Life of Stones https://lifeofstones.com Thu, 06 Dec 2018 11:17:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://i2.wp.com/lifeofstones.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/favicon.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Life of Stones https://lifeofstones.com 32 32 131847727 5 Fun Savings Challenges to Help Boost Your Savings in the New Year https://lifeofstones.com/2018/12/06/money-savings-challenges/ https://lifeofstones.com/2018/12/06/money-savings-challenges/#respond Thu, 06 Dec 2018 11:17:11 +0000 https://lifeofstones.com/?p=1119 Proudly brought to you by Life of Stones.

SAVING MONEY can be so hard sometimes.  Hard to save yet so easy to spend!  Remember back when you were a child, or if you’re a parent, think of your own children – turning something that seems otherwise boring into a game is always a great way to motivate them, right?  Yet even as adults, […]

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SAVING MONEY can be so hard sometimes.  Hard to save yet so easy to spend!  Remember back when you were a child, or if you’re a parent, think of your own children – turning something that seems otherwise boring into a game is always a great way to motivate them, right?  Yet even as adults, we are motivated by challenges or competitions, which is why savings challenges are an awesome way to motivate yourself to save money!

With New Years right around the corner, saving money is often a resolution for many people but many don’t know where (or how) to start!  The first thing I always recommend is creating a monthly budget. Check out my free budgeting course below to help you get started!

Check out my Begin to Budget Bundle to help you create a budget you can actually stick to!  This 29-page printable budget binder will help you organize your finances, pay off debt and save money!

My posts often contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I truly think you’ll love! For more info see my disclosure policy.

There are a ton of savings challenges around, in fact, you’ve probably heard of a few of them already and might not even realize it so I”m going to share a few of my favorites with you today in hopes of giving you a jump on your New Year’s resolutions!Follow Life of Stones on Instagram

 

SAVINGS CHALLENGES YOU’LL LOVE

Here are five savings challenges that are perfect for the budding saver or a seasoned pro!

 

 

1 | Five Dollar Bill Savings Challenge

This challenge is pretty self-explanatory and can be easily tailored to your preferences!  Every time you receive a five dollar bill, you save it…easy peasy! This can be a five dollar bill you receive as a gift, as change from a  purchase, or even cashing your paycheck. Any five dollar bill that passes through your hands, save! You can decide whether to save it by depositing it into a bank account or hiding it in your sock drawer, totally up to you!

I will note that if you’re on a super tight budget, this challenge might not be the best place to start.  Missing out on five dollars (sometimes more if you get multiples) could serve to put a decent dent in your disposable income each month.  If you’re not quite ready for the five dollar bill savings challenge then give yourself permission to start smaller!

Saving your one dollar bills each time you receive them would likely not affect your bottom line as much each week! Conversely, if you’re in a solid financial position and want to up the ante, you could save your ten dollar bills instead…that would definitely add up to some serious cash!

 

Do you need to save more money? Try some of these fun savings challenges to help you save money in 2019! These free savings challenge printables will help you save an emergency fund in no time! This article helped me already get a jump start on my new year's resolutions and can even be fun savings challenges for kids too! #savingschallenge #savemoney #freeprintables #lifeofstones

 

2 | Weekly Savings Challenge

I love this weekly savings challenge so much  I printed this out and passed a copy around my office a few years back! This challenge such a helpful way to save a substantial chunk of money without affecting your budget in an extreme way!  

I also think this is a great method to save throughout the year and dedicate this money specifically for the holidays!  You can use it for whatever you’d like, of course, but because many people struggle to afford the holidays this money challenge is the perfect solution to have a debt-free Christmas next year!  

The catch here is that the last quarter of the year you’re saving the bulk of the money for this challenge, which can be harder with the holidays quickly approaching!  If this sounds a bit overwhelming to you, then #3 might be a better fit for you!

 

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3 | Reverse (or Backward) Weekly Savings Challenge

This is technically the same challenge as number two but you’re going to flip the script and complete it backward or in reverse!  This version is awesome because it allows you to get the big numbers out of the way early in the year and relieve your budget come year end and more importantly, the holiday season!  

Not only will you not be strapped trying to scrounge up extra money for the weekly savings at the peak of the Christmas shopping season, but you will also actually have saved up $1,378 at the end of the year for your holiday budget!  Win-win!

 

 

4 | Spare Change Savings Challenge

It’s likely you’re actually saving your spare change already so this challenge will be no sweat for you.  But participating in this challenge with intention will probably help you find even more change to add to the pot!

Find yourself a cool change jar or even an awesome bank like this!  I bought myself one of these (my kids have them too!) and I absolutely love it!  I’m a very visual person so It makes me happy to see that number go up each time I drop my coins in!  

Keep your jar or bank in a convenient place where you can drop your change right after you return home from making a purchase, that way you’ll be sure to save it and avoid tossing it in a junk drawer never to be seen again!  

 

Check out these awesome savings challenges to save money in the new year! Do you need a rainy day fund? This saving money challenge helped me save up a starter emergency fund like Dave Ramsey recommends and also came with free printables to help me save money fast! #savingmoney #moneychallenge #savingschallengeprintables #lifeofstones

 

5 | Save $1000 in 3 months Savings Challenge

This is an awesome challenge to try if you’re working to build up a starter emergency fund!  An emergency fund of 3-6 months of living expenses is essential for a good financial foundation, but in order to build up savings of that size, it’s usually a good idea to pay off your debt so you have more money available to save each month!

A starter emergency fund, however, is usually around $1,000 set aside for emergencies that pop up while you’re working to get your finances in order!

This savings challenge is a great way to get your starter emergency fund in place in only 3 months! You can save this daily, weekly or monthly!  Weekly would be $77/week, daily would be about $11/day or monthly would be $333/month!

This challenge can feel a bit overwhelming as it’s a good amount of money in a shorter amount of time.  But having a very specific end-game in mind, ie. funding your starter emergency fund can be an incredible motivator!  Just think of how amazing it will feel to know that you have $1,000 big ones just sitting in an account waiting for an emergency to come around!  

The cool thing is that most – not all, of course – but most emergencies we incur can easily be covered by $1,000!  A sick pet (or kid), a flat tire, a broken dishwasher….most of the annoying little things that pop up can be handled with your starter emergency fund so this challenge will really put you in a good position to start the new year!

I know this sounds like a lot of money to save and you might now have enough extra to complete this challenge, but that’s why it’s called a challenge….because it’s challenging!  

Try to think outside the box with this one!  A great way to cut costs is by meal planning each month!  Find a side hustle you love to bring in some extra cash on the side like starting your own blog or switch to a cash budget system, which will help you keep better track of your money!

Regardless of which savings challenge you decide to try (or go ahead and try them all) the point is that you are creating a habit of paying yourself first by saving consistently each day, week or month!  Dave Ramsey always says that your income is your biggest wealth-building tool, but if neglecting to save a portion of your income can set you back years on your journey to financial freedom!

Have you tried any of these fun savings challenges before?!  Don’t forget to check out my new Begin to Budget Bundle to help you get started budgeting today!  Remember to grab your FREE savings challenge printables below!  

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The Best Way to Control Your Holiday Spending https://lifeofstones.com/2018/10/24/control-holiday-spending/ https://lifeofstones.com/2018/10/24/control-holiday-spending/#respond Wed, 24 Oct 2018 23:26:05 +0000 https://lifeofstones.com/?p=1659 Proudly brought to you by Life of Stones.

Whether we like it or not, the holiday season is fast approaching and you need to be prepared so you don’t wake up on January 1st with a holiday hangover!  No, not the kind you get from drinking too much eggnog, the kind you get from realizing how out of hand your holiday spending became […]

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Whether we like it or not, the holiday season is fast approaching and you need to be prepared so you don’t wake up on January 1st with a holiday hangover!  No, not the kind you get from drinking too much eggnog, the kind you get from realizing how out of hand your holiday spending became and feeling sick when the credit card bills start rolling in!  I can’t help you when you drink too much but I can help you save for the holidays and create a holiday budget you can stick to!

My posts often contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I truly think you’ll love! For more info see my disclosure policy.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to enjoy the holidays this year instead of it being a 3-month long stress-fest?

Wouldn’t it be nice to start the new year off with hope and excitement rather than fear and regret?

I know exactly how that feels and I know this year will be different for us, and it can be different for you too…check out these 9 tips for creating a holiday budget you can stick to!

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Do you struggle with your holiday budgeting? Check out this free holiday budget printable! Click through for some super helpful holiday budgeting tips and download this free holiday budget planner to help you create a Christmas budget and keep you organized through the holiday season! #holidaybudget #Christmasbudget #howtobudget #budgeting #lifeofstones

START PLANNING FOR THE HOLIDAYS IN ADVANCE WITH A HOLIDAY SINKING FUND

Once the holiday season is over most of us don’t even want to think about the holidays for another year!  In today’s society, we are inundated with the holidays, especially Christmas, before Halloween even arrives so it’s understandable that we’d want to file it away, but getting a jumpstart on your holiday planning can make all the difference between a successful or unsuccessful holiday season – financially speaking.

The easiest way to do this is to look at the expenses of the last holiday season.  What did your holiday spending look like?  What was your total output for the entire holiday season? Was this a good number for you?  Maybe it was much more than you wanted to spend or maybe you’d like to cut back in future years?

Estimate what you ideal total holiday expense would be.  Divide that number by twelve. Plan to save that amount each month throughout the upcoming year.  

For example:  If I plan to spend $1,000 as my total holiday expense, I would add a line item in my monthly budget for Holiday Savings: $120/month. Come the following holiday season, I will be ready to go with the $1,000 I have saved throughout the year and the holidays really won’t impact my budget any further the following holiday season! This is called a “sinking fund”. You can use a sinking fund for any future expense you need to save for.

A holiday sinking fund is such a great way to be proactive with your holiday spending and ensure you don’t find yourself in a situation where you need to turn to credit to cover all your holiday expenses!

 

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USE A HOLIDAY BUDGET PLANNER TO CREATE A HOLIDAY BUDGET YOU CAN STICK TO

Taking some time to create a solid, realistic holiday budget can save you hundreds (maybe even thousands) over the holiday season!  You can download this FREE Holiday budget planner to walk you through setting up a holiday budget.

When creating your holiday budget, be sure to include all expenses for the entire holiday season.  Have a quick brainstorming session and jot down all the things you spend money on during the holidays.  

This will look different for everyone.  For example, I don’t budget Halloween costumes since we use money from our “kid expenses” cash envelope.  We also don’t have Thanksgiving expenses since we don’t host.  We usually just grab a pie on the way to dinner! Remember to review your expenses closely.  Did you include charitable donations? Do you send holiday cards? Maybe you get family photos taken each December?

If you have substantial expenses for these holidays then they should be included in your holiday budget!  If you celebrate Christmas or Chanukah you will likely have a larger gift expense. Download your FREE Holiday budget planner and gift tracker below to help you plan out your gift expenses!

 

 

You’ll want to estimate each expense and be sure to come back to record the amounts actually spent so you can evaluate the accuracy of your budget!

Check out my Begin to Budget Bundle to help you create a budget you can actually stick to!  This 29-page printable budget binder will help you organize your finances, pay off debt and save money!

 

Track your expenses

Setting a holiday budget is one thing.  Sticking to your budget is another!  Tracking your expenses is an essential – and often overlooked – part of budgeting!  If you don’t keep track of what you actually spend you’ll never know if you finished out the season over or under budget!

Realizing you’re under budget means you have extra money you could use to pay off debt or put towards your summer vacation!  Catching yourself going over budget will help you revise your holiday budget to get you back on track!

 

Set realistic expectations

It’s important to set expectations around the holidays.  This means you’ll want to be careful when estimating your holiday expenses.  Entering $500 for your total gift budget knowing it’s likely you’ll spend closer to $1,000 is setting yourself up for failure.  Itemizing and reviewing each expense will make sure you set yourself – and your holiday budget – up for success!

It can also be beneficial to set expectations with your family and friends.  If you will be operating on a smaller holiday budget than normal, having a quick chat with them to explain you can’t afford a fancy gift this year will alleviate any disappointment on their end and any guilt on your end!  Check out my list of 10 frugal gifts for the person who has everything…hint: they are fun and unique – but more importantly – they are cheap!!

Another option would be to suggest a gift limit that everyone would adhere to so all gifts are within the same price range!  This will eliminate any guilt spending on your part!

 

MAXIMIZE YOUR HOLIDAY BUDGET

 

Is your holiday spending out of control? Click to get 9 essential tips to help you keep your holiday spending in check! Try this holiday budget planner to help you get organized for the holidays! #holidays #holidaybudget #holidayspending #lifeofstones

 

Take advantage of sales throughout the year

This may seem obvious but another perk to saving for the holidays throughout the year is the ability to also make purchases throughout the year if the price is right!  Keep your Christmas savings in a fairly liquid state that you can easily access if you happen to come across the perfect gift at the perfect price during the summer!

We love keeping ours in our Capital One 360 checking account, which gives us a debit card we can swipe if we want to make purchases using that account or a Capital One 360 savings account, which earns a ton more interest than your local bank, it won’t make you rich, but if you’re saving all year long, you might as well earn a few extra bucks, right?!  Purchase the gift using your non-Christmas savings then easily transfer that amount from your Capital One account and it will be back in your bank account in 2-3 days!  You can get $25 when you open a Capital One account!

Being able to take advantage of rock-bottom sale prices will help you stretch your holiday budget and get more bang for your buck!  Don’t forget to use Ebates for all your online shopping!  I do a ton of shopping online during the holidays to avoid the crowds… every time I am ordering I use Ebates and earn cash back on most purchases!  It’s SO easy and basically free money!  You can earn $10 for free when you sign up (plus you can then refer your friends and earn CASH for each referral…it’s seriously awesome) and save money on a ton of your holiday shopping!

 

Cash in credit card points to offset holiday expenses

I don’t necessarily condone using credit cards to play the points game as most people will eventually lose and find themselves in credit card debt, but if you are a master at utilizing credit cards to maximize the benefits and rewards then the holiday season is a great time to put them to good use!

Studies show that 31% of people don’t redeem their credit card rewards?!?  That’s FREE money going to waste!  Did you know that you don’t have to spend your credit card points on airline tickets??  Did you know that most credit cards allow you to cash your points in for gift cards, sometimes even discounted gift cards?  

Each year I cash my points in for gift cards, usually $5 Starbucks cards that I can give for teacher gifts, bus drivers, co-workers or even just to brighten a stranger’s day who might be stuck in a long line for their morning coffee!

If giving gift cards isn’t your thing another option is to select gift cards for personal use for purchasing Christmas gifts!  Cash in your points for Target or Amazon gift cards to buy your kids’ gifts, Lowes or Home Depot if your Dad is hoping for tools, etc!  Remember to check for any gift cards that might be on special as you will get them at an even bigger discount!

 

REDUCE YOUR REGULAR EXPENSES DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON

There is no denying how hectic the holidays get!  The constant rush makes it easy to eat out more often, grab more fast food, coffees, and treats!  Not to mention the holidays are usually filled with more social events, parties, and other gatherings.  

 

Stick to the plan

Being conscious of your budget and other non-holiday expenses during this time is imperative since it’s so easy to overspend.  Don’t neglect your budgeting during the holiday season! A holiday budget should be separate from your everyday living budget.

Sticking to a cash system is a great way to reduce extraneous spending during the holidays!  Swiping a credit card for all purchases means you’re not “feeling” the money you spend since you have no emotional connection to credit cards!

 

Revise your budget

The holiday season is a great time to review and revise your living budget.   Take a look at your social obligations throughout the remainder of the year. If you have multiple holiday parties and work potlucks, consider reducing the amount you allocate in certain budget categories during the holiday months.  

You might be able to greatly reduce some budget categories such as your entertainment budget, restaurant budget, or your overall grocery budget…saving you money and freeing up more cash for hostess gifts and potluck contributions!

 

Change the way you celebrate

Are you the hostess with the mostess?  Spending large amounts of money to hold the large family Christmas or Thanksgiving dinners at your home each year?  These parties can really take their toll on your holiday budget!

Get creative and consider making some changes to your family’s traditions!  Now, part of the point of traditions is doing the same thing each time, but who’s to say a few tweaks would make a big difference?  Most holiday traditions center around the central theme of spending time with loved ones!

Try switching to a rotating schedule.  Switch the location each year to relive the host of the financial burden! If that’s not an option, keep the location the same but switch the hosts each year.  A different person (or family) can do the shopping or pay for the meal each year!

How about a potluck?  Having a potluck not only lightens your budget, but it also adds some variety to your holiday buffets!  

The holidays season should be filled with joy and love, following these holiday budgeting tips will help reduce holiday financial stress and allow you to keep your focus on the true meaning of the holidays!

 

Don’t forget to check out my new Begin to Budget Bundle to help you get started budgeting today! 

 

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8 Failproof Ways to Help You Improve Your Finances https://lifeofstones.com/2018/10/10/improve-your-finances/ https://lifeofstones.com/2018/10/10/improve-your-finances/#respond Wed, 10 Oct 2018 15:14:59 +0000 https://lifeofstones.com/?p=1317 Proudly brought to you by Life of Stones.

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?!?  You live paycheck to paycheck and you are completely over being perpetually stressed about money?  Guess what? Your finances are out of control! These 8 tips will help you take control of your finances – and your life! I know exactly how you feel because […]

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Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?!?  You live paycheck to paycheck and you are completely over being perpetually stressed about money?  Guess what? Your finances are out of control! These 8 tips will help you take control of your finances – and your life!

I know exactly how you feel because less than two years ago we were in the very same place.  When we totaled up our debt and realized we were $35,000 in debt (with another $20,000 to come later) we felt completely hopeless!  

Paying off that debt felt like a huge mountain that was insurmountable.  But it wasn’t. Paying off debt and living debt-free IS completely possible!  You just need to take it one step at a time.

 

 

I want to encourage you to read through this post and find the strength to take the first step.  Just one step.  Then another.  And another.

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re already well aware that you need to improve your finances but maybe you’re feeling stuck on where to begin?  Knowing you need to take control of your finances and knowing how to take control of your finances are two very different things!  If you’re ready to see major changes in your life – lasting changes – you must actually take the steps to do so!

My posts may contain affiliate links for your convenience. This means if you click on a link and purchase an item, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.  See my full disclosure policy for more info.

 



 

8 STEPS TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES TODAY 

 

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1 | Take your financial inventory

Although this term might be unfamiliar to you, taking “inventory” of your finances is an important starting point. Think of your financial inventory like a snapshot of your finances as a whole. Understanding what you have in inventory – assets, and what you don’t have – debts, can be a pleasant surprise or extremely overwhelming.

Download your free financial inventory worksheet or grab a notebook and write down every debt you have, along with the balance, and every account you have, along with the balance.  Now review this with your partner or an accountability partner. What do you see?  How does this make you feel?  

Really dig in here.  Take responsibility, this is the financial situation you have created for yourself.  Is it a positive one? If so, great! Way to go, you’ve done a good job!

But if it’s not, that’s OK.  You are definitely NOT alone.  Having a clear picture of your current financial situation will allow you to set goals and create a plan of attack!

 

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2 | Communicate with your partner

This is an essential step that cannot be skipped, no matter how scary it may seem, especially if you’ve been down this road before with little success!

Let me paint a picture for you… You (and your partner) are miserable.  You can never seem to get on the same page and fight all the time about money and it constantly spills over into all other areas of your life.  

Focusing on financial self-care and improving your finances can change your marriage (or partnership) in ways you can’t even imagine!  Your best chances for success are tackling your finances as a team.  I know this isn’t always easy.  



 

Maybe you’ve tried to get your partner on board in the past and failed, or maybe you’re the one who has been unwilling to work together?  Make today a new start. Here are a few things you can try to get your partner in your corner:

 

  • Always come from a place of love.  No one wants to feel pressured or bullied.
  • Don’t place blame.  This will only put them on the defensive.  Take responsibility for your role in your financial mistakes.
  • Be patient.  Some people are slower to take action and might need more time to think!
  • Dare to dream. Talk about your future together and what you’d like to achieve as a couple and family. This will help you feel united.  Then it may be easier to discuss how you can get there…together!

 

 

3 | Ask for help

Simply by reading this article, you are seeking help, and that’s a great start! However, you are going to need some “real-life” help as well! Having someone (other than your spouse/partner) to support your efforts can be crucial to your success!  

You will have days where you want to veer from your plan and you will have days where you want to throw in the towel and give up altogether.

Having someone in your corner cheering and encouraging you can make a world of difference!  If you feel as though you don’t have anyone in your family to fill this role, expand your circle.  Look for a co-worker, fellow parishioner at your church, or even a mommy (or daddy) friend at school or playgroup!  

Be sure to check in with them often so they can advise you, help you make tough decisions and walk with you through hard times!

 



 

My finances were such a mess and these tips really helped me improve my finances! This articles gave me actionable steps that I could follow to take back control of my finances! I feel like I had a financial makeover! #lifeofstones #improveyourfinances #personalfinance #financetips

 



 

4 | Budget, budget, budget

The thought of living on a budget and tracking every dollar you spend can seem incredibly daunting.  Trust me when I tell you that a budget is your most important tool for taking control of your finances.

I know it can feel stifling and restrictive, but I promise you, it is not.  A budget offers you control.  Control over how you spend (and save) your money, instead of your money controlling you!

A budget allows you to tell your money where to go.  It allows you to give it an assignment each month instead of blindly spending with no direction.  And here’s the thing….YOU get to decide what to put in your budget.

If a vacation is your priority this year…put it in your budget!

Want to grab dinner with friends each weekend…put it in your budget!

Download your free budgeting worksheets and sign up for my Begin to Budget 5-day email course below (it’s completely free!) and get started creating your first budget right away.  Budgeting takes time and practice so be sure to give yourself about 90 days to really find your groove and give yourself grace…because mistakes will happen!

 

5 | Decide on a plan

If you’re just getting started on fixing your finances, you need a plan!  Finding a financial plan that resonates with you is like having a roadmap straight to financial success!

For us, the Baby Steps System just spoke to us.  Taking this incredible course made us feel empowered to finally take back control of our finances!

There is no shortage of financial gurus to follow, each having their own personal system for financial success.  The good news is that most of them will work – if you do the work –  but it is imperative to find a system that resonates with you.  

Once you embark on your new financial plan remember, these proven systems are tested.  They are tried and true, so be in the beginning, following the system closely will be beneficial!  

Further on in your journey to take control of your finances, it’s important to remember that while the experts are experts for a reason, personal finance is personal. This means that one size does not fit all.  And at the end of the day, your financial decisions are your responsibility!

 



 

6 | Set financial goals

I firmly believe that setting smart, aggressive goals is so important when improving your finances.  There are no “right” or “wrong” goals but using this proven system to set your goals will help you stay accountable to them every step of the way!  

Setting goals has many benefits including increased motivation and productivity, mental clarity, and a sense of accomplishment.  Not to mention, goal-setting can even make you a happier person!

 



 

If your finances need an overhaul, check out this post! These amazing tips showed me what I really need to focus on to fix my finances! These money tips will help you get back on track, out of debt and on your way to financial success! #lifeofstones #moneytips #finance #budgetingtips

 



 

7 | Monitor your progress

Consistently monitoring your progress can be extremely motivating!  The key here is to understand how you best learn and monitor your progress accordingly.  

Let me explain…personally, I am a very visual person. So tracking my progress using visual tools helps me stay excited about our future and focused on our financial goals!

If you’ve taken this course before then you can hang the progress tracker on your wall.  Choose a place where you will see it often because keeping your goals in the forefront of your mind will ensure you stay on track!

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Using a customizable savings tracker is another great tool for visual learners!

If you are a verbal person then physically writing out your goals or using a calendar to track your habits would be an effective method to evaluate your progress!  

Essentially you just need to find a way of tracking that aligns with your personality because you will be more likely to stick with it!

 




 

8 | Review and revise

The final step to taking control of your finances is to consistently review and revise your current financial situation at regular intervals.  This means you must remain present in the financial aspects of your life. It’s not enough to set goals, make some big declarations, create a budget and then check-out.  

At this stage of the game, you cannot yet set your finances on autopilot.  You must be checking your accounts, updating and reconciling your monthly budgets and having regular budget meetings with your partner.

It is imperative that you remain an active participant throughout the process!  Not only will it strengthen the new financial habits you are trying to build, but it will ensure you catch any mistakes before they occur and allow you to become more familiar with your finances all around.

Following these 8 steps to improving your finances will most definitely lead to many positive changes in your financial life!  Make the commitment and show up for yourself because you deserve to lead a life of abundance, not lack, and no matter how hopeless things may seem right now – it is POSSIBLE – if you’re willing to put in the work!

 

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Top 5 most important tips to pay off debt fast https://lifeofstones.com/2018/09/12/pay-off-debt-fast/ https://lifeofstones.com/2018/09/12/pay-off-debt-fast/#respond Wed, 12 Sep 2018 19:07:52 +0000 https://lifeofstones.com/?p=1522 Proudly brought to you by Life of Stones.

Are you currently in the middle of a debt-free journey?  Maybe you’re not, but know you need to be? I have a ton of tips on how to pay off debt and improve your finances but today I’m going to cut out all the fluff and give you my very best top 5 crucial tips […]

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Are you currently in the middle of a debt-free journey?  Maybe you’re not, but know you need to be? I have a ton of tips on how to pay off debt and improve your finances but today I’m going to cut out all the fluff and give you my very best top 5 crucial tips to pay off debt!  

Before we get started I want to recommend you do a bit of research…check out my top personal finance book recommendations to give you some direction.  These books are super easy reads and gave us a new perspective when looking at our finances.  

 

 

Find a plan or a system that resonates with you and get to work!  For us, that system was Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. His principles and “tough love” demeanor immediately struck a chord with us, but he might not be a great fit for you.  Finding a plan that you feel you can stick to is a great place to start!

My posts often contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I truly think you’ll love! For more info see my disclosure policy.

 

 

These 5 tips were the most important to me when I was on my debt free journey! These awesome tips helped me pay off all my debt fast! If you need to get out of debt click the pin to read this super helpful article and get these tips to pay off credit card debt!

 



 

5 TIPS TO PAY OFF DEBT

Honestly, I could easily sit here and talk your ear off all day long giving you tips for paying off debt and especially tips for paying off credit card debt but since you have an actual life, I’ve narrowed it down to the 5 absolute most important tips for paying off debt!

 

Related Posts »

 



 

Live on a Budget

I used to have a love/hate relationship with budgeting.  I would sit at my computer, make this fancy spreadsheet, enter all our expenses, tally them up, estimate our income (since my husband’s fluctuates) and subtract.  

Around that same time, I would feel an instant wave of nausea wash over me when I saw we were upside down.  Our expenses were greater than our income. Every single time. Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience?

I know how tough budgeting can be.  I understand how overwhelming it feels when you don’t seem to make enough money to cover your bills and basic living costs.   

I also know that making the conscious decision to not live on a budget will absolutely perpetuate this cycle.  Avoiding it so that you don’t have to be faced with this fact each time you sit down to write a budget is extremely detrimental to your financial situation.  

Check out my Begin to Budget Bundle to help you create a budget you can actually stick to!  This 29-page printable budget binder will help you organize your finances, pay off debt and save money!

 

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A budget can be really scary.  A budget can feel limiting and restrictive but in reality, it’s quite the contrary.  

A budget = freedom.  A budget gives you a plan and peace of mind.  And best of all: a budget gives you guilt-free spending!  Did you read that? Guilt-free!  That means you can finally leave Target without feeling like a horrible person!  You can even go to the salon or the gym without feeling bad about it the next day!

It doesn’t matter if you use pen and paper or a spreadsheet…just get yourself on a monthly zero-based budget and get started immediately!

Check out this life-changing course that helped us finally learn how to budget or sign up for my FREE 5-day Begin to Budget email course below»

 

 

Find an accountability partner

Personal finance is personal, right?  So why do you need to share your journey with someone else?  Studies show that when you share your goals with someone else, you are twice as likely to achieve them!  Twice as likely?  Those are some good odds!

Not to mention a debt-free journey can often be a long, arduous process and having someone in your corner to support and encourage you will be crucial to your success.  You do not have to, and should not, go it alone!

If you’re married or in a relationship (with combined finances) then that person should be your accountability partner.  Trust me when I say both people working together to pay off debt is an exponentially stronger force than working alone, or – even worse – working alone with your partner opposing your efforts.  

 



 

If you’re not married then find a person you trust.  A close friend, family member or co-worker.

This person should ideally:

 

1) Have your best interests at heart and truly want to see you succeed

2) Be a trusted confidant with whom you feel comfortable sharing financial information

3) Be in a better financial situation than yourself.  (It doesn’t make sense to take advice from broke people!)

4) Be comfortable enough with you to tell you truthfully if they see you moving backward or making a financial mistake

 

Be sure to share your plan and intentions with this person.  Share your “why” and reasons for wanting to change your current financial situation.  Ask them to check in with you periodically to see how you are progressing and moving towards your goals.  

Reach out to them if you are feeling discouraged and let them lift you up and cheer you on!

 



 

Stop using credit

If you take nothing else from this post please take this!  It is nearly impossible to out ahead of your debt when you continue to utilize credit!

Taking out home equity loans, student loans, leasing cars and the most detrimental of all – continuing the use of credit cards – will all derail your progress.

While many financial gurus will implore you to cut up all of your credit cards, I realize that seems completely unrealistic to many.  You have to make the best decision for you but I beg you to make a strong move that will force you to drastically change your habits when it comes to swiping your credit card.

If cutting up your credit cards is not an option for you, then you need to find another way.  Freeze your cards in a bowl of water, store them in a location not easily accessible to you or even give them to your accountability partner to hold for you!

Using a large portion of your income each month to pay off debt only to turn around and incur more debt the next month will ensure you will remain a slave to your lenders.  

Try using a focused debt payoff system to guide you in paying down your debt quickly and efficiently.  Refrain from using credit and implement an all-cash system such as the cash envelope system!

 




 

Decrease your expenses

Cutting back on your expenses can be difficult.  The lines between “wants” and “needs” can easily get blurred.  Often, while on a debt-free journey, a majority of your income will likely be taken up by paying down your debt each month.  

You have two types of expenses: fixed and variable.

Your fixed monthly expenses, meaning the expenses that stay the same each month, ie. mortgage/rent, car payments, insurance etc. will, for the most part (but not always), remain untouched.  

Variable expenses, on the other hand, are where you can make some major moves! Variable expenses are those that change each month. Groceries, utilities, hobbies, and even that pesky Starbucks habit can all be drastically reduced or even cut to give you more money in your monthly budget that can be put towards debt!

Now back to those fixed expenses…these can be lowered too, but it will take some extra effort.  If you are all in and ready to create some momentum then carve out a few hours to do the following:

 



 

I felt so hopeless when I was drowning in debt! These helpful tips helped me pay off debt quickly! Use these debt payoff tips to pay off credit cards and student loan debt. Read the article to see how to get out of debt quickly! #LifeofStones #debtpayoff #DaveRamsey #personalfinancetips

 

 




 

Lower Your Insurance Rates

Call your insurance companies (auto, home, life) and ask them if they can review your current policies to look for any opportunities to lower your rates.  

If they are not willing or do not find you any savings contact an insurance broker.  A broker represents multiple insurance carriers, instead of just one, and can offer you a number of different rates to choose from!

 

Lower Your Utility Costs

Contact your utility companies (electric, gas, water) and do the same.  Often these rates fluctuate but in some cases, you are able to contract for a certain rate for a period of time or go on a payment plan to pay an even amount year-round.  Ask them what different options they have available.

 

 

Switch Cell Phone Plan or Carrier

Contact your cell phone carrier or hop on their website to compare plans and see what features you may be able to cut to lower your monthly bill or even look into switching carriers.  

Some companies will even give you some lucrative rewards to gain your business!  Be sure to not get sucked into pricier plans, unnecessary bells and whistles or even the hard-to-resist upsell, especially new phones and accessories!

 

Cut Your Grocery Budget

Groceries and eating out at restaurants is one of the highest expenses for most families, second only to living costs!  

It is mind-blowing how much money most people spend at the grocery store or restaurants each month!  Don’t believe me? Take the time to track your food costs for one full month.

Record every single dollar you spend on food.  Grocery store trips, take out, coffee runs, include it all and I’d venture to say you will be surprised with what you find!

Don’t worry, the good news is that food is possibly the easiest expense to reel in!  I have a bunch of tips to help you save money on your groceries including my very favorite — meal planning!  Give it a shot and I promise your food budget will be drastically reduced!

 



 

Increase your income

Living on a budget, paying off debt and decreasing your expenses will put you on the fast-track to financial peace, but increasing your income while doing all those things will put you on the fast-track to financial freedom!

Grab some overtime at your current job or pick up a part-time job instead!  How about starting a brand new side-hustle? The internet has afforded our generation so many ways to make some extra cash on the side!

My best advice is to figure out what you love to do in your spare time and monetize it.  Keep it simple. No need to overcomplicate things.

Like to write?  Start a blog!  

Love to bake?  Try offering to make the cakes and treats for your best friend’s upcoming baby shower!  

Have a great eye for photography?  Put a post on Facebook offering some amateur holiday sessions!  

If this is more commitment than you’re looking for, just dedicate some time to purging your house and sell your unwanted junk!  One day your side hustle may even turn into a full-time gig, especially if you’re entrepreneurial and in the market for a new business venture!

 




 

These 5 secrets helped me get out of debt faster than I ever thought I could even on a low income! Pay off debt using these debt payoff tips regardless of your income. These are the most important tips you will ever need when you're trying to pay off debt! #lifeofstones #personalfinance #payoffdebt #creditcarddebt

 

 

Those are my 5 core tips to pay off debt fast…I’m sure you’ll pick up a ton more along your way but if you stay consistent with these tips I know you’ll be successful in paying off your debt and reaching all of your financial goals!

Did you find these tips useful?  Save this post to Pinterest to refer back to and check out this video for more info on my 5 tips to get out of debt »

 

Don’t forget to check out my new Begin to Budget Bundle to help you get started budgeting today!

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The Best Tips to Save Money on Travel https://lifeofstones.com/2018/08/14/save-money-travel/ https://lifeofstones.com/2018/08/14/save-money-travel/#respond Tue, 14 Aug 2018 21:28:37 +0000 https://lifeofstones.com/?p=1245 Proudly brought to you by Life of Stones.

Wanderlust.   Wan·der·lust ˈwändərˌləst/ noun 1. a strong desire to travel. I was never a big traveler and have much preferred to be home, with my things and sleeping in my bed.  But more recently the travel bug has bitten me, which is super cool but there’s that little thing called a budget?!   When we […]

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Wanderlust.   Wan·der·lust ˈwändərˌləst/ noun 1. a strong desire to travel.

I was never a big traveler and have much preferred to be home, with my things and sleeping in my bed.  But more recently the travel bug has bitten me, which is super cool but there’s that little thing called a budget?!  

When we were given this incredible opportunity to head West this Summer, I knew I needed to get to work planning a budget-friendly vacation!  So I made this awesome Travel Budget Planner to share with you so you could also enjoy amazing trips without breaking the bank!

My posts often contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I truly think you’ll love! For more info see my disclosure policy.

 

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6 AWESOME TIPS FOR CHEAP TRAVEL

When planning our own vacation this year I’ve been doing lots of research into how I can save money on our trip, especially since we are still paying off our debt! (P.S. we are at $5K now!)

I also found a few good money saving tips that I wanted to share with you in hopes they can help you plan some cheap travel so you don’t have to miss out on exploring this beautiful world!  Remember, living on a budget offers you freedom, not restriction!

 



 

These tips were super helpful to save me so much money when planning our vacation! It is possible to travel on a budget. Check out these budget travel hacks! #budgettravel #travelhacks #travelonabudget



 

1 | Use apps to send you price alerts on flights

There are a ton of apps available these days that will help you search and track flights!  I found this awesome app called Hopper a few years back and it saved me over $50 on my flight! You search for flights and you can save your search and get price alerts.

It will alert you every so often on the price fluctuations of your flight. The really cool thing is that it will tell you whether you should book or wait.

For example, Hopper will say “Your flight to Atlanta is $400 right now. We expect this to drop $30 in the next few weeks. You should wait to book.”

Or it might say “Your flight to Atlanta is $400 right now. We expect the price to rise about $30 over the next few weeks. You should book now.”how cool is that? It’s a great tool but make sure you enable notifications so you don’t miss out on the perfect time to purchase your ticket!

 

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Bonus tip » I’ve also heard these tips regarding flights (although I haven’t been able to verify myself whether they actually work, but totally worth a shot!)

Flights are rumored to be the cheapest 54 days prior to traveling..again, not sure if this is true but if you’re able to wait then check it out!!

– Flights are also rumored to be cheapest when booked on a Tuesday since airlines usually run sales starting on Tuesdays. When I booked flights recently, I didn’t see much difference on fares, but many swear by this!

 



 

2 | Book with cash back offers

One of my favorite apps, Ebates now has Travel Thursdays where you can get up to 10% cash back when you book travel accommodations through them on a Thursday!

This is how I booked our hotel and our rental car and we got 4% back after we returned from our trip!

Plus check to see if you can bundle with any additional discounts you may qualify for…veterans, AAA, hotel points, etc. (some hotels will only let you use one discount at a time so you should check with them directly).

When you sign up for Ebates you will also get $10 for free when you make your first purchase so you can add those savings as well 🙂

Bonus tip »  Once you join Ebates and make a qualifying purchase you can share your referral link with friends and earn $25 for each friend you refer to Ebates!  #winning

 

 



Try these awesome cheap travel hacks to save a ton of money when you travel! If you are on a debt free journey or need to stick to a budget when you vacation then check out these helpful tips! I have never thought about using some of these before plus you can download a free travel budget planner to help plan your trip and stick to your vacation budget!



 

3 | Join rewards programs

Even if you are not an avid traveler, take the time to join the rewards programs of the airlines you fly and the hotels you stay at!

Sure, it takes a few extra minutes, but the programs are almost always free and the rewards points and bonus miles usually have no expiration date so you can keep accruing them and someday redeem them for some substantial savings!

Plus some programs also offer discounts on upgrades or other options to their members so be sure to opt into their email notifications!

Bonus tip » Remember to record your login credentials somewhere so you can access your accounts next time you book travel to avoid missing out on points you’ve already earned!

When I booked our recent flights my credentials didn’t work for some reason so I called the airline and they found my old account and it had a balance of 15,000 miles! It can be a total pain to call directly but it’s often worth it!

Bonus tip » Booking flights online is cheaper with most airlines. Many of them add a premium of up to $25 if you call to book it over the phone with the airline representative!

 



 

4 | Rent a house instead of a hotel

Programs like AirBNB are really gaining steam! Especially if you are traveling in a group these options can save you a ton of money!

Instead of booking a hotel for a whole week you can often get an entire house for only slightly more money!

When traveling with others you’re then able to split that cost for substantial savings!

Plus you can get great amenities at your rental too…etc. full kitchen (to save money on dining out each day), your own pool, gym, garage, etc. there are so many options to choose from!

Traveling alone? You can even find just a room in someone’s house to rent for a night!

Here’s a coupon for $40 in travel credit when you sign up with Airbnb through this link!

Bonus tip » Be sure to read all of the fine print and descriptions when renting through these sites as they often include special instructions, cleaning fees, etc.

 

Related Articles »

 



 

5 | List your own house

What about actually making money while you travel??? Think about listing your own home on Airbnb while you are gone on vacation?! You’re getting the best of both worlds!

Plus you’ll have a house sitter that is actually paying you instead of the other way around!

List your home on Airbnb today!

Bonus tip » This is also a great option if you travel for work a lot or take temporary assignments out of town!

 

Free printable travel budget template helped me save a bunch of money on our vacation! Try these awesome cheap travel hacks for affordable travel! These cheap travel deals will help you travel on a budget! #travelhacks #cheaptravelhacks #travelprintable #travelbudgetprintable

 



 

6 | Use a Travel Budget Planner to stay on budget

When planning our vacation I created an easy printable to help me keep all my expenses straight and I thought it might be helpful for others as well, especially because it can be easy to forget some of the smaller expenses when planning a trip, which can really add up and cause you to go over budget on your trip.  

Using my free Travel Budget Planner will help keep you organized while planning your cheap travel and don’t forget to hang on to it so you can reconcile all your expenses once you return home!  (Download below)

That’s all my travel tips for today.  I hope you’ll find some savings in some of them!

Traveling can feel really overwhelming when you’re on a budget but some careful planning and a little extra time and effort can ensure you have an amazing vacation without blowing your budget!

And once you’ve booked your trip be sure to check out these life-saving products that help me save a ton of time packing for vacation and keeps my whole family organized while on vacation!

P.S.  They are super affordable!!!

Do you use any of these tips when traveling on a budget?  If you have any extra tips, feel free to share them below in the comments!  Don’t forget to sign up for the FREE Begin to Budget 5-day email course to jump-start your financial makeover today!

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Why Financial Care is an Important Form of Self Care You Need to be Practicing https://lifeofstones.com/2018/06/19/financial-self-care/ https://lifeofstones.com/2018/06/19/financial-self-care/#comments Tue, 19 Jun 2018 23:58:08 +0000 https://lifeofstones.com/?p=1313 Proudly brought to you by Life of Stones.

Self-care seems to be a big buzzword lately that has a very personal meaning for everyone.  For me, I view self-care as a tool for stress management. For you, perhaps, self-care looks like a quick workout each morning or taking the time to prepare healthy meals for yourself every day.  Maybe it takes the form […]

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Self-care seems to be a big buzzword lately that has a very personal meaning for everyone.  For me, I view self-care as a tool for stress management.

For you, perhaps, self-care looks like a quick workout each morning or taking the time to prepare healthy meals for yourself every day.  Maybe it takes the form of a well-deserved trip to the spa or taking a few minutes to enjoy your morning coffee in peace and quiet.

 

 

Save this post to Pinterest for later!

However it presents itself in your life, I think we’d all agree that self-care is vital to both our physical and mental health.

Over the past year or so, I have stumbled on what I consider another form of self-care, which seems to be rarely considered, yet I believe is one of the most vital…your financial health.

My posts often contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I truly think you’ll love! For more info see my disclosure policy.



 

Financial care is an often overlooked form of self care! Financial stress can keep you from living your best life.

 



 

At face value, it might seem as though your finances have nothing to do with self-care, but the reality is that statistics show otherwise.  Did you know that 59% of divorced Americans state that finances played a role in their divorce? (source)

In addition, people under financial stress are 13 times more likely to have a heart attack. (source)  And as if that’s not bad enough, financial stress has also been linked to depression and anxiety!

 

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I was realizing that no matter how much self-care, affirmations and personal development I practiced, I wasn’t reaping the benefits because I was under a great deal of constant stress.

After some soul-searching, I determined that 90% of my stress was due to finances.  My husband and I were in debt and we were miserable. It was just your normal, everyday debt…two car loans and some credit cards, like most people…but it was suffocating and the weight was too much to bear any longer.

 

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We lived paycheck to paycheck (barely) and I wasn’t able to stay home with my children as I had always dreamed of doing.

I realized that if I could show the same attention and self-care in this part of my life as I did in others, it could really make an impact on my overall well-being.  I wanted that more than anything and I want that for you too!

I believe that self-care does not only apply to your physical body.  If we want to be able to give the best of us to the most important people in our lives, we must attend to our mental health as well.


HOW TO PRACTICE FINANCIAL CARE AS SELF-CARE

I want to help you learn to practice self-care when it comes to your finances by giving you some actionable steps that you can (and should!) take right now.

 

1 | Get involved in your family finances

This is so important!  Especially for stay-at-home-moms where the husband handles the finances – and while you might be okay with that, I encourage you to get involved!  You and your spouse are a team and it is important that you are informed should there ever be an emergency where you are forced to be the primary decision maker.

Do you know how to access all your accounts?  Do you know where your insurance policies are?  Do you have a will so your children will be properly cared for?

When you are not the breadwinner it can often feel as though it’s not your right to make decisions regarding money in your household, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Make your voice heard.  Educate yourself in your family’s finances and you will start to feel more in control and less overwhelmed.

Stress and worry are often a result of the unknown, so simply being on the same page as your spouse or partner can make a substantial difference!

 



 

2 | Live debt-free

Financial guru, Dave Ramsey, always says “the borrower is slave to the lender!”  Being in debt means your money isn’t your own. Having to pay someone else a part of your income will keep you from achieving financial freedom.

Paying off all your debt and living within (or even below) your means will allow you to have money to save, invest and build wealth over time, eventually affording you a life completely devoid of financial stress!

I know this may sound impossible but saving money for emergencies, not using credit cards and living on a budget will all help you reach this goal!  Debt-free = Stress-free

 




 

3 | Be intentional with your money

Intentionalism is a concept that seems to be gaining popularity lately.  In a world so filled with consumerism, intentional living teaches you to prioritize your spending on things that bring you value and fulfillment.

While frugal living might not be for everyone, intentional spending can be!  Have you ever experienced “buyer’s remorse”?  Being intentional with your purchases assures you will not feel guilty about spending, which can lead to stress and anxiety.

Being intentional with your money can actually cause you to experience joy…and it’s liberating!


4 | Practice gratitude

Taking time each day to practice gratitude is one of my favorite self-care practices.  Gratitude breeds contentment…but simply saying “I’m grateful for what I have” isn’t really practicing gratitude.  Sure, it’s good to be grateful but try going a bit deeper to really reap the benefits!

This practice is also one of the easiest and can be fit into the margins of your day.  Upon waking in the morning, immediately think of three things you’re grateful for before sitting up or reaching for your phone.  Then pause for a moment and feel grateful for the wonderful day you have ahead of you.

Setting your intentions first thing in the morning helps you subconsciously set the tone for the rest of your day.

Work at practicing gratitude in all the empty moments of your day.  Turn the radio off on your drive to work, speak out loud if it helps and express your gratitude for your job, and that fact that you’re able to work and earn money.  Express gratitude for the car you’re driving and the gas that is helping you to reach your destination.

It might seem silly at first, but eventually, you will start to really feel the gratitude welling up inside of you and you will start to feel more at peace.

 

 

Related Articles »

 




 

5 | Seek joy and contentment

Are you feeling content with your life as it is now?  This is one area where I have really struggled. Keeping up with the Joneses had always been a part of my life and you might be able to relate.

It seems that so many people are spending money they don’t have to impress others!  This creates a vicious cycle of envy, overspending, and feeling like who you are and what you have just isn’t enough.

These constant feelings of inadequacy can take a toll on your self-esteem and confidence. There will always be someone prettier, wealthier, funnier, or skinnier.  Learning to love yourself and your life right now is the key to contentment!

 



 

6 | Set goals

The practice of setting and achieving goals is incredibly rewarding.  As humans, we are made to be challenged and that applies to your finances as well!  Take some time to dream together as a couple.

Where would you like to see yourself or your family in a year?  Five years? Ten years? Retirement? What would you like to do together?  As a family?

I strongly believe that setting aggressive goals and working towards them as a team was a huge factor in us paying off a large amount of debt in a short amount of time!

Set your goals, create a plan and work towards them – Every. Single. Day.  Even if it’s just a small step. Keeping them visible at all times, being consistent and tracking your progress will help you stay focused on your goals!

 

 

I want to encourage you to include financial care in your self-care routine.  Money will not make you happy, but it can provide freedom.  Freedom to live a life you love without the weight of debt dragging you down.  Freedom from financial stress so you are able to focus on other parts of your life that may need your energy.  And freedom to spend your time doing what makes your heart happy, instead of working each day to build someone else’s dreams.

As women, we seem to prioritize everything and everyone on everyone around us.  Taking the time to nurture myself in all areas has helped me live a more balanced and purposeful life, and it can do the same for you!

What are your favorite forms of self-care?  Please feel free to share them in the comments!

 

Self care ideas do not usually include caring for your finances as part of your self care routine. But it is a super important part of self care for women! Click through to read the article to get some self care tips that focus on caring for your finances!

 

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How to make your own cheap DIY makeup setting spray https://lifeofstones.com/2018/06/12/diy-makeup-setting-spray/ https://lifeofstones.com/2018/06/12/diy-makeup-setting-spray/#respond Tue, 12 Jun 2018 14:04:26 +0000 https://lifeofstones.com/?p=1376 Proudly brought to you by Life of Stones.

You apply the perfect face, head out the door for the day and your makeup barely makes it a few hours…what do you do? Well, you use makeup setting spray, of course! This amazing DIY makeup setting spray can hydrate your skin and keep your makeup in place and stay fresh all day long…BUT, if […]

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You apply the perfect face, head out the door for the day and your makeup barely makes it a few hours…what do you do? Well, you use makeup setting spray, of course! This amazing DIY makeup setting spray can hydrate your skin and keep your makeup in place and stay fresh all day long…BUT, if you use as much as I do, it can get pricey! Let me show you how to save a bunch of cash by making your own *cheap* DIY setting spray!

 



 

My posts often contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I truly think you’ll love! For more info see my disclosure policy

 

 

Sick of wasting your money on expensive bottles of Mac Fixplus or Urban Decay All Nighter? Stop doing that! You can save a ton of money by making your own makeup setting spray! DIY makeup setting spray can be made with only three ingredients and only takes a few minutes to make! This is the easiest DIY setting spray recipe and is super cheap! #makeupsettingspray #DIYbeauty #DIYsettingspray

 




 

Not much of a reader love the makeup life?  You can watch the video instead!  Not much of a DIYer?  That’s ok!  If you’d rather just buy your makeup setting spray instead this is my absolute favorite inexpensive spray!

 

 



THE EASIEST DIY SETTING SPRAY

You may use some expensive brands of makeup setting sprays such as Mac Fix Plus or Urban Decay All Nighter.  Or perhaps you even use an inexpensive brand like E.L.F. or another drugstore brand, which is great, but it can still add up!  Let me show you how fast and easy it is to just make it yourself for a fraction of the price!

I’ll show you my original “recipe” using only 3 ingredients and an even cheaper option using only 2 ingredients for your DIY makeup setting spray so you can customize it to fit your budget!

 



Save money by making your own DIY setting spray! This simple DIY makeup setting spray with only 3 ingredients will have your skin feeling fresh all day! Make your own dewy or matte DIY setting spray with these simple recipes!



Things you’ll need to make your DIY makeup setting spray

Before you get started you’ll need a bottle to use.  You have two options, you can either use a bottle you already have or purchase one.  In the video above, I reuse a bottle I already had because I like the way it sprayed.

Feel free to do the same, but if you don’t have a bottle to use, you can pick up a nice (cheap) glass bottle like this.

A small funnel, these kind are the best IMO, (although I couldn’t find mine for the video) while not required, will help avoid any messes and make the process go even smoother.

A teaspoon measuring spoon, although you technically could eyeball it, if needed (it’s not an exact science) and a few napkins are all you’ll need for this quick DIY setting spray!

 


Related Posts »

 

 

WHAT IS DIY SETTING SPRAY MADE OF?

 

WATER

Once you have your supplies, you’ll need bottled or filtered water.  I would suggest not using regular tap water for this since it will be going directly onto your skin.

Remember, your skin is your biggest organ and you want to make sure you’re putting as few contaminants on it as possible!  Try using distilled water or a purified bottled water.

 

ROSE WATER

The next ingredient is optional.  I love it, so I include it, but it will slightly increase your cost, so if you’re on a super tight budget, feel free to omit it.

I like to add rose water to my DIY makeup setting spray, I feel like it adds a nice touch!  In case you’re not familiar with this fancy-sounding ingredient, let me explain…

Rose water is soothing, hydrating and moisturizing!  It can help reduce redness, has anti-inflammatory properties and can even be used alone as a toner to clean and balance the skin!

See why I love it so much?  I purchased this 4 oz. bottle and was able to make about 6 bottles of makeup setting spray with it!

 


 

VEGETABLE GLYCERIN

The last ingredient you will need is vegetable glycerin!  This is essential to your DIY makeup setting spray!  This bottle will last you a long time!!  Glycerin makes the magic happen 🙂

You might have tried glycerin makeup before, as many primers contain glycerin.  Glycerin helps the makeup stick to it and remain intact for a longer period of time!  Plus it’s super moisturizing for your skin and will give your makeup a pretty, dewy finish!

One word of caution: using too much glycerin can make your skin look a bit oily so use it sparingly and remember, you can always add more!

Now that you have all your supplies ready, let’s get started!

 

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SETTING SPRAY

Ok, so if you’re ready to get started, I’ll show you how to make your own setting spray!  First, you’re going to fill your bottle halfway to two-thirds of the way full with your water.

Next, if you’re using rose water, you’ll add 3 tsp.  I want to mention that you can definitely add more if you really like the feel of the rose water in your setting spray.  I stick to about 3-4 tsp (to keep the cost down) but the amount is really up to you!

Lastly, grab your glycerin!  Remember, start small with this ingredient and add more as needed.  The first time I made this I added way too much and it felt a little greasy and heavy on the skin and had a very dewy look to it.

If you have oily skin or prefer a more matte look then you want to stick with less glycerin in your spray.

Start with 2 tsp (in a 4 oz. bottle) and work your way up from there!

That’s all there is to it!  Put the cap on, shake and spray!  I want to mention that I give it a little shake each time I use it just to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.

 




 

How to make your own DIY makeup setting spray with only 3 ingredients! This is so easy to make yourself! Homemade setting spray will save you so much money! You can make this easy makeup setting spray for only a few dollars and stop wasting your money on expensive setting sprays! Keep your makeup looking fresh all day for only a few dollars! #beautyhacks #savemoney #DIYsettingspray

 




 

A FEW MORE THINGS…

Looking for more glow?

Another fun thing you can do is to add illuminating drops into your setting spray if you’re really looking for that super highlighted look!

Again, start small here so your face doesn’t look like a disco ball but this is a great touch, especially for summer!  Add a few drops, shake well and test.  If it’s not the desired level of bling, go ahead and add some more!

 

How to make setting spray more fragrant?

If you prefer a different scent, you can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your spray.  Be sure to use a good quality that is safe for your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin!

Lavender oil is a good option.  Not only does it smell great, but it has a ton of benefits for your skin and body, in general!

I sometimes add a bit of tea tree oil to my makeup setting spray, if my skin has been acting up.  While it’s not the most favorable scent, it goes away in a few minutes after application and has great benefits for your skin especially if you’re prone to acne.

 

How to make makeup setting spray without glycerin

If you have oily skin and need your setting spray to give your skin a more matte finish then try this recipe instead using all frugal drugstore ingredients!

  • 3 parts witch hazel
  • 2 parts aloe vera gel
  • 1 part rubbing alcohol

 

Related Articles »

 

DOUBLE DUTY FOR YOUR DIY MAKEUP SETTING SPRAY

Sure, the main use for your DIY setting spray is to set your makeup once you’ve finished putting it on, but, let me show you a few other uses too that I know you’ll love…

Using your makeup setting spray multiple times throughout your makeup application process will help seal in your makeup each step of the way ensuring your makeup will last all day…way to get your money’s worth!!

Try using it right after you prep your skin as a primer.  This works so well!  Spray your entire face and let it soak in for a few minutes, then apply your makeup as usual…I bet you’ll see a difference!

This is especially good if you struggle with your makeup disappearing just a few hours after you put it on (as I did).  Remember, the glycerin helps the makeup stick to it increasing its longevity.

You can even spray again after applying your foundation, essentially setting your makeup each step of the way!

Lastly, try using your spray to freshen up and revitalize your makeup throughout the day instead of reapplying, which can be a waste of time and product!

With so many different uses for your setting spray, you can spray stress-free knowing you’ve made it yourself and saved a bunch of money in the process!

Do you have any other uses for makeup setting spray that I didn’t include here?  I’d love if you shared them in the comments!  

 

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Fun and Affordable Gifts for Her https://lifeofstones.com/2018/04/22/gift-ideas-women/ https://lifeofstones.com/2018/04/22/gift-ideas-women/#respond Sun, 22 Apr 2018 20:15:59 +0000 https://lifeofstones.com/?p=1249 Proudly brought to you by Life of Stones.

The women in your life deserved to be showered with gifts (and love, of course) every day!  But birthdays and holidays like Mother’s day can really add up especially if you have a lot of special women in your life!  Living on a budget, I’ve gotten pretty good at finding fun and frugal gifts while […]

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The women in your life deserved to be showered with gifts (and love, of course) every day!  But birthdays and holidays like Mother’s day can really add up especially if you have a lot of special women in your life!  Living on a budget, I’ve gotten pretty good at finding fun and frugal gifts while sticking to my “gift” budget so I want to show you some unique and inexpensive gifts for HER!

These gifts are inexpensive, in fact, they are all under $25.00…plus they are perfect for the woman who has everything and is especially tough to buy for!  These are perfect inexpensive gifts for her that will leave her feeling extra special!

 

 

For the really low-priced items, pair them with a bouquet of flowers (can you say $4.00 at Aldi?) and you will have a gift worthy of every woman!  It truly is the thought that counts!

My posts often contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I truly think you’ll love! For more info see my disclosure policy.

 

 



Fun and frugal gift ideas for women - Life of Stones



Unique and inexpensive gifts for her

Every woman likes to feel pretty!  Give her this freestanding light up LED makeup mirror to help her get ready each day.  She can even take it along when she travels!

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the cutest coffee mug!  Succulents and cacti are so trendy right now that this fun mug would make a great addition to any coffee lovers’ collection!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As women, we always are always lugging things around for ourselves, our children and even our spouses!  We can never have enough bags or pouches!  Give the dog-loving woman in your life this adorable canvas bag so she can share her message with the world!

 

 

 

 

 



 

She’ll have an easier time getting in her eight glasses per day when drinking out of a fun turquoise glass cup!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These beautiful druzy crescent earrings can be dressed up or dressed down for fun, casual look with a touch of sparkle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every woman loves a sweet succulent!  These modern cement succulent planters  are a great addition to any desk or windowsill!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Relaxing Gifts for Her

Work, dinner, kids….it’s no wonder many women are stressed out!  Why not give her a gift that will allow her to practice some self-care and “me time”?  Give her some of these relaxing gifts and help her kick back and chill out!  Check out the best (and cheap) unique relaxation gift ideas for the super-busy-over-stressed woman!

Fragrant bubbly bath bombs are the perfect end to any stressful day at work!  This adorable set comes with 6 extra large bath bombs…a great and relaxing gift idea for women!  Just as good as Lush, with a much smaller price tag!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a woman in your life who just doesn’t seem to be feeling herself lately?  This Feel Better tea will help boost her immune system to help her get back to feeling her best self!  Curling up at the end of a long day with a cozy cup of hot tea is the perfect way to unwind before heading to bed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This portable Bluetooth speaker is the perfect gift to listen to her favorite podcast or audiobook while in the shower or to play some soft, calm music while meditating!

 

 

 

 

A long, hot bath is the ultimate in relaxation!  These 100% natural and vegan Dead Sea bath salts will help any woman relax, rejuvenate and detoxify….she will feel like you bought her an expensive spa treatment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts »

 

 



 

These $25 gift ideas for her are proof that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to give a nice gift!  If you are working on getting out of debt and living on a tight budget it is possible to have enough money to buy gifts for every person or holiday that you’d like.

Add a “gift” category to your budget and add whatever you can afford each month.  As long as you are intentional about giving gifts only that you can afford, over time this category will build up and you’ll be able to stop feeling stressed each time a birthday or holiday is approaching!

I hope these suggestions helped you find a gift you’ve been searching for!  Don’t forget to sign up for the FREE Begin to Budget 5-day email course to jumpstart your financial makeover today!

 

Need a gifts for women who have everything? Check out these awesome affordable gifts for her! If you're on a budget and need some inexpensive gifts for her these are affordable gifts for her! Fun and frugal, at $25 or less! #giftsforher #cheapgiftsforwomen #giftguide

 

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How to save thousands on your grocery budget https://lifeofstones.com/2018/04/14/save-grocery-budget/ https://lifeofstones.com/2018/04/14/save-grocery-budget/#respond Sat, 14 Apr 2018 12:12:36 +0000 https://lifeofstones.com/?p=1146 Proudly brought to you by Life of Stones.

  Let’s chat about FOOD!  We love it and can’t live without it (literally) but for most people/families, it is one of the biggest budget categories – usually only second to housing!  I’m here to tell you that it’s also one of the easiest categories to cut!  I want to share my best tips to […]

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Let’s chat about FOOD!  We love it and can’t live without it (literally) but for most people/families, it is one of the biggest budget categories – usually only second to housing!  I’m here to tell you that it’s also one of the easiest categories to cut!  I want to share my best tips to help you save thousands on your grocery budget each year!

Pin it to Pinterest for later!

I want to show you how to get through the month and keep more of your money to pay down debt or keep in your cash envelope to roll over to the next week!

Because the food budget is one of the largest it’s often the category where people overspend!

That’s the bad news.

The good news?  It doesn’t have to be!  With some careful planning and the use of a few helpful tools, you can be slashing that grocery budget in no time!

My posts often contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I truly think you’ll love! For more info see my disclosure policy.

 



 

“It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it’s your spending habits.”

               – Charles A. Jaffe

 



WHY WORK SO HARD TO SAVE MONEY ON GROCERIES?

Since beginning our financial journey, I have been focusing on stretching our food budget as far as possible and getting creative to use all the parts of our food since wasting is truly just throwing money in the trash!

When you have a very tight budget every little bit counts and the grocery category has the most opportunity to save some extra dough!

When I saw how effective these tips were I knew they needed to be shared so other people could benefit too!

PS – If you’re on Instagram I’ve been posting lots of stories with frugal recipes and other tips over there!

Related posts »

 



 

How to save thousands on your grocery budget - Life of Stones



 

SLASH YOUR GROCERY BUDGET WITH THESE TIPS 

1 | Don’t shop hungry

This is crucial.

Sometimes you might not even realize it, but think back to the last time you spent way too much at the grocery store, I bet you hadn’t eaten!

Everything on the shelf looks tempting and unfortunately, most of it ends up in your cart!

Believe it or not, there have been studies done that show you will even spend more money shopping for anything when you’re hungry…not just groceries!?

Eat a good meal before heading to the store and I promise you’ll notice a difference…and so will your wallet!

 

 

2 | Bring cash

Bring only what you want to spend and leave your debit (or credit) card at home!

You literally cannot spend what you don’t have.

It might be helpful to use a calculator the first few times so you don’t feel embarrassed if you’re stuck at the checkout asking to put items back…I know it sounds like a pain, but it’s honestly not a big deal, just be sure to give yourself a few extra minutes to shop!

 



 

3 | Buy in bulk

Buying in bulk can absolutely save money!

I’ve price matched a ton of different items between Sam’s Club and Aldi, and believe it or not, Sam’s won each time (or tied) BUT, bulk shopping can be a slippery slope since the average item price is substantially higher (since you’re buying larger quantities) so I suggest you plan carefully when making your bulk purchases so they don’t bust your budget.

For example, we just ordered a bulk order of 40 lbs. of chicken breasts from this amazing company called Zaycon Fresh and they cost us only $0.99/lb!!

I’m super excited because I had heard so many people talking about how awesome they were but they didn’t deliver to my area…until now. I just about raced to the computer to sign up when I heard the news!  See if Zaycon delivers to your area.

We rearranged our food budget a little to take the extra $40 to place the order and then our freezer will be stocked for a while.   [UPDATE:  Zaycon Fresh, unfortunately, has since closed its doors.]

Budgeting allowed us the flexibility to take advantage of this awesome price where otherwise we wouldn’t have had the money to do so!

 

White button with blue outline, rose gold Pinterest logo and dark grey text

 

4 | Meal plan

I can’t stress this enough…this is the practice that has saved us the most money, hands down!

Planning out our meals ahead of time, using that plan to create a detailed grocery list and being disciplined enough to stick to that list will help you save a lot of cheddar!

I know meal planning can be time-consuming and some people struggle with not having enough recipes or being able to figure out what to make.

If this sounds like you, don’t be discouraged!

There are awesome services such as $5 Meal Plan that offer dirt cheap done-for-you meal plans that save a ton of time!

$5 Meal Plan is just as it sounds, you get a whole meal plan for dinner for only $5 for the whole month?!?! That’s barely over $1 per week…kind of a no-brainer.

Plus they also give you a complete shopping list which makes it super easy to print and take to the store! You can give them a try for free for two weeks, and when you see how much time (and money) you save, you’ll be hooked!

 

 

5 | Shop the sales

If you get the newspaper you usually will receive the circulars from your local stores.

Using these to create your meal plans for the week (or even to fill a freezer stash for later) can really help you take advantage of the best prices around!

To really maximize your savings would likely require you to visit more than one store, so if you have the time to make a few trips, it will likely be worth it!

 

 

6 | Use rebate apps

Admittedly, it took me a while to warm up to these…and while I don’t find a ton of items for me in these apps, they do work and they literally give you free money?!?

Lately, I’ve been finding a lot of big-ticket rebates lately on Ibotta and even earning some of their additional bonuses!

iBotta works by offering lots of various cash rebates when you purchase a specific item.

I don’t take advantage of a lot of them because most are for name brand items and I shop primarily at Aldi but there are some “no brand” offers in there and much more than just food items, so I do find some to use!

The best way to use these is to search for something specific that you already need and already have budgeted.

It is easy to quickly get sucked into buying things you don’t “need” just to earn the rebate!

But hey, free money is free money, right? You can even get $10 free when you use my link to sign up for Ibotta and purchase your first item!!!

(note: once you sign up you do have a time limit in which to make your first purchase to earn your free $10.  Don’t ignore all the reminders they send you or you will miss out on your free money like I did)  Here’s a screenshot of what I earned in the last two weeks!

 

iBotta screen shot - Life of Stones

 

7 | Use coupons

I know this may seem antiquated to many, but couponing is still a great way to save money – especially if you don’t shop at discount stores (such as Aldi) and purchase mostly brand name items!

While I’m not a great resource for couponing, a quick search on Pinterest will help you find a ton of info to get you started!

Couponing takes time and it’s a bit of an art but if you have the patience (I don’t) and organization skills you can save some major cabbage 🙂

 



 

8 | Join warehouse clubs

Warehouse clubs can be a huge money saver!

You pay a yearly membership fee to join but easily earn it back in savings very quickly!

But, they too, can be a slippery slope if you’re not careful because it can be tough to turn down such a great deal sometimes even if you don’t necessarily have the money!

Sam’s Club is our favorite, especially because it’s very close to us and has great fuel prices too (and really good sushi)!

You can get a $10 gift card when you join Sam’s Club!

Another one I’ve heard people rave about is Thrive market, which is unique because it is completely online and specializes in healthy food items at much more reasonable prices!

Healthy eating can really add up if you’re not careful but you can save 25% on your first order when you join!

 




 

9 | Subscribe and save

Do you have items that you purchase over and over again?  If so, you can often sign up for Subscribe and Save programs at Amazon or Target!

These merchants offer discounts for ordering items on “autoship” where they are shipped to you automatically on a schedule you create (and can modify any time)!

We don’t currently use it for food items, but we have our cat food and litter delivered every 6 weeks from Target right to our porch and save 5% for subscribing and 5% for using our Target REDcard, which also rewards us with free shipping on each order as well!

This is especially great for baby items: formula, diapers, etc. so you never run out and the programs let you edit or cancel at any time!

 

 

10 | Order your groceries online

Seriously, how cool is this?  I mean if this doesn’t show you what a different world we live in these days, I don’t know what does.

I know it might seem crazy to do your grocery shopping online but here’s the best part: you are able to see a running total in your “cart” the whole time you are shopping!

You can immediately see if you are over budget and easily make adjustments to get back on track!  It’s basically like using a calculator while you shop without having to have 3 hands to push the cart, grab your items and keep your tally!

Then you pay and pick up your groceries!  How easy is that??

Our local Walmarts now offer this service and I couldn’t wait to try it out!!  You can check their website to see if it is in your area too!  It was so easy…you shop and place your order online (there is usually a minimum order amount.  Ours was $30), choose your pickup time and wait for the email telling you that your order is ready.  Head to the store, pull into the designated pickup spots and an associate will bring your groceries to your car and put them in your trunk!!!  HOW COOL IS THAT??!?!   Give it a try today and get $10 off your first order!

If this service isn’t yet available in your area then check out Amazon’s similar service for a free trial of Amazon Fresh!

 

Related Articles »

 

11 | Shop at discount grocery stores

I’ve saved the best for last! *cue dramatic music* Shop at Aldi!!!

There are some other popular ones, such as Trader Joe’s (which is about an hour from me) and LIDL (which aren’t near me, so I’ve never shopped there) and many more, I’m sure!

Aldi has a bit of a “learning curve”! You have to deposit a quarter to use a shopping cart (which is returned when you return the cart) and it’s much smaller than your typical store plus you have to bag your own groceries but you can save anywhere between 30-50% on your weekly food bill (no lie)!

Give it a chance, it may take a few trips to get used to and you will have to be OK with “Aldi” brands instead of national brands (which they do carry in a limited selection) but their food is really good quality and tastes great!

Aldi has honestly saved us thousands over the years!

Now you have all my best tips!  They have served us well and I hope you find some of them helpful…I’d love to hear how they work for you!  Do you have your own tips?  Please share in the comments so we can all save 🙂  Don’t forget to sign up for the FREE Begin to Budget 5-day email course to jumpstart your financial makeover today!




 


How to stop spending so much money on groceries - Life of Stones

How to save thousands on groceries - Life of Stones How to save a ton of money when grocery shopping - Life of Stones

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The Most Effective Methods for Getting Out of Debt https://lifeofstones.com/2018/03/21/debt-repayment-methods/ https://lifeofstones.com/2018/03/21/debt-repayment-methods/#respond Wed, 21 Mar 2018 20:22:26 +0000 https://lifeofstones.com/?p=1121 Proudly brought to you by Life of Stones.

Debt is hard, and I’m sure if you are in debt, you agree!  Being in debt can be so overwhelming and make you feel like you just can’t gain any traction.  Are you ready to make some major changes to your finances and get out of debt once and for all?  There are many different […]

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Debt is hard, and I’m sure if you are in debt, you agree!  Being in debt can be so overwhelming and make you feel like you just can’t gain any traction.  Are you ready to make some major changes to your finances and get out of debt once and for all?  There are many different debt repayment methods but today I want to chat about the top 3 most effective ways to get out of debt – and fast!

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My posts often contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I truly think you’ll love! For more info see my disclosure policy.

 



 

Sure, there are more than just three debt repayment systems, but let’s be honest, you want to pay off debt FAST, right?

Constantly shuffling a few bucks on this credit card and a few bucks on that loan (on repeat) each month will just serve to keep you in this constant cycle with no end in sight.

And sure, if you stay consistent and steadfast you will likely get out of debt at some point in your life but newsflash: you weren’t born just to work and pay off debt!?

 

“There is no way I was born to just pay bills and die”

                                     -Anonymous

 

YOU, my friend, were born to thrive!  And you cannot thrive when you’re buried under a mountain (or even a small hill) of debt!

So let’s hustle!  Let’s work hard and get you out of debt FAST!

While it is important to remember that fixing your finances requires a lot of patience, time and hard work I want to see you move your buns, get that debt paid off and take back control of your life!

 

I was always so confused about the different methods of debt payoff! This article gave great examples of ways to get out of debt fast! It explains Dave Ramsey's debt snowball system, the debt avalanche and a third method for paying off debt! #debtpayoff #getoutofdebt #debtfree #DaveRamsey

 



 

This incredible course taught us everything we needed to know about getting out of debt! It inspired us to change our lives and we are so grateful we made the commitment to do so! This book also gave us a blueprint to pay off $35,000 of debt in only 7 months and finally get some money in the bank!

Now, back to those effective ways to get out of debt…grab your FREE financial inventory worksheet below to quickly help you get all your debt organized in one place and let’s figure out what debt repayment method will be the best solution for you!

 

 

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3 most effective methods for getting out of debt! Paying off debt is essential to financial freedom! Click the pin to read about these 3 systems to payoff debt and decide which method works best for you! #financialpeace #debtfreedom #debtsnowball #debtavalanche



 

1 | The Debt Snowball Method

This is the method we used to pay off $35,000 of debt in only 7 months, so it is near and dear to my heart!  It worked like a charm, and in my opinion, is the very best method if you are someone who quickly loses motivation, needs tangible reinforcement (is that even a thing?) or easily quits when you don’t see lightning fast results!

 

PRO: This method will keep you motivated along your journey.  It serves up quick wins and really helps you get some serious traction during the process!

CON: You may end up paying some extra money in interest with this method since you’re paying off the smallest balance first (even if it has the smallest interest rate as well) and the debt with the highest interest rate might end up last on your debt priority list.

 

The Debt Snowball System works by taking all your debts and listing them in order of balance – least through greatest – with #1 being the lowest balance and working your way up.

I will be using this completely made up, overly simplified chart to illustrate each method in case you’re a visual learner (like I am) and need to SEE it to “get it”.

So if these are your debts below, this is how you would sort them to create a debt snowball as your debt repayment method.

 

debt snowball chart debt repayment method

 

With this method, you only focus on one debt at a time.  You will always make the minimum payment on all of your debts each month, but will only focus on paying off one debt at a time.

Channeling all your focus solely on one debt allows you clear that debt considerably quicker than if you were working to pay them all off at the same time.

After you pay the minimum on debt #’s 2-5 (using the chart as an example) you take all the extra money in your budget and you add that to the minimum payment of debt #1 and you put it all on debt #1.

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Repeat this process each month putting every dime you can find on debt #1 until it is paid in full!  Congratulations, you just paid off your first debt!

This should feel amazing, this should give you confidence: both in yourself and your abilities and in this debt repayment system…you got fast results and you’re motivated to keep pushing through!

You will now make the minimum payment on debt #’s 3 & 4.  You will then take the minimum payment you were making on debt #1, plus all the extra in your budget and add that to the minimum payment of debt #2 and put it all towards debt #2.  Repeat this process each month until debt #2 is paid off!

Hopefully, this example shows you how quickly you will start to gain momentum with the debt snowball method!

 

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2 | The Debt Avalanche Method

The debt avalanche method is quite similar to the debt snowball method.  The major difference between the two is that with this system you will sort and pay off your debts by order of their interest rates.

 

PRO: You can save a few bucks in interest with this method!  How much, however, completely depends on your balances, interest rates and how fast you can clear all of your debt.

CON: It can take much longer to see substantial progress resulting in impatience and frustration.

 

Using the same numbers from our example above, here is the chart illustrating how to order your debts using the debt avalanche method…

 

debt avalanche chart debt repayment method

 

Using this method you will be clearing the debts first that are accruing interest at a higher rate.  This method might be best for you if don’t have as much money to put towards repaying debt.

The actual steps you take when repaying the debt are still essentially the same.  You will order your debts in the manner illustrated above, but you will pay them off using the same steps we outlined in the debt snowball method.

Clear debt #1 in its entirety, while still making the minimum payments on all other debts.  Then focus on debt #2 and so on and so forth until you are free!!

 

 

The debt avalanche method is a favorite for many, especially people who tend to be more focused on the details.  You might feel more accomplished if you are saving a bit extra in interest over the length of time it takes you to become debt-free.

Personally, we have found is that the motivation we get from using the debt snowball method seemed to have helped us pay off our debt even quicker than we had forecasted.  While using the debt avalanche system instead would have only resulted in very minimal savings!

Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint!  As mentioned above, I do want to see you become debt-free as quickly as you possibly can, but you must remain focused on the big picture!

You might save a few hundred dollars in interest but if that means you end up staying in debt a year longer, I’m not sure that makes much sense in the long run!

 



 

3 | The Highest Payment Method

As you may have guessed, when using the highest payment method you will pay off your debts by first paying off the balance with the highest monthly minimum payment.

The thought process here is that once this debt is paid off it frees up a larger amount of money to put towards your debts each month.

 

PRO: This may be helpful if you are extremely strapped and have virtually no money to put towards debt each month.

CON: Depending on the size of the debt (as pictured below in our example chart) it could take a great amount of time to pay off your first debt, still leaving you with very little money that entire length of time.

 

biggest payment chart debt repayment method

 

As in the previous two methods, the steps will remain the same but you will sort your debts as the example in the chart above.

As you can see, paying off debt #1 first will give you considerably more money to work with each month than if you paid off debt #5 first as you would if you were using the debt snowball or debt avalanche methods.

This isn’t often the preferred method, but it definitely has its advantages in certain circumstances.  Plus…who doesn’t love options?

But the bottom line is that you must determine the best method for you, which may not necessarily be the best method for someone else.

This is why it’s super important to sit down and have a finance/budget meeting with your partner or if you’re single, an accountability partner who can help guide you in making the best financial decisions (tip: don’t choose a partner in greater debt than yourself).

 




 

HERE’S THE DEAL . . .

Debt is a very personal subject so it can be tough to reach out for help and advice.  I hope you will find one of these methods a good fit for you in your current financial situation.

Get on a budget right away, stop using credit cards, build a starter emergency fund and switch to a cash payment system!

Work hard and work fast.  Maybe even start a side hustle to help boost your income so you have more money to pay off debt.

Lastly, really take some time, put your numbers down on paper and take a good look at how each method would play out for you.

Remember, you will save interest by using the debt avalanche, but the debt snowball is more rewarding and motivating, psychologically speaking.

The most important thing is that you get out of debt, regardless of the method.  Debt will continue to keep you from being free and fully enjoying your life – but only for as long as you allow, so don’t wait any longer!

 

 

Which debt repayment method do you think would work best for you?  If you’ve already tried one of them or are currently using one of these methods I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Don’t forget to check out my new Begin to Budget Bundle to help you get started budgeting today! 

The post The Most Effective Methods for Getting Out of Debt first appeared on Life of Stones.

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