Category Archives: Finance

Prom Freebies at JCPenney on 3/17

If there’s a young lady in your life who’s attending prom, head over to JCPenny on 3/17 for these cool freebies:

“The first 40 people to visit the JCPenney Prom department will receive a free Prom emergency kit with fun beauty goodies, plus a prom passport with offers to guide you through the store. Enjoy free prom hair consultations from the JCPenney Salon and a free Mini Makeover from Sephora Inside JCPenney.”

Prom is a fun experience, but the cost can be ridiculous, so this is a great event to make it more affordable.

8 Expert Tips to Spring Clean Your Finances

The following post was sponsored by Axiom Bank.

Ah, spring—the time we all feel the urge to declutter and deep clean. In addition to making the house pristine, there might be another part of your life that could use a good sprucing up—your finances.

Ron Strand-Sorrell, EVP Chief Operating Officer, at Florida-based Axiom Bank explains why that’s so important and how to go about doing it. “Your income and spending can change over the course of a year, sometimes drastically. We usually take notice of the big changes, but all those little changes can add up and have a significant effect on your overall financial health.”

Follow these eight expert tips on how to spring clean your finances, and you’ll be well on your way to getting your finances in order:

1. Review your budget

When was the last time you looked at your budget? A lot may have changed since then. Now is the time to revisit your income/expenses and adjust them as needed. Try a new tech tool such as the AxiomGO mobile banking app that offers a budgeting tool, My $ Manager, to set savings goals and spending limits for various categories. The app notifies you when you’ve almost reached your limit, which is so helpful.

2. Organize your financial documents

Where do you store your bank statements and tax documents? Take a few hours to develop an organization system, whether that’s arranging documents in a plastic storage bin or creating PDFs to store on the cloud. Here’s a look at what you need to keep and what you can toss.

3. Go paperless

Save trees and cut the clutter by opting out of receiving monthly paper statements for your accounts. Less paper = less junk! Worried you’ll forget to pay your bill? Try #4.

4. Set up auto pay   

Never miss a payment. Never pay a late fee. Just be sure the money will be in your account on the dates you’ve scheduled to avoid any overdrafts. 

5. Scrutinize your credit report

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies every year. Look for things like old accounts you’ve forgotten to close or multiple reports of the same debt. Check for errors, too, such as information for someone with a similar name appearing on your report. Errors are actually quite common! Get a free copy here.

6. Evaluate your debt

How much do you owe? What are your interest rates? Set up a plan for paying it all off, prioritizing accounts with the highest interest rates. Be bold: Give your credit holders a call and ask for a lower interest rate. They’ve been known to do it. Or, consider transferring credit card balances to a no or low-interest rate card.

7. Examine your insurance

Are you getting the best deals on home, life and auto insurance? Have your coverage needs changed? Take a visual inventory of your belongings. Photograph all of them and record approximately how much you paid for them. Should disaster strike, such as a fire, this will be invaluable!

8. Find and eliminate hidden charges

Check your phone, internet and cable bills to see if you’re paying for services or features you don’t use. If you are, have them turned off. If you’re not using your gym membership, cancel it. And make sure you’re not being charged for expired “free trials” that aren’t useful, either. Little charges add up and eliminating what’s unnecessary can be very productive.

Axiom Bank, N.A, a nationally chartered community bank headquartered in Central Florida, provides retail banking services, including checking, savings, money market and CD accounts, as well as commercial banking, treasury management services and commercial loans for both real estate and business purposes.

Passover Savings at Dollar Tree

This post contains affiliate links. I’ll be compensated if you click them. I was compensated for this post.

Planning parties is fun… paying for them certainly is not! Whenever possible, I try to save money by looking for bargains, especially on disposable items. Since everything at Dollar Tree is so affordable, I’m picking up lots of supplies for Passover. (Yes, I’m early, but planning way in advance cuts down on the chaos.)

One of the coolest features of Dollar Tree is that you can search by color. I found tons of bold blue items like dinner plates, dessert plates, napkins, cups, plastic utensils, crepe paper streamers, and plastic table covers.

For an accent color, silver is perfect. I love to tie a balloon to the back of everyone’s chair.

For most kids, the Seder’s high point is searching for the Afikoman. We like to hide multiples so that many children have the chance to find it (more winners equals less jealousy and complaining). Fun things to give away are bubbles, glow in the dark stars, stuffed animals, plush footballs, sidewalk chalk, etc. Obviously, no food items for this holiday, but most everything else is fair game.

Since the cost is much less than a Big Box store and I can order online, that ensures a lovely celebration with a minimum of fuss for this tired hostess. (Seriously, today is Purim and we already have another holiday to prepare for next month!)

Find the right items for your party at Dollar Tree.

7 Easy Tips That’ll Turn You into a Personal Budgeting Pro

The following post was sponsored by AxiomGo

How many Americans stick to a budget? According to a recent survey, a whopping 82% claim they do. When pressed to define exactly how they do it, 33% said it’s “scrawled out on paper somewhere” and almost 20% keep track “in my head.” (Obviously, that’s not the most efficient way!)

Budgeting can be complicated and confusing; the truth is that almost 60% of Americans don’t use a household budget, even though it’s essential for buying the things you need (and want) now, along with saving for the future.

Here are seven practical tips that will make it easier to stay on track financially:

1. Keep it real

Starting a budget is like starting an exercise routine: It’s best to ease yourself into it. Drastic changes that are impossible to make will only leave you feeling discouraged and defeated. Don’t beat yourself up when you stumble. Learn from your mistakes and keep at it. 

2. Don’t guess

Review all your bank transactions for the past three months to get an idea of how much your life really costs. Don’t assume you spend only $50.00 a month on gas. Find out what you’ve paid in the past and budget that amount. You’ll be surprised, maybe even shocked, by what you discover.

3. Use the right tools

Axiom Bank’s new mobile app, AxiomGO, has an integrated personal budgeting tool, My $ Manager, that calculates your income and helps you set spending limits for various categories. You will get pinged when you’ve almost reached the amount allotted for each category, meaning you’ll know to start saying “no” so you can still cover the mortgage. Furthermore, you’ll be able to set payoff and savings goals to keep yourself accountable.

4. Be a money detective

Identify a common purchase or two that can be cut back or eliminated. For example: One less trip to the coffee shop each week could net you $300 over the course of a year. One fewer family dinner at a restaurant each month could easily double or triple that. Build upon your early success by tackling one expense at a time.

5. Challenge yourself

Vow to stop eating lunch out and then transfer what you would have spent to your savings account. Try a spending freeze where for a week or two you only buy necessities. Plan “no-spend” weekends and fill them with free entertainment alternatives. Get friends and family in on the action by challenging them to a saving competition.

6. Budget to zero

One way to do this is to record in detail every single purchase you make for a week. When mapping out your expenses, account for every dollar. It may feel strange or uncomfortable to do this, but it’s important. Only when you know how all your money is being spent will you actually become in control of it. Plus, you won’t be left wondering “where did it all go?”

7. Focus on the endgame

Forgoing certain purchases might feel like a sacrifice, but keep it in perspective: You’re on the path to something bigger. Whether you want to retire early, eliminate debt, save for a vacation, boost your rainy-day fund or simply stay in the black each pay cycle, focus on how small savings decisions can really add up.

Log into My $ Manager on the AxiomGO mobile banking app and start setting your financial goals. By doing so, you could score big time. Just one goal will enter you to win one of two $250 prizes, or one of three $100 prizes!