We are back with our second installment of how best to budget for your school year. If you're still paying for 2020 or wanting to better prepared for 2021, we have more tips and suggestions to make the school year's expenses a little easier on your wallet.
Hello everyone! Welcome back to the blog. We are going to be continuing with part two of our tips and suggestions series on how to budget and save money when shopping for the school year. We know that many of these suggestions might be better suited for the second semester of the year of 2021, but we hope that if we share them with you now, that you can plan more efficiently for the years to come. Have you used any of our suggestions from the first part of this blog? Have you come across even more money-saving tips that you want to share? Please don't hesitate to comment and share them with us after reading this blog, we would love to hear from you!
3. Plan It (Part 2)
When you're planning on heading out to the store or committing to some serious online shopping, don't forget to research your apps! There are tons of money-saving apps that you can use to get cashback on your purchases. Some apps can alert you if you're getting a good deal or if the item is priced better somewhere else. You can also get alerts when your favorite stores are having good deals and sales too. The school year can also be an exciting task for you, our coupon superheroes! Put your skills to work. You've found incredible deals for your family by using your coupons, use them for the school year too. Don't forget to visit your local dollar stores and clearance stores. They will surprise you with what products they offer. Don't exclude thrift stores or thrifting apps like Poshmark or ThreadUp. While these might not be ideal for electronics, you'll be able to find some incredible deals on school clothes, supplies, and more. For students who are going back to school in person and who wear uniforms, use Facebook Marketplace to good use! Buy gently used uniform items that other students have grown out of and fit your children perfectly!
Also, don't forget to buy clothes off-season. While you might be needing some new fall clothing to make it through the cooler months, there is nothing wrong with picking up a new outfits at the end of summertime or wintertime for the following season. You can get some incredible deals and a good amount of clothes for your children, including school uniforms, when the seasons are changing. When you're shopping at your favorite stores, don't forget to spend some time on the sales rack. They might be a little terrifying to dive into, but it can help your purse strings. Also, remember to buy a size or two up for children still going through puberty so these clothes will fit them once the appropriate season comes around again!
Make sure to take a look around the house before you go shopping. Due to the changes this school year has brought, you might already have to reorganize some of your living areas to accommodate room for e-learning, why not take this as an opportunity to do a little fall cleaning? Does everyone in your home think they need new school supplies? Gather up all the pens, pencils, crayons, markers, glue sticks, scissors, and rulers in the house to see what you already have. Go through them and throw out what can't be used, and keep the good supplies. Have 10 bottles of open glue? Pour them into one another to have full bottles and get rid of the empty ones. Have a bunch of worn down crayons? Melt them down and create new ones! This can be a fun family project and can be a huge money saver. They may not be brand new, but you might already have all the school supplies you need in your home, waiting to be used.
This can also be applied to electronics. Do you have old computers, laptops, or tables that can be refurbished and passed down? How about old pairs of headphones? Can you turn an unused room in your home into a home classroom with pieces of furniture you or your family members already have? Also, there is nothing wrong with sharing. Yes, we know this can be a huge challenge with multiple children. This will have to be a planned effort by the whole family, but you can do it!
5. Make The Most Of It
As we've mentioned in previous blogs, going out to eat can add up very quickly, as can getting delivery. The same goes for school lunches. If your child is going back to school in person, do packed lunches and snacks, and eat breakfast at home. These meals can be added to your monthly budget and can help you cut down on outside expenses. Also, look into buying in bulk. Costco and Sams Club do have excellent deals on electronics, but their initial fame came from their bulk-sized products. Buy in bulk, meal prep, and freeze! Getting a membership to these big stores might seem expensive, but you can get cash back and other perks to make it worth your while and benefit your budget.
Needing extra child care? Ask your tribe first. Can a family member or friend help out? Can you join a nanny pool with your friends and their children who you've already spent time with during quarantine? How about hiring a tutor or personal teacher for your safe bubble of friends and their children? This can cut down costs, give your children personalized attention in their lessons, and help them continue to socialize like they would in class!
When it comes to school activities, we know that you want your child to be involved with as much as possible. You want them to experience new things, spend time with friends and make new friends, add potential skills and experiences for their college applications, and find things that could help them in their future careers. With the pandemic of 2020, the opportunity to participate has been drastically reduced due to safety measures. Many artistic activities like theater, band, and choir have been canceled along with many indoor sports. Remember, when things get back to normal, your children don't have to do them all. Sports, dance, theater, and any after school program and activity can seriously begin to add up. Pay to play, costumes, equipment, private teachers and coaches, can all add to those expenses. Limit your child's activities to one or two, and let them truly invest their time and abilities to those chosen activities. This will also be a big money and time-saver for you and your whole family.
Always remember that even while you're making a budget for the school year, continue to make a budget for the whole year. Once the school year is over, that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep it as part of your year-round budget. This can help you save more money for the upcoming school year, and not feel pinched once you have to readjust to those expenses come September. It can help you keep on a consistent and steady track with your budget and your finances without giving you a heart attack at the end of every quarter or change of season. After all, that's a pretty fantastic goal to keep, right?
We hope that this blog series has helped you plan out your future or current school spending, and how you might look at the 2021 school year's spending as well. With the uncertainty that 2020 is still giving us, it doesn't look like 2021 will be much different. So, while you might have already purchased everything you need this year, or you're still currently in the middle of the process, you will have more time to choose how you plan out your budget from today forward. Remember, if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon
Staying within your budget for 2020 has new meaning and power over your finances. With the school year in full bloom, it's time to stay smart when learning your p's and q's!
The school year is back, and even though it might look very different than last fall, we know this time of year still has the potential to be exciting and fun. There is nothing like the fresh smell of school supplies on the first day of September! Even with e-learning and distanced learning, and all the different kinds of learning that we are seeing here in Goose Creek, we hope all of our parents and students have a very special school year! While there are already so many things to be worried about this year, your finances might be the heaviest burden of them all. While your children are back to hitting the books, we wanted to offer some tips and suggestions on how to save as many nickles and dimes as possible this school year. There is no one fix it all solution for everyone when it comes to adjusting to this school year or how to make the most out of your finances as you do so. In this two-part blog, we are going to be offering you some suggestions and options that might make your budget work for you and how to remove some worry and stress from the rest of 2020!
1. Hitting the Harddrive
This year's school spending looks very different than your 2019 school budget. When you went shopping last year new clothes, pens, backpacks, and books might have been on the list. This year, things are looking a little more technical. With so many distance and e-learning classes on your child's schedule, you might be looking into buying new computers, tablets, and software. You might also be looking into paying for more childcare or private tutors to help make your professional schedule work around your family's schedule. In all honesty, it looks like your back to school budget might have to be a tad bigger than last year's. This might be a hard pill to swallow since due to shortened hours or continued furloughs, your family's income might be taking quite a hit.
According to Dave Ramsey, parents are spending an average of $70 more than they did last year on electronics. Add on headphones, traditional school supplies, hand sanitizer, masks, and new furniture, Ramsey goes on to explain that parents could be spending up to $790 for all necessary school supplies this year. With every challenge you and your family have already gone through this year, how is this even possible? What makes it even more difficult is that your children need these items now, and the best time to buy it all is as quickly as you can. Your children will need all of these resources to get the most out of their education, to stay on top of their lessons and homework, and to stay connected with their friends and teachers. Take a deep breath, and don't worry. We are here to help!
2. Plan It (Part 1)
Be reasonable about your budget and what your family is currently making. What are the bills you have to take care of, and how much does this leave you for school supplies? Sit down and make a plan. How much can you spend on each child? Figure out this number and stick to it while you're shopping. Remember, a lot of the electronic devices that you could be in the market for can be purchased refurbished or secondhand. They do not have to be brand new and straight out of the box. Many companies from Apple to Best Buy all offer some excellent refurbished and refinancing options. Also, remember to check out stores that you might not exactly expect to have great deals on electronics. Costco and Sams Club are already known for excellent deals on their products, and this does include electronics.
When you do plan your budget and start your research on where to shop, spend time on it. Do not rush. Also, it might be best to stick to the school list and what you absolutely have to buy and not to what your kids are asking for. We might also suggest that they stay at home when you make your school supplies shopping trip. It's easy to say yes to fun add ons that they slip into your cart while you're out and about. A lot of the time these fun items go unused and add up your bill very quickly! While during your research, make sure to learn what all of your needed products are worth. This will come in handy when sales do start to pop up, you'll be able to recognize what is actually a good deal and what just looks to be a good deal.
We know this has been a stressful time for all of our parents, teachers, and families. This is why we are here with this blog to offer you some tips and suggestions to make this year and maybe even some of the next a little less painful. Try and enjoy the school year, getting back into a schedule, and watching your children blossom in their studies. In our next blog, we will be continuing with more tips and suggestions, and we hope to calm your stress about staying within your means. Remember, if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
Keeping a watchful eye on your finances is always important. During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever.
Keeping a close watch on your purse strings is a necessity. With so much unknown about this year, knowing exactly where your finances stand and how to keep them stable has become a huge priority for most Americans. Since March of this year, over 3 million Americans have filed for unemployment, according to Forbes. Juggling how this pandemic has affected your income and how it will affect your daily and monthly spending could become a huge focus for you and your family. While staying healthy and figuring out new school and work scheduled are our first priorities, it is easy to get overwhelmed with how to deal with these potentially drastic changes in your finances. How do you decide what to cut out? How can you change your spending? What are the necessities that can't be cut out, and how do you make these decisions with the best outcome for your family?
According to Forbes, an estimated 49% of the American population was living paycheck to paycheck even before the pandemic hit. This left no room for extra savings or a nest egg to fall back on. Unemployment has helped, but even that has seen a drastic change since its first wave with the national stimulus checks. Many people have been left without enough to cover their basic needs. The first stimulus check and the additional $600 from the government added to unemployment checks were just short term solutions. What can we do now to help make our bills, keep a roof over our heads, and keep food on the table?
THE NEW BUDGET
You sit down every month and track what you're earning and what you're spending. You create a solid budget based on your calculations that takes care of your bills, your family's needs, and hopefully goes towards a little fun. If your paycheck has been hit or changed due to the pandemic, your budget will have to be retooled. Try and figure out how much of a cut your salary has gone through and try and cut that much out of your monthly spending. Please remember that while you're cutting your budget, your retirement planning and savings still needs your attention. If you can keep paying into those, that is ideal. If you are unable to do so, don't panic. Instead of adding to them, try not touching them unless you have to. Consider what you have in savings during this time, too. If it is needed, remember these funds have been put aside for an emergency.
While the stimulus check will not be part of your 2020 taxes and is being treated as forgiven money, the additional $600 and the now $300 added to your unemployment checks will be taxable income. If you've taken the highest amount in unemployment without choosing to take any taxes out, please prepare for what you will owe in your 2020 taxes. If you can, choose to take out some taxes to make your next tax season a little less painful. Also, try and avoid the temptation of online shopping and avoid making 'panic purchases". Instead of using your extra time to scroll through your favorite shopping sites, sit down and create a brand new long term financial strategy. We have no idea how long this might last, so planning ahead is going to be your best bet.
Everyone owes money every month, even those who collect it for a living. We all have bills to pay, there's no exception to that. If you can sit down and take the time to talk with your landlord, your credit card companies, your insurance company, and discuss your current circumstances it could be a huge relief to your bank account. Be honest and ask if they can give you some kind of break or pause in your payments, a break or pause in accruing interest, and if you can negotiate your interest rates. According to Business Insider Apple, Chase, Citi, American Express, and Capital One offered their clients emergency support during the first few months of the pandemic.
THE DINNER MENU
Part of your monthly budget includes your grocery bill and funds set aside for going out to eat. As much as we all want to support our favorite local restaurants, eating out adds up just as quickly as it did before the pandemic. Tack on delivery fees to this bill, and it can be even more expensive. The dangers of panic purchasing delivered meals three times a day is very easy thanks to our favorite food apps. Meal planning is going to be just as important as budget planning. You'll need to stick to both to feed your family and save as much money as possible. We understand a few delivered and take out meals, but try and avoid them as much as possible.
The pandemic has done a good job keeping us at home and helped us save money on group activities like going to concerts, going to the gym, and getting our hair and nails done. While things are getting back to normal and these services are slowly becoming available, that doesn't mean you need to jump back into using them again. It's best to wait and do so when your income is back to normal. You've survived without them up until now, and you can continue to do so a little while longer. If you have a lawn care service or a maid service that helps you care for your home, it might be beneficial to pause these services. As essential as they might be, they aren't as important as many other things in your budget. Making these decisions is difficult, but they are possible. You just have to keep going back to the drawing board when things get tough.
We know the last thing you want to hear right now is that you have to sacrifice more than you already have just to hang on. You've given up so much already, changed plans, and lost out on promised opportunities. The truth is, you can keep going. If you continue to make these hard decisions to save your finances and protect your family, the light at the end of the tunnel will become much brighter. If you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
It's tempting to use your tax return to buy something fun and exciting. It's also such a relief when those funds show up in your bank account. But, in a world that is very unsure and uneasy, it might be time to think practically when it comes to your tax return this year!
Hello Goose Creek! How are you? We hope you and your family are doing well, and we hope you know we miss you! Know that through everything we are here for you, and if there is anything we can do to help you, please don't hesitate to reach out to us! It was a much different April than any of us expected or could have imagined. Tax day came and went without much attention. For the first time since 1955, when April 15th officially became tax day, we didn't have to pay our taxes on that day. It was also the first time since 1955 that tax day was moved, this time to July 15th. It was very strange for us, of course. But, we know that for many families in Goose Creek, this might have been a huge relief! Did this help you and your family? If you still haven't paid your taxes, you do have time to do so. But, we do recommend that you do so as quickly as you can. This way you can receive your tax return quicker and possibly your stimulus check too if you haven't already!
Regardless, for every accounting service in Goose Creek and tax preparation in Goose Creek, this was a very strange April. Thankfully there are still plenty of great things to look forward to on the horizon. One of those great things being the appearance of our tax returns in our bank accounts or mailboxes. For many families, the appearance of this money comes with a lot of relief, bills being paid, and sometimes something very fun for the whole family. But, as we mentioned before, this April and the whole of 2020 has created quite a different dynamic for our everyday lives. As much as we love surprising the family with a new TV, A new car, or a family vacation, now might be the time to look at your tax return in ways you never have before. Being the best tax preparation service in Goose Creek, we wanted to share some of the best and worst ways you can spend your tax return. By doing so, we hope to help bring awareness to what is important right now, and what isn't. Please note, we are a family company. We love our town and want each of you to rise to the best of your abilities. We respect the freedom of your decisions but want to help you through these difficult times as best we can.
WHAT NOT TO SPEND YOUR RETURN ON!
WHAT TO SPEND YOUR RETURN ON!
Money can be a difficult and tricky topic, but it doesn't have to be. We hope these tips help you and your family through this difficult time. Remember if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
Money for many of us is tighter in new ways than we could ever have imagined. How can you make life a little easier while you adapt to the changing world around you?
It seems strange that while the world is turned on its head and we are living differently than we ever have before, there are still bills to pay, groceries and important items to buy, and other possible expenses heading our way. Before your tax return shows up and the stimulus check appears in your bank account, money might be very tight at the moment. For those of you who have been put on furlough or have been laid off from your job and you're now depending on an unemployment check or your savings, these times are even scarier. For those who don't have unemployment or savings, these times could be very dire. We understand, and we sympathize with you. With these changing times, we wanted to share a few tips and pieces of advice to help manage your money while the world is on hold. We hope these tips and suggestions help while you wait on your tax return, your stimulus checks, and to head back to work.
At the end of the day, the biggest thing you need to focus on is to not panic and to make wise decisions. Panicking can lead to some very drastic decisions, especially when it comes to your money. Please remember we are all going through this together. We are here to answer any questions you might have or to advise you during this difficult time. We are still here to offer everyone in Goose Creek the best tax services too. Please don't be a stranger. Give us a call or email us, we will figure out your next best step, together!
It's so easy to splurge during the holidays, but don't forget that Thanksgiving is just one of many festive activities on your list over the next few weeks and months. You also might want to still have a few dollars left in the bank once the new years begins. So enjoy these tips on how to save a few dollars as you approach the holiday season.
I'm not sure about you, but Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays! Sitting around with your loved ones, celebrating the things you have to be thankful for, all topped off with an amazing plate (or two) stuffed full of amazing food, all ending with a nap? That sounds pretty perfect to me. It's so easy to want to buy the best foods, the best decorations, and the best little extra things to make these days special. But remember, you can still make Thanksgiving and every holiday special without breaking the bank. Just in time to start buying all of your favorite items to kick off the holiday season, here are a few tips on how to take care of your bank account while still celebrating the holidays in style!
The holidays can be overwhelming and expensive. But if you take the time to do a little extra research and planning, they certainly don't have to be. Use this list to help enjoy your holiday, let it be a little less stressful, and save some money while you're at it!
Has this been a financially difficult year for you and your family? Here are five unique ways to help your family save some money to make those difficult times a little easier.
Home and family expenses are something that will always be there. No matter where you are in your life, something usually always pops up that becomes an unexpected cost or something you just weren't financially prepared for. It's okay, it happens! Commonly, you are always looking for the next best way to save a few dollars every month or every week as you budget for your family or your life. Here are five different and unique ways to save a little extra money to help your family stay a little more financially comfortable no matter what happens.
2. Work From Home
Who wouldn't love the opportunity to go to work in your PJs, in a beautiful and comfortable space that you've created, with your favorite four-legged pet as your coworker? A lot of perks will come out of this choice faster than you could think. Right away, you'll be saving money on your commute. You might be walking a few feet to get to work, but you will no longer be driving miles to get to the office and back home again. This will cut down on gas cost and maintenance to your vehicle. This could also be a huge time saver for you. You can have the option to sleep in a little longer before you have to clock in. You can use this extra time to drop your kids off at school or pick them up. You can save money on babysitters, too! You'll be home if anything happens, you won't need a pickup service, and you no longer need to rely on anyone to be there when they get home.
You also won't need to go out for breakfast, lunch, snacks, or coffee. You can walk right into your kitchen for anything you might need. This could also turn into another monetary gain from your employer. It ultimately saves them money in operational cost if you're working from home using your own power, internet, and phone lines. So, they just might be willing to give you a raise for making this move home since you will be helping them save more money in the long run too.
3. Weekends and Vacations
How often do you take advantage of your town or city? How often have you treated yourself to a staycation? You don't have to spend tons of money or any money at all to create the best weekends, trips, or memories. Take advantage of the free parks and natural wonders around you. Take a packed lunch to the beach, a local pond, or park. Take advantage of free concerts, free admission days to art galleries and museums. Pay close attention to your town's local paper and read up on all the free activities offered throughout the year. Volunteer for local charities, go fishing, check out our local library, and go stargazing! The possibilities are endless!
Have you heard of a staycation? It is exactly what it sounds like. Get ready to spend the most relaxing weekend (or week!) in your favorite PJs, cooking your favorite meals, and finally renting or checking out that movie or book you've been dying to get your hands on. If you're taking a full week of vacation - enjoy the wonders of your city. You don't need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to travel somewhere. Stay in a local hotel and pretend you're a tourist. See the sights, finally try out that new restaurant, and find a new (to you) watering hole! Enjoy your whole vacation with the comfort of your own home or hometown in the background!
4. Programmable Thermostats and Solar Panels
It's easy when the depths of winter and the height of summer comes along that your electric bill skyrockets into some very scary high numbers. But think about it - you're keeping your home cozy or cool for a lot of time that you're not even home to enjoy it. And, it can be cumbersome to remember to change those thermostats before you walk out the door every day. Why not invest a little to gain back a lot? Programmable thermostats have become very affordable and most, if not all of them, can be controlled by your smart devices. So even if you forget to set them before you leave for the day, you can change your thermostats from anywhere!
On top of that, save even more money by taking advantage of the sun here in the Lowcountry! If it has to be so hot, why not take advantage of it? Installations of solar panels can be extremely affordable if you work out the proper contract and don't buy them. Once they're installed and up and running if you're not using all the power you're generating, a lot of the time this power can be carried over into the next month. And sometimes, your local power companies will buy this extra power from you - giving you a little more money in the bank or credit towards the months when the sun isn't out as much. And don't worry about those cloudy days or cooler weather. Solar panels store energy for days and months that are known for not soaking up the sun. This way your money-saving options can continue throughout the year!
5. Save Money when the Windfall Comes
Have you recently stumbled upon a very profitable time in your life? Have you recently inherited or won a good sum of money? Have you recently received a wonderful raise or bonus? Congratulations! The first thing a lot of us will do is throw this exciting chunk of change at a new car, a shopping spree, or a lavish vacation. There is nothing wrong with celebrating and enjoying these profitable times, but these windfalls won't always come around. Instead of spending all of this exciting capital on the fun stuff, put some of it in savings. Invest it for tougher and tighter times. Save it now for an even bigger and better dream or the opportunity to retire sooner. It might not be the most fun you could have at that moment, but you will appreciate it later down the line. Maybe when you least expect it!
Hard financial times happen for all of us. But if you think about money-saving tips in new and unique ways, these hard times may become fewer and farther between. Start now by implementing these 5 tips into your everyday life to make the rest of 2019, and into the beginning of 2020, a little easier for you and your bank account!
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