Extra Money for the Holiday

Can you believe that we’re almost ready to wrap up another month? I can’t believe school is going to be starting in three weeks – it seems like yesterday I was trying to plan activities for my little guy that would get us through the “long” summer. Now, I find myself trying to start my holiday planning.

I know, we still have a little over four months before Christmas is actually here, but I like to get my shopping done early. I also hand make a few of the gifts I give to family and friends, which also takes some time too. As an early holiday planner, I’m constantly looking for ways to save and make extra money as the holidays approach.

I know that we can all use a little extra cash when the holidays begin to roll around. So, I thought I would share with you a few ways ideas for “making” some extra cash for this holiday season.

  • Put Money Back – The easiest way to make a little extra money is the old-fashioned save-your-money method. I start doing this in January, but you can start any time. What I do is put back a minimum of $50 from every paycheck. I treat it just like I do the mortgage payment, car payment, electric bill or any other bill. The $50 comes right off the top of my paycheck so I’m never tempted to spend it. By the end of the year, if you don’t add any money to the $50 per paycheck, you will have $1200 saved up. That’s a nice little extra cash that you can spend on gifts.
  • Take a Part-Time Job – A few months before Christmas arrives, a lot of stores begin hiring holiday help. Generally, I start to see “Holiday Help Wanted” signs up in our local stores towards the end of October and the first of November. While working a part-time job will take away time you get to spend with your family, it will give you extra money to spend on your loved ones at Christmas. And, if you are a stay-at-home mom, taking a part-time job outside the home for a few months may be fun.
  • Invest – This idea is the riskiest one of the bunch, but has the ability to make you some additional cash. If you know someone who invests in the stock market, you may consider talking to them about how they do it. If you have a little money to invest, talk to a broker/financial advisor about investing it in a way that will allow you to make some money before Christmas. Another idea is to buy a foreclosed home and flip it. If you find a good deal, you may be able to make a pretty good profit in time for Christmas. If flipping a house is a little more work than you want to do but you like the idea of investing in real estate, consider purchasing a rental property. Good rental properties generally bring in an additional $500-$800 a month profit.

There are certainly more ways to earn extra money for the holidays. All you have to do is think outside the box, make a plan and set it in motion. Regardless of whether you choose to make extra money this holiday season or not, now is the time to start thinking about the holidays.

How to Not to be a Bridezilla

How to Not to be a Bridezilla

The majority of women who get engaged and begin planning their weddings do not intend to turn into the dreaded bridezilla. However, we have all heard stories of how crazy some women become when it comes to planning their weddings and how hard to deal with they are. Make sure that you do not turn into the crazy bride-to-be that everyone avoids like the plague. Here are a few tips to remember as your wedding day draws near.

  • Listen and respect the opinions of others. While your wedding day is the one day you have most likely been dreaming of for years, this doesn’t give you the right to ignore the thoughts and opinions of others involved in the wedding. Yes, you and your fiance will have the final say when it comes to the decisions that need to be made, but make sure that you take the time to listen to the input of others before you make your decision. And, when you do make a decision that isn’t in-line with what someone else thinks, be respectful when explaining why you chose to do things the way you did.
  • The last word doesn’t always have to be yours. I’m not quite sure why so many people feel like they always have to have the last word these days. Even in heated discussions, the discussion can easily be diffused by saying, I think we are going to have to agree to disagree. If you find yourself in a discussion about weddings (or even your wedding), remind yourself that you don’t have to have the last word. You don’t want everyone around you to think that you are trying to be a know-it-all or that you believe your opinion is superior to everyone else’s. Therefore, make a point to refrain from always giving your opinion on every topic involving weddings.
  • Don’t set ridiculous expectations for your wedding. Too many brides-to-be walk around expecting perfection from everyone involved in their wedding. Don’t do this and furthermore, don’t expect to have a perfect wedding day. I honestly believe that perfect weddings don’t exist. Even if your decor and the ceremony have been planned to the last detail, there will be something happen at the last minute that may require you to improvise. And, even if the issue appears to be a major deal to you, if you handle it with grace and don’t let it ruin your day, then most likely your guests won’t even know there was an unplanned problem and your day will appear to have been perfect to them. When you go expect ridiculous expectations for your wedding and the people involved in it, you will most likely create tension and stress for yourself and everyone else that doesn’t need to be there.
  • Be flexible. Again, I know that the upcoming wedding is your wedding but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remain flexible. Many women get ideas for their weddings stuck in their heads before they actually check to see whether or not they have the budget for these ideas. For example, let’s say you have always envisioned your wedding to take place in an award-winning park. However, either the park is booked for your wedding date or you can’t afford it. Don’t let this ruin the entire day and don’t treat it like a major tragedy. Be willing to be flexible. Either change your wedding date or book a more affordable, yet equally beautiful, venue. Apply this flexibility to all areas when planning your wedding. Don’t get caught up in the small details. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you will have married your soul mate, right?
  • Don’t talk non-stop about the wedding. Everyone knows that you are planning your wedding and that it is the top priority on your mind right now, but that doesn’t mean that they want to talk about it non-stop. Your family and friends have lives of their own, remember? Therefore, let them talk about them every now and then and refrain from bringing the subject back to you and your wedding plans. Nobody wants to be around someone who is self-absorbed and doesn’t care about anyone except themselves.
  • Remember, this isn’t just your wedding. There are two of you getting married, remember? While your fiance may not have quite as many opinions as you do about the details for the big day, chances are that he does have one or two wishes that he wants for his wedding day. Just remember that you aren’t the only one who is looking forward to this wedding. You do have a fiance who will be sharing the day, and its memories, with you. Therefore, give him the ability to add a few of his own personal touches to the wedding.

There is a lot of pressure that comes with planning a wedding and, if you aren’t careful, the pressure can easily get to you and before you know it, you will be a bridezilla. Hopefully, the tips above will help draw you back in as the pressure and stress begins to mount. Just remember, the main thing is that you will be married to your best friend when the (wedding) day is done, all the other little details don’t come close to that one major detail. Therefore, treat all of those issues like the ‘little’ issues that they are and enjoy your day!!

Handmade Christmas Ideas

Handmade Christmas Ideas

Believe it or not, Christmas isn’t that far away. In fact, it’s only about six or so paychecks away for most of us. While ‘tis the season to be merry, the financial strain the holidays place on people can make a scrooge out of almost anyone. And, when you’ve got children, the financial burden of Christmas rises. Not only are you shopping for the kids for Christmas, but you’ve also got to find gifts for your kids to give to their grandparents and some of their friends. One way to alleviate some of the financial strain these extra gifts can cause is to help your kids make handmade gifts to give. Below are some suggestions.

Picture Frames – You know that wedding your little girl was the flower girl in this summer? Well, get a picture of her all dressed up in her flower girl dress and set it aside. Go to the nearest craft store and pick up a plain wooden picture frame (there are some made out of cardboard too), paints and small decorative items that can be glued on to the frame. Then, help your little one paint the frame and decorate it. Finally, place the picture in the frame and wrap it up. Grandparents love homemade gifts like these!

Handprint Plaques – Another great idea is to go and get a small wooden plaque from your local craft store along with some paints. You will need at least two different colors, one for the plaque and one for the handprint and writing. Don’t forget to get a spray on clear coat. All you have to do is help your child paint the plaque, let it dry and then dip their hand in the other paint and press firmly on the plaque. Write their name and date on the plaque, let it dry and then apply the clear coat.

Gift in a Jar – This is a fun, cheap and easy Christmas gift for children to make for their friends and/or loved ones. All you need to do is decide on what gift in a jar recipe you want to make, buy the ingredients and a mason jar and you’re ready to go. There are a lot of gift-in-a-jar recipes to choose from ranging from brownie mixes to bread mixes to cookie mixes to S’mores and many more! Children often love making and giving these gifts. They’re perfect for little ones to give to their friends because we all know how little children love sweets!