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

Savings-and-Investments

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!

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.

retirement calc

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

Organizing on a Budget – #6

I was searching online for a 12 x 12 paper holder for my scrapbook paper so that I could free up storage space in one of the drawers in my white storage container. I found a really awesome Cropper Hopper Paper Holder on Amazon.

It was perfect for the amount of paper that I have and it was only $7 something and eligible for Amazon Prime free two-day shipping. Though the price has went up to $10.70 since I bought it late last, it’s still totally worth it. It holds up to 200 sheets of paper and it’s really easy to store. I actually decorated mine with some really pretty tissue paper and some mod podge.

It fits perfectly with my binders. I found the same product at scrapbook.com for $6.65 but you need to pay for shipping so it may be worth it if you pair it with any other scrapbooking items that you may need.

I also found a similar item on amazon. It’s pretty much the horizontal box version of  the vertical stand up box. And it’s also eligible for Amazon Prime free shipping!

This one runs for $10.99 so the prices are very similar and I’m sure you’d be able to decorate this one and make it pretty also.

The best part of all of this is that now I have a drawer open to store random stuff in! HOORAY!

Happy MONDAYYYY!

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If you use or know of any affordable organizational supplies, I’d love to know and feature you on my blog. Comment with your e-mail address or e-mail me at kate@coordinatedkate.com

Cheap Travel Kit For The Car!

I have this weird reoccurring dream that I’m driving through a desert like setting at night and my car breaks down. Don’t ask me why! I don’t think there are any desert-like roads in New Jersey but for some reason I still think my nightmare is relevant – Hahaa! That nightmare is the reason I always keep a few necessities in the car at all times. Remember those $.97 storage boxes I told you about last week in my Organizing on a Budget #4? Well that’s what I’ve used to put my kit together.

My kit includes:

– Toilet paper, because you never know when you’ll have to go. I know this all too well. But that’s another story!

-Small first-aid kit

-Bottle of ibprofen

-Pack of Wet Ones wipes that are on sale this week at Target for $1, by the way.

-Small bottles of shampoo & conditioner

-A mini lint roller. I don’t know why, but I never notice that I need a lint roller until I’m in natural light (like when I’m sitting in the car), so I added a mini lint roller to my purse and to the car kit.

-A little pack of tissues

-Hand sanitizer

-A small bar of soap that I stole from Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City 🙂

– Swiss army knife (w/ a wine bottle opener!)

-And matches, in case I really do get stranded in the desert and need to start a fire to stay warm in the freezing cold nights to keep away the dangerous animals and desert scorpions that are all out to attack me! (Alarm clock goes off)… Oh, just a dream.

So the whole kit was under $10 to put together and I think it’s well worth it because you never know when you’ll need some of this stuff. Some things I might add is maybe a couple bottles of water. Maybe a couple small bags of snacks or nut bars that won’t melt or get gooey if left in the hot trunk. Super easy to customize and actually pretty fun to think of all the scenerios when you might need this.

Happy hump day!

Organizing on a Budget – #5

I was talking to a friend at work, Lacee, who doesn’t have her own blog, but she should, but I’m glad she doesn’t because she has really awesome ideas that would put my blog outta business! So I OBVIOUSLY need to give her a shout out because this idea was hers and it’s a great idea for people trying to save some money all year round! And who doesn’t like the sound of that?

Buying blank note cards and holiday cards in bulk will save some big cash!

I got 28 blank note cards with envelopes for $3 and a variety box of 26 Christmas cards with envelopes for $2.99 that I only used maybe 3 or 4 of last Christmas. I also got a birthday card because it was $.40 on clearance.

And look how awesome these personalized cards are…

There’s different kinds of ways to decorate them so you’re not always giving out the same card. They’re great if you want to make your own birthday, anniversary, or even a thank you note. The best cards don’t always have to be Hallmark or something fancy. Usually people don’t even care about the card, they just want whatever is inside it or whatever came with it, like a present. But I really like them and I like having the option to send little notes to people. Next time someone does something nice for you, don’t send them a text or write on their Facebook wall. Send them a nice hand written thank you card to show your appreciation and I’m sure it will mean a lot more!

I picked up these cards at Christmas Tree Shop which is like the greatest place on Earth but if you don’t have one of those near you then try the closest dollar store. I’m sure they’ll have something similar.

Happy savings! And by “Happy Savings” I mean HAPPY MONDAY! And by “Happy Monday!” I mean shit, it’s not Friday yet 😦 Sorry!