Shopping for a Home Garden

Spring and summer are perfect seasons to spend out in the garden. Getting your hands dirty and growing fruits, vegetables and flowers is an ideal stress-reliever for many people; however, the costs associated with gardening can quickly add up. Luckily, there are numerous ways to garden cheaply while still getting the most out of your space. Read on to learn how to get your dream garden by purchasing what you need, where to get it, and planning your space perfectly.

5 Tools

There are an assortment of gardening tools available; however, the beginner gardener can get by just fine with the following:

Shears

Whether you decide to purchase hand shears or loopers (long-handled pruners), sheers allow you to keep your plants nice and tidy by clipping away excess growth, dead stems, etc. The main thing to remember when using shears is not to go crazy with the removal as this can kill the plant. Finally, make sure you do not prune the top of the plant as this will inhibit new growth. There are an assortment of shears available, however, most people will be fine with a bypass pruner.

Gloves

Depending on what’s in your beds, gardening can become a painful activity. Thorns and weeds can all cause damage to the hands—in addition to getting dirt under your nails. Gardening gloves will allow you to keep your hands nice and clean while working outside, protecting your hands all day long. Purchase gloves that are durable but not bulky, fit your hands and offer longer cuffs to protect your wrists and arms.

Trowel

A trowel is best thought of like a mini shovel, and it will more than pay for itself as you garden. From digging plant holes for transplanting to removing weeds, a trowel will quickly become one of your most-used gardening tools. Look for a trowel that’s comfortable in your hand and made with a stainless-steel head for durability.

Rake

Leaves, debris and weeds can all make a garden look unseemly; however, a quality rake can make cleanup a breeze. While most people will remember the cheap, lightweight green rakes that used to dominate gardening, gardeners now realize the best rakes are a more solid metal design. While these rakes aren’t quite as cheap, they will last you for years to come.

Wheelbarrow

Wheelbarrows make gardening in larger areas significantly easier, allowing you to transport large amounts of soil, rock or mulch with ease. They also make you put less strain on your back. The humble wheelbarrow comes in a variety of different forms; however, most people will choose a double-handle if they’re planning on lifting a lot of heavy material while a single-handle allows for more versatility and is easier to balance.

Your Garden

Now that you have all the tools you need for your garden, it’s time to begin planning and building your space:

Utilize Containers

If you have limited space or want to bring color to a specific area of your yard, container gardening might be the right call for you. Simply choose containers that fit with the scheme you’re looking for and plant flowers, vegetables or fruits (there are even smaller varieties of fruit trees for this) in containers for a beautiful garden space. Worried about watering? Depending on where you live, you might be able to pipe water lines directly into the containers.

Reuse What You Have

If you are the ultimate DIY-er, this tip is right up your alley. Look around your home for old furniture or furnishings that you aren’t using. You’d be shocked at how great a planter door can look or the versatility that comes with repurposing a nightstand as a garden table.

Attract Wildlife

Squirrels, birds and butterflies are garden staples, and it’s important to create things that will attract them to your garden space. While we’re not advocating for a Snow White experience, adding or planting elements that attract wildlife creates a whole new dimension to your yard. Look to add a couple birdhouses, squirrel feeders and butterfly attracting plants to your garden.

Look At Veggies

One of the main things people love about gardening is the ability to grow their own food. However, many people also want a garden that looks beautiful with plenty of flowers as well. To solve this conundrum, consider planting bright vegetable plants among your flowers. Chilis and tomatoes are popular with many due to their bright, colorful fruits; however, berries and squash can create lively additions as well.

Grow Up, Not Out

If you have limited garden space, it can be difficult to plan a garden that fits everything you want in it. However, instead of looking to garden out, consider gardening up. Upright planters can allow you to utilize otherwise empty wall space either by offering a trellis for climbing varieties or with small pots scattered on a board. Furthermore, hanging pots can be placed nearly anywhere, giving pops of color to otherwise dreary areas. Once you begin gardening up, the possibilities are endless.

Create a Focal Point

Once you plant a garden, you’ll likely want to spend some time out there. Consider creating a focal point area that you and your guests can enjoy. This can be as simple as a conversational area with repurposed furniture to bigger focal points like gazebos, ponds or even an outdoor cinema space. Take the time to consider what you and your loved ones like to do and create a space that reflects those interests.

Gardening cheaply isn’t impossible once you know what to do. From having the five necessary tools to looking to create a garden that matches your interests, creating a beautiful outdoor space is likely more affordable than you would expect. Whether you decide to create a miniature wildlife refuge, grow enough fruit- and vegetable-producing plants to feed a small town, or want to make a flower garden that anyone will envy, following the above tips will help you create the garden of your dreams.

Cheap Ways to Teach/Keep Your Kids Entertained

Spring and summer breaks will soon be upon us, and it’s imperative that our kiddos stay entertained during this time. Far too often, kids become bored during these long breaks in addition to losing a lot of what they learned in school before the break. Luckily, there are cheap things you can do to teach your kids that also keep them entertained. Read on to learn how to keep your kids happy and learning no matter how long their breaks are.

Spring Cleaning

Cleaning probably results in you arguing with your kids; however, it provides valuable life lessons for your kids. Instead of making it a chore, why not turn it into a game? Rewards can be as simple as a candy bar or new toy—or even picking the next movie for movie night. If you have multiple kids, you’ll be surprised how quickly they’ll clean if they think there’s something at stake if you set up a competition (e.g. who can clean their room the fastest, who can clean the most windows). Make cleaning fun and see your kids learn to love cleaning.

Crafting

Are you an avid scrapbooker? Model builder? Robotics explorer? Crafting comes in a variety of forms, and it teaches children the value of entertaining themselves while exploring their creativity. Smaller children will enjoy painting and coloring while older kids will likely love to build something themselves. Take the time to come up with some crafts for your kids and see what they make.

Volunteer

A lot of kids don’t quite realize how fortunate they and their families are, and volunteering is an excellent opportunity for kids to give back. Animal shelters frequently look for people willing to walk dogs while nursing homes frequently have established programs for kids to come talk to seniors. By teaching your children to give their time to needy causes, you are teaching them the valuable skills of empathy and charitableness.

Cooking

Cooking is one of those skills we tend to overlook, but if you want to prevent your child from relying on Hamburger Helper for the rest of their lives, it may be the most important thing you ever teach your child. Start by pulling out recipe books and letting your kids pick out a few recipes they think sound good. Next, take them to the supermarket to purchase the required groceries (or teach them how to grow their own veggies). Finally, work with your kids to follow the recipe, stepping in only when they cannot complete a certain step, like cutting vegetables or meat. Kids will feel pride for making the family’s meal while you can take solace in them learning an invaluable skill.

Movie Night

Who doesn’t love to sit down with a bag of popcorn and watch a good movie? Movie nights are fun for everyone, and they can also be educational. Choose a few kid-friendly documentaries and let your kids decide on which one they want to watch. Not only will they spend quality time with you, they’ll also learn about something that interests them.

Summer Business

From car washes to lemonade stands to lawn mowing, there are plenty of viable skills your children can profit off of. By letting them open a summer business, you’re teaching them valuable money management skills in addition to the old adage of hard work paying off. Just remember that when selling food, permitting may be required.

Nature Adventures

From neighborhood to national parks, there’s a whole world for your children to explore, and you are the perfect guide for them. Take your kids out to explore the world around them by letting them enjoy nature. To make this even more fun, consider creating a nature guide showcasing your area’s natural plants and wildlife. If you live in an urban location, let your kids explore the world through your phone/tablet/computer on various websites with live streams or informative videos.

Free/Discounted Museums/Galleries/Zoos

Most cities will have some sort of museum, and many will offer free or discounted days for children. Your children can learn about nearly anything for pennies on the dollar. Furthermore, most children qill happily spend a couple of hours at a museum, art gallery or zoo—especially if there are kid-centric activities they can participate in.

Single-Day Camps

While week or month-long summer camps may not be feasible, plenty of groups offer day camps during Spring and Summer Breaks that keep kids entertained for a few hours. These camps will focus on a wide-variety of skills, ranging from sports to computers to business, to give kids an introduction to these industries. Most day camps are also extremely affordable and include everything your kid needs for a single day.

Visit the Library

Libraries are sadly one of the most ignored public systems, but they have a wide variety of activities for kids. From reading groups to book clubs to crafting, most libraries are dedicated to teaching kids through various programs or camps. If your child is more of a solitary learner, consider letting them check out several books a week to enjoy from the comfort of their own home (and consider purchasing books they regularly check out).

Learn a Skill

From drawing to coding, there are numerous skills that are more child-friendly than you might think. The long breaks are the perfect time for kids to learn or hone a skill. Make sure to provide your child with the proper supplies and see where their imagination takes them. They just might learn a skill they use for life.

Spring and Summer Breaks may feel overwhelming, but when you plan activities for your kids, you’ll discover that these can be fun and exciting times with plenty of room for learning. From Spring Cleaning to library visits to letting your kids start their own business, there are plenty of activities that will facilitate your child’s development and growth while allowing them to have plenty of fun during long breaks from school. Watch your child’s mind grow and see them start their next school year on the right foot when you use these breaks as learning tools.

Ways To Work out In The Spring On A Budget

The warm weather in spring calls for you to go outside and get active. You may want to shed off some winter weight or start your fitness journey. But how can you do this without breaking the bank? Here are some suggestions:

Outdoors Yoga

Yoga is a great way to start your day, and what could be more refreshing than practicing in the great outdoors? There are plenty of yoga poses that you can do outdoors without any special equipment. Find a park or nature trail near you and get your om on!

If you are new to yoga, it might be good to attend a class or workshop first. There are plenty of free courses offered in most cities. You can also use YouTube videos as a guide.

You can connect with nature and get your workout in simultaneously with outdoor yoga. It is cheap, easy, and fun!

Work out with Friends

You can get social and get fit by working out with friends. There are so many activities that you can do as a group. Soccer, basketball, baseball, hiking, and camping are all great activities to do with friends. Not only will you get a good workout, but you will also have fun!

If you are uncertain about where to start, ask your friends for suggestions. They probably will be more than happy to share their favorite activities with you.

Working out with friends will keep you motivated and have fun. It’s also a great way to save money because you can split the cost of gas or admission fees.

Join a Cheap Gym

Gyms can be expensive, but a few gyms offer low monthly rates. If you don’t mind working out in a group setting, then a cheap gym might be good.

Most gyms offer free trials, so you can test out the facility before signing up. Make sure to ask about the monthly rates and any other fees that might apply.

If you are looking for a more personalized workout experience, you might want to invest in a personal trainer. Personal trainers can be expensive, but there are also a few that offer affordable rates.

Now that you are on a budget, you can start with a cheap gym within your budget. Just be sure to check out the rates and fees before signing up. You don’t want any surprises down the road.

Work out at Home

If you want to save some money, consider working out at home. You can use your body weight as resistance or purchase some inexpensive equipment. Additionally, working out at home is an excellent option if you are short on time.

There are plenty of workouts that you can do in your own home. YouTube is an excellent resource for finding free exercises. Just type in the type of workout you are looking for, and find tons of videos.

Working out at home is a great way to get in a workout while they play if you have kids. You can also use this time to catch up on your favorite show or podcast.

Working out at home is cheap, convenient, and accessible. You can tailor the workout to fit your own needs and schedule.

Walk or Run in your Neighborhood

There are many ways to get fit in spring, but walking or running in your neighborhood is the cheapest and most accessible. It is free, and it is also a great way to see your area. If you are looking for a more challenging workout, try running hills.

If you are new to running, start by walking first. Then, slowly work your way up to running. You might also want to try out the Couch to 5k program.

The best part about walking or running in your neighborhood is that you can do it whenever you have time. There is no need to make reservations or drive somewhere. Just put on your shoes and go!

Get a Bike

Outdoor cycling will give you a great workout while enjoying the spring weather. You can find bikes relatively cheaply or even borrow one from a friend.

Cycles can offer a great cardio workout, and if you stick to hills and terrain that are a little more challenging, you can add strength training to your routine.

Research shows that cyclists also have lower rates of heart disease and cancer, so getting on your bike is a great way to improve your health! If you’re not used to cycling, start slowly and build up the distance and intensity of your rides. You don’t want to injure yourself before you’ve even had a chance to enjoy the benefits of cycling.

Outdoor Sports

Spring is the best time to join the group sports or start a game that you have wanted to do. Many cities have free leagues for softball, soccer, or basketball. You can also find groups that play tag or frisbee golf.

Joining a group is a great way to make friends and have fun. Most of these sports are also very social, so you can chat with your friends while working up a sweat.

These sports are a great way to stay active, but they are also affordable. You don’t need any fancy equipment or gear, just a good pair of sneakers.

One of the sports that are growing in popularity is pick-up soccer. It is a great way to exercise and have fun with friends.

Swim at the Local Pool

Swimming is a great workout, and you can swim in any weather. Swimming is a low-impact exercise, so it is excellent for people just starting to get active.

Swimming is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, and it is also a great way to tone your body. Not to mention, swimming is a lot of fun.

Most communities have public pools open during the spring and summer months.

Join a YMCA or Community Center Health Club

If you are looking for a more structured workout, joining a YMCA or community center might be the right option. These facilities offer a variety of classes and activities that can help you meet your fitness goals.

The best part about joining a YMCA or community center is that the cost is often meagre. In some cases, you can join for free. You also have the option of purchasing a membership that fits your budget.

The spring is a great time to get active and stay healthy. There are many ways to work out without spending a lot of money. You can walk, run, cycle, play sports, or swim at the local pool. You can also join a YMCA or community center health club. Whatever option you choose, make sure to fit it into your schedule and needs. It should also be safe and effective. Remember to have fun and stay healthy!

The benefits of an installment loan

Are you afraid to take out a loan? Do you worry that the payments will be too much, that the fees will be too far apart, or that the loan won’t make a difference? Consider taking out an installment loan. For many people, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons before deciding to take out a loan.

However, there is not much to think about when it comes to installment loans. Installment loans provide you with many benefits that you will not find in another type of loan. Installment loans are personal loans that you can take out online and repay over time.

An installment loan breaks down the amount you borrow into equal payments spread out over several months. The installments are easier to pay back than a lump sum payment or a monthly credit card bill.

Here are some reasons why an installment loan might be right for you.

Installment loans can be customized

You can borrow just enough money to cover unexpected expenses or a life emergency, like a medical bill or car repair, without worrying about paying interest on a much larger loan than you need.

It’s also possible to take out an installment loan with a low-interest rate and fixed monthly payments if you don’t want to pay more than what’s necessary over the life of the loan. You’ll know exactly how much interest you’ll be paying by the end of the repayment period, so there won’t be any surprises with your monthly bills.

It is also possible to customize your repayment schedule to fit your needs even if you have seasonal income or work at an hourly job with different hours every week. Installment loans also allow borrowers with bad credit to get cheap personal loans.

They can show financial stability and pay back over time rather than in one lump sum payment as with payday loans. Installment loans with installment payments are flexible enough to support borrowers who prefer to make periodic payments rather than a lump-sum payment each month.

They are great if you need money fast

Getting a short-term loan with no credit check isn’t easy. But it’s possible with an installment loan.

Getting approved for the loan is fast because it doesn’t involve a credit check. You only need to provide information about your income and bank account to get started. In some cases, you can even get approved for an installment loan in minutes!

Installment loans can be short-term

With an installment loan, you have the freedom to choose how much money to borrow and for how long. The loan can help if you need emergency cash to pay for an unexpected car repair but don’t want to deal with paying back thousands of dollars over several years.

Short-term loans let you borrow what you need without paying very high-interest rates or being tied to a specific repayment schedule.

Installment loans are easy to understand and do not require extensive paperwork

The only information you need about your installment loan application is your name, address, income, and bank account information. These are all standard details in applying for a loan from your local bank.

There is no complicated paperwork to sign, no credit check, and no lengthy application process with long waiting periods. You can have money transferred straight into your bank account when you fill out a short application.

Installment Loans Help You Plan Your Budget and Track Your Spending

When you apply for an installment loan, your due date is set in stone at the beginning of your repayment period. It allows you to plan and build your budget around what you know will happen when it comes time to repay your bills.

Knowing exactly how much needs to go out of your bank account each month helps you avoid falling behind on your bills or spending more than you can afford. Installment loans allow you to monitor your spending and budget on a month-to-month basis.

An Installment Loan Can Help You Improve Your Credit Score

One of the biggest reasons people don’t want to take out a loan is because they’re afraid it will hurt their credit score. But if you have bad credit, especially if you have no credit history at all, then taking out an installment loan can help you improve your score by showing potential lenders that you’re responsible with money and can be trusted.

It can also help you re-establish your credit history to take out other loans later down the road when you need them.

Refinancing opportunities

When you take out an installment loan and repay the money each month, it improves your credit score, which means you can get approved for other types of loans in the future with lower interest rates and better terms.

Installment loans also have lower interest rates than most other loans, which means less money paid in interest over time. If you can get a better interest rate on an installment loan than what you’re getting on a current loan, you can refinance it to save money.

Multiple options available

There are many different types of installment loans available for you to choose from. Fixed-rate loans allow you to select a monthly payment that fits your budget. Unsecured installment loans are easy to get because they don’t require collateral, like a car title, to prove you’ll repay the money. Variable-rate loans allow you to pay off the loan early if you can afford it.

These options are available to you when you decide to take out an installment loan. You must choose the one that best fits your needs and your budget. Find out how each loan works and ask questions about other criteria before deciding which one to apply for.

With so many options available, the more you know about the various types of loans, the easier it will be to pick one that works with your current financial situation.

There are many benefits to taking out an installment loan. Installment loans give you the freedom to make significant purchases, including automobiles and homes, without worrying about being stuck with payment for years.

Call us at Cash For Whatever today to finalize your loan!

Where to shop for Spring Clothes on a budget

Spring is a time for new beginnings, and what better way to celebrate the season than by shopping for some new clothes! But if you’re on a budget, that can be a challenge. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. This article will discuss some great places to shop for Spring clothes on a budget. It includes online and in-person stores, so you can find the best deal no matter where you are.

Let’s get started on nine places where to shop for Spring Clothes on a budget:

Amazon

Amazon’s selection is vast, and you can find everything from dresses to jeans to shoes. The best part? Prices are usually very reasonable, and they often have sales.

They often have great deals on clothing, so you can find what you’re looking for without breaking the bank. Be sure to check out their sale section for some fantastic deals on Spring clothing.

Target

Target always has great deals on clothing for the whole family – and you can usually find something for both men and women at a reasonable price. They also have a good return policy if you need to change your mind after buying something.

Additionally, if you use your Target REDcard, you can get an additional five percent off your purchase! That can add up when you’re buying many clothes.

If you’re looking for somewhere to shop in person, Target is a great option. They have stores all over the country, so chances are there’s one near you. And like we said before, their prices are very reasonable. So if you’re looking to do some Spring shopping on a budget, Target should be your first stop.

Old Navy

Old Navy always has the latest fashion trends, usually very stylish and trendy, perfect for Spring! Also, their prices are very reasonable. If shopping for spring clothes on a budget is what you’re looking for, then Old Navy should be your go-to store.

They typically have sales going on, so you can snag some fantastic deals on clothing. Old Navy is an excellent option if you’re looking for somewhere to shop in person. They have stores all over the United States, so you’re likely to find one near you. Old Navy is also a great choice if you’re looking for an online option.

They offer free shipping on orders over $50, so you can get your clothes delivered right to your door. Plus, they often have sales going on, so you can snag some fantastic deals on clothing.

No matter where you choose to shop, Old Navy is an excellent option for affordable Spring clothes.

Walmart

When it comes to finding affordable Spring clothes, it is essential to think outside the box, and Walmart is a great place to start. You can find everything you need for your Spring wardrobe at Walmart, including tops, bottoms, shoes, and accessories.

They have a wide variety of styles and brands to choose from, so you’re sure to find something that you love. Plus, their prices are unbeatable. And, if you use your Walmart credit card, you can get an additional three percent off your purchase! That can add up when you’re buying many clothes.

Walmart is a fantastic alternative if you seek a store to go shopping in. They have shops all over the country, so you’ll be able to find one close by. If you’re searching for some low-cost Spring shopping, Walmart should be your first stop.

They also offer free shipping on orders over $35, so you can get your clothes delivered right to your door. And like we said before, they have a wide variety of clothing options, so you’re sure to find something you love.

Kohl’s

Kohl’s is a department store chain with more than 1,100 stores in 49 states. The company offers a wide range of affordable clothing for men, women, children, home goods, jewelry, and cosmetics. Kohl’s also has a generous return policy and often runs sales and promotions.

They always have great sales going on, and you can often find coupons online or in the Sunday paper. Their clearance section is also worth checking out – you can sometimes find some great deals!

Kohl’s is a fantastic place to go if you’re looking for somewhere to get some new spring clothes on a budget. They have frequent sales, so you might often discover something at an affordable price. Furthermore, their clearance area is always worth a look – you may happen upon a hidden treasure!

TJ Maxx

If you’re looking to save money on your spring wardrobe, TJ Maxx is the place to go. They always have a great selection of clothes at affordable prices. You can find everything from designer brands to everyday basics at TJ Maxx.

TJ Maxx store is great because they carry name-brand items at discounted prices. You can often find clothing, shoes, and accessories for up to 60% off the original price.

TJ Maxx is a great place to check out if you’re looking to save money on spring clothes. They have discounts on well-known brands, so you can often find something stylish without spending too much. Plus, they tend to have a good variety of sizes and styles available.

H&M

If your spring budget is tight, you might want to check out H&M. They always have a great selection of clothes for every season, and their prices are reasonable.

They have a wide variety of clothing, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and children. You can often find good deals on clearance items as well.

If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest fashion trends but don’t want to spend much money, H&M is the place for you. They offer reasonably priced clothes, shoes, and accessories for everyone in the family. Plus, their clearance section is always worth checking out!

These are just a few of the many places where you can find budget-friendly spring clothes. With a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to find everything you need to look great this season!

Macy’s

Macy’s is one of the most popular places to shop for clothes, and they offer a wide variety of items at various price points. Macy’s has some fantastic deals on clothing, especially if you’re looking for name brands.

They have a wide variety of items to choose from, and you can often find good deals on clearance items. Macy’s also has a rewards program that allows you to earn points for every purchase you make.

Macy’s is an excellent option if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all your spring clothing needs. Not only do they have a wide selection of clothes, but you can also find some good deals on clearance items. Additionally, their rewards program lets you rack up points with every purchase – meaning even more savings down the road!

Lulus

Lulus is an online-only store that specializes in trendy and chic clothing. They offer a wide variety of items, and their prices are very reasonable.

They have a great selection of spring dresses, which are perfect if you’re looking for something to wear to a wedding or another formal event. Additionally, they have a good selection of casual clothes if you’re looking for something to wear around town.

One downside to Lulus is that they don’t have a physical store, so you can’t try on the clothes before you buy them. However, their return policy is very lenient. If you end up ordering the wrong size, you can always send it back.

Overall, Lulus is a great option if you’re looking for fashionable and affordable clothing. Their prices are reasonable, and they have a wide selection of items to choose from. Just be aware that you can’t try the clothes on before you buy them!

So there you have it, nine great places to shop for budget-friendly spring clothes! These are just a few of the many places where you can find budget-friendly spring clothes. No matter your style, you’re sure to find something you love at one of these stores. Happy shopping!

How to Start Saving for the Summer

The summer months will soon be upon us, and now is the time to start saving for your summer activities. Whether you’re planning to take a luxurious vacation or just want to spend extra time with the family, the following tips will help you save your money to have your best summer ever. Read on to learn what you should start implementing today.

Trim Your Budget

If you haven’t started already, now is the perfect time to get a budget in place and stick to it. While creating a budget can feel overwhelming, it’s significantly easier when you look at it as a financial check-up. Look for ways you can save, including cutting back on carry-out, skipping trips to the movies or getting rid of those streaming services you’re no longer using. These small cuts will save you hundreds of dollars before summer begins.

Start a Vacation Account

One of the prime things people look forward to during the summer is going on vacation. With the average American spending north of a thousand dollars on their seasonal trip, there is a possibility of going into debt to have a fun time. To avoid this common pitfall, it’s integral to save money for your vacation, and one of the best ways to do this is by opening an account strictly for vacation funds. A savings account will also increase in value thanks to favorable interest rates, allowing you to gain even more money for your trip.

Sell Extra Stuff

One of the benefits of spring cleaning is finding all those extra things you don’t need. However, just because you don’t need them doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t. To start raising money for summer, consider hosting a garage sale to get rid of all those knick-knacks, extra clothing and odds-and-ends. Not only will you earn some extra cash, but you’ll also be rehoming things that someone else could really use.

Check Appliances

How are your appliances holding up? During the winter months, you likely weren’t letting your AC unit blare, but problems may have set in that season. There’s nothing worse than turning on your unit for the first time only to discover it’s not working, or have it quit working on the hottest day of the year. Luckily, a certified AC specialist will be able to make sure your system will work properly. Your AC system isn’t the only thing you should examine either. Now is the perfect time to look at installing energy-efficient appliances as well as making small decisions like washing clothes in cold water to save money on your energy bills.

Book Your Vacation Now

You’re excited to take the kids on vacation this year as soon as school ends, and now is the perfect time to book those summer plans. Many hotels and attractions will offer early-bird discounts on their services, allowing you to save hundreds of dollars. The best part? Many prices are simply lock-in, meaning you won’t have to pay until you reach your destination, allowing you to spend your vacation fund.

Pay Down Debt

While not the most fun item on our list, paying down debt should be a top concern. Look at lowering your credit card bills and catching up on late items when you can to ensure you go into the summer either debt-free or with a significant reduction in your bills. Your bank account will thank you.

Shop Smarter and Coupon

One of the best things about Spring and Summer are all the fresh produce that comes in season. From apples to zucchini, you’ll find that a plethora of produce is now available to you. Take this as your sign to shop smarter, focusing on products that are in season to significantly lower your grocery bill. Consider couponing to save on essentials like hygiene products. By shopping sales and couponing, you can save hundreds of dollars a month. Finally, remember that many businesses will offer spring sales, so now is the perfect time to buy bigger ticket items you’ll utilize this summer.

Turn Off the Heater

Depending on where you are in the world, you may be experiencing some wonderful weather right now, even if for just a few hours a day. Take the time to turn off your heater and open up your windows to allow fresh air to flow in your home while keeping yourself at a comfortable temperature.

Look for Free Events

Does your town offer a Spring Festival? A collection of local musicians? As the weather warms up, more and more areas will be offering free events for families to attend. From fairs to park concerts, your town likely has an assortment of free or very low-cost events that you can spend a few hours at on the weekends. These events are an excellent option for those looking to have some fun without breaking the bank before their vacation.

Get Outside for Exercise

If the gym doesn’t motivate you, consider moving your workouts outside. Many people find outdoor exercise invigorating as well as worry-free. You’ll be getting your daily dose of vitamin D while also burning calories for swimsuit season. Furthermore, look to see if your neighborhood has a walking or hiking group so you can talk to your neighbors while getting fit.

Save Your Tax Refund

One thing most people look forward to is their annual tax refund, and it can help make your vacation the best yet. Take the time to save as much as your refund as you can to make the most of your trip. While it can feel like that money is burning a hole in your pocket, it can go far if you save it for a specific event.

Saving for your summer doesn’t have to be a painful process. Whether you create a vacation account to save money for your dream trip, shop seasonally to get the best grocery bills or attend your city’s free events, you can save plenty of money this year while also having the best summer possible.

Saving Money in the Spring

Spring cleaning will soon be upon us, but it’s also a perfect time to start saving and get your finances in order. From shopping within your own home to cooking what’s in season, Spring offers plenty of opportunities to save money for the rest of your year.

Shop in Your Own Home

While most people will take this as looking through their closets (which you should definitely do as well), shopping in your own home isn’t limited to clothing. When you start cleaning, really look at everything you have. Do you have a lot of kitchen gadgets? How about tools like hammers and screwdrivers? Shopping around your home allows you to see exactly what you have and narrow down what you actually need. You’ll be shocked by how many duplicates you have floating around the house, and Spring is the perfect time to clear everything out and find those hidden treasures you forgot you owned.

Make Your Cleaners

Cleaning supplies and organizers are expensive, but you don’t need to spend all your hard-earned money on them! You’d be shocked how far baking soda and white vinegar can get you, and most of the time these homemade cleaners are much cheaper than what you would find at the store. There are an assortment of recipes for cleaners online, and the best part is most of them are completely non-toxic, which means kids and pets won’t be taking a trip to the doctor if they get in your cleaning basket. As far as organizers, check out your local dollar store or get creative with old cereal and shipping boxes to create an organized home you’ll love.

Plan and Plant Your Garden

Gardening can be an extremely rewarding hobby. You’re not only getting your daily sunlight needs, but you’re nurturing, growing and harvesting your family’s food. The first thing to do if you decide to garden this year is to take a look at what you actually want to plant. Are you a tomato fiend? Want to have plenty of zucchini to last you the year? Think about what you and your family will actually eat before you start digging in the ground. If you have limited space, you can garden as well by using container gardening or aqua systems that allow you to garden indoors. Finally, if gardening outside, look at local planting guides to ensure your vegetables come in on time.

Stock Up for Winter Months

Stores carry an assortment of winter staples well into the spring, and many will get severely marked down in the Spring months as summer stock arrives. This is the perfect time for you to purchase jackets, gloves and boots for the following winter as well as snow gear like shovels and blowers. Finally, don’t forget holidays like Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. Most decorations for these holidays will be severely marked down, and it’s the perfect time to get ready for next year by stocking up on décor and goodies now.

Make a Budget

With all your wonderful spring-cleaning finds, it’s important to start budgeting for the year by narrowing down what you actually need and looking for ways to fit it in. If you plan on gardening more this year, look at ways you can save on groceries over the coming months once your produce starts to come in. Also look to trim the fat on other areas of your life as well, such as entertainment costs or cell phone bills. You’ll find you’ll be spending less in no time.

Enjoy the Outdoors

Spring brings plenty of warmer weather, and it’s integral for you to enjoy the outdoors as things start to warm up. Many towns and cities will offer outdoor festivals, parades, fairs and other activities that allow you to spend the day outdoors for free or very cheaply. Not looking for social gatherings? No problem. Spring is the perfect time for family-based outdoor activities as well, such as hiking, to allow you to have fun in the sun without spending a dime.

Eat From Your Pantry

During the winter, you likely stocked up your pantry and slowly worked your way through your food stash. However, we’re willing to bet there are still plenty of canned and jarred goods hanging out in there. Spring is the perfect time to get through the last of your winter foods as you prepare space for what you’re going to can and buy for next winter over the coming months.

Open Some Windows

One of the best things about spring is the warming weather, and now is the perfect time to open up some windows and turn off your heating system. Not only will you be enjoying the weather and what it has to offer, but you’ll also get to air out your house which can remove odors that built up during the winter. Finally, further lower your electric bill by relying on natural lighting over turning on lightbulbs all the time.

Cook in Season

While many people think of spring as being for planting, it also welcomes a host of produce coming into season. Some food items you can expect to see coming into season include:

  • Apricots
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Collard Greens
  • Garlic
  • Lemons
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Pineapples
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Turnips

By shopping in season for your produce, you’ll be able to severely reduce your grocery bill each month. In-season produce will typically need to make a shorter journey to get to you; therefore, grocers won’t need to mark it up. Finally, you can save even more by visiting your local farmer’s market.

Spring is an excellent time to get your finances in order and start saving for the rest of the year. From cleaning out your home to find items you forgot you had to cooking with in-season produce, Spring offers a multitude of ways to lower your budget so you can save more money. Take the time to plan and save and start planning where you’ll spend!

Shopping for Valentines Day on a Budget

Valentine’s Day is dedicated to romance, and one of the main ways people celebrate is by purchasing gifts for one another. However, if budgets are tight this year, it can feel difficult to find a gift that’s perfect for both your partner and your budget. Luckily, we’re here to help. Read on to learn how to shop for Valentine’s Day this year while staying within your budget.

Budget Before the Holiday

Look for ways to cut down on expenses by writing down your income and listing your expenses. Certain things like rent and utilities obviously need to be paid, but what can you cut down on? For example, if you get a coffee every day, consider making your caffeine fix at home for the month or get a basic weekly car wash rather than the deluxe. Small changes like this can save you a couple hundred dollars a month, which is perfect for your Valentine’s Day shopping budget.

Set Your Budget and Stick to It

You’ve carefully crafted your budget and are ready to go shopping. As you look around, you find the one item you know will blow your loved one’s socks off. The only problem? It’s a several hundred dollars over your price range. It can be tempting to go over your budget this one time to get the present; however, depending on your finances, you might be in a financial limbo for several weeks or months if you do. When you create your budget, attempt to stick to it as closely as possible rather than stretching yourself thin. You’ll find another perfect gift in your price range in no time.

Shop for Great Deals

Just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you only need to shop at expensive stores. Plenty of cheaper brands stock great gifts your loved one will cherish. For example, your local dollar store likely has an assortment of items just waiting to get placed in the perfect gift basket. Take the time to look at what cheaper stores have to offer and save some serious money while you’re shopping for the right gift for your loved one.

Turn to Staples

With the holiday upon us, many stores will happily put their wares on sale to become your loved one’s present. Jewelers, florists and candy makers consider February a big month for sales, and they’re all competing to get you through their doors. Take the time to see which brands are offering deep discounts for the holiday. You might find that perfect gift for much less than it would normally be.

Consider Personalization

Does your loved one drink coffee on a regular basis? Do they love to get the latest bestseller from their favorite bookstore? More and more companies are now offering personalization on their products, allowing you to create something that’s truly unique for the person you care about. From mugs to bookbags to wine bottles, your loved one can receive something that has themselves written all over it.

Get Creative

Many times, people are looking for a gift that’s from the heart rather than something you spent thousands of dollars on. This is where crafting comes in handy. Scroll through Pinterest or Instagram to get great ideas on something you can make for your loved one using tools and supplies you already have around the house. Think about what your recipient likes and will use as well. There’s little sense in giving someone something they’ll rarely use. Finally, remember that you don’t need to make something that’s big or elaborate either. Small things like a photo album or cookies are much appreciated as well.

Make a Date Night

Many people focus on gifts for Valentine’s Day, but a great date night can mean more to people than anything you purchase. Is your partner a devoted concertgoer? Do they spend hours on end looking at vintage cars? Think about things your partner likes doing and plan your Valentine’s Day date night around their favorite activity. Want to up the awe factor? Consider taking them to the first place you met for dinner or take them shopping to that antique store you know they love. They’ll get a fun night they’ll never forget while you’ll have created the perfect experience to show them how much you love them.

Buy Some Favorites

What’s your significant other’s favorite candy? Their t-shirt brand? Their wine brand? Oftentimes, it can be tempting to give someone something that’s new, exciting and expensive for Valentine’s Day, but favorites are much more likely to win over your lover. Take some time to think about what you know they love and go shopping for a few of these favorites to make a Valentine’s Day present that means more to your loved one than anything else you could purchase. By selecting things you know mean a lot to them, you’re showing that you notice the small details that keep your loved one going.

Look for Valentine’s Day-Themed Gifts

Just like other holidays, Valentine’s Day offers plenty of holiday-themed gifts. As the day creeps nearer and nearer, store owners start to worry about their themed stock selling and will commonly mark it down. While you probably won’t find that exact thing you were eying a couple weeks ago, you can find some low clearance prices that will fit into nearly anyone’s budget. Of course, the cheapest prices are after Valentine’s Day, so consider doing some after-holiday shopping as well.

Shopping for Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to break the bank. From creating a budget and shopping for great deals to creating a new, cherished possession and taking them to their favorite restaurant on date night, Valentine’s Day can become your loved one’s favorite holiday without you needing to spend a lot. Take the time to think about what your significant other loves, and shop for or make a gift you know they’ll love. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day and remember that it’s the thought that counts rather than how much you spend.

4 Friendly Banks

Are you looking for a new bank? With a seemingly endless number of banks looking to add you to their roster, it can feel overwhelming when deciding who to bank with. Some banks offer great benefits, like numerous locations, but charge high overdraft fees while others require large minimum deposits if you want to get the most benefits from your account. In short, choosing a bank is tough, and finding a quality bank that works for you is even tougher. Luckily, the online landscape has changed drastically over the years, with online-only banks causing brick-and-mortar locations to change their banking style to meet customer expectations. Keep reading to learn more about the five friendliest banks so you can bank with the right company sooner rather than later.

Bank of America

Let’s start with the negative: Bank of America is not in every state, interest rates on checking and savings accounts are minimal and $35 overdraft fees can be charged up to 4 times a day.

However, with a comprehensive and easy-to-use online banking system, Bank of America makes self-banking easier than ever before. You won’t need to worry about where your financial information is, nor will you wonder what all that complicated banking legalese actually means. With an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau website, you know you’re getting a quality banking experience (in comparison, Wells Fargo currently holds an F rating). You also will have access to over 16,000 ATMs and 4,200 branch locations. When you sign up, you’ll receive a $100 sign up bonus as well, giving your bank account a much-needed boost. Finally, you can avoid overdraft fees in a couple of ways (besides not over-drafting your account).

First, their overdraft protection is $12 per transaction. While this can add up quickly, it’s still significantly less than the $140 you can expect to spend if they charge you four times in a day. Second, depending on which account you choose, you can avoid overdraft fees completely. It’s not perfect by any stretch, but it is significantly better than most brick-and-mortar banks.

Ally

Ally truly is your ally in banking, providing some of the most comprehensive and rewarding banking on our list. As an online bank, you’re not going to have access to brick-and-mortar locations; however, you will have access to over 40,000 ATMs across the country via the Allpoint network.

Their high-yield savings accounts make your money grow quickly, while their interest checking accounts give you a little extra every month as well. One of the best reasons to bank with Ally? Their 24/7 customer service. Customers love that they can talk to a real person at any time versus needing to wait for someone in the morning at other banking locations.

Another benefit to Ally is that anyone can open an account with no minimum deposit for the account, and deposits can be made via popular methods like direct deposit, mobile check deposit or through their ATM network if you have cash. The main drawback to Ally is that their checking accounts offer lower interest rates that some of their competitors.

Discover

Discover isn’t just for credit cards; they also offer one of the best checking accounts on our list, with customers earning 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying purchases every month. With Discover, you can cover all of your financial needs in one institution, ranging from borrowing to investing to banking. With over 60,000 ATMs via Allpoint and MoneyPass, you’ll be able to access your account anywhere you go in the U.S., Canada or Carribean; however, you cannot use your debit card anyplace else in the world (sorry frequent travelers). Another drawback for some people is the single brick-and-mortar location.

Axos

Axos is a highly rated online bank that’s quickly picking up steam amongst those looking for a flexible banking solution. You won’t be able to access a physical location; however, you will have access to roughly 91,000 ATMs in addition to out-of-network ATM fee reimbursement. The main thing that makes Axos stand out from other companies is that they offer the following five different checking accounts:

  • First Checking (13-17)
  • Golden Checking (55+)
  • CashBack Checking (Earn up to 1% cash back on qualifying purchases)
  • Rewards Checking (High APY at 1%)
  • Essential Checking (Get paid 2 days early)

Axos also offers savings accounts in addition to never charging a monthly maintenance fee. All these benefits are great; but Axos does have a rather lengthy list of requirements for certain accounts, including a minimum of $250 to open a high-yield savings account, with a Rewards Checking account requires at least $1,500 in direct deposits, a minimum of 10 debit card transactions per month and investment requirements to get the full 1%.

Finding a new bank can feel like a difficult task, but more and more people are finding they can receive a great banking experience if they explore their options. From staple brick-and-mortar banks like Bank of America to online companies like Axos and Ally, you can easily find the right bank for your needs in no time. Look at the pros and cons of the banks you’re considering to find the right account for your needs, and remember that banking should be friendly and easy rather than scary or hard!

Planning for Lower Tax Returns and Child Tax Credits

As part of the American Rescue Plan, the government started sending out some much-needed relief for those with children. However, unlike the stimulus checks, these monthly payments that lasted from July-December 2021 weren’t money people wouldn’t already receive. Instead, they were advanced tax return payments.

So, what exactly does this mean for you? A lower tax return. With the payments ending in January, many people are worried about not having that extra boost to their finances as well as how to budget for a tax return that’s possibly significantly less than what they’ve received in previous years. Read on to learn how to survive without the child tax credits and move forward with your lower tax return.

Reconfigure Your Budget

A lot of people found the child tax credit payments kept them out of debt, and it can be terrifying to think what can happen when you’re not receiving those payments anymore. The first thing to do is reconfigure your budget. Has your family been making more frivolous purchases since receiving the payments? Are you a little looser with your money in general, such as buying name brands instead of generic? Take the time to see where you can trim the fat on your budget to save some extra money. Many people find they can save money in little ways throughout the day that quickly adds up.

Look at Social Programs

We understand that many people needed these payments to survive, and removing them is causing a severe dent in their finances and adding unparalleled stress to their lives. Luckily, those in need can qualify for an assortment of social welfare programs to give them a hand up. From local food banks to EBT, you and your children won’t need to go hungry until you receive your tax refund. Help doesn’t end at food either. Depending on your state, you may be able to receive reductions or assistance on your utility bills, help on rent or welfare payments. Now is the time to take full advantage of these programs and receive aid.

Increase Work Hours

Have you reduced your work hours to spend more time with your kids? Now is the time to look to returning to your previous work schedule. If you worry about daycare costs, consider trading off babysitting on days off with co-workers so you can both work more than you have over the past few months. If your job simply isn’t cutting it anymore, or if you can’t increase your work hours, look at applying to other jobs that will pay you the salary you deserve.

Prepare for a Smaller Refund or Paying It Back

As tax refunds are filed, many Americans will find they will receive a smaller refund or even need to pay back their payments. This can be devastating for families that rely upon a certain refund amount each year. Take a deep breath and look to file your taxes early so you know exactly how much you’ll receive as well as whether or not you’ll need to pay anything back. By preparing your finances, you’ll be able to budget smarter and know exactly what to expect.

Pay Off Debts

Your refund amount will depend on a variety of factors, but now is the perfect time to work towards paying off debts. Lower those credit card balances and catch up on past-due bills so they aren’t hanging over your head in 2022. Oftentimes, we’re able to catch up more than we may think. By lowering your debts, you’ll have more money going forward being you won’t be spending your hard-earned cash on interest or late payment fees.

Place Funds in a Savings Account

When you receive your tax refund, place it in an interest-bearing savings account, even if you think you’ll spend it quickly. This will allow your money to grow, even if it’s just a few extra dollars a month. Try to keep your money in your account as long as possible to earn as much interest as you can on your refund.

Invest (If You Can)

Don’t worry; we’re not telling you to go buy a ton of Tesla stock. However, investing your money can reap financial benefits for you and your family for years to come. With an assortment of investment apps now available, you’ll find you’re able to invest quickly and easily in companies ranging from tech conglomerates to small startups. Remember though that the stock market is not guaranteed to make you a return on your investment, so take the time to research which companies financial experts recommend and save some of your refund in a savings account for emergencies.

Hold Off on Shopping

Many people will go shopping the moment they get their refund, and retailers count on this. During the spring, most companies won’t have their best prices, counting on people to make impulse purchases with the excuse that they have their tax refund to help them out. Instead of spending your money on big purchases right now (like televisions, appliances, etc.), look to make bigger purchases in the summer months, when companies will be more likely to give you a better deal.

Space Out Your Refund

You’re receiving a tax refund? Great news! Now comes the time to save and space out your purchases. If you can, look to create your own child tax credit payment system by allocating yourself the same amount of money (or lower, if doable) so you can have a steady stream of income over the coming months. If you must make a big purchase or pay off a large debt, look to save your remaining money for as long as possible.

We’re here to help!

We can help you get up to $800 in your account today! Click HERE and you’ll be taken to our application. We are eager to help and look forward to working together!

Planning for a lower tax return and reduction in child tax credits can feel like an uphill battle; however, with proper planning, you can soften the financial blow. By looking for ways to prolong your money, like reconfiguring your budget, putting funds in a savings account, paying off debts, spacing out your refund money to last you for several months or taking out a small dollar installment loan, you can build a healthier financial system for you and your family.