Tag Archives: newyear

The Holidays. Breaks and Backslides

Well, another year has come full circle and we find ourselves in the midst of the holidays once again. Every year seems to go by faster than the last, at least that’s how it goes for me anyways. Today was my son’s last day of school…he’s officially on break for Christmas and New Year’s. In his mind, it’s time to cut loose and have fun.

While I’m all about having fun over holiday break, I don’t want to see my son have too much fun and forget half of what he has been learning at school either. Please don’t misunderstand me, I think kids should be able to have a break from school and have fun over their Christmas breaks…after all, isn’t that what it’s all about for them? Plus, they have a lot more to deal with at school these days than we did at their age. All I’m suggesting is that we look for fun, creative ways to help reinforce the things they have learned in school while they are on break. Here are a few ideas:

  • Read Christmas Stories – Reading is one of the most important, if not the most important, skills that our children will learn how to do. And, if they learn how to read well, at a young age, then their schoolwork will be easier for them later on. Therefore, encourage reading over the break by introducing new Christmas books and reading them together before bed. Make sure to get a few easier ones that they can read, but also get some more advanced books for you to read to your kids. Mixing it up will keep reading fun for the kids over break and they won’t feel like they’re working either.
  • Play Board Games – Believe it or not, board games help keep young kids on their “A” game as they reinforce a lot of skills that they’ve been learning. Things like counting, recognizing patterns and memory skills are all things that board games can help kids with. Plus, when you play games with your kids, you are strengthening the bond you have with them as you create more meaningful memories with them….and everyone usually has fun when playing games!
  • Write Thank-You Notes – I know this one may not be that fun for kids, but I believe that it’s essential for a couple of reasons. First, kids need to understand that people don’t have to buy them gifts and they need to be grateful for the gifts they do receive. Writing thank-you notes helps kids express their gratitude and is also a sign of respect towards those who purchased gifts for them. Secondly, writing thank-you notes helps improve young kids’ writing skills as it’s repetitive practice.

How to Save on a New Year’s Eve Dress

Although we often focus on Christmas at the holidays, Christmas isn’t the only holiday during this time of year. For most Americans, there are three holidays they celebrate within a 2 month period: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. The reason we are so focused on Christmas is because that is the busiest of the three holidays. It’s also the most expensive, which causes many people to look for ways to cut costs at this time of year and I’m one of them!

By the time we reach the day after Christmas, most of us are a bit relieved, but still feeling the financial strain the holiday placed on us. However, we have to press on in order to make it through New Year’s Eve. After all, what is New Year’s Eve without the customary celebration? It’s boring!

Okay, so you can’t cut a lot of costs of New Year’s Eve by eliminating the party, but you can save money when shopping for the New Year’s Eve dress with the tips below.

  • Wear an “Old” Dress – Gasp! know, I just suggested you reuse one of your holiday dresses for the New Year’s Eve party. Before you freak out about it, think about it rationally. Choosing a dress you already own for the party will save you a ton of money. And, when you accessorize it differently that you have before, most people won’t even realize that you are wearing the same dress! For example, wearing different jewelry, adding a bolero jacket and/or adding an accent belt at the waist are all simple ways to create a new look with an old dress.
  • Swap with a Friend – Another great way to save money on a New Year’s Eve dress is to exchange dresses with a friend who is close to the same size as you. Basically, you and your friend should take turns shopping for a dress in the other’s closet. Although the dress belongs to someone else, it is still new to you and everyone at the party!
  • Hit the sale Racks – I’m not sure why, but some women have a phobia about purchasing dresses from sales racks. Don’t be one of these people. If you have to have a new dress for this event, then shop the clearance rack at the stores. Most likely you will find the perfect dress for a fraction of what it would have cost brand new!

Remember that the amount of money spent on a piece of clothing is not what really makes a dress “great!” What makes a dress great is the woman wearing it. If she is confident about what she is wearing, then she will naturally be in a good mood. Therefore, don’t focus so much on money when it comes to the perfect New Year’s Eve dress. Instead, look for one that makes you feel beautiful without breaking the bank!

Saving Money in the New Year

I’m not sure about you, but one of my New Year’s resolutions is to get serious about my family’s finances and get the little “piddly” things paid off. In fact, it is my goal to by the end of the year only have my mortgage and vehicle payments left…everything else needs to get paid off. If I can do this, which I know I can, then my family will have a lot of extra money freed up every month.

One of the ways that I am going to accomplish this is by cutting unnecessary costs and applying the money I save to the monthly payments I’m making for those pesky bills. Once I start doing that, things will get paid off rather quickly as money saved adds up quickly. So, what types of cuts can I make to save money this year? Here’s my plan…and maybe you can even benefit from it!

  • Change my grocery shopping strategy. The first thing I’m going to modify is my grocery shopping strategy. I’ve gotten a little lazy when I buy groceries and have bought more repackaged/frozen foods than what I should be. Prepackaged/frozen foods add a lot of money to the total grocery bill when you take the time to figure out what the ingredients would cost you separately…especially when you consider that a lot of times those same ingredients can be used to create another dish. Therefore, as of right now, I am going to start buying more fresh foods and preparing my own dinners at home. Yes, that means I will spend a little extra time in the kitchen, but the extra money I will save as a result will be worth it.
  • Start hand-making certain products. I used to make my own laundry soap. In fact, I did this just a few months ago and still have about 2.5 gallons left of it. I figured it up once and making my own laundry soap actually saves me at least $500 a year, if not more. While that is great, I’m going to expand the products  make on my own this year. Some of the products I plan to make include shampoo/conditioner, hand soap and deodorant. Think about the amount of money you spend every year on just these three products. If you could make them yourself for next to nothing, then doesn’t it make sense to save your hard earned money in these particular areas.
  • Get creative with clothing. Like most women, it is totally possible for me to go out and spend money on new clothes when I have a ton of really great pieces at home. Therefore, this year I plan to use my old clothing and make new outfits by either changing them up entirely or mix and matching for a new look…or swapping with a friend! The same is true for my kids’ clothes too.
  • Cut back on the “extras.” I admit, I like a good manicure and pedicure just as much as the next woman…in fact, I may like them a little too much. It isn’t a rarity for me to go at least once or twice  a month for my hair and nails. I have highlights in my hair, which costs me $100 every six weeks to redo and get a haircut. My manicures and pedicures are another $80-$100 per month  (if I go twice a month) and my monthly massages add up too. These are all things that I am choosing to go without until we get everything paid off except our vehicles and mortgage payment. I figure this will save me at least $250-$300 a month.

It’s not that saving money in the new year is going to be hard, it’s enforcing the willpower to refrain is what will be the hard part. So, what about you? How do you plan to save money this year?