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Back-to-School Saving

Back-to-School Saving

Hey, parents—it’s back-to-school time again! Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday that your kids were counting the days until summer vacation? Now, after a few weeks of unlimited quality time and togetherness, we have a countdown of our own, don’t we? Yep. We’re counting the days (and possibly the hours) until school starts again. The thought of our children being out of the house for six hours every day may feel like cause for celebration, but as the grown-ups, we’re expected to play it cool. We have to find something to temper our end-of-summer excitement. The looming prospect of back-to-school shopping might do the trick. Ready. Set. Spend. According to a recent consumer survey, back-to-school (B2S) spending is expected to reach $27.6 billion this year. As you would probably guess, the bulk of that money (more than 75%) will be spent on clothing and school supplies. In fact, 98% of respondents indicated they planned on purchasing these items. If you’ve ever braved the B2S shopping scene, you’re probably not shocked by those figures. What you may find surprising is the fact that planning ahead isn’t always the best way to save money. Survey results show that shoppers who tried to beat the back-to-school rush wound up spending approximately $100 more per household (If you’re a chronic procrastinator, this informational tidbit is pure gold). This may explain why back-to-school shoppers will spend almost $18 billion between mid-July and mid-August. While last-minute sales and promotions certainly factor into the equation, the late-summer spending surge may be due to the nationwide popularity of tax free weekends. Florida’s Sales Tax Holiday is August...
Do Your Resolutions Need a Do-Over?

Do Your Resolutions Need a Do-Over?

Believe it or not, it’s July already. You’ve already flipped the calendar page six times, and if you’re like more than 80% of the general public, it’s been a few months since your New Years’ resolutions crashed and burned. Have you taken the time to analyze why your good intentions didn’t pan out? Maybe they were too ambitious. Maybe they weren’t challenging enough. Whatever the reason (or excuse), your resolutions are over. Done. Finished. Or are they? Failed goals aren’t ashes. They’re embers. Is it possible to revive resolutions that haven’t shown signs of life in months? Absolutely. To stoke your motivational fire, you’ll need to revisit the reasons you set those goals in the first place. Take a close look at the things you want to accomplish, and then determine whether they’re still a realistic possibility. If so, recommit yourself. If not, adjust your expectations. But once you decide to have another go at it, work smarter not harder. Find your momentum with micro-goals. While it can be discouraging to examine missed goals or failure in general, author Erin Lowry addresses the topic of failed resolutions with refreshing candor on her Broke Millennial blog. Lowry shared, “Like most of us, I fail each year at my New Year’s resolutions. Then I realized I should apply one of my favorite money tactics to my resolutions. Micro-goals. I’m a big believer in setting a lofty goal and then working backward to chunk that goal down into manageable pieces.” The beauty of micro-goals lies in their universal application. Financial Goals. Fitness ambitions. Relational hopes and dreams. Whatever the category, micro-goals can...
Teach Your Kids to Make a Stand—a Lemonade Stand.

Teach Your Kids to Make a Stand—a Lemonade Stand.

Long before Beyoncé transformed it into a cultural touchpoint, lemonade was the commodity of choice for childhood business ventures. Perhaps you had a lemonade stand of your own, or maybe you just knew someone who did. Either way, the memories of ice-cold refreshment probably ride on a warm wave of nostalgia. If your enterprise was especially successful, you might even hear a faint “cha-ching” as you reminisce. Fast forward a decade or two, and now you find yourself juggling the demands of family, friends, and career. Thanks to the latest technology, it’s easy to let your kids spend their summer vacation drifting along on a digital stream of Snapchat streaks and Fortnite marathons. With the dog days of summer approaching, you have a perfect opportunity to shake up your child’s summertime routine with a little old school entrepreneurship. It’s time to bring back the lemonade stand. Let your kids in on the fun. When you were young, running a lemonade stand didn’t feel like a job—it felt like freedom. So, don’t worry that encouraging your children to work will somehow rob them of their summertime fun. The venture can be fun, and the lessons they learn from operating a small business can last a lifetime. What lessons? Glad you asked! Goal setting Believe it or not, this one comes pretty naturally to kids. If you ask them what they want to do with the money they earn, they’ll probably have at least one goal already in mind. It may be a video game, a bike, or new clothes, but whatever it is, their motivation won’t be hard to find....
5 Staycation Ideas to Save Your Summer

5 Staycation Ideas to Save Your Summer

  Let’s face it; summer looks a lot different than it did when you were a kid. You used to spend the entire school year counting down the days until the carefree fun of summer vacation. But now that you’re a responsible adult with a grown-up job, summer just means your daily work commute is hotter than usual. OK, maybe the situation isn’t quite that bleak. But if you’re not careful, summer will come and go before you get a chance to enjoy it. Even if you can’t take a week off for vacation this year, it only takes a little creativity and last-minute planning to map out a staycation worth remembering. If you need a little spark of relaxation inspiration, these five suggestions may be just what you’re looking for: Book a night at a fancy hotel in town. Yes, luxury has a price tag, but hey—it’s just for one night. Sometimes it’s worth the extra money to pamper yourself. And since you’re staying close to home, think about all the money you’re saving on gas and travel expenses! Want to make the most of your five-star staycation? Check in as early as possible and take advantage of every complementary service the hotel offers. Take a tasting tour of your city. It’s easy to settle into a routine of dining at your favorite restaurants, so why not break out of that rut and spend an entire day expanding your palette? The beauty of this culinary adventure lies in its flexibility. You can plan your itinerary or play it loose and go wherever your taste buds take you. Start...