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Friday, April 27, 2012

Just a Reminder...My Budget Travel Tips book is Free today :)

Photo Credit Retro Modern Housewife


Hey guys, My eBook is completely free today, just click on the cover below. Have a great one!

FREE E-BOOK!



Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Free Gas and the Broke Single Mom

Photo Credit EnjoyArt


I happened upon a cool site for single moms' run by Lindsay called Grants for Single Moms. One of her posts touted free gas for your car and the premise is simple, certain companies will pay for your gasoline if you attach their advertising to your car.

One is Free Gas USA and there are of course applications and restrictions but it seems like a good idea especially these days with gas at over $4 a gallon in most places.

But even if you don't qualify or get accepted to any of the programs she has listed on her site, this is something you can do locally. Small businesses have limited funds for promotion and advertising. If you are a people person and aren't shy then you can type up a one sheet offer to hand out to local business.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ladies Night and the Broke Single Mom

Photo Credit Zazzle


When I was in my 20's and living in New York, then New Jersey, Ladies Night meant getting my hair done, buying a fabulous new pair of shoes at my favorite Nine West store near my job or a new top and hanging out with my girls at the club dancing away til the wee hours of the morning. This could and did set me back an easy $150 and up per outing, but I made a lot more money back then and it was never really an issue.

Now it is, but that doesn't stop us, and it shouldn't stop you either. Since I like to travel I always try to keep my ladies night or movie outings at the lowest cost without affecting the desired final outcome.

So what can you do if you crave a break and want to have a ladies night but don't have a lot of extra money to do so? Be creative and remember that Ladies Night out can be easily done without hitting a club or bar.

While some women use ladies night to meet men, my friends and I use it to decompress and relax. So if that is what you are looking forward to, then read on.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Free Budget Travel e-Book and the Broke Single Mom

Photo Credit Tiny Apartment Blog


Hey guys!

Just a heads up that my book "Budget Travel Tips: Six Mistakes to Avoid When Traveling With Friends and Family" will be free on April 27th from Midnight through Midnight running all of that Friday April 27th on Amazon.com.

FREE E-BOOK. YAY!


So feel free to grab a copy!

 Happy Saturday :)

Budgeting Dave Ramsey Style and the Broke Single Mom


Photo Credit Modern Retro Woman


Growing up we were poor. Like sometimes we came home from school and the lights would be shut off poor, white rice and a fried egg for dinner a few nights a week poor and buying our new school year sneakers in bins at the local discount store type of poor.

There was no "budget" unless you consider robbing Peter to pay Paul a sound family money management plan, which I don't. My mom did the best she could after divorcing my abusive father. But even after she remarried we survived paycheck to paycheck.

Now, I am also poor (It's a sad cycle that I am trying to break) and find myself struggling. I do balance my checkbook though and I have also found other ways to supplement my income over the years. So in that respect I am a step ahead.

And then a few years ago I discovered Dave Ramsey and he has been a God send. I will be honest and say that I have yet to implement his full approach to money management, but I will, baby steps ladies geesh. :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gift Giving and The Broke Single Mom

When my three kids were younger they were invited to a lot of birthday parties. Between friends from school, church, baseball and cheerleading we were at a party almost every weekend.

But it got expensive and quick. Then one day a friend of mine called from Toys R Us and asked if I wanted a toy that was on clearance for my sons. It was a red pliable "monster" that looked similar to Muno from Yo Gabba Gabba.

I asked how much and was shocked when she said $2.50 with an original price of $24.99. I immediately said yes and asked her to get me 5 of them. I should have bought 10.

That weekend I wrapped one up and we took it along as a gift for a boy in my sons class, and he loved it. That night I remembered watching a segment on an old show (can't recall the name right now) where they talked about having a gift closet. They suggested stocking your Gift Closet with solid color gift wrapping paper and blank greeting cards as well as small items that are easy to wrap and gift at the last minute.

I lived in a 3 bedroom apartment at the time with limited closet space. So I created a Gift Box. Every time I found wrapping paper on sale (especially right after Christmas and Easter) I would stock up on any and all solid color rolls for as little as .25¢, I bought tape, colored gel pens and found beautiful and great quality Christmas cards that were blank inside and racked up at $1 a pack. I got lucky because the cards didn't have any of the usual Christmas pictures on the front. They were more neutral, little lambs or a snow filled street, that type of front.

And every time I came across a great deal I bought as much as I could afford. Barbies for $3 yep , gimme 10. Tonka trucks for $4.99, lemme grab 3. Even outerwear like hat and glove sets and fun stuff like flippers and floaties. It all went into my box and under my bed and on the side of my dresser :)
                                                                         
It saved me money and more importantly stress. No more taking an hour or two every week trying to find a gift in my budget, no more arguing about the choices of gifts my kids were making either.
The kids now knew that they could simply pick a gift we already had, grab a card and I would wrap it all up.

What you need:

A closet
A large Box
A shelf
Dollar store contact paper
A Keen eye for bargains

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Amtrak and the Broke Single Mom

If you've ever wanted a good alternative when looking to plan a budget vacation, look no further than Amtrak.

photo credit Gene Gable


I will be the first to tell you that I usually say driving is the cheapest way to get where you're going. But sometimes it just isn't possible. Maybe you live in a city and don't own a car. Or maybe you don't have a license. Perhaps you'd rather not drive a long distance. Whatever the reason just know that flying is not the only way to arrive, especially when you are on a super tight budget.

And while yes there are buses, Greyhound and Megabus are what we use when my sons dance crew goes to NYC for dance battles, for longer rides you might not want to go that route, especially with small children.

When I used Amtrak for our Spring Break trip to Chicago, I got our tickets for less than the price of one airline ticket and surprisingly the price was about the same as the bus.

Perks of traveling on Amtrak:

  • Better prices than air fare (depending on the route)
  • More comfortable than the bus
  • Kids 15 and younger pay half price
  • Three 50 lb bags allowed to be checked in free per ticket holder
  • Two 50 lb bags allowed as carry on free per ticket holder
  • You get to experience train travel (like in the olden days)
  • The kids will love the dining carts
  • The seating is big, roomy, and comfy and comes equipped with outlets to keep your phones and laptops charged

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Plato's Closet and the Broke Single Mom

Three years ago I wrote an article for what is now called Yahoo Voices. It was a review about Plato's Closet.

I wanted to share the wonder that is Plato's with you. They sell "previously loved" name brand and designer clothing, footwear and accessories at anywhere from 20% up to 90% off the retail value.

When my oldest son started going through his Ralph Lauren Polo phase (is it a phase if its been 2 years?) I got super duper lucky at Plato's. At the time golf style RL Polo shirts were retailing at about $65 yet I was able to find 5 shirts in his size. A couple were on the half off rack and the rest were "full price" I ended up paying about $40 for all 5 shirts.

He was happy, my wallet wasn't empty and the bonus was that they stamped my Plato's card 4 times. Once for every $10 I spent. And once that card is full you take it in (at least in my towns Plato's) and receive 20% off you entire order. And guess what? They start you off with a new card on that order. It's a wonderful cycle ladies :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Free Cell Phone and Free Minutes: Assurance Wireless and the Broke Single Mom


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My ebook: How to Get a Free Cell Phone & Free Minutes is available on Amazon  and Barnes and Noble. This post highlights three of the providers listed in my e-book.

In this day and age having a cell phone is more of a necessity than a luxury. But that doesn't make it any easier to add yet another bill.

You might need a cell phone for job or apartment searches, because you don't have a home phone (they are expensive) or perhaps to leave with your teen if he or she picks up their siblings from school or child care in case of emergencies.

Well, there's hope, here are a few companies that offer a completely free cell phone including free monthly minutes if you qualify under the Governments Lifeline program and they limit your participation to open Lifeline service/cell phone per household.

Every State has different guidelines for qualifying, but in most states if you receive any type of assistance or live at or near the poverty level you will qualify.