Entries from May 11, 2014 - May 17, 2014

Friday
May162014

Target: $10 off $50 Grocery Mobile Coupon

Text FOOD to 827438 to receive a $10/$50 Target coupon. Plus, this coupon will also be in the Target weekly ad, starting May 18th). This coupon states that it excludes alcohol, baby food, nutrition shakes and bars, pet food, & Target Cafe and will expire on 5/24.
I love when they offer this coupon because I do a lot of grocery shopping @ Target.
Friday
May162014

7 Bad Financial Decisions That Could Wreck Your Finances

No matter how hard they try, some people can't get out of the financial hole they've created. This might be due to financial circumstances beyond their control, such as a job loss or medical debt. But a lot of times, financial worries are the direct result of poor choices.

Some decisions can have disastrous financial consequences, but there are ways to avert these setbacks. Before you can make a smart money move, however, you have to recognize bad ones. (See also: Our Worst Financial Mistakes)

1. Cosigning a Loan

Regardless of whether it's your child or your sibling, cosigning a loan can be financial (and credit) suicide.

As a cosigner, you're not a silent partner in the deal. From a lender's standpoint, you're just as responsible for the loan. The primary signer may vow to pay the loan on time and promise to protect your credit history, but there are never any guarantees. If this person defaults, you'll have to repay the debt, or else suffer the financial and credit consequences.

2. Marrying Poorly

It's easy to overlook financial warning signs when you're in love and planning a marriage. However, before you walk down the aisle, it's important to determine whether your partner is a financial match.

If your partner is irresponsible with money, this could not only set you back financially, it could also strain your marriage. It might take longer to buy a house or start a family; and if the majority of your partner's money goes toward debt, you might cover more than your fair share of household expenses, which can be burdensome and frustrating. 

Have a candid financial discussion with your partner. Your finances don't have to be perfect. But if you know what you're dealing with, and if both of you are on the same page, you can work together to improve your finances. This way, there are no surprises after tying the knot.

3. Delaying 401(k) Contributions

Many employees have the option of enrolling in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. If you're given this option, you owe it to yourself to consider the possibility. Regrettably, some people put off retirement planning for as long as they can. But the longer you wait, the less you'll have when you're ready to leave the workforce.

For example, a 20-year-old who contributes $5,000 annually to her retirement plan can amass about $2.2 million by age 65. However, if she waits until 40 to start saving and contributes $5,000 annually until retirement, she would only have $430,000 in the account by age 65. This is based on an average 8% return. Don't wait.

4. Living Beyond Your Means

Buying a house is the so-called American dream. But you shouldn't break the bank or overextend yourself to achieve this dream. Too often, homebuyers become overly excited and fall in love with houses that are beyond reach.

You might be able to afford a house on paper. But even if a lender says you qualify for a certain amount, you need to evaluate your other monthly expenses. For example, you might pay a lot for health insurance, auto insurance, day care, or have other expenses that don't appear on your credit report.

There's nothing wrong with getting the dream, just make sure you can afford the dream. If you end up house poor, there'll be little cash for savings and extras.

4. Using Credit Cards as an Extension of Income

Having a credit card with a $10,000 credit line doesn't mean you have an extra $10,000 to spend this year — unless you can afford to pay off the card.

Credit cards are safer when used for emergencies, or when you're able to pay off charges. Unfortunately, some people think of credit cards as their "I-can-buy-whatever-I-want-card." They might charge entertainment, clothes, and other basic needs — without any type of plan to pay off this debt. Credit card balances can accumulate quickly, and once you add in interest, it might take years to pay off balances.

5. Not Building an Emergency Savings Account

You might feel as if you have a lifetime to worry about saving money. However, a financial crisis can happen to anyone, regardless of age. Don't think that you're invincible. If you don't build a cash reserve, you might rely on credit cards whenever you need cash. And if you charge an expensive house or car repair to a high-interest credit card, you may have difficulty paying down the balance.

To build your savings, set aside 10% of your check each pay period. For this to happen, make adjustments in other areas. Can you lower your entertainment budget or reduce miscellaneous spending? Or maybe you can save on transportation and groceries. (See also: 101 Ways to Save Money Around the House)

7. Quitting Your Job Prematurely

You might be eager to quit your job once your home-based business grows. However, quitting your job before you're ready can have serious financial consequences. There are highs and lows when running a business. And if you don't prepare for the lows, you may not have cash in the bank to survive hard times.

Only quit your job if you have an adequate cash reserve, perhaps six or eight months. And only leave your job if the amount you're bringing in can cover your bills and provide a surplus. This way, you don't have to close shop if you lose one or two clients.

Source: Wisebread.com

Thursday
May152014

Confetti Brownie Bon Bons

Confetti Brownie Bon Bons
Makes 24

1 batch John Elway's Chocolate Brownies
16 oz. vanilla candy coating
Confetti sprinkles

1. Bake brownies and cut into 25 even squares. Gently shape each square into a round ball and place on a wax-paper-covered baking sheet.

2. Chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. Prepare another wax-paper-covered baking sheet.

3. When brownie balls are ready to coat, heat vanilla coating in the microwave on low for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.

4. Remove a few brownie balls from the refrigerator. One at a time, place in the bowl of coating. Use the spoon to cover the top of the ball with coating and then gently lift the ball out. Tap off any excess coating and let ball slide to the end of the spoon and then slowly slide off onto the second wax-paper-covered baking sheet.

5. While the coating is still wet, add confetti sprinkles on top.

Thursday
May152014

Free Summer Reading Programs: Pottery Barn, Barnes and Noble, More

Here are the FREE summer reading programs this year!

Book IT! by Pizza Hut Summer Reading Program

Starting June 1st-August 15th, each time your child reads 5 books, they can enter to win prizes. There is a total of 50 prize packages consisting of a tote bag, Pizza Hut gift card, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Books and More! Go here for more information.

Book IT! by Pizza Hut for Homeschooling Families

Through September 1st, head on over here and fill out the form to request free BOOK IT! materials for the 2014-15 Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program. Even sweeter, I’ve heard that the BOOK IT! Materials may include coupons for FREE Personal Pan pizzas as they have in previous years – which would be a nice bonus

Sylvan Book Adventure

Kids in grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline and then come back to take a quiz on what they’ve read. Prizes can be earned for their reading success. Head over here to register and learn more.

Pottery Barn Kids Summer Reading Challenge

Starting May 15-July 17th, families are invited invited to read each book with them at their FREE weekly story time. Kids will receive a prize after they finish reading 8 books on their list! Contact your local store or go here for more details.

Barnes & Noble

To reward your children in Grades 1-6 for reading during the summer, Barnes & Noble is offering up a Summer Reading Program that rewards kids with a FREE book after they have read 8 books of their choice. To participate, your kiddos will need to:

*Read any 8 books and record them in the Reading Journal found here.
*Take the completed Reading Journal to their local Barnes & Noble store between May 20th and September 2nd, 2014.
*Chose a FREE Book from the selection on the Reading Journal list at your local store. It’s that easy!

Half Price Books

Children 14 and under can earn $5 in Half Price Books Back to School Bucks when they join the Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program! They will need to read for at least 15 minutes each day in the months of June and July, or have a grown up read to them. Download the reading logfound here to record your child’s progress. Then turn it in to receive $5 in Half Price Books Back-to-School Bucks. The $5 discount card can then be applied to the pre-tax amount for a future purchase valid until 8/27/14. Limit one coupon per person, per visit. Go here for more details. 

Chuck E. Cheese

Each time your child reads for 2 weeks in a row, they will earn 10 FREE tokens at Chuck. E. Cheese!  Head on over here to print the form. Valid through 12/31/14 at participating locations. Food purchase required for redemption. Limit 1 of any free token offer per child per day. 

TD Bank Summer Reading Program

If you have a TD Bank near you, your kids can earn $10 to be deposited into their new or existing TD Bank Young Saver Account when they read 10 books.  Participating kids need to:

1. Read 10 books this summer.
2. Print out the Summer Reading Form
3. Write down the names of the books they’ve read
4. Take the form to the nearest TD Bank
5. Watch $10 be deposited into a new or existing Young Saver Account

Thursday
May152014

Win a FREE Michael Kors Trio Sample

Enter to Receive a Complimentary Trio Sample.

Michael Kors. 
The Fragrance and Beauty Collection. 
Sometimes sporty. Always sexy. And never afraid to be glam. 
The fragrance and beauty collection from Michael Kors: Three individual fragrances and an edited line of color, body and sun to take you from weekend chic to center stage. Enter here for your chance to receive a complimentary trio sample. 


NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Michael Kors Fragrance Giveaway Sponsored by Hearst Communications, Inc. Beginning April 24, 2014 at 12:01 AM (ET) through May 24, 2014 at 11:59 PM (ET), go to MarieClarie.com/promotions and complete and submit the entry form. Five Hundred (500) winners will receive a Michael Kors Trio Fragrance package (ARV: $8). The total ARV: $4,000. Any difference between the stated ARV and the actual value of the prize will not be awarded in any form. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years or older at time of entry. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law.

Thursday
May152014

Win a Jolly Time Gift Pack + $100 Amazon Gift Card

Thursday
May152014

Book Deal: How to Blog for Profit

This is a must-have book for bloggers! I bought my copy a month ago and it has a lot of great information! You will learn:
  • Empower yourself to stop comparing your blog to others
  • Understand what makes awesome content and how to create it
  • Discover the critical importance of compelling presentation
  • Increase your blog traffic through proven techniques
  • Develop a solid Pinterest strategy for capturing viral growth
  • Boost your revenue through diversified income streams
  • Learn how to work smarter not harder

Get this book for only $4.99!

Thursday
May152014

Cupcake Gift Boxes

Find out how to make these adorable cupcake boxes here! No baking required. From One Good Thing.