Posts Tagged 'budget'

The Power to Prosper: 21 day spending fast

Michelle Singletary at the Washington Post proposes a radical idea to get your financial house in order: a 21-day spending fast.

The idea is to purchase only necessities for 21 straight days.

No eating out. No shopping for non-essential items. Just the basics.

“No matter where you were financially, participating in the fast should help you with everything from addressing serious problems to making the small adjustments that keep your finances running well,” Singletary says. “You might even consider doing the fast over and over again, perhaps once a year.”

The benefits range from spending more time with family to seeing how much cash you can stash away for emergencies. Singletary offers budget templates and guidelines to get you started.

And if you’re thinking about getting started tomorrow, “today is tomorrow,” she says.

Haggling helps save money

Amy Reiter at shares her experiences learning how to haggle – the resurfaced art of dickering for a better deal.

After a few financial setbacks, Reiter started to look for ways to save money around the house:

And so, a few months back, I got on the horn to the cable company and sheepishly asked if there was a way to lower my monthly payments without sacrificing the children’s TV programming on which my early-morning sleep depends: To my surprise, the customer-service representative instantly slashed my monthly bill in half by cutting some feature I didn’t even know I had. Emboldened, I dialed up the New York Times, my long-distance phone carrier and anyone else I could think of, whittling down my standing monthly charges until they were as slim as a post-NutriSystem Marie Osmond, or — more aptly — as slim as my wallet these days.

The key, say the experts Reiter talks to, is practice. Haggle often enough, and you get comfortable at it.

Earn extra holiday money this fall

Need to earn some extra money for the holiday season? The Frugal Village offers 15 great tips on how to do chores for others to earn some extra pocket money, including cleaning out gutters, hanging Christmas lights, babysitting, selling stuff on eBay, and working a seasonal job in retail.

American 1’s Christmas Club account is a great way to save up for holiday shopping over the year. Are your spending habits changing this holiday season? How do you save for Christmas shopping?

Make your own budget-friendly Halloween costume

First, a tip: don’t wear masks in the branches this time of year. Your bank robber costume may look authentic, but it could get you in a lot of trouble. If we can’t see your face, please don’t step foot in the branch. I hope the reason is obvious.

Second, the affordable costume tips, thanks to Frugal Village. “Budget Friendly Halloween Costumes” lists great costume ideas for kids (and adults!) using nothing more than household items and used clothing. With just a few simple items, you can create a princess, any animal, a hobo, or a scarecrow. For the crafty, Frugal Village offers these tips:

1. Use spray paints or craft paints. fabric dye, fabric paints and/or pens, to color recycled items to desired color. One year I used silver spray paint to color and entire outfit for my son’s tin man costume. We recycled aluminum foil to use in making the hat and the axe. Some silver body glitter on the hands and face put the finishing touches on this costume!

2. Use regular clothing to create an all-over color effect as with the animal costumes.

3. Consider mittens or gloves when you need hand color

4. A gallon ice cream bucket w/handle makes a perfect trick or treat bucket. I save these throughout the year and recycle for hundreds of other uses. Use neon paint or stickers to add bright decorations. This is a good safety technique to make kids more visible while trick or treating

5. Make your own face paint: You will need Corn starch, Water, Cold cream, and Food coloring.

What are you going to be for Halloween?

Financial tips from local columnist.

Those that know Jackson Citizen Patriot columnist Brad Flory wouldn’t exactly call him a “financial expert.” Coney dog expert, maybe. Pazcki expert, definitely. But personal finance?

Despite his lack of credentials, Flory does have some advice – based on his own check-writing experiments in college – for credit union members.

“The middle class is pessimistic, according to an April 9 Pew Research Center study, in part because we are deep in debt for lifestyles we cannot afford,” Flory says.

Check out Flory’s always-humorous column for more advice from the not-so-sage elder.

Members Choice: name your account

Personalized accounts with American 1

We’re looking for a few good personalized accounts.

This month, American 1 is featuring Members Choice accounts, which are special accounts you can name and store away money for anything you can think of.

Saving up for a big vacation? How about a new car? Or a new washer and dryer set? Some members even use them for periodic expenses like taxes or insurance payments.

We’re wondering what you name YOUR Members Choice account. Do you name it something practical like “Dream Vacation,” or something funny like the “When We Finally Get Married Account?” Whatever it is, tell us in the comment section below. We want ideas so that, when members are wondering what they can save for, we can give them a few hints.

Plus, if you open up a personalized Members Choice account in May, you’re automatically entered to win a $50 deposit from the credit union to help you get started on…well, whatever it is you’re saving for.

So tell us: what do you call YOUR account?

American 1 Federal Credit Union