“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned…to buy things they don’t want…to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Rogers
Have you heard this one before? Will Rogers definitely hit the nail on the head in terms of budgeting. I mean, where do we draw the line between what we want and what we need? When budgeting, we should ask ourselves if we really want something or if we are buying it to impress someone else. If that is the case, it is better left on the shelf.
It doesn’t help that 8 out of 10 of Americans are in debt (source CNBC.com). Money management has been left behind as we view commercials showcasing the “cool” guy in the car with a bunch of hot girls, the best hair, best clothes, and the best life! He is living “the good life” we all want, right? It is because of advertisements such as these that most people feel what they have is never enough and going into debt for “the good life” is as easy as a stroll in the park.
Yes, my friends…Advertising is at an all-time high. You may not realize you want that new lamp until you see a perfectly placed store display at Target and the lamp starts calling your name. After watching one cartoon, my kids now want three different toys they didn’t even know existed until the said cartoon was complete.
It seems the latest and greatest has replaced any concern for sticking to a budget. Credit cards are the norm and people spend on a whim without realizing the full consequences. These consequences of spending without a budget include the following:
- Huge debt
- Paying interest
- Paying more for items because of interest
- Losing your car
- Losing your house
- Unneeded stress and anxiety
- Debt collectors
Is your budget bursting like the buttons on Santa’s coat? Is swiping your credit card making your anxiety run high? Holiday spending is a major cause of stress. It is easy to get caught up in all the gift giving and Holiday activities that we live in the moment and forget the Holidays can spin us into a whirlwind of debt.
The best way to curb the anxiety is to create a plan. If you make a budget and check it twice, you are bound to have a stress free Holiday Season with visions of a debt-free life dancing in your head.
According to an annual study conducted by Prosper Insight and Analytics people plan to spend an average of $967.13 which is up about 3.4% from last year (source National Retail Federation). Not to mention, 56% of Americans plan on going into debt for the Holidays and although many realize how important a budget is 58% of families fail to stay on budget. (source: The Motley Fool). Spending $967.13 is a HUGE chunk of change, especially if you are already struggling financially.
Many are tempted to dip into their emergency fund or retirement account or open a credit card to make ends meet during the Holiday Season. This is a bad idea all around. Your emergency fund should be used only when NEEDED and using a credit card only guarantees you will pay way more because of interest. Since going into debt this Holiday season is not an option, I’m going to give you some jingly-good ideas to help save your budget and still have a nice Christmas or any Holiday you celebrate.
Earning extra money isn’t always easy, however what if you could make some extra cash while sitting on your couch watching T.V.? Would you do it? Taking surveys is such an easy side hustle it is hard to pass up. Yet, you must know before you start, you are not going to become rich by taking surveys and it would be extremely difficult to make this your full-time job. Nonetheless, if you are just looking for some extra spending money or saving up for the Holidays or vacation spending money, then this is the side gig for you!
One reservation I had about taking surveys was putting my information out there; however, if you work with a trusted survey site (see the ones I recommend below) you can rest at ease and feel confident in sharing your opinion. Sometimes you will even get to try free products! For example, I’ve got four different samples from Pinecone Research shipped right to my door. The best part was, I got paid $3 to review the products which took around 15 minutes. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE getting paid to try new products.
Reasons people may shy away from surveys:
- Too much work, not enough money
- Don’t want to share personal information
- Not many survey opportunities
- It’s not the right “time” to sign up
- Afraid of scams
Like many people, maybe you are intrigued by the whole “survey thing” but you just haven’t taken the plunge and signed up. – Or maybe you don’t know where to start. I feel you. These are valid concerns! Yet, the survey companies listed below are all trusted companies that I have personally tried myself (or I wouldn’t be recommending them to you.) You can trust that you will make money or gift cards and you will get the most money for your time – I don’t like wasting my time either.
Suggested Reading: 7 Common Money Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Suggested Reading: 25 Ways to Earn Money Fast
Don’t forget, the more sites you sign up for, the more earning potential you will have since you will not get survey opportunities every day from most of these companies.
Toy shopping for young children is quite overwhelming. There are so many choices and it is difficult to know just what toys are the best learning toys for preschool children.
I used to be a teacher and part of my studies included early childhood education and I taught preschool for two years in college. Then I worked with preschool-age children that were struggling while I was a special education teacher.
Yes, this gives me the inside scoop! Oh and I forgot to mention, I have two sweet, sticky-faced preschoolers living with me! My sons are ages three and five and attend junior kindergarten and preschool three’s respectively.
With all this inside info, it will be easy for you to find the best learning toys this year. Yes, it is great to have that cool action figure or doll your son or daughter adores, but in this gift guide, you will find the best learning toys for your children so you can give them something you feel good about.
Furthermore, I will describe why the toys I picked are useful and beneficial for growth and learning in young children.
After teaching for thirteen years, I’ve concluded that all parents want the best for their children. No matter where we come from or what age or stage of life we are in, we are all pulling for our children and want to do right by them.
This is why it is crucial to have some preschool age play-based learning toys under the tree this year, instead of the same old toy that your child loves for one day and then throws in the closet and never uses again – parents, we all know that toy! So this year follow along and let this be your number one toy gift guide!
Keep in mind, there is something for every budget and you do not have to spend a lot of money to help your child learn.