5 Tips to Host Thanksgiving on a Budget

Thanksgiving Dinner.jpgThere’s no doubt that the holiday season can be expensive, and maybe a lavish Thanksgiving feast just isn’t in the books for this year. If you’re not riding the gravy train, it’s still possible to cook a delicious Thanksgiving meal that doesn’t cost you an arm and a (turkey) leg. Here are some easy as pie tips to help you host a wonderful Thanksgiving on a budget!

  1. Make it a potluck. You don’t have to tackle the whole menu by yourself! In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, get everyone involved and ask them to bring one of their favorite dishes. Just keep a list of everything that everyone is bringing so you can make sure to have all of the Thanksgiving staples on the table.
  2. Stick to your shopping list and budget. Create your menu and budget well in advance. Bring your Thanksgiving shopping list with you on your regular grocery store trips to pick up non-perishable and frozen items when they’re on sale. You can also check your grocer’s weekly ad for current sales.
  3. Start from scratch. Pre-made items are often full of preservatives and seldom taste better than homemade items. Instead of buying powdered mashed potatoes, make delicious mashed potatoes with this simple recipe. You can also make a yummy stuffing with this easy recipe.
  4. Buy a frozen turkey. The turkey is usually about 40% of the cost of the meal. Opt for a store brand frozen turkey instead of a fresh one. Just remember to allow ample time for thawing. Click here to see how you can safely thaw your turkey.
  5. Find decorations at the dollar store. Believe it or not, the dollar store has some great decorations for the holiday season. Check out your local dollar store to see what you can find! Click here for 70 cheap DIY fall decor ideas.

We hope these tips help you stress a little less and enjoy time with your family during Thanksgiving! Do you have any other great tips? Comment and share them with us!

7 Easy Ways to Pay off Debt

DebtFree.jpgThere are several different approaches to pay off debt, and to say one is the best isn’t really fair or accurate. You need to choose a method that works best for you. The difficult part is designing your plan and sticking to it. That’s why we want to showcase an easy method that seems to work well for most people. Have you heard of the Snowball Method to pay down debt? Click here to read all about it. This method is a great way to pay down your debt because: 1. The process is laid out – you just need to fill in the blanks. 2. It is designed to help you see progress quickly, which keeps you motivated to keep going!

Here are some other great ways to pay down debt:

  1. STOP spending money on your credit card. Some people will go as far as to freeze their cards in a container of water. This forces them to wait out their impulsive decision, which often changes by the time the water thaws.
  2. If you have credit card debt with interest, start looking for lower or 0% APR balance transfer deals.
  3. Put all money from work raises or bonuses towards paying down your debt.
  4. Sell unwanted or unused items in your home. From clothing to furniture, there is likely something you have that someone else wants. Alternatively, sell items you receive for birthdays or holidays that you know you won’t use.
  5. “Fast” one of your more expensive luxury items for a period of time (a week or a month) and use the money you would have spent to pay down debt. For example: $5 McDonald’s breakfast x 5 days per week = $25 a week or $100 for the month.
  6. Change your expensive habits and reroute the money to pay down debt. For example: Smoking a pack of cigarettes at $6 per day is $2,190 per year.

Paying off debt isn’t easy. If it was, most of America wouldn’t be in debt. However, it isn’t the act of paying off debt that is hard, it’s changing our habits and committing to those changes. Are you willing to commit? Tell us about your journey to become debt-free below in the comment section. What is working for you? What are your challenges?

4 Ways to Save for the Holidays

The holiday season always seems to have a way of sneaking up on us. We think we’re in good shape and then BAM! Our budget goes out the window as the gifts pile up. To keep you financially fit this holiday season, we put together a few tips that you can start implementing now to save you stress and money later. Check them out!

  • Make a list of who you’re going to buy for and try to jot down the gift(s) for those lucky people. Now make a commitment to stick to your list!
  • Start looking for sale prices for the items you’ve written down. Research online, in stores and in weekly ads to snatch up the item at the lowest price.
  • Start purchasing one or two gifts per paycheck NOW! The earlier the better! Leave a sticky note on the gift with the recipient’s name in your secret hiding place. Don’t have a hiding place? Try the next tip instead!
  • Start a Christmas Club account! Transfer cash from every paycheck into your Christmas Club account and don’t touch the money until you’re ready to start your holiday shopping. (If your financial institution doesn’t have a Christmas Club account, come check out ours.)

We hope these easy tips help you with your seasonal shopping. Plan ahead so you don’t break your budget! Do you have any other tips or habits to share? Leave a comment below and tell us how you stick to your budget during the holidays!