Let's talk finances.

Many of you have chosen to cloth diaper to save money. It’s a fantastic way to save a few thousand dollars. Disposable diapering is very expensive. Because some of Everything Birth’s customer’s are interested in financial savings, today’s blog is about how to achieve financial stability.

My Story

The average American household is about $8000 in debt. I’ve been there. I made sound financial decisions at a time when I was able to handle it in order to build an amazing business. The economy was good, I was a single mother of one son. It was a risk, certainly, but at the time, it wasn’t a significant risk. Then around 2007, the economy crashed. My business actually took off like wildfire, because I owned a brick and mortar store that sold parents items that actually saved them a great deal of money, like cloth diapers.

However, in 2007, my life changed dramatically. I became involved with my husband and took on the maternal role for my stepson. I don’t like other people to raise my children. At first, I attempted to bring him to work with me so that he could develop a good bond with me, rather than someone at a daycare. When it became apparent that his handicap seriously conflicted with the needs of my store, I had a choice to make, and I closed my store… leaving contracts and leases and acquiring a great deal of debt. After trying unsuccessfully to pay off my debt for a year, and not having it even make a dent (given that credit cards were raising rates and lowering credit limits just before the new laws went into effect) I filed for bankruptcy.

In order to file for bankruptcy, you have to take a credit counseling class, which I personally think every family in America should take, just because it’s so helpful. I went through The Mesquite Group because my lawyer suggested it. It easily paid for itself within the first month because of their money saving suggestions.

Evaluate your Expenses

To start off, they explained where you should be spending your money each month for sound financial security. I highly suggest that you take a look at your expenses and see what you can do to change them. If your expenses are all off, contacting a group like The Mesquite group would be a very sound financial decision. They have a myriad of suggestions that most Americans would never even think of.

Take a look at your expenses. To figure out the percentage you take the total amount you spend in each area per month and divide it by your net income. Your figures should look like this:

  • Housing (includes insurance, rent or mortgage, taxes)= 30%
  • Auto (includes insurance, payment, gas, upkeep) = 15%
  • Grocery/ Household Supplies= 15%
  • Savings = 10%
  • Debt/ Charitable Contributions = 15%
  • Misc  = 15%

How do your expenses look? Where can you trim off some areas of excess? Not sure, let’s talk about your expenses or look into credit counseling yourself.

Check Your Credit Score

It’s also important that you know what’s on your credit report. There may be things on there that aren’t even yours, are incorrect, or that you can fix. There is a law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It allows you to request a copy of your credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies once a year for free. Here’s a link to how to get that: www.annualcreditreport.com

Earn Yourself Extra Money

In today’s economy, it’s always good to have a few different sources of income. Having a garage sale is always fun, but you’re usually limited to one weekend a year. Look around your house, what don’t you need? What can you turn into cash?

Amazon allows you to sell your used books. We used to make a couple hundred dollars a month selling our old books on Amazon. We only sold books we weren’t in love with. It was really easy. They give you a shipping credit and they deposit it and your earnings directly into your bank account almost immediately. Our biggest sellers were old cookbooks and self-help books.

Craigslist is a fantastic way to unload stuff in your attic, garage or closets. It’s free to post, so you don’t have to worry about wasting any money like you would on eBay. It’s also a great place to look for work from home. You have to be a little cautious, but there are valid writing, designing and other freelance jobs offered on Craigslist all the time. A couple hundred dollars a month can be the difference between going broke and staying afloat in this economy.

BirthDepot is a great online classified brought to you by the same people that bring you Everything Birth. There you can sell your baby and birth related items for free. In a pickle, you can earn yourself quite a bit just by using this “virtual garage sale” that is open 24 hours a day, every day of the week.

If you are into cloth diapering, but don’t have the extra money right now to become a Diaper Parties Representative, you could always get a little back by using the Everything Birth Affiliate Program. It doesn’t cost you anything. You just use web code that points to you as the referrer when you are talking about the products you already talk about and make 5% of the total sale.

You can do the same thing with the Amazon Associates affiliate program as well. When you find a product you would normally talk about, you just add it to your index and then when they use your link, you make cash back.

If you are a writer, Demand Studios is always accepting new writers. You don’t have to pay to be involved, you just have to pass their criteria and submit an application. From there though you have literally hundreds of thousands of assignments you can choose from to make an extra bit of cash here and there for a very short, easy story. They pay fast and consistently.

Stop Spending

The easiest way to stop spending is by first tracking where your money goes. You can carry a little note pad and a pencil around with you. Just be sure to write everything down. Honesty is going to be your best friend at this point. You can’t bury your head in the sand about your finances.  PNC Bank has a new virtual wallet that makes keeping track of your expenses and their categories really easy. If you use only your bank card and not any cash for a week or two, it will become quite clear where you are spending your money. From there, you can decide what frivolous purchases need to be eliminated. If you can’t imagine cutting back on spending forever, try just cutting back for one month. In just that one month, you will easily be able to make an extra credit card payment or pay an extra car payment just to get ahead.

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