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Budget

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8 Financial Resolutions to Make in 2021

With 2021, it is the perfect time to evaluate your financial situation and improve your financial health.

Big Items First:

1. Pay Off Credit Card Debt

Make a list of your credit cards, your balances, and your payment date. Also make a call and check the APR or % you are paying per year for that balance.

Start with the largest amount and highest APR – and start focusing on getting it paid down. You may also look at the smallest balance and work to pay that off first. Just look at the options and get focused.

Additional Tips:

– The other credit cards- pay more than the minimum each month (even if a small amount over).

– Look at low balance transfers to move debt out of high interest credit cards. Transfer fees may be 3-5% but this is typically better than the interest rate on the credit card

– Depending on the debt, you may pay off the debt with a home equity loan. Home equity interest is deductible – also, caution to those who do not pay on time…failure to pay may lead to foreclosure on your home.

2. Trim that Budget

Now is a great time to cut the budget and stick to it. Cancel cable, dine out less, and shop at discount places or go through your closet. This can be temporary or permanent but is a flexible situation. Look at things you spend money on and consider making some changes.

3. Create a Will. And Medical Power of Attorney.

A will is important. Should you die, you decide the estate, the children (if you and a spouse pass), avoid probate (in many cases), make donations, decide who makes decisions (executor), minimize taxes, and you can disinherit anyone you want.

A medical power of attorney is someone authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf of you are incapacitated. Medical power of attorney representative decides on withdrawing, giving medical or surgical treatments.

4. Make extra mortgage payments.

Every little bit helps! $100 a month, an extra payment a year…anything over time can make a huge difference. Paying an extra payment per year will equate to years off the loan.

Any monies on selling items I had went to the mortgage fund. Over time, it made a huge difference.

5. Evaluate Purchases by Cost Per Use

Think about the hoodie – is the $30 really better than the $5.00 hoodie? Or if you are wearing it daily should you splurge on the better quality?

I am a huge proponent of this factor. There was an amazing pair of boots for $275 Marc Fisher boots – I knew I would wear them at most 15 times…I found the Walmart dupe for $24 and bought brown and khaki and still stayed way under budget. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Marc Fisher but I can find quite a few ways to spend approximately $225 that does not involve boots

6. Spend money on experiences and not things

If you are spending money, then make it mean something. A concert, a trip, a picnic, a basketball game – these items are much more fulfilling than things.

7. Plan for Retirement

After getting your debt under control, then focus on retirement. Working for a school district, options include 403b or 457 Roth so a lot of money can be saved with maximum benefits. The more money you put in today, the more time it has to grow through compound growth.

8. Curb Overspending

Most people overspend in 3 ways: overspend on house, overspend on car, and overspend on entertainment.

Think about the size of house and cost of what is best for you, consider a more affordable car or plan to keep it longer once it is paid for, and entertainment – the number of trips, dining out, etc.

Hope this helps you think about your spending and how you might curb some spending!

Xoxo,

Heidi

0 In Budget/ Fashion/ Lifestyle/ Style

Boots to Add To Your Christmas List

We are partnering with Mukluk’s for today’s blog

It’s almoooost Christmas…and like that… it’s here! I love this time of year for a lot of reasons! The colder temperatures, the sweaters, and most of all boots!

This year is a little different than past year’s but shopping from the couch will have to do! Time to dive in and take a look at some amazing boots to pick up this season!

Earlier this fall, I was wearing tennis shoes and visited my renovation house and a 4” nail went into my foot. Ended up with a tetanus shot (my last one was 5 years ago) – it was a rusty nail and ended up taking antibiotics and the shot – now I wear boots when going to the house! The pair seen above are Ingrid Boot and I now wear these to my reno house often!

Once you find a boot that fits well, you stick with them! Mukluks are an amazing brand and have purchased them for years. The Nikita Boot is so soft and chic. It is almost like wearing a pair of slippers.

The Ingrid Boot is perfect for jeans or leggings and can be worn just about anytime. The Ingrid Boot slips on easily. The boots can be worn in a casual way or can be dressed up.

The Logan Boot is popular and when it comes in stock; it typically sells out! It is a classic style and is higher than the Ingrid – has a little more character with the style. The Logan Boot is another slip on and does keep your feet extremely warm.

The right pair of boots and the left pair of boots. The Patrice Boot (left) is cute, small block heel, with fashionable knit overlay. The Verna (right) is a cozy pair of boots with cozy faux fur – cute enough for family pictures and rugged enough for a hike. Here is a pic of my mom and I hanging out at my place. Funny story here, we were just talking about how to capture a picture of the boots and this one was snapped with Coco – turned out spectacular.

The Chris Boot is stylish and the heel provides a bit of a dressier feel. The heel is higher than it looks. It is an ankle boot and is stylish; these are not hiking boots.

The Lacy Boot is ideal for leggings or tight pants. The Lacy fashion boot had a decorative side zipper with a plush lining and block heel.

As I wrap up my final thoughts, I am snuggled near the fireplace with my Verna Boots and can say that these are cozy and comfy! Mukluks are true to size. I am wearing a size 8 in all the boots.

Let me know if you own or pair or make a purchase!

Check out Mukluks Boots.

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Xoxo,

Heidi

0 In Lifestyle/ Travel

Spend Money on Experiences…And Buy Those Shoes…

As I have hit almost 40….my goals are different than they once were. I have spent years working hard, getting through school, and being frugal along the way.

I have always been a shopper and a deal seeker…this will never change but my priorities have shifted in the last year. Let me explain…

I worked as a teacher for 3.5 years, became an assistant principal for almost 14 years, and currently work at a district office for a school system.

When It came time to purchase a house; The bank said I could afford a very large house; I never felt comfortable with paying more than I would in rent on my own and thus…chose a new, nice neighborhood that served my needs. I felt with this my life would be more abundant and having resources and freedom was essential to my well-being.

With my cost of living being low (lower than most rent) – it afforded me the opportunity to have more experiences.

For me, experiences create happiness. Spending time on a vacation has always been important in my family and that connection has continued even after my dad’s passing.

For me, experiences create a life change every time it happens. I get excited about the adventure, during, and after…The picture above is in Africa. Still cannot let go of the first time an elephant looked at me right in the eyes.

Strong memories make me happy and as Marie Kondo would say. “Does it bring joy”

One of the most exciting and scariest things I have ever done was getting in a microlight and flying over Victoria Falls.

I can never undo the experiences I have had. I am continuing to learn, grow, and remain grateful.

Machu Picchu taught me so much about drainage. Didn’t see that one coming – did you? The Incas were incredible masters of building and when the rain comes (and it did on this trip) everything was completely saturated and fog rolled in; the weather (mainly fog) then rain stopped and everything drained perfectly….

Seeing the Pyramids and remembering King Tut on my 6th Grade Social Studies Book was epic. There has been unrest in the area for years but ventured out and had the best time!

Keeping up with the Kardashians is Real

As I have approached almost 40….I remember getting my first Lexus RX 330 (at the time) Bamboo color and it had every bell and whistle. I loved that car and drove it til it was on its last leg. I do not regret that car or how much it cost me, but I remember in 2003 – it was expensive and it was a big spend.

If spending a lot of money, you should know – driving a car off the lot – instantly $7k drop in value it but it is the American way to go big or go home.

Do what gives you sustainable happiness.

I spend the majority of my money on experiences now.

I sign up for credit cards (I can do a post on this) and take many free flights to locations….

Like my mom and I wanted to Trick or Treat at Disney – free flight, free hotel – pay Disney for Not so Scary Halloween Party and we went Trick or Treating!

I grew up taking a minimum of 4 nice vacations a year and when I say nice – cruises, explorations, adventures, and Disney. Let me say, they were nice vacations but not extravagant and I continue to live this way today. I would rather take 4 nice vacations at 4 star than 1 5 Star Vacation.

This upcoming weekend, my Mom and I are going to Florida and will be taking a Disney cake decorating class. Experiences are not always vacations, they can be eating out for dinner (though I would rather spend more for a trip than an expensive meal) and concerts or a football game.

I like things…..and I buy them….this where Instagram has helped me. I am able to get a lot of wonderful items or new products without paying for them (alternate revenue source) – yes you have to claim it on your taxes but my cash can be spent on other things.

Sustaining happiness and remaining grateful … the keys to life.

I had a few people ask in the last week, when are you getting a new Lexus and I didn’t have an answer…my car has 208,000 miles, runs well, is safe, and gets me where I want to go. I can afford to buy the car, but I also just booked a trip to Antarctica….my happiness of completing my 7th continent has much more value than a car.

I think for me it comes back to the experience of buying a new car and getting exactly what I wanted…..it represented that I worked hard and paid for it; it never mattered that it was a Lexus or could have been a Porsche…it was not a label thing – it was a bucket list item.

I am living my best life …day by day. I challenge you to evaluate your things v. your experiences. If you will be happy with the new car, buy it. If those amazing shoes will make you smile – buy them!

You will regret the things you did not do more…than the things you did ❤️ and if the need arises….I might just buy that car 🚗

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0 In Family/ Lifestyle

Simple Hosting With Bob Evans

I’d like to start with saying Thank You to my Followers! Every comment, dm, and question motivates me to share more. Today I’m sharing information on how to have a very easy Holiday Party after work with friends!

I decided to invite some friends over about a week before the party and Bob Evans was so kind in gifting me a Farmhouse Feast. Everything for the meal comes in the box. Knowing that weekends are hard with family functions; opted for a Tuesday Night.

Step 1: a day or so in advance. Place an online order or call into Bob Evans. I ordered online.

Www.bobevans.com

Bob Evans will deliver at select locations*

Then picked up the items on the way home from work. (I set the pickup at 4 pm). I picked up at 5 pm and the party began at 6:30 pm.

This little handout is fantastic as it tells you from start to finish – how to prepare everything and different timelines for a 6 pm dinner and how much food. From start to finish – 1 hour!

Green Beans and Chicken Gravy were placed on the stove.

Turkey, ham, and mashed potatoes went in the oven for 45 mins.

After the oven was warmed up and stove was heating up; the Bread and celery dressing went in the microwave for 10 mins.

Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, and Pumpkin Bread were also provided and were ready to go.

Everything was provided to have an amazing feast. Outside of the oven heating; everything was ready within 1 hour.

To recap the highlights for me:

1. 1 hour to get a large meal ready

2. Minimal cleanup – storage containers were reused for leftovers

3. Fantastic food

4. Price for everything you get is a deal.

5. Serves 8-10 and includes: Slow-Roasted Turkey and Hickory-Smoked Ham, Corn, Bread and Celery Dressing, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, Rolls, Green Beans with Ham, Cranberry Relish, Macaroni & Cheese, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Pie, Double Crusted Apple Pie for $125

Smaller options are available and items can be substituted upon availability.

Recommend you checking out the Farmhouse Feast the next family get together or Friendsgiving. I would also recommend for holiday guests or anyone who is currently going through any situation. There is a large amount of food and can be saved and stored – cleanup is easy.

Special Thanks to Bob Evans for sponsoring this post.

Bob Evans Feast:

https://www.bobevans.com/farmhouse-feast?utm_source=instagram&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=farmhouse_feast&utm_trendy_heidi

Bob Evans Feast: https://www.bobevans.com/farmhouse-feast

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0 In Bucket List/ Budget/ Couples/ Family/ Female Travels/ Itinerary/ Machu Picchu/ Peru/ South America/ Travel/ Travel Advice/ Travel Tips

How to Get Machu Picchu Tickets Before You Go!

 

There are a limited number of tickets to Machu Picchu per day; so it is advisable to get the tickets prior to arriving in Peru.

First, you will go to http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe or Machu Picchu Tickets Click Here

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  1. On the right hand side, you will select the language. You will select Machu Picchu (follow the pink arrows)
  2. Then you have to decide if you want to visit in the morning or in the afternoon. The yellow arrow is the morning 6 AM-12:00PM; once you are in, you can stay beyond 12:00 PM but will be unable to re-enter after this time. If you select the blue, that is the afternoon time slot starting at 12:00PM -6PM. You will not be able to enter early unless Machu Picchu’s entrance is closing around 2 PM, then you can spend the entire day.
  3. To go to the next page, you will select Step 2. (bottom middle of the page)

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At the top you will notice the availability remaining on the particular day you are looking at and you will be asked to select the number of tickets. For this, you will need to know passport numbers, age, and full names. This is in case you forget your tickets; they can look it up.

When finished click Step 3.

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On this page you will put contact name information, passport information, and your email address. You will confirm the number of visitors and the total amount (remember, this is in soles which is 3.14 soles=1USD) around 65.00 USD/person/day.

You have to click the two boxes verifying that the information is correct and you agree to the conditions. Click Book.

A reservation code will pop up. You will need to click on the payments tab (see left blue arrow) and you will pay here after entering your reservation code (this is NOT your ticket). When you are finished, you will take the reservation code and go to the check in tab in order to print your tickets (right blue arrow).

Questions? Just ask!