Friday Favorites: October 19, 2018

I hope that things have been well in your neighborhood.  Here in Michigan, fall came in a pretty big hurry.  We started October with temperatures in or near 80 degrees.  This was over 20 degrees higher than normal. All of a sudden, it dropped.  We’re now seeing high temperatures around 50-55 degrees.  It’s been quite the sudden change!

Huge Game

One of our biggest rivalries here in Michigan is the college football game of Michigan vs. Michigan State.  We’ve always been a Michigan family, so we’ll be rooting for the Maize and Blue!

My sister-in-law recently got married, and her new husband is a Michigan State fan.  That has made for a more fun dynamic.  Everybody is pretty good about making sure that the rivalry stays in good fun. Every rivalry has the fanatical type where you go so far as to ‘hate’ the other team (and their fans).  We don’t go anywhere near that extreme, I’m thankful to say!

Big News Ahead

We have something new sitting in our driveway!  Regular readers will probably be able to guess what it is.  In any case, I can’t wait to share the details.  But, regardless of the weather, we’ve been busy!

Great Posts

Here are some posts I’ve really enjoyed recently.  These are all posts featured on Rockstar Finance, which is a great community of bloggers and such that write about finances.  It really is the premiere place to hang out in the personal finance blogging world.

That’s it for me for now.  I hope you have a great weekend. I look forward to catching up more next week.  Stay tuned for the big news!

Readers, what do you have planned for the weekend? Also, can you guess my news?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

What’s On Your Amazon Subscribe And Save List

Amazon.  It’s not just for impulse buying, is it?  Nope, they’ve taken it one step further.  With a subscribe and save list, you can have things delivered regularly.  Convenient for you, and a guaranteed income stream for Amazon.  We have a subscribe and save list.  Here are some of the things we currently have, as well as what we’ve used in the past.

Diapers

This is a great item to put on a subscribe and save list.  You get an automatic 15% off, which is great.  On top of that, diapers are pretty cheap on Amazon to begin with.  Back when we bought diapers regularly, this was our place.  The drawback is that sometimes you can’t predict exactly how many you need.  Also, you can sometimes get caught with too many if sizes change.  Though slightly risky for these reasons, they’re still a great deal.

Batteries – Every 6 months

We use Amazon Basics batteries around our house.  With kids toys, remote controls, smoke alarms and other gadgets, we go through them regularly.  If we don’t need them when our interval comes up, we just postpone the delivery.

Razor Cartridges – Every 6 months

I think Amazon has the best deals on razor cartridge refills.  There have been some reports of counterfeit cartridges being sold on Amazon. We only buy them with Amazon as the seller.  No third party razors in our house!

Hand Lotion – Every 3 months

I suffer from skin eczema.  As such, I have a specific hand lotion that I use.  The cheapest place I’ve found it is on Amazon.  Since I buy it anyway, why not save a few extra percent?

Shoe Inserts – Every 4 months

I have had plantar fasciitis in the past.  Ever since then, I put inserts in my shoes for extra support.  They wear out after awhile, so I automatically get a new supply every few months.  Not only does it save money, but I don’t have to be reminded to change them.

Pantry Items – Occasionally

Once in a while, Amazon has a great deal on food items.  Some examples are cups of macaroni and cheese or bagged candy.  If you find a great deal, you can sometimes make it better by adding to your subscribe and save list.  This typically works only when your monthly ship date is coming due.  Otherwise, if they run out or return the price to normal, you can miss out.  Typically, with these deals, I subscribe and then cancel immediately after shipment.

This is a pretty boring list, but that’s OK.  A big subscribe and save list means you’re spending money regularly.  One big risk with a subscribe and save list is that you might forget to cancel items.  Amazon sends a reminder e-mail, and if you don’t cancel the items, they process the order.  There was one time I forgot to modify my subscriptions.  Luckily I remembered the morning after the cutoff, and was able to cancel most of the items.

I’m guessing that Amazon probably counts on some of their sales from people forgetting.

Readers, what is on your Amazon subscribe and save list?  Do you use this feature or is it too much trouble?  Please let me know in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Our 2018 Fall To-Do List

Fall is here.  We definitely enjoy the cooler weather.  We’ve already had a great cider mill experience.  We have a fridge drawer full of apples from picking.  It’s a great time of year.  Although summer is my favorite season, fall is a great time. But, it’s not all fun and relaxing.  There is work to be done!  Here are some items on our fall to-do list.

Paint Swing Set

It’s been at least seven years since I last painted the kids swing set.  It definitely needs it.  This will honestly probably be the last time it gets painted.  It’s a wood set and water always breaks down wood.  Still, maybe this will get at least a few more years until they naturally grow out of the set.

Till The Flower Bed

We have a flower bed in front of the house that needs work.  There are nearby trees.  The roots from the trees have made the soil pretty hard.  After pulling the flower, I need to till the soil.  This should help for spring.  The flowers haven’t done as well as they used to.  I am hoping that some loosened soil will help next spring.

Fill In Grass Seed

I went through and put seed over some spots where the grass has gone down to bare soil.  I need to check if there are any remaining areas.

Fertilize The Grass

The pre-winter application helps keep the weeds down in the spring.  I have the fertilizer.  I’m just waiting until the new grass gets established before I apply it.

Sell Strollers

We have several strollers in the garage.  They are perfectly good, but we have no more need for them.  It’s time to clean them off and list them on Facebook Marketplace.

Organize Our Camper Stuff

As I mentioned, we sold our camper.  All of the inside stuff is neatly organized and in bins.  But, the outside stuff is in a big pile inside the garage.  Now, I need to get some additional shelving and store it properly.

Put Away Patio Stuff

Our glass table can’t sit out as is during the winter.  I tried it once and the snow was too heavy, and the glue that holds the glass to the frame became fatigued and had to be completely re-done.  So, I have to store it either in the basement or under the deck.

Trim Down The Perennials

We have quite a few perennials that need to be trimmed back.  So, some of them may need to eventually be removed.  We have some rose bushes that, no matter what I do, just look worse and worse every year.  It might be time to try something different.

Get Rid Of Old Computers

This really isn’t tied to fall but just something I want to do.  I have several old laptop and desktop machines.  But, I don’t use them. They are way too old to be sold.  I need to make sure to get any data from them and dispose of them properly.  I am just tired of things like that taking up space unnecessarily.

Start Planning For Christmas

It’d be nice to get a jump on the holidays.  They always seem to sneak up.  I’ve already encouraged the kids to start writing down items they might want for their lists.  Ideally, it’d be nice to go through our stuff and identify anything we might need.  Additionally, setting early shopping plans and budgets will only make things easier when the busy season hits.

That’s our list, though I’m sure it will get bigger.  What’s on your fall to-do list for the year?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

8 Tips For Newlyweds In Debt

If you’re a recent or upcoming newlywed, congratulations!  This is an exciting time, of course, and there’s so much ahead!  You’ve got many things to look forward to.  However, if you’re like many newlyweds, debt is a part of your life.  Nobody likes debt, but most of us have it.  Here are some tips for newlyweds in debt.

Be Honest

Hopefully, by now, you know everything there is to know about each others finances.  But, if you don’t, it’s never too late.  Make sure you both come clean about all of your debt.  You have to know where you’re starting from.

Rank Your Debt

Newlyweds in debt should make it a goal to get out of debt, or reduce it as much as possible.  Once you have all of your debts listed, start ranking them.  Figure out which ones you would like to get rid of first.  A variety of factors can tie into these decisions.  Do you have some debts with small balances that you can get out of the way easily? Are there high interest rate debts?  Or, do you owe money to family that you’d like to pay back?  Each couple will rank their debts differently, but it’s important to have a plan.

Create A Budget

Once you’re married, it’s important to create a budget.  If you’ve never done a budget, the first step is to simply track your spending.  Make sure you know where every dollar that you spend is going.  Also, understand every dollar that’s coming in.  Then, you can make a budget based on this information.  Sometimes you’ll have to adjust your budget as seasonal changes can create variances throughout the year.  The idea is to have money left over that you can use to pay down your debt faster.

Cut Spending

After you’re in tune with your budget, look at ways you can cut spending.  Every dollar you don’t spend is money you can allocate toward your debt.  Can you go out to eat less?  What about not having drinks while out for dinner?  Could you make your coffee at home?  A few dollars here and there may not seem like much, but it adds up quickly.

Increase Your Income

While cutting spending can free up money, so can bringing more money home!  Work hard at your job.  Apply for promotions.  Look for new opportunities.  In addition to your regular job, look for side hustles.  Can you tutor? Would you enjoy driving for Uber or Lyft now and then?  Can you house sit or clean a house or two?   When you have extra money, throw it right to accelerating your debt payments.

 Have An Emergency Fund

Before you attack debt, make sure you have $1,000 set aside for unexpected costs.  It may be tempting to put every dollar to debt, but you need a cushion.  Life throws things at you, and if you have an emergency fund there, you won’t have to worry about adding more debt to your life should something unexpected happen.

Don’t Ignore Retirement

You may be tempted to put every dollar you can toward debt, even if you forsake retirement savings.  I would advise against that.  Even if you put just a couple percent of your paycheck toward retirement, it’s building a good habit for a lifetime of savings.  More importantly, if your employer offers a match, make sure you contribute at least the amount necessary to get the full match.  Otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table.

Look Ahead

Newlyweds in debt may find themselves with a great plan if they follow the steps above.  However, it’s important to look ahead.  Make sure you understand where you think you’ll be in a few years time.  If you plan on starting a family, have a plan on how that will impact your finances.  These decisions could alter the priorities you set earlier.  You may find you’ll balance things out differently if your long term and short term goals diverge, which they probably will.

These are just a few tips I have for newlyweds in debt.  Will they get you out of debt instantly? No.  It’s often a long road.  But, the point is to make progress, and these tips will hopefully help.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.