Here's What You Asked For...

By Melissa Tosetti
 
I'm overwhelmed by the amount of responses we received to our survey and by how many of you took the time to write comments. 
 
The information you provided is priceless and will dictate the direction of The Savvy Life over the coming days, weeks and months. 
 
The number one request for additional information was on the subject of how to spend less than you make.   In order of popularity, here are some of the other topics you'd like to learn more about:
  • How to build an Emergency Fund.
  • Save for Retirement.
  • Pay off Debt.
  • Savvy shopping strategies.
  • How to save time and money around your home.
  • Purposeful spending.
  • How to save for travel and find travel deals.
  • How to save time and money grocery shopping and cooking.
  • Basic money management.
  • How to get and stay organized.
What surprised me the most is how many of you asked for more blog entries, especially with information about my spending when it comes to raising Dante.  I’m flattered, and will be sure to blog much more often.

Many of the comments mentioned that you want information in as concise a manner as possible.  Knowing how busy we are all, we’ll work toward that goal.
 
As far as products and services, there was an overwhelming request for checklists for the holidays and other seasonal events. You also asked for a weekly email with a list of “Savvy Tasks for the Weeks”.  We'll begin working on it immediately and launch the first list in the next week or two.
 
There were many other specific requests which we will work to fulfill as well. 
 
The winners of the four Target Gift Cards have been notified.  In additional appreciation for you taking the time to respond to the survey, I would like to provide you with the number one tool you requested which is a checklist for holidays and other seasonal events starting with Halloween. 

To download your copy, click here: 5 Minute Halloween Organizer

 
Enter to Win a $25 Target Gift Card
In our effort to make The Savvy Life as beneficial as possible, we’ve created a survey. The survey will help us tailor articles and products to meet your needs. 
 
The survey takes less than 2 minutes. When you're done, send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with "Survey Complete" listed in the subject line and you’ll be entered to win one of four $25 Target gift cards. The gift card winners will be notified on Sunday, September 21, 2014. 
 
Thank you in advance for your input. - Melissa Tosetti
 
To take the survey, click here:

  

 
Social Spending
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Going out with friends can potentially be a money draining situation.  If you aren’t careful, one evening can blow your spending money for the month.
 
This can be a tricky area, as your friends may be in a different financial situation. As financial expert Suze Orman suggests, be honest with your friends about your intention of being careful with your finances. Suggesting less expensive alternatives or saying no if you don’t want to go may be your best bet.
 
While it may be tempting, don’t lie to your friends about your situation. There is no shame in saving money to spend on the things that are important to you. In fact, it is empowering. You're taking control of your finances instead of letting your friends influence your spending.
 
Mikey Rox of Wisebread wrote a great article on the subject of social spending titled, 7 Nice Ways To Tell Your Spendy Friends You're Staying On A Budget
 
One thing to keep in mind - The majority of clients I've worked with who decided to suggest alternative entertainment ideas to their friends were surprised at how their friends jumped at the suggestions.  Your friends may want to spend less on entertainment as well, but are afraid to approach you about it. 
 
 
 
Save on Your Smartphone Plan
By Melissa Tosetti
 
When I work with clients to create Spending Plans, we look for ways to help them plug their financial leaks so they can focus their money on what's most important to them.
 
An area that always gets scrutinized is cell phone plans.  Because everyone has different needs, there is no right answer when it comes to picking a plan. 
 
When doing a little research for a client the other day, I stumbled on an article by Clark Howard, one of my favorite personal finance authors.  The article titled, Smartphone and Data Plan Guide for 2014, helps you compare plans so you can find the best deal for you and your family. 
 
If you think you're spending too much on your cell phone bill, check out the article and think about what you can do with the money you'll save by switching plans!

 
Savvy Kitchen Investments
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Thursday night I gave a presentation on running a Savvy Kitchen at the Cooks Nook in McPherson, KS. 
 
It’s one of my favorite talks because in my experience of working with clients, food is the number one area where people struggle. The presentation focuses on how to save both time and money from creating an effective grocery list all the way to managing leftovers. 
 
What was particularly cool about doing the event at the Cooks Nook is that part of the presentation concentrates on the importance of investing in good tools. Not gadgets, but tools. 
 
Gadgets are the As Seen On TV items you buy that never get used. Tools are the things that get used on a regular basis and are worth spending a little more on to ensure they work well and last. For example…
  • Invest in a good set of knives and you’ll be amazed at how much faster you can dice an onion or slice a tomato.
  • Purchase a quality set of pots and pans and they’ll cook more efficiently and last twice as long as their cheaper counterparts. 
One of the aspects of a professional kitchen that's worth imitating is that everything pulls its weight. There’s no clutter to slow down the process of preparing each and every meal.
 
With that said, it’s important to note that one person’s gadget is another person’s tool. It all depends on what you like to cook. For example, my husband Paul is crazy about egg salad. Fifteen years ago I purchased an egg slicer for about $5 that has paid for itself over and over again by saving me time. 
 
Another item that could be considered a gadget in one person’s eyes but a tool in another is the Chop Stir. I first saw one at my Aunt Sadie's house that she used while cooking hamburger. She has rheumatoid arthritis so the tool is a blessing for her! My mom now swears by it too.
 
To take the first step to streamlining your own kitchen, consider going through everything in it and getting rid of anything you haven’t used in the last year. This will not only help make cooking more efficient, but will also help make room for quality tools you may purchase down the road. 
 
One of the racks at the Cooks Nook
 
 
Take Advantage of Labor Day Weekend Sales

By Melissa Tosetti
 
Labor Day Weekend is the unofficial transition between summer and fall.  Retailers have created a tradition of offering deep discounts to encourage consumers to use their extra day off to shop.  Listed below are just a few of the items you can pick up at some of the best possible prices during the holiday weekend. 

Office & School Supplies
Now is a great time to not only stock up on school supplies for your children, but home office supplies as well.  Just make sure to only purchase what you're going to use.

Home Improvement
Paint and other home improvement products will be on sale this weekend as retailers know we'll have an additional day to get home projects done. 

Automobiles
With 2015 models rolling on to car lots, dealers are anxious to liquidate their older models.

Outdoor Living
Desperate to make room for Halloween and Christmas items, retailers will offer fantastic sales on patio furniture, BBQs and other outdoor living products.

Clothes
Thanks to a competitive market, Labor Day sales are hitting clothing stores a week early!  For a list of stores and their discounts, check out Labor Day Sale Prices Are Here.

Beyond Labor Day
The sales don't necessarily end when Labor Day is over.  Stores are trying to get rid of excess stock in anticipation of their most lucrative season of the year - the fall and winter holidays.  Throughout the month of September, pay attention to your favorite stores sales ads and take advantage of the great discounts.  Just remember, only purchase what you're actually going to use.  

 
The Power of $6.58
One of the reasons people hesitate to begin putting money into a retirement account is because they feel like they can't contribute enough to make a difference.  And yet you read stories of school teachers, librarians and bus drivers who managed to accumulate millions of dollars on small salaries.  How do they do it? 
 
In the article, How to Turn $200 a Month Into $5 Million, Patrick Morris demonstrates how just $6.58 a day can transform into $5 million.
 
The key to is to stop making excuses and just do it!  Call your financial advisor right now and ask them to increase your monthly contributions or call your HR department and ask for the forms you need to start contributing to your 401k. 
 
 
 
Back To School Organizer - No Kids Required
When we think of back to school we think of fresh starts, new wardrobes and school supplies
- a reboot to the year. 
 
There’s a lot to do in the days leading up to the first day of school and it’s easy to waste time
as well as money if you go in without a plan. So we created one for you.
 
The Back to School Organizer has been designed to help you save you those precious
resources of time and money, now and throughout the school year. 
 
The organizer includes:
  •          Clothing inventory guide so you can create a list of what your children truly need.
  •          School supply inventory guide
  •          Links to your favorite stores sales ads to help you save time and money
  •          Lunch and breakfast idea lists with links to web pages for additional ideas.
  •          Tips for saving time in the mornings and throughout the year.
Inventory Sheets
The organizer is separated into different sections which include brief introductions as well as
inventory sheets. The inventory sheets are on separate pages so you can print and then fill
them out.  Each inventory list also includes blank lines so you can add additional items. 
 
No Kids Required
Even if you don’t have children, there’s an opportunity to use this time of year to refresh and
refine your wardrobe and day-to-day routine. At the end of most of the sections, you’ll find a
No Kids Required segment with suggestions for how to adapt the information for your
situation.   There are also several inventory lists specifically created for you as well.
 
To download the organizer now for just $7.95, click here: 
 

 
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