whoop, whoop!)

Awesome PROMO!

If you’ve never heard of Snapfish, I feel sorry for you. I honestly get all of my pictures printed by them. Recently I started to get their photo books and they’re amazing!

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Last week, I received my book that I had done for Rachel’s grad party and it turned out great. The quality is amazing and pretty much everything is customizable. It’s a great alternative to scrapbooks and makes the perfect gift. They have all different sizes from  5 x 7 all the way to 12 x 12 and 11 x 14. I’ve only gotten the 12 x 12 and the 8 x 11 and I’m telling you, they’re beautifully made.

Normally, the price of the books are anywhere from $11.99 – $59.99 but I got an email this morning and the 8 x 11 and 12 x 12 books are on sale! If you use promo code JUNE8X11 you can get an 8 x 11 book made for just $19 and that includes shipping! And if you use promo code JUNE12X12 you can get a 12 x 12 book that is usually $52.99 for only $29 and that also includes shipping. This deal is only good until 7/3 so hurry up and get over to snapfish, get creative, and get your customized photo book made.

Also, they have deals on their prints. You can get 100 prints for $9.99 including shipping by using promo code PRINTS999. You can get 300 prints for $28.99 including shipping by using promo code PRINTS2899. This deal is only good until 7/2.

Everyone knows I love photos and I love being able to fill my photo boxes so these deals are exciting.

If you haven’t checked out my new side project check it out here. And happy Saturday!

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I haven’t been posting a lot lately and I apologize but I wanted to let you guys know what I’ve been up to. I just started a new blog!!! It’s a photography blog and I know, I know, you can’t throw a toothpick into a crowd without hitting someone with a photography blog. I’m not claiming to be any good but I do enjoy photography and pictures and I wanted a place online where I can start to compile a photo album of sorts for family, friends, and strangers to look at and give me some tips and tricks. I also wanted to keep track of my progress as I’m just beginning to learn all the settings and what they mean and all that “jazz“.

I’m going to find a way to make it more accessible from this blog but for now you can just head over to http://coordinatedkatephotography.wordpress.com/ (WOOO! That’s a long link) so check it out and pass along the link to some of your photography friends. I know you have some!

I hope everyone has an awesome Friday and a lovely weekend!

Brand new goals!

I love setting goals and creating new projects for myself, if you haven’t noticed. Now that the grad party is over and there’s no more planning involved as far as that goes, I can turn my attention to something else.

Sam and I have been trying not to eat out as much as we do. 1) to save money and 2) to lose weight and get healthy. I’m not the best cook. I’ll be the first to let you know and I’m sure Sam will be the second  – haha!.. I come from a family of really awesome women that can cook their booties off but I guess I never paid attention enough and I definitely regret that now. I really want to get into meal planning and learning new recipes.  And when I say “new recipes” I mean ANY recipes at all. Unless we’re talking about grilled cheese. I can make a mean grilled cheese. Anyways, I purchased a few magnetic notepads on Friday that I think will help me stay organized while I try and figure everything out.

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The plain notepad on the side is for any food items or whatever that I need to pick up from the store and the notepad on the right side is for our meal planning. This way we can plan and decide what we’re having from week-to-week.

I need help, though! Gimme some tips, tell me some tricks, send me some recipes, or whatever you got! Help ya girl out, people!

Happy Sunday! Hope everyone had a good weekend.

Tips to get your new grad ready for COLLEGE!

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If school isn’t out already, then it’s about to be out and it’s the perfect time to talk about getting your child, sibling, niece, nephew, or whoever ready for COLLEGE! My younger sister, Rachel, just graduated from high school and you already know that if you’ve been keeping up with my blog for the past month or so LOL. Luckily she’s doing her first year at a community college but if your recent high school graduate is getting ready to pack up and leave for college there’s a few things you may need to do.

Start by getting them to do everyday things on their own. Things that you may be doing for them like waking them up or doing their laundry or doing their grocery shopping. It is now time to have them waking up to an alarm clock, doing their own laundry, and try giving them the grocery list and sending them to the grocery store. You’re not going to be there to walk into their bedroom and rip the covers off and tell them to wake up so make sure that when they need to get up at a certain time, that they’re a custom to waking up to an alarm clock. If your graduate doesn’t know how to do laundry at this point in their life, they really need a wake up call! Show them and have them do their own laundry for the summer. Most colleges don’t have a mommy laundry service. A lot of college students go on meal plans and such but at this point they should have developed some kind of money management skills so try writing out a list of the groceries that the household needs and send them to the store with a budget. Not only will this give you a break but you’ll get to see how they do on a budget, which is what they’ll be working with when they go off to school.

And speaking of budget, if you’re going to be giving your children a monthly allowance while they’re away at school, go to a bank branch near the campus. Talk to them about the monthly budget they’ll be receiving, if any, and discuss how to handle it as far as groceries and everyday expenses go. Also talk to them about what to do if they run out of money. Don’t say things like, “call us and we’ll transfer more money over”. You don’t want to make it too easy for them. Tell them that you’ll figure out things for them to do in order to acquire more money.

Most college students have a dorm mate or a suite mate or something along those lines. Usually they’re able to communicate with their new roomie before hand but they’re not able to get to know each other that well through email, texts, or phone calls. Talk to them about how to resolve problems that may arise regarding their new room mate. Advanced problem-solving will definitely help when confrontations come up.

College is way different than high school especially when the student is away from home. Try printing out or going to the school and picking up their course load for the first semester. Try and put together a game plan of how they’re going to accomplish this along with other activities they may be partaking in. Go over what needs to happen if they can’t make it to a class and the procedure they’ll need to take in order to let their professors know and get the work or notes they may have missed.

How will they get to class and around campus? Do they have a car? If not, transportation may be a big deal. Bikes are a BIG mode of transportation to getting around campus. Normally, everything you need is around the campus and can be reached by bicycle. Ask the campus about bike storage facilities. If they don’t have a car and you’re looking for one, consider buying a clunker.

Make sure your new college student knows where the student health center is and what services are available, including birth control. I know, it’s a touchy subject but sometimes they’re not the ones that need the help. It could be their roommate. No matter what, just have a conversation about all the services that the health center provides.

After they’ve been at school for awhile there may be a little friction when they come home on breaks. They’ve been away and on their own for awhile now and may not want to accept your house rules again. Just realize that this is a new phase for them and for yourself. Sitting and having dinner and not being able to answer their cell phone or go out with friends may be a problem. Just be prepared for the tension!

I hope some of these tips help get your new high school grad ready for this brand new chapter in their lives!

Country Theme Graduation Party!

I think it is safe to say that the party was a success. It was a lot of work getting ready for it but I had a great time and it seemed to me that everyone else had a great time as well.

The photo booth turned out better than expected and I think I pretty much got pictures of all our guests (except a couple sneaky neighbors that left before I got the opportunity to hound them ask them to come up to the photo booth). There’s a ton of pictures from the photo booth and I don’t think I have the space to post them all but I’ll post a few.

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I bought a huge roll of that red vinyl barn siding and we ended up not needing it because the outside of my mom’s house pretty much looked the same way. BIG time saver.

The outhouse door cover was a big hit too. I don’t think a lot of people noticed it until some other people pointed it out.

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Also, the picture wall with all the clothespins looked perfect! Rachel wants to keep it up all year long. Instead of doing it in the dinning room we ended up taking a painting down off the fire place and just doing it there.

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I cut out the “CONGRATS RACH” banner with my cricut and then, yes, I had to feed the twine through it which took some time and effort but we loved how it looked after we were done.

My mom had rented 4 tables and 20 folding chairs from a party rental place and we set them up on Sunday morning before the party.

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I thought the black chairs made it look a little too formal. I would have loved to have brown chairs, but what are ya gonna do? Each table had a small mason jar with a candle and a bigger mason jar filled with daisies. I loved them!

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All of the tables that held the food were covered in the awesome $1 gingham tablecloths that I got from the dollar store!

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Do you see the awesome milk can?! Remember it from my first Country Themed Grad Party post? Yep, it turned out great!

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I put out a card basket instead of a card box and I thought it looked pretty cute. I saw on Pinterest that someone did an advice box for their wedding and I thought an advice box would be even more perfect for a graduation party. Who needs advice more than a young gal that just graduated high school and is making her way out into the world?

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And that pretty much wraps it up. Sharing the day with friends and family was very special, not only for Rachel but also for myself. Thanks to everyone who came!

QUICK SHOUT OUTS!

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BIG thank you to my cousin’s awesome husband John for being the grill master! Food was delicious.

Thank you to my Aunt Mary for taking Bella up to her house for the afternoon so that she didn’t bark everyone’s face off. And also for letting me borrow your iced tea maker. You’re the best!

Thank you to my Aunt Patty for coming over the day before the party and planting some stuff in the front yard and also for helping with the veggie and fruit trays and everything else.

Thank you to my Aunt Maureen for helping put everything out when the party got started while my mom was freaking out about our parking situation.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Total Slacker!

I’ve been totally slacking on the blog! I apologize. The last week and a half have been a little crazy and way too fast for my liking. Last Thursday I had to take a half day from work because I was driving back to Pittsburgh for my sister’s dance recital weekend. She did beautifully, by the way. The next day on Friday Sam found out that he was being promoted at work but at a different store. Great news but it was a little sudden and I was excited but saddened that I was unable to be with him to celebrate or anything.

All last weekend was dance recital stuff. Friday night was dance rehearsal night and then Saturday and Sunday were both crazy because of the actual recital. My sister’s senior solo was amazing and I’m not ashamed to say that I cried three nights in a row, dress rehearsal included.

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This is my sister Rachel with one of her adorable dancer students

I left Pittsburgh on Sunday night and got in around Midnight on Sunday night or Monday morning (whichever way you look at it). I came in early because I had to go look for cars to lease. Before Sam got promoted we were lucky enough to be able to share one car. We both worked really close to home and were able to drop each other off and pick each other up and what not. It worked great! But now that Sam got promoted to a different store, the one car was not going to cut it. I spent all day Monday, which happened to be Memorial Day, with my mother and father in law at the dealership. Negotiating is exhausting, let me tell ya! We got a pretty good deal. I was just freaking out all day due to the fact that I really hadn’t got to talk to Sam about any of it because I got in late Sunday when he was still sleeping and he left before I got up to go to work. It was insane!

Anyways, I ended up getting a Hyundai Elantra to drive back and forth to work in. I like it a lot.

This coming weekend is my sister’s graduation party. I’ve been blogging about it for a little over a month now and it’s finally here and I’m freaking out! Did I get enough? Do I need anything else? Did I forget something? Oh my! I know it’s going to be fun so I’m trying not to stress about it! I’ve already got a stress pimple on the bottom of my cheek! Guh! Anyways, I’ll be blogging more often, I promise and I actually have some good stuff coming up so stay tuned!