My First Vlog & Product Review

I’ve finally decided to give you all MORE! Welcome to my first Vlog on my new channel! ūüėČ Enjoy

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Want to Host Simple Nostalgic Birthday Parties for Your Kids?

Birthday parties

So we just celebrated Baby Cinco’s first birthday earlier this week and had such a blast! We love birthday parties!

It was a simple day with a homemade cake, party hats and candles. ūüėČ No stress, no fuss and no overspending! In today’s post I’m going to share¬†how and why I only host nostalgic simple birthday parties for my kids.

Years ago I would have done the whole huge 1st birthday party, invite the mayor, ping the President, buy a cake for 100 people minimum and go all out, in gifts, food and decorating.

However after London was born I realized the bar for kids birthday parties kept rising higher and higher. You had to get a clown, a face painter, a real astronaut, and a cotton candy machine. Oh and if your goody bag isn’t a reusable tote bag filled to the brim with goodies then hunni your party just wouldn’t qualify for best party bag of the year awards.

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I sat back after sitting at a winter wonderland party, fully tricked out with a snow machine, Santa and mini elf helpers and assessed what I was seeing around me. The competitive show for kids birthday parties had become more about the parents outdoing each other in ideas and spending, than about the kids really. What one year old cares about whether icicles hang from the ceiling and whether there is a ice blue carpet with stantions with an elf greeting guests at the door? Party after party I realized no matter how much the parents spent or how elaborate the decor the reaction of the kids was always the same.

{Insert wild screaming kids, hyped up on candy and juice here}

The kids didn’t really care about all the hype. Sure they would be mesmerized by all the pretty decorations and overstimulated by all the activities, but all they really cared about was eating candy, cake and playing with the other kids.

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So I decided I no longer wanted to compete with the over the top ridiculous, expensive, fantasy lands. Personally I had other goals that took priority, like building a portfolio, buying a house, saving for college, and I just wanted an overall simpler life. The planning, the preparation, the set up, the clean up. I wanted to pass on all of it.

I also wanted my kids to experience the nostalgia of birthday parties like I had as a kid. No one rented a hall for a birthday party in my day, you also didn’t invite every single person you ever met, and you certainly didn’t feed them like the last supper. We had birthday parties in the basement, in the backyard, or in the living room and you invited your cousins and your best friends. Moms made hotdogs, potato salad or ordered pizza and made you a cake and called it a day and guess what, we all had a GREAT time!

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So when London turned one we tried a house party for the first time. We baked our own cake, frosted it ourselves, and put sprinkles on it. it looked so messy but it was amazing! We also ordered 2 dozen balloons and decorations from the dollar store and put them all over the living room. Then the biggie, we only invited friends who had kids London’s age. That took our guest list from 50 to 10 kids. Praise The Lord!

Next¬†we decided that everyone wouldn’t have a birthday party year. Our kids are born in March, July, August, September and December. When Summer turned a year old I tried to give Jaela Summer and London birthday parties. Literally every 3 weeks I hosted a birthday party and after that one time I vowed I would never ever ever do that again and haven’t since. So they get to have big birthday party with friends every other year and the years it’s not their turn they have a family only cake cutting and or sleepover with their cousins.

Having done this year after year for the past 7 years I love the outcome. For starters it’s our¬†parties our way on our own terms and my kids appreciate the experience and time we spend preparing more than anything. We go into the kitchen to¬†bake cakes and it’s like a special thing for us. No one wants to be left out and they look forward to it more¬†than any custom store or bakery made cake I ever purchased.

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They also love decorating the house with balloons and streamers. It lets them get involved and allows us to spend more time together as a family being creative. ¬†The extra bonus for me is that it’s simple and affordable.¬†You can’t beat that

How do you do your kids parties? Do you typically go Simple or all out and Splurge?

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Multiple Banks Accounts is NOT a Bad Thing!

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I used to think one checking account and one savings account is all anyone ever needed. Then I met Tai and Talaat from His and Her Money who have a whooping 13 bank accounts!!!

I started to ask myself would it be helpful to have more than 2 bank accounts and over time I realized that it would.

Now I have 8 accounts,

  • Joint checking account for bills
  • Joint checking account for rent
  • Joint checking account for spending
  • Joint savings account emergencies
  • Joint investment account
  • Personal Investment Account
  • Personal Business Checking
  • Personal Business Savings

I found it so helpful when it came to managing my money to have a designated account per purpose. That way I’m not keeping all kinds of mental math in my head of what money is for what in my one account. I can just move it around how I see fit.

What do you think? Do you have an issue managing the money in your bank accounts? Do you ever forget you needed to leave money in your account for something but end up spending it, or going overdrawn?

Maybe you should consider multiple accounts too. Here’s more about Tai and Talaat and their 13 bank accounts, I don’t need 13 and you probably don’t either, but there right number may definitely be more than 1 or 2.

 

You can find out more about Tai and Talaat over at His and Her Money, on Twitter and on Instagram.

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5 Shopping Rules You Need To Consider Before You Buy!

Looking for some tried and true shopping rules before you hit the mall? Check out today’s info graphic with 5 quick rules you should follow before you hit the mall this weekend

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Befriend The Budget and The 50/20/30 Rule!

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A few years ago, a writer at LearnVest introduced the 50/20/30 guideline for budgeting and it’s a pretty simple yet effective concept.

50% of your income goes to fixed expenses like rent, utilities & groceries.

20% of your income goes to savings goals

30% of your income goes to lifestyle choices like shopping, vacations, brunch and drinks.

At the time I completely jumped on board with this theory and implemented it as my own budget guideline. Over time I felt that the 20 and the 30 should be flipped so I wrote more about it for Black Enterprise this past summer.

In that article I still recommended allocating 50% of your income for living expenses like rent and utilities; but instead of 30% for lifestyle choices I allocated 30% for debt payoff, savings, and investments.

Raising the percentage to 30% was to help readers understand the role debt should play in their overall financial picture. In an ideal financial world, you would owe no debt, but if your debt is 10%, 15% or 20-25% of your income there is still hope for you.

With this new 30% savings, debt and investing model it gives you the incentive no matter what percentage of your income your savings are today to keep paying down all your debts, while gradually increasing your savings contributions until they represent a full robust 30% of your budget.

One of first mental barriers that need to come down to fully embrace this mindset and develop good saving habits is start looking at your savings like another bill you have to pay monthly, a bill you pay to yourself.  This will help keep you stay committed month after month and brings some reality to the concept of paying yourself first.

 

After a while I even started challenging my living expenses reducing them from 50% to 35%. I kept my lifestyle choices at only 20%, debt at 10% and increased my savings to 35%.

Setting budget percentages is just a parameter, a starting point; but after you master the habit, celebrate your financial victories as your savings start to add up and debt goes down. You will  start to crave even more ways to save and challenge yourself even more.

 

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