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1 Easy Trick to Never Get Late Fees Again!

1 Easy Trick to Organize Your Bills and Never Miss a Payment Again

What is the worst possible fee that you could ever pay? Late fees! It’s a ridiculous amount for nothing. You don’t get a product or service in return. There is no benefit from paying it. Plus, late fees can add up fast. They are bound to make anyone angry. But there is an easy way to avoid them.

Be in Charge of Your Finances

When I worked as an accountant, many clients would come in with statements showing tons of late fees. We’re talking as much as hundreds in extra expenses per year, sometimes thousands. The biggest reason for this was that they had so many bills and were so disorganized that they just forgot to pay. If this is also your problem, I have a solution.

Easy Way to Organize Your Bills

The easy way to avoid late fees is to set up a Bill Organizer Kit. This will help you by keeping you organized, and it will make paying bills the easiest it has ever been. All the worksheets you need for this are free to download at the end of this post.

Make Your Own Bill Organizer Kit in 5 Easy Steps

1. Get a folder with pockets. Any kind of folder will work as long as it has pockets for your papers. I recommend shopping at the cheapest place around, like the Dollar Store or Walmart.

2. List all your bills on the Bill Info Tracker.  Use the Bill Info Tracker Worksheet in the FREE booklet below and list out all your bills, due dates, amounts, whether it is paid online or by check. It even has a spot to write down your passwords for online payments, so everything is in one place.

3. Use the Money Calendar or Bill Scheduler to Plan. Set up a plan for when to pay your bills based on your paycheck schedule.

Write your expected paychecks on the calendar and then list out all the bill amounts and due dates on the calendar too. Then place the calendar somewhere prominent like on your fridge. That way you can see what bills are coming up and make sure you pay them on time.

 

4. Put your bills, checkbook, envelopes, and stamps in the folder. When a bill comes in the mail, immediately stick in this folder. Then once a week, get the folder out and pay any bills that are coming up and check to make sure you are on track. Keep your checkbook, envelopes, and stamps in the folder too. You want to make it as easy as possible to pay your bills on time.

5. Use the Bill Tracker to mark paid bills. Once you have paid a bill, either online or put it in the mailbox, then check it off for each month. That way if you ever wonder if you actually paid it, you can reference back and see what happened.

Isn’t that easy? Keeping all of those items together in one place will make a huge difference, and scheduling your bills on a calendar will keep you on track. Try to make a habit of going through the folder once a week!

This folder is also a great place to keep your budget worksheets if you already have a budget set up. If you don’t have a budget planned out, get one right away! Budgeting is absolutely necessary for financial freedom. Click here for help to set up a budget.

Never Get Late Fees Again!

The Bill Organizer Kit is now included in my free workbook called The Modern Mom’s Epic Guide to Easy Budgeting. Click below to download for free. If you downloaded the booklet already, you might want to download again to get the Bill Organizer Kit that is now included. The workbook has been updated with several new lessons and worksheets to help your finances.

The Modern Mom’s EPIC Guide to Easy Budgeting! 28 Page Workbook with 87 ideas to reduce expenses, 14 beautiful worksheets, 7 bonus lessons, and full, easy-to-follow instructions.

 

 

Don’t Fall For These 5 Phone Scams!

Tax Phone Scam

Have you ever given your phone number out online only to get telemarketing calls later? Scam artists love it when they get your phone number, but don’t fall for their tricks. One common phone scam is to call and tell you that the IRS is after you.

For example, here is part of a machine generated voicemail I received on my cell phone just the other day:

“Tax filings from the headquarters which will get expired in the next 24 working hours. And once it get expired after that you will be taken under custody by the local cops as there are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment. We would request you to get back to us so that we can discuss about this case before taking any legal action against you.”

Then the message listed a phone number to call. No matter what, don’t call back!

As a tax accountant, I can tell you that there are a few obvious problems with that message.

1. The IRS wouldn’t make a call like this. They always contact you by mail first. The first step the IRS would take is to send a letter asking for a document to support a claim on your tax return. By mail, not a phone call.

2. You can’t be arrested for tax problems until much further along in the process. You would be allowed to get a tax attorney to represent you before anything like that happened.

3. There are massive amounts of grammar issues in the recording which means that English is probably not the native language of the scam artist. This might indicate that the person is located in a foreign country just waiting to steal your money when you call them back.

Don’t call back!

Other Financial Scams to Watch Out For

There are plenty of people who do fall for phone scams and lose thousands of dollars. This happens to millions every year. $9.5 billion dollars was lost to phone scammers in the past year. Don’t let it happen to you.

Here are four other phone scams to watch out for:

  1. *72 Scam. A caller claims someone in your family died recently. Then the person tells you to call another number but to first dial *72. Don’t do this. Pushing *72 will transfer control of your phone calls to the other number. This way, the scammer can give your number out to friends all over the world to call him on your bill. *73 will remove the setting.
  2. Juror Scam. Some are getting calls claiming that they didn’t show up for jury duty. Then they ask for personal details to cancel the bench warrant. Others are just informing the person they have jury duty and asking for personal details. Never give out any people details over the phone, especially your social security number. You can always call the court to verify the validity of such a claim.
  3. Hitman Threat Scam. This one is a scary one. A person calls, claiming you will be the target of a contract killing unless you pay the hitman some huge amount of money. The guy claims to be watching you, and you aren’t allowed to call the police. Don’t fall for this one.
  4. Kidnap Scam. The caller claims to have kidnapped one of your family members and threatens to kill them if you pay the ransom. There is an easy way to prove that this isn’t true. Just call your family member and ask if they are OK. Then call the police and report the scam.

If you receive a phone call like these, you can get help from the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit ftc.gov/complaint. The FTC website also has a link to join the Do Not Call Registry.

Protecting Your Identity

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Save Over a $1,000 a Year By Making Your Own Cleaning Products

How Much Do Cleaning Products Set You Back?

How much do you think you spend per year on cleaning products? The answer might surprise you. Depending on the size of your family, you could easily spend as much as $1,500 per year on cleaning supplies. That’s pretty expensive, right?

In 5 years, that would equal $7,500. Imagine what you could do with that money if you still had it. You could buy a used car with that! Luckily, there is an easy way to reduce these expenses.

Now, I’m not telling you to just not clean. Obviously, that would save a ton, but seriously? Gross. So instead, try making your own cleaning products. Not only will this save you money, but you will also be able to decide what chemicals are used in your home. Some of the store-bought cleaners have scary ingredients that are bad for your kids.

It’s Easier Than You Think

You don’t have to be a chemist to make your own cleaners. Not only is it super easy, but many of the natural ingredients are safer for your family. It’s literally as easy as buying a couple ingredients, mixing together per the recipes below, then putting it in a spray bottle. Voila! Now you have cheaper, safer cleaning products and all the ladies on the block are going to want to know how you did it!

Ingredients:

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Ultimate Money Saving Guide for Eating Out

Ultimate Guide to Eating Out for Less

Do you ever feel a little guilty when you eat out because of the extra cost? Not anymore. I’m going to teach you how to make eating out work with your budget.

There are so many tricks out there to save money at restaurants that it has become more affordable than ever. But it’s hard to find all the tips, one at a time, by searching the Internet for advice. So I assembled all of the best advice from all across the web. Now it’s all in one place for you to choose the best strategy for your budget.

23 Ways to Save When Eating Out

  1. Get discounted gift certificates. Before heading to the restaurant, check the site called restaurants.com for half priced gift certificates for local restaurants.
  2. Buy discounted gift card. Many sites sell discounted gift cards to a variety of restaurants. Use the site Cardpool, or Raise. See this post for more info.
  3. Use a coupon. Go to Valpak.com or Coupons.com to find coupons for additional money off restaurants. Entertainment books usually have restaurant coupons.
  4. Get a rebate. Use Ebates, MrRebates, or Ibotta for cash rebates after eating out.
  5. Order water. Ordering water instead of other drinks can save a bundle of cash. Water is always free. If you eat out once per week, you could save $300 per year per person by ordering water instead.
  6. Split a meal. At most restaurants, it’s ok to order one meal and split it between two plates. This will cut your restaurant bill in half when there are two of you. Besides, the amount of food served per person is usually way too much for one person to eat anyway.
  7. Eat an appetizer or side. You can often fill up on the cheaper appetizer or side and skip the main meal. This works especially well if you are eating out for the social aspect, rather than filling up.
  8. Be selective on where you eat out. Casual dining, where you don’t have a server, often can be 1/3 more expensive plus you end up leaving a bigger tip. Or you can order your meal to go and avoid a tip altogether.
  9. Pick a better time to eat. If you go during lunch instead of dinner, you can save anywhere from $10 to $30 a person.
  10. Use your reward credit cards. Use your rewards credit card to pay for the meal, but only if you plan on paying it off right away. Some cards give you up to 3% back on restaurants. Just be sure to pay it before the next billing cycle so you don’t pay interest on it.
  11. Use a loyalty card. Many restaurants will give you free meals after so many visits. All you have to do is sign up for their loyalty card and have them scan it before you pay. Some will email you special offers.
  12. Use a restaurant club. There are several programs that give you rewards for eating at any restaurant on their list. You can register your credit card (or your cash back credit card) at iDine and get rewards if you write a review of the restaurant later. Others restaurant clubs include American Airlines AAdvantage Dining and Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining.
  13. Make an online reservation. If you reserve your table through Reservation Genie or Open Table, you can get rewards in the form of gift certificates.
  14. Find local deals. You can often get amazing offers at Groupon, Amazon Local, Scoutmob, or Living Social for local restaurants in your area.
  15. Go to a buffet. For a small price, you can eat all you want at a buffet. This might save you money depending on how much you normally eat.
  16. Order the daily special. Some restaurants offer better prices on their daily special and it is usually one of their better tasting meals.
  17. Order kid size. If you are not a big eater, try ordering off the kids’ menu for savings.
  18. Go on Monday or Tuesday. Many restaurants offer specials on Mondays and Tuesdays because these are typically their slowest days. Avoid holidays though. They often up their prices on holidays.
  19. Make use of kids eat for free offers. Hundreds of restaurants have days of the week when kids can eat free with a paying adult. Go here to look up specific restaurants.
  20. Get freebies on your birthday. Many places have special they will email out to you on your birthday, but some are just available when you request it. Here’s a current list of what’s out there.
  21. Find report card freebies. When your kids do well in school, it’s fun to take them out for a free treat. Try these favorites.
  22. Check the restaurant’s Facebook page. Many restaurants use social media to offer specials deals and coupons that you can’t get anywhere else.
  23. Use a status discount. Tons of restaurants offer senior discounts, AAA discounts, student discounts, teacher discounts, military discounts.

Strategy

The best way to save is to combine multiple strategies into one. I’ll show you with some recent examples when I went out to eat.

Example 1:  e want to go to a local restaurant. We went to restaurants.com and found a $25 gift certificate to a local restaurant for $10. They were running a special where you would also get 2 free movie tickets with the purchase. Then I went to a coupon site and found a promo code for 50% off of the purchase. So I bought the gift cert for $5. I bought it through my Ebates portal and got 10% back. I used my cash back rewards credit card and got 3% back. So the gift certificate for $25 only cost $4.35.

Then we went to the restaurant and the deal required that we had to spend $50 to use the gift certificate. This was no problem for 4 people. Our bill came to slightly over $61.20 after tax and tip. We used our $25 gift certificate to pay for part. Then we paid the remainder with our 3% back credit card, bringing the total down to $30.27. Total spent = $30.27 + $4.35= $34.62 for $61.20 value. Total savings = $26.58 or 43.4% off (plus 2 free movie tickets).

Example 2: We wanted to eat at Applebee’s. So first we checked Raise for a discount gift card. We found a $50 gift card to Applebee’s for $43.99 or 13.2% off. We used our Ebates account to click over and buy it and got a rebate of 1%.  Then, we used our cash back rewards credit card for 3% back. Then we went to Coupons.com and got a deal for 1 free appetizer and 2 entrees at Applebee’s for $20. There were 4 of us, so we used 2 of the deals. Then we got a free dessert for an anniversary coupon that Applebee’s emailed us for being on their list.

At the restaurant, our meal cost $40 plus tax and tip for 4 people including 4 meals, 2 appetizers, and a dessert. We paid for this with our $50 gift card. Total cost $42.23 for $50 value or 15.5% off.

Wasn’t that cheap? You can do it too! Add some fun by making it a challenge to see how much you can save!

Final Word

Now that you have all kinds of strategies available to make your restaurant experience cheaper, let me just throw in a little word to the wise. When I worked as an accountant, many of my clients that struggled the most with money were the ones that ate out the most.

Going out to restaurants is always going to be more expensive than making your own food at home. So if you are living paycheck to paycheck, you might want to avoid eating out at all until you are able to change your financial situation.

For help on creating a budget and sticking to it, see this post. Also get your free copy of The Modern Mom’s EPIC Guide to Easy Budgeting .

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small referral credit at no cost to you while still providing you the best offer I’m aware of.  Please read my disclosure page for more information.

 

How To Fix The Dumbest Financial Mistake Ever Made

The Dumbest Financial Mistake Ever Made

Have you ever made a really dumb money decision? I mean, like….so stupid that you are kicking yourself later. I did that a few times, even though I’m an accountant. But there are some tricks that can help you get back on track after making a terrible financial mistake.

One of my worst money decision ever was to buy a super cheap minivan to haul our family across the country when we moved to North Carolina from Seattle. It was a hunk of junk and didn’t have many features, but we had already sold our other cars and wanted something cheap.

It cost $6,000 and we paid cash. Right when we drove it off the lot, it started making some odd noises. So we put it in the shop and paid about $750 to get some repairs done.

Then we started our journey across the United States. Somehow, it didn’t break down on the way to North Carolina. But a week after we arrived, I was driving down the road with the kids when smoke started filling the cabin. The engine was on fire! That was a bad day.

We spent another $1,000 to repair the issue, but in the end, we decided it was better to get a more expensive car with fewer problems. So we traded it in on a new purchase. The dealership only gave us a $1,200 credit for the car.

So we spent a total of $7,750 on a hunk of junk and got back only $1,200. We basically threw away $6,550 in cash.  Now, imagine me kicking myself and saying, “Do you know what I could have done with $6,550 if I hadn’t thrown it away?”  We would have been better off just buying the more reliable car to start with.

How Do You Recover Financially?

I was kicking myself for a while on that one, but the fact is: once you make a bad money decision, there is no going back. You can only go forward from there.

We all make money mistakes from time to time, like buying things we later regret, signing up for a bad loan with huge payments, or putting things on credit instead of waiting. But what really matters is what you do next.

Overcoming your financial mistakes is essential to getting on the road to financial freedom.

Here’s how you do it:

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Save Up to $1,190 per Year Making Your Own Bread

Save a Bundle of Cash by Making Your Own Bread

Bread baking is one of the tastiest ways to save money on groceries. Especially when you have a 4-step bread recipe like mine. There is nothing better than a warm slice of mom’s buttered bread. Plus, it is a lot easier to make than most people think.

Making your own bread can save you up to $1,190 per year or more, depending on how much your family normally eats. Keep reading to get a great bread recipe, awesome freezer jam recipe, and useful bread making tips.

How Much Does It Cost to Make Your Own Bread?

Let’s do a price comparison. A regular loaf of bread usually costs between $2 to $4. Organic bread usually runs higher, around $3 to $5. And if you need gluten-free options, you are looking at more like $4 to $7.

Now, let’s do a calculation to see how much homemade bread costs. You can make 2 loaves of bread with one recipe.

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Top Online Amazon Deals For Father’s Day Gifts

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Guide

If you are like me, the busier you get, the more chance you forgot something. I almost forgot my daughter’s birthday this past month. Luckily, she reminded me.  Well, father’s day is in just 1 week. Have you done your shopping already? Well, it’s not too late if you shop on Amazon. They can ship your items in time for Father’s Day. I went all through their site and found you some good deals that any guy would love. There are also some other great recommendations at a few other sites.

2017 LAST MINUTE FATHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE:

Sales on Amazon

Father’s Day Gifts

Need a tool for dad? Here are some great deals on tools for the Do-It-Yourself Dad.


How about for the tech savvy dad?


 

Here are some deals for the Sporty Dad!


Macy’s is also doing last minute shipping:

Up to 40% off plus an additional 25% off with code PRIV on Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Collections

Other Amazing Father’s Day Deals!

Best Buy:

Save $70 on Sennheiser Hd558 Audiophile Over-The-Ear Headphones, Now $79.98!

Tile (Tech tool to help you find your keys or phone):

Give dad the gift of Tile and get a free gift box with multipack purchases!

Nordstrom:

Shop Father’s Day gifts, including watches, at Nordstrom. FREE Shipping. FREE Returns.

IHG – Deals for travel.

Experience luxury for less. IHG Rewards Club members save up to 20% on hotels in select cities.

Soak in the sun! Members save up to 15% on beach getaways in select cities.

Kohls

Get $10 Off Your Father’s Day Gift Purchase of $50 or More with Code DADSDAY10! 6/5-6/18!

$5 Off Your Curve, Curve Sport, or Perry Ellis Fragrance For Men Purchase of $45 or More with Code SCENT5! Excludes Gift Sets! 5/28-6/10!

Discounted Gift Cards

See this post for info on how to get discounted gift cards for Father’s Day!

Free Printable Father’s Day Cards

There is still time to download a set of FREE printable Father’s Day cards.  There are some really cute options. 

Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to come back soon for more posts like this.

If you need help setting up a budget or you want a free printable budget workbook, click here

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small referral credit at no cost to you while still providing you the best offer I’m aware of.  Please read my disclosure page for more information.

Save Some SERIOUS CASH with Discounted Gift Cards!

Buy a Gift Card for Less than Face Value

Do you find it hard to shop for gifts for certain people? You know the ones… the guy who has everything or the girl who is picky. A gift card works great for people like that. But, wouldn’t it be great if you could get a gift card for way less than face value? You can! There are many websites that sell discounted gift cards.

They get these cards from people who would rather have cash than a gift card. They sell them to the site for less than they are worth, then the site sells them to the public. You can really save some BIG BUCKS by buying them to make your everyday purchases like groceries, clothes, and more. 

Top 7 Discount Gift Card Sites

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17 Fabulous and FREE Father’s Day Cards That Will Steal His Heart

Printing your own cards can save a sweet bundle of cash. So, in the spirit of keeping costs down, I have created several cute Father’s Day cards just for you. There are lots of great options. The fronts have phrases and images, but the insides are blank for you to write whatever message you want. The images below are after I printed them and folded them in half.

Here are a couple humorous cards:

    

Or you could go classy:

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101 Ideas for FREE Summer Fun!

101 FREE (or Cheap) Things to Do with the Kids this Summer!

Summer is the best! It’s beautiful. The pools are open. And I don’t have to get the kids up early for school anymore. (That’s my favorite part.) But eventually, the kids get a little restless and want to do something fun. This can be tricky if you are on a budget so here is an epic list of 101 free or cheap activities you can do with your kids this summer.

101 Ideas for FREE Summer Fun!

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