Teaching Your Kids About Self-Love on a Budget

Women’s Day is fast upon us.  While stressing about significant others and women party nights is high on the list of priorities, so are Girl boxes, Frozen cards, and plenty of candy to accommodate every kid in your child’s class.  Amid the frenzy of this crafty, cutesy holiday, it can be really fun to focus on one thing with your children: self-love.

 

The beautiful thing about self-love is that it doesn’t have to cost a cent.  Love can be time spent with someone else. It can be moral support through a hard time.  It can be a card professing all the things we appreciate about the special people in our lives.  Women’s Day can be a great time to impart these important lessons on our children, and we can do it in so many fun, meaningful ways.

 

Heart Attacks

 

Is there someone in your life that you know might need a pick-me-up on March 8th?  Or even just someone your family wants to show appreciation for?  Shower them with a heart attack!

 

There are two ways to go about this, but they both start with the same supplies:  lots of paper in hues of red, pink, and purple, along with scissors and enough hands to cut a barrage of hearts.  After you’ve prepared your heart-shaped profession of love, you can either (quietly) decorate the recipients front door and porch with your hearts, ding-dong ditching and watching their reaction from afar, or you can stuff them all in a box to mail to them special delivery.  Either way, it’s a fun gift to receive, and shows the recipient just how much they are appreciated.

 

Write a Love Letter

 

Putting our feelings for someone into words can be a powerful exercise, both for the writer and the recipient.  Have the kids write a letter to someone they love, explaining all the reasons they make them feel warm and fuzzy.  No romance required; just a pen, paper, and sincerity.

 

Face Time Your Valentines

 

Have a family member or family friend that lives far away?  One of the beautiful things about technology is that we can still see each other face to face, at least when we make the time to do it.  Set aside some time this weekend to make a family call to someone you don’t get to see often.  You could have your children read their aforementioned love letters aloud to them, or even have them draw a picture of their feelings to display via camera.

 

Be Kind

 

Make a family pact to go out of your way to do something kind this week.  It could be for a friend, a family member, a teacher, or even something as simple as holding a door open for a stranger while you’re out.  Sometime this weekend, round up the troops to discuss their experiences.  How did they show kindness this week?  How did it make them feel?  Is it something they’d like to do again?  If so,  you won’t have to wait until March 2016 to repeat.  It’s a tradition that can be fun for the whole family year round, while making the world a better place, one small act of kindness at a time.

 

How to Buy & Sell Your Clothes Online

Busy is a way of life for so many people. If we’re lucky, we might have  time to clean out our closets. Once you finally get to your Spring/Summer/Winter/Fall cleaning, what do you do with your stuff? It’s easy to lug everything over to Goodwill, but wait! What about that big ticket item you bought when you got that bonus five years ago? Sure, it hasn’t fit you in three years, but still! Do you really want to send your Roberto Cavalli dress to Goodwill? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that it would go to a good home?

Dropping off clothes at your local consignment shop once per season is a great way to get rid of your clothes and make a few bucks on the side. Furthermore, they take care of whatever doesn’t sell, unless you want to pick them up. But still, be aware that you typically will only reap about 40% of the profit, while the store gets 60%. If you’d rather collect the whole check, or have a big ticket item and really want to collect the whole check, try an online second hand store instead. There are so many options, it’s hard to know where to start. Here’s an overview:

Ebay–tried and true, ebay has been around for nearly two decades. It’s easy to use and does the leg work for you. In fact, if you don’t know the ins and outs of ebay, you can simply send them your stuff and have a “valet” sell them for you! You can even purchase your postage on ebay. Before you start here are few tips to be aware of:

  • Ebay now charges you a small percentage of your sales, and more if you use a valet.  You will get a monthly invoice and sometimes this takes the wind out of your profit.
  • There are a little of tips and tricks when it comes to using ebay. Many local towns even offer classes on ebay–there’s THAT much to know. You may want to educate yourself on best practices of buying and selling in order to make the most out of your profit.

Poshmark–this is really cool. If feels more like Facebook or shoppers. You can post a photo of your item and others shoppers can ask questions and make offers. You can accept the offer, or even a trade. You are totally in control of the transaction. It’s totally laid back and user friendly. You can personalize your search so you get a regular “feed” with items you may like.

thredUP--an online consignment store. I like this store. It offers a really high-end vibe for consignment sImage result for threduphopping online. Here’s how it works:

  • Order a thredUP Clean Out bag and fill it with your retired goodies and send it back for FREE.
  • Their “fashion resale professionals” review your clothing and pay up to 80% of the resale value! You can earn thredUP shopping credit, or simply cash out with PayPal.

If you’re REALLY savvy, check out Shopify, a platform that allows you to create your own online forum!

Good luck and happy shopping!

Find Money Without Working for It

Money doesn’t grow on trees, but you can find it in unexpected places.  When you think about increasing your budget, you likely think of working longer hours or picking up a side job to bring in that extra cash.  While those are productive ideas, there are other ways to infuse your checkbook with some much needed moolah the lazy man’s way.

 

Clean House With Craigslist

 

When’s the last time you took inventory of all of your stuff?  You probably have a lot of it, and you probably don’t use half of it.  When we go through all of our things, we ask ourselves three questions:

 

  1. Have we used it in the past six months?
  2. Are we going to use it in the next month?
  3. Is this an item with strong sentimental value that cannot be replaced?

 

If the answer to all three of those is, “No,” we used to donate it to our local thrift store.  Now we take a picture and list it on Craigslist.  Spring Cleaning suddenly got a whole lot more profitable.

 

Find What’s Yours

 

As we speak, there are billions of dollars that ordinary people across the country are owed.  The money is just sitting there, waiting to be claimed.  It may be a paycheck that an employer never fulfilled.  It may be an insurance payment or dividend that never quite made it your way.  It may be cash from an old bank account you simply forgot about.  Where ever it came from, it’s all sitting in your state or province treasury.  Use Unclaimed.org to see if you’ve got some long-forgotten money just waiting to be discovered.

 

Keep it In Your Pocket

 

One of the simplest ways to increase your budget is to stop spending so much money.  When you go grocery shopping, use coupons.  When you go shopping online, be sure to check PromoPro.com before checkout to make sure you don’t miss savings on the things you were going to buy anyways.  Whether you’re buying home decor from Target, or birthday gifts off of Amazon, coupon codes are a quick and easy way to reduce your bill each time you shop.  It’s easy to say these savings are small, but when you use them consistently you’ll start to see the numbers in your bank account growing in a big way.

 

Automatically Deduct to A Savings Account

 

A great way to find money in your bank account is to have a computer put it there for you.  When you set up an automatic transfer from checking to savings with every paycheck, you won’t notice that the money’s gone.  The computer sets it aside for you so you won’t even have a chance to spend it.  Prepare to be amazed the next time you check your savings account balance.  Even though you’ll have the same job with the same income, you’ll feel a little bit wealthier.  And you should.  Because you will be.

 

Get Paid More for the Work You Already Do

 

What if I told you that you could be making more money for the work you already do?  You’d probably get ready for a lateral transfer.  But you don’t have to.  You can stay put at your place of employment, and still bring home a larger paycheck by entering salary negotiations.  These are usually done at annual performance reviews, but figure out your workplace dynamics:  they may allow you to request one anytime of year. When you’re offered a number, don’t just take it. Know what you’re worth, and negotiate reasonably until you’re satisfied with the compensation they’re offering.

How to Wear Sneakers To Work

 

I love my kicks. I love the classic kind, like Converse and Adidas. In fact, I just ordered my new Stan Smith Originals from Adidas for my spring look. And you know what? I 100% plan to wear them to work. Yes, I work in a professional environment (with a little leniency), but I’ll show you how I plan to pull it off. These looks will work with either my classic Converse or my Stan Smith’s.

 

If you need to be comfy, but you’re not into Orthopedic shoes, I would go with the Stan Smith’s. I find the Converse to eventually begin to make my feet ache because of lack of support. Keep in my these three things first:

  • Trainers or running shoes won’t really work. These are gym sneakers, not fashion sneakers.
  • Keep ‘em clean. There’s a fine between looking chic and looking lazy.
  • Make it a total look. You have to think about the outfit on the whole–they don’t work with everything. Here are some ways to wear it:

Wide leg pants–I have a great pair of black Robert Rodriquez wide leg, high waisted pants that work great with fashion sneakers. The wide pants hid the shoe a bit and but it ends up being a great mix of sporty and chic. On top, I like a chambray shirt either tucked in, or tied at the waist with a statement necklace. Leaving it tucked out would be too casual. This look is about balance. The chambray button down is casual with a dressy black pant and casual shoes, but a statement necklace gives the look the little bump it needs to still be professional and fashion forward.

Pencil Skirts and flouncy skirts--this look is super cute, feminine and comfy. You want to do this in the spring time. Do not, I repeat DO NOT do this look with stockings or tights. Denim, black or brightly colored pencil skirts all look great with this look! Do a tucked in t-shirt, chambray shirt (goes with everything), or casual blouse, button down or spring sweater.

 

Skinny Cropped Pants–the opposite of the wide leg pant look, a tailored pant can really heighten the look. You want to be careful to to keep the pant cropped to showcase the shoe, rather than hide it. A regular length pant will look like you’re wearing sneakers because your feet hurt, not because it’s fashion forward (AND your feet need a break). The cropped pants create a look around the shoes. Again, little sweaters, button downs, pretty much anything goes on top. Always balance the look with a bit of casual jewelry–nothing too shiny or too blingy, or the look won’t blend.