YouNeedaBudget.com: Free for college students!

YouNeedaBudget.com: Free for College Students

Need some budgeting help? If you’re a college student, you can sign up for YouNeedaBudget.com for FREE right now. Here’s what they said in their blog post:

More kids are graduating from college absolutely weighed down by student debt. I don’t know what portion of their debt is avoidable, but I’m confident that if those students were following YNAB’s Four Rules, they would graduate with less debt.

Starting today, if you’re a college student (even only part-time), we’ll let you use YNAB for free while you’re in school.

How to Obtain Your Free Copy of YNAB

  1. Write to us at support@youneedabudget.com and include proof of registration at your college.

  2. We’ll send you a special license key, good until the end of the calendar year.

  3. At the end of the year, just shoot us another email if you’re still cranking away on your schoolwork, and we’ll send you a new license key that’s good for the entire next year.

Find out more details here.

Many of my readers have highly recommended this program! If you’ve used this program, I’d love to have you share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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We Paid Cash: A Vacation for Our Family of 7!

We paid cash!

A testimony from Colleen

A little over a year ago, we decided to pay cash for our vacation. I was especially excited since it was going to be the first time I had taken my mom on vacation… without her spending a dime.

I began setting aside whatever leftover money we had in our checking account. Thinking that I was already close to our goal, I asked my husband to guesstimate how much we would need to cover the cost for our family of 7. His total was $2800 — without doing anything fun!

Unfortunately, I hadn’t even come close to saving enough and it was May!

Then, I got creative…

Lodging

After endlessly searching for somewhere to stay, I was discouraged. Everything was just too expensive! However, my husband was pastoring a church at the time, and I remembered that many places offer a clergy discount.

I looked again and found a whole house in PA! It was a B&B at $580 for 5 days! Check the memberships you currently have: belonging to organizations like USAA, AAA, and Knights of Columbus can have an add bonus in travel savings!

Meals

Eating out was normally one of our biggest vacation expenses. To help with these costs, I cashed in some rewards I’d earned and got gift cards for restaurants in the area.

We also tried to max out the value of each card by eating a big, later lunch getting the same items we would at dinner for half the cost… AND, several weeks before the trip, I signed up for restaurant loyalty programs that gave coupons for free items which extended our savings.

Gas

To save on fuel, we mapped out our route and got gas cards to stations on the way. It didn’t cover all our fuel costs, but it certainly helped!

Entertainment

I ordered a guide for my family members to choose things they were interested in, and then found deals for them. Then, at rest stations, we gathered free guides with coupons for other discounted activities.

I also did some internet research for free or discounted events in the area. I discovered that it was National Ice Cream Day (free ice cream), Dress like a Cow Day at Chick-fil-A (free meals), and 7/11 Slurpee Day that week!

Just like our B&B, meals, and fuel, I looked for ways to extend my buying power. I used Daily Deal sites to buy deals that included Food and Entertainment. We also weren’t afraid to ask for discounts.

We discovered that on taping days, certain seats are discounted at Sight & Sound. We were able to take in a circus, visit a petting zoo, see a Broadway-quality show, watch trains — big and small — plus so much more!

Our grand total was $1600 dollars for a fun-filled, 5-day vacation for our family of 7!

It took some planning and a little ingenuity, but we definitely made a memorable, family vacation on the cheap!

Colleen  is a homeschooling mother of 5, former pastor’s wife, and avid couponer. She enjoys reading, writing, and baking gluten-free goodies.

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

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At-Home Job Opportunity: Part-Time Advertising Manager

Keeper of the Home

Keeper of the Home is looking to hire a Part-Time Advertising Manager to help manage their advertising needs. This job is a work-from-home position that allows for flexible hours.

Here are more details on this position:

  • This job would consist of: Responding to advertiser requests, maintaining the Keeper of the Home media kit, helping to set the direction of their private advertising program, switching ads from month to month, maintaining advertiser records and monthly calendar, running weekly giveaways and the Christmas Gift Guide, helping manage and promote affiliate programs and products, coordinating with the Social Media Manager for sponsor shout outs, and seeking out new advertisers.
  • This work-from-home position has flexible hours, but requires email to be checked at least once per weekday (Monday—Friday).
  • This is a contractor position, not an employee position. You would claim your own taxes and expenses.
  • This position requires someone able to work independently, as well as someone with a desire to learn who has a self-starter attitude.
  • Previous blogging experience is nice, but not necessary.
  • Position is available immediately. Training will be provided.
  • Pay is a combination of hourly wage plus commission based on ad revenue.

To apply for this position, please fill out the Keeper of the Home Job Application Form.

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How a $0.25 Lesson Can Have a Lifelong Impact

How a Quarter Lesson Can Have a Lifelong Impact

We were at the Nature Center gift shop last week and my children had brought their own money with them to buy something from the gift shop. Each child looked at all the options and weighed them carefully. Finally, they decided upon their purchases.

One of the girls had picked out some colorful rocks and a honey stick. I had gently reminded her that she probably didn’t have enough money for all of it after tax was added on.

But she held onto hope and handed her items to the cashier. The cashier rang the items up and the total was $0.15 over the amount my daughter had with her.

I inwardly debated what I should do as a parent. The honey stick was just $0.25 and part of me really wanted to just buy it for her. But at the same time, I knew that it’s these little lessons that can often have a big impact on our children.

So instead, I watched as she put the honey stick back on the shelf and just bought the rocks. Putting the honey stick back on the shelf didn’t seem to bother her one bit… she was thrilled with her colorful rocks.

And I realized that often, it’s these small, seemingly unimportant occurrences that shape our children’s view of money. I want my children to grow up understanding the value of money and hard work. I want them to learn how to stick with their budgets and not be tempted to spend more than they have.

While we love to bless and surprise our children with special treats or gifts on occasion, we also want to give them many opportunities where they don’t get everything they want. Because that’s life! All of us probably have many things we’d love to have or that would be nice to have that just aren’t in the budget right now.

By giving our children opportunities to learn and practice money management at the $0.25 and $3 levels, we hope we are saving them from making the $250 and $3,000 mistakes someday!

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Stretching the Grocery Budget with Eggs

stretching the budget with eggs

Guest post from Tanya of  Springs Homestead

Eggs are not just for breakfast, they make great snacks and delicious dinners. Although the price of a carton of eggs has increased some; they are still cheap and healthy. Plus, they are loaded with protein and vitamins B12, A, D, and E.

If you’re looking for a simple way to stretch your grocery budget… here are some ways eggs can help you do just that!

Eggs for Breakfast

Eggs can be served in numerous ways for breakfast. There is the basic scrambled, fried, and poached. Or, if you would like to get really creative try a frittata, omelet, or soufflé.

Eggs really are a great way to start the day and there are numerous breakfast egg recipes.

Snack Time

I like to keep hard-boiled eggs in our fridge for anyone looking for a snack. They can be packed into lunch boxes for school, work, or for us on-the-go homeschool moms. Eating a hard-boiled egg after a rigorous workout can also give you that much needed protein boost.

Snack time, with eggs, can be simple, nutritious, and kind to the wallet.

Dinner with Eggs

During the spring and summer, my hens lay many eggs. In order for my family not to grow tired of eggs, I have amassed quite a collection of egg recipes. I never knew there were so many ways to serve them. Even if you are buying your eggs, these are very economical dinners.

Here is a recipe that we particularly enjoy.

What are your favorite ways to serve eggs?

Tanya married a farm boy named James and together they are restoring his family farm after 20 years of neglect. When Tanya is not homeschooling their three children or working on the farm, you can find her concocting something in the kitchen or writing on her blog  Seven Springs Homestead.

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4 Ways to Combat the Urge to Spend

4 Ways to Combat the Urge to Spend

Guest post by Jessi of The Budget Mama

Once upon a time, there was a girl, who thought she needed designer jeans, Ray Ban sunglasses, Coach purses, sports cars, and a California King size bed.

In order for her to acquire these items, she had to max out her resources. She swiped those eight different super shiny, color-coordinated credit cards like they were going out of style. She was a pro at signing her name, and at the “bill me later” game.

Oh but how the mighty have fallen. That same girl no longer drives a GT Mustang, owns a single pair of Ray Bans or a Coach purse, and no longer has room for that California King bed.

That girl had to give up all those super nice things because she was dead broke. She may have looked like a million bucks and been able to play the part well; but the truth was, she had no money.

She had accumulated over $11,000 in credit card debt alone. That was over half of her salary as an Administrative Assistant. She had to learn the hard way that there is a fine line between appearing to have money and actually having money.

That was a tough lesson, but it was a lesson learned nonetheless.

Does she regret her choice to sell off all of those fancy items to help pay back the debt? No. Did selling those hard earned items pay back all of her debt? No, she still had to work hard and throw every extra penny and tax return check at her debt to pay it all back.

I am the girl in this story, and I was dead broke at 21 with a mountain of credit card debt. I was raised in an extremely frugal household, where I got the crazy idea that I had to have designer items and huge inventory of stuff, I have no idea.

Wherever that idea came from, it has been hard to keep it out of my head.

We all want things. Maybe it is because of our society that we want so much, or maybe it is something else entirely. What matters is that you learn to control that voice that wants you to spend money you do not have.

These are the four ways I combat the urge to spend money:

  1. I carry cash with me whenever shopping and leave my debit card at home.
  2. I always make a shopping list. Even if I am going clothes shopping for my boys, I make a list of the items needed and I stick to it. In fact, I carry the list around in my hand as I am walking through the store. This keeps my mind on my list and helps keep my eyes from wondering.
  3. I remind myself that most people do not know the difference between designer and no-name brands. Would you honestly know the difference between a pair of shoes bought at Ross and a pair bought at Macy’s? Probably not.
  4. I focus on the fulfillment and freedom I receive from paying cash. Paying cash for something that you once could only afford with a credit card is a life-changing experience. I had racked up $3,000 on a credit card for furniture. Fast forward five years later; I paid $5,000 cash for new furniture. That was a very liberating experience, which I remind myself of whenever the urge to spend creeps up.

If you are fighting the debt monster, keep going. It is a long, bumpy road but it is very worth it in the end. I hope my story will encourage you on the road to becoming debt free.

Jessi is the author of the frugal lifestyle blog, The Budget Mama. She is an avid budget fanatic and dedicated to helping others reach their full financial potential. Jessi shares her real life on a budget along with DIY projects, recipes, organization, and more.

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