Recently I have been receiving more pleas for donations in the mail. I have made some donations to select organizations but I guess they sell their mailing lists and I am contacted. Even some places have called for donations.
There is no harm in sending information or asking for a donation, it’s just that more and more places have been asking for donations. Places that may be deserving, but I can’t donate to every cause, just like I can’t buy everything that catches my eye just because I like it.
Saying no to making a donation may be difficult if you are actively involved with a group. If you have received an unsolicited plea, then it is easy to shred, hangup or delete.
Making a donation is a personal thing. Even if an organization sends you a gift or premium as an incentive to make a donation. You are under no obligation to send a donation. Sometimes when I receive address labels with the wrong address, this is an added incentive, not to send them any money. For my mother, when she sees her name misspelled, this is an automatic – no donation for her.
Helping others is great but when you are sticking to a budget, including a donation or benevolence section as part of your budget and do not exceed that. Then when people call asking for money, tell them that you are not making any donations at this time.
Mother’s Day is Sunday.
Hadn’t thought about it or were trying to wait until the last minute to get a gift? There is still time to do something nice for the mothers in your life.
The gift card was always a good fall back gift, but if the recipient won’t use the gift card in a timely manner, the worst that could happen was that the gift card would expire, now the store may go out of business. Instead give cash. Make the gift more personal by purchasing an inexpensive coin purse or wallet and then putting the money in there. Find a box, put some money in there, if you just don’t want to put cash in a card.
Taking mom out to a restaurant is always a good choice. Mother’s Day is always a difficult time to get into a restaurant. Even the free reservation websites asked for a deposit to hold your reservation. This isn’t happening this year. Restaurants are just happy that people are coming. So, check and see if there is a restaurant mom wants to go to and take her.
If your finances can’t afford a restaurant meal, you could always make mom your specialty or attempt a semblance of her favorite meal.
This year mom may understand if you are out of work, and can’t do anything spectacular like you did in the past but at least try to do something. The phrase “it’s the thought the counts” may not cut it with your mom.
There’s still the option of buying some flowers and putting them in a vase. To make it really fancy, put some ribbon or tulle around the vase.
Sometimes you don’t feel like sticking to a budget or worrying about what something costs. When that happens, if it happens to frequently you could have a budget buster which throws off your spending for the rest or the money or more.
Being “good” and not splurging at all can give feeling of depravation. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (or Jill a dull girl). Figuring a little leeway into your budget is important especially for fluctuating utility prices or gas prices. Though considering the non-essentials can make you happy as well. This will give you some spice or entertainment in your life.
The balance between practical and nonessential should not make you go into debt. Doing something you normally wouldn’t with just a few dollars that is not going toward saving or bills is healthy. A stringent financial diet is like a crash diet and bound to fail.
Create a fun fund. Decide what amount you want to set aside in a container and use money out of the container for fun things you like to do. If you add only singles or fives or quarters, you are limited to what you add to the fund but this is separate from your regular budget.
Planning to splurge like setting aside small amounts of money for something big will also give you a goal. If you don’t want something as formal as that, then just save money for small splurges. I recently went to a birthday party and I didn’t have to buy a gift. I chose to give the recipient cash. This was not breaking my budget because I take dollar bills out of my wallet and put them in a tin. I use the money for movies, coffee and miscellaneous items. I also found that I had enough cash to give my friend a box of singles in a small box I already had at home. No sweat off my back this wasn’t difficult or challenging to do, anytime I get singles from a purchase I put them in the tin. When I want to get a pizza or takeout I could pay in singles (it’s better than a sack of pennies). Some places welcome small bills.
The amount I took out for the gift did not empty the tin and I’ve added a few more singles this week as well. Giving someone a gift or buying Thai food may seem like a splurge if you are trying to save more money and cut costs. In some cases, this could even break your budget. If you have some money on the side, you can use it for gifts, entertainment and not consider it as part of an emergency fund. It’s a fun fund.
Recently I received a book and dvd as premiums that I selected from surveys that I completed online. It is interesting. None of the surveys that I complete would make it possible for me to do this as a full time job – despite what some spammer might have you believe. Though the premium that I earn for completing surveys does add up. I have renewed a specialty magazine subscription for $50 for free, have over $50 in cash that I can draw down from one place and have other points that I can use for a hotel stay or other goodies.
Completing surveys would make it possible to have a little extra leeway in your budget. A couple of years ago I used a coupon for a hotel that I redeemed from survey points.
Some of the best places for surveys and email reading are:
There are others, but these are the ones I have stuck with because of the ease of use and rewards offered. If you don’t want to complete a survey or read and email you don’t have to, but even if you don’t qualify or sign up for a promotion you will receive points. To me, that’s worth my time if I can cash in the points for a free restaurant or store gift card.
The Chicago area did not get a blizzard and actually though it is cold outside, it is a nice clear, windy day.
Grocery shopping was a success, Something I wanted to buy and try it out was being given away as samples so I got to try it before I bought it anyway. Great.
As I was strolling down the aisles gathering my food from the list I made I thought about stocking up on certain things. Since Chicago is an urban area and I do live in the city proper, it is highly unlikely that I would be snowed in for a few days. Stocking up on lots of food would be highly unnecessary. I do like to stock up though. Buying things that are non perishable is something I do. Even when some perishable items are on sale, I do like to take advantage of the pricing. This may mean that I will change what I am eating for the week, or, I could freeze some ground beef or chicken if the price is great. Only within reason.
If you are buying toilet paper, lotion or items that you use daily, stocking up isn’t a real issue. It is a necessity in order to stretch your dollars. Even if milk is cheaper for a gallon but I only need a pint for a recipe I wouldn’t stock up on it. If I see facial tissues on sale, I will buy those. Even though I have stopped using paper napkins, I like disposable tissues because of the germ factor and use them for blotting lipstick.
There are benefits to stocking up on items that you commonly use, you have an opportunity to save money and not have to make a trip to the store just to buy one item. Also, you will have more time to seek out a sale or good price on items that you need.
I did some stocking up after Christmas on soaps, lotions and bath gels which should last me through the fall. I use the bath gels daily and soap and lotion throughout the day. Plus, when in a pinch for a gift for someone, I can to grab a couple of things, creatively wrap them in a basket and instant gift with no additional cost!