Greeting Card Savings {Guest Post!}

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My good bloggy friend Heather from High Heels and Scuffed Sneakers is sharing a simple way to save money each year.  By making your own greeting cards!  How fun is that?!

Hi!  Im Heather and I just wanted to share a quick money saving tip that we can all use.  Each year the average household purchases 30 greeting cards and helps support a 7 billion dollar industry. I’ve often found myself stuck in the greeting card aisle searching for the “perfect card” and paying $5 a card to show the card recipient how much I care. 
I realized that the best way to show someone you care is by telling them and guess what?!? I can tell my loved ones how I feel with a blank heartfelt note all while saving myself quite a bit of money! (HOORAY!)
I purchased 50 double-sided cards (envelopes included) at Hobby Lobby for $6 (that’s .12 a card friends!) and found some supplies at the house (free!) to create a simple handmade cards for my loved ones. 

Aren’t they sweet? I’m not a natural photographer but I think you can see the precious details! 
I am now ready to celebrate upcoming festivities with a sweet card that cost me a fraction of the price!
What do you think?
Thank you Heather for this awesome post!  Im going to have to start making my own cards.. yours are so sweet!  Make sure yall stop by Heather’s blog and say hello!  

Save money this Christmas {by staying organized!}

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Does it feel like we are a week closer to Christmas already?  Ya.. I dont think so either.  Maybe once Thanksgiving passes Ill start getting that holly, jolly feeling.  Right now Im still deciding if I should shop during Black Friday or skip it this year.  Either way, I know in order to get the best gifts for the least about of cash I need to have a system.  I’ve talked about saving money by drawing names, shopping early and making gifts.  {found here}  Check out these next great tips to keep more cash in your pocket this season.  
Compare prices
Some stores rely on your loyalty to blind you from their higher prices.  They hope that you trust them enough to think they have the best deals available.  To prevent this, make a list of items you want to buy and compare prices among all retailers.  (Try sites like nextag and pricegrabber.)  And if you are loyal to one store, see if they will price match the competitor to keep your business.  
Keep track of gifts
Sometimes we buy things early (which is a good idea) but forget them come Christmas time.  This causes us to try and compensate by purchasing more gifts and spending unnecessarily.  Create a spreadsheet with each person you are buying for and what you have gotten them.  It doesnt have to be fancy, as long as it saves you time and money!  
Set limits
Not only set limits, but stick to them!  You can take the total about you have budgeted for gifts and divide it by each person.  Once you have that set amount, keep track of how much you spend and stop when you have reached your limit.  If you tend to spend more then you budgeted for (like I do!) then make envelopes for everyone and put the cash limit inside.  Once your envelope is empty, try not to buy anything else.  
I hope these few tips help save you money, time and some grey hairs this Christmas.  Do you have any tips youd like to share?  What about a black Friday game plan? 

www.thegrantlife.com
www.thegrantlife.com

Save money this Christmas {and still give great gifts!}

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I love everything about the holiday season.  The smell of the fir trees, sweater weather, warm cider and especially giving gifts.  Which gets expensive.  Fast.  If your like me then you try to buy for everyone in your family.. and not just one gift but a few.  And not just a few gifts.. but the perfect gifts.  It adds up and in the end I wonder if it was even worth the cost.  This year Im saving money on Christmas gifts, but Im still going to give great gifts.  Here are a few ways that you can too!

Draw names
Instead of buying for every person, draw names and devote your gift giving to them.  This way everyone gets a gift (including you) while saving time, money and the stress of shopping for the entire family.  Make sure everyone agrees on the spending limit and no one is left out of the drawing.  
Make gifts
Homemade gifts tend to be cheaper then store bought ones.  You can whip them up in multiples, personalize them and homemade gifts are always more special.  (Need some thrifty gifty ideas?  Here are some great ideas)
Shop early
Black Friday is not always the best time to buy.  Plus you are not guaranteed the gift you are after.  Great sales have already started and will continue through Christmas.  The best way to save is to know how much the gift costs and when you see it for a good price.. grab it.

Seems pretty simple, right?  I hope these tips help.. Ill share 3 more next week so check back for more ways to save.  Now time to link up your money saving ideas!  Its a linky party y’all!

Here are a few ‘rules’…
1. Please follow The Grant Life so that you can keep updated with our newest ramblings (not required but I like followers.. a lot!)
2. Link back to our site so others can add their tips and tricks
3. Please link to a specific post and not a store, giveaway or anything not financial related.  
4. Comment on other links.. share the love folks!  

Simple ways to save

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“No, sir, I have no experience but I’m a big fan of money. I like it, I use it, I have a little. I keep it in a jar on top of my refrigerator. I’d like to put more in that jar. That’s where you come in.” – The Wedding Singer



Money.  Its what make the world go around.  Its why people work 60 hour work weeks.  Its what we hope to leave our kids one day.  And it sure is nice to have a little extra lying around somewhere.  But how do you get that little extra?  Here are my top 3 simple ways to save..

1. Pay yourself first
This is a theory from Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  He states that before you pay your bills, before you pay your employees, before you do anything with your paycheck, pay yourself first.  What he means is take a portion of your check and save first!  Its easy to get caught up in what needs to be paid now without thinking about the future.  Trust me, the bills will always be there but if you dont save money today it wont be there for tomorrow.  

2. Never splurge a windfall
A windfall is described “an unexpected, unearned, or sudden gain or advantage” (in the Merriam-Webster dictionary) and can be any amount of money that you were not expecting.  Naturally, the thing to do with money we didn’t know we had coming is to spend it right?  Not exactly.  If you didn’t plan on receiving the money in the first act like you don’t have it.  Save it!  Most of the time you will regret frivolously splurging when you know there are bigger and better things that windfall cash can be doing for you.  (Like earning more cash, also known as our friend compound interest!) 

3. Create a separate account
So we are paying ourselves first and we are saving our windfalls, but if we can see how much money is building up we are that much more likely to use it.  I suggest opening a new account at a bank that you have no ties to (and the best interest rates!) and forgetting you stashed it away (until you need to add more to it).  Its the old ‘out of sight, out of mind’ trick and I can guarantee it will help build up your savings.  





Pretty simple, right?  It sounds easy but when you’re living on the bare minimal its tough to try to stash some money away.  (Trust me, I know!)  Its like trying to lose weight, if you lose just one pound it seems easier to lose the second.  Plus you stay more motivated when you know that what your doing is actually working.  So start small, but think BIG.  You’ll get there, you just have to save that first dollar.

Financial Friday

Welcome to our second Financial Friday!  Last week we talked about the golden rule of personal finances, know your credit score.  Today we are going to go over a few simple tricks that will help you improve your credit score.

First here is how your credit score is determined.

Payment history: 35%, Amounts owed: 30%, Length of credit history: 15%, New credit: 10%, Types of credit used: 10%
A major part of your score is determined by your payment history and the amount of debt you owe.  The length of your credit history, credit mix and new credit make up the rest of your score.  For more in depth information on each of these topics click here.
So how can you improve your score?  By following these 4 credit tips.
1. Obtain your credit report and make sure the information is correct.  
In order to improve you score its good to have an idea on where you stand.  Your credit report will list out all your debt, your payment history, your negative records (collections) and who has requested to see your report.  If there are discrepancies on the report you must get them corrected in order to raise your score.  The Federal Trade Commission has a great letter that can be used as a template to send to creditors requesting more information on the discrepancy and how to resolve the issue.   Keep in mind that although paying a collection does not remove it from your record, it does show as paid.
2. Pay your bills on time
The biggest factor in determining your score is your payment history and it makes sense that the more on time payments you have the more likely your credit score is to increase.  Creditors are looking to see if you are able to meet the financial responsibility of borrowing and your payment history is a huge contributor of their decision.  If you have trouble paying your bills, set up reminders or have them automatically withdrawn from your account.  In this case its better to have an overdraft fee because your bill was paid then to have it hit your credit report.   (Note that once your payment is more then 30 days late it is added to your credit report and will stay there for 7 years.)  
3. Keep unused accounts open 
So you haven’t used that Discover card in years?  Might as well close the account, right?  Wrong!  The longer you have had credit the more positive it reflects on your credit score.  When you get your credit report it will tell you how long (in months) your oldest debt has been open.  Make sure to never close that account because it will adversely affect your score.  
4. Keep credit card balances low 
If your credit card balances are more then 35% of your limit then it can hurt your score.  For example, if you have a credit card with a $1000 limit, anything over $350 can harm you.  I would suggest paying down your card with the highest balance in order to boost your score, even if you have to transfer to a card with a lower balance.  
Do you feel your score getting higher?  Follow these four tips and I bet you see a change the next time you check your score.  See you next week when you discuss simple ways to save!  
Disclaimer:  I am not affiliated with the websites in this post.  I am also not a licensed professional, 
any information here is based on my knowledge and research and is subject to change.  
Any question I can not answer will be directed to the appropriate authority.