52 Weeks Savings Plan: April showers bring May bargains

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April showers may bring May flowers, but they also bring wild and crazy busy days for families like mine. Also, I might add, a lot of extra expenses with end-of-school teacher gifts, upcoming vacation plans, graduation gifts, etc. Just this morning I was telling myself, “No eating out for the rest of the month!” We’ve […]

52 Weeks Savings Plan: April showers bring May bargains

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April showers may bring May flowers, but they also bring wild and crazy busy days for families like mine. Also, I might add, a lot of extra expenses with end-of-school teacher gifts, upcoming vacation plans, graduation gifts, etc. Just this morning I was telling myself, “No eating out for the rest of the month!” We’ve […]

52 Weeks Savings Plan: April discounts are here!

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When I lived in Phoenix, I could never understand the fascination with spring. Phoenix has pretty much just one season, sunny! So, when I moved to Texas, it was amazing to see red-breasted robins show up at our house every spring and watch the forest and greenbelts around me come alive with pale green leaves. […]

52 Weeks Savings Plan: Watch for these March sales!

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March brings with it the promise of spring and some special March sales that can help you both prepare and save money. Two holidays that will generate some special savings are St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, and Palm Sunday, on March 25. We have Easter in April this year, but retail stores will still […]

52 Weeks Savings Plan: Watch for these February bargains

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If you’ve been following the 52 Week Savings Plan, you should have a whopping $10 set aside. Don’t worry, that little bundle of money will continue to grow! Each month I’ll be sharing tips for making the most of the money you have to enable that nest egg to grow and grow and grow. If […]

52 Weeks Savings Plan: Watch for these January bargains

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It’s a New Year and time for all sorts of resolutions. Some people resolve to eat healthier, lose weight, and exercise more. These are all great goals, but one that many of us forget has to do with finances. Imagine having extra cash set aside for emergencies — the unexpected trip to the doctor, replacing […]

13 Ways to Declare Your Personal Independence

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We preppers like to talk about self-reliance and independence and, perhaps, we achieve a bit of that when it comes to growing our own food, having multiple ways to survive if/when the power goes out, and storing water for emergencies. However, we can still be very much chained by habits and mindsets that are much harder to change than just snagging a few extra cans of soup every trip to the grocery store.

13 Ways to Declare Your Personal Independence via The Survival Mom

This Independence Day, why not declare your personal independence in ways that will establish a whole new course toward true freedom?

1. Get ride of DEBT. When my husband and I paid off the last credit card a few years back, I cannot tell you how great it was to finally be free of that financial burden. With 2 vehicles that are paid off as well, we only have our mortgage each month, and my goal is to have that paid off within 10 years. We applied Dave Ramsey’s popular money management system from his very easy-to-read book The Total Money Makover, and soon were free of debt with savings in the bank as well.

Declaring financial indpendence isn’t easy and will take time, but every little bit helps, even if you save just $1 a day or use something like this 52 Week Savings Plan.

2. Free your household from CHEMICALS. I’m not an enemy of all chemicals but most consumers mindlessly purchase products for cleaning, personal care, our pets, pest elimination, and even food without checking the ingredients. And, all too often, those ingredients are words we can’t even pronounce, much less understand how they might impact our health.

For many years, the #1 cleaning product in my house was simple white vinegar. I mixed it in a big bucket with some water to mop my floors, used it on countertops, tabletops, and had a spray bottle with half water/half vinegar for an all-purpose cleaning spray. You can increase your independence from questionable chemical additives by making your own lotions, lip balms, toothpaste, pet treats, and soap.

Download my free guide, “Switch From Store-Bought to Homemade” for more ideas and recipes, and check out this article with recipes specifically for cleaning your house.

3. Along those same lines, establish FOOD FREEDOM and set yourself and your family free from preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, excessive sodium, and other undesirable ingredients in your food. Take a look at what is in your grocery cart and if most of it is processed, figure out ways to make those same foods from scratch but with wholesome ingredients. This is so much easier than you might think.

Years ago I went on a from-scratch-cooking kick and was amazed by how simple it was and how I could adjust recipes to suit my own taste, include in-season produce, and, in general, tweak recipes in multiple ways. I’ve written about using a no-recipe cooking method for soups and casseroles and suggest giving it a try. There’s no need to ingest ingredients that food production companies decide to add to their products when those ingredients are unhealthy.

Growing your own food, learning to preserve it by canning and/or dehydrating, and even raising chickens and bees (both are entirely possible in the suburbs) are all ways of declaring independence and increasing self-reliance at the same time.

TIP: Want to get started with canning? Tomatoes are in season everywhere right now and are one of the easiest of all foods to can. Here is more information to help you get started.

4. Take a long, hard look at how you might get your children out of the PUBLIC EDUCATION system. Even though I was a classroom teacher for several years and then I trained teachers for an additional 4 more years, I’m not a big fan of public schools. I’ve homeschooled our kids from kindergarten through their senior year — my daughter just graduated from high school as a homeschooler — and I wouldn’t change a thing.

When you homeschool, you remove your kids from “the matrix”, as I call it. They are free to become their own, independent-minded individual, free to explore their God-given interests and talents, free from daily, intense peer pressure (and sometimes bullying), and this sets the entire family free from the demands of public school.

Our family has enjoyed the freedom to travel, visit relatives, and vacation throughout the year, not just during the summer months. Some years we’ve spent less than $200 on school books and supplies, other years more, but that was by choice of curriculum, special classes, sports, etc. Homeschooling can be VERY budget-friendly.

I’ve written numerous articles about homeschooling — how to get started, the curriculum I use, etc. — and you can read them all right here.

5. Reduce your GROCERY BILL. Can you imagine spending just $200-400 a month on groceries? Well, some families do just that by cooking all meals from scratch (this is almost always cheaper than buying processed foods), starting and expanding a backyard garden, raising chickens and other small lifestock, buying in-season produce at farmers markets, and basic meal planning focusing on the most frugal meals possible.

You may not have much control over your rent, mortgage, or car payment amounts, but you have a ton of control over how much you spend on food! Check out this article about planning meals to get started. Knowing ahead of time what you will be cooking and serving several days in advance alleviates a lot of stress and allows you to shop the grocery store ads and clip coupons in order to save even more.

6. Get over MATERIALISM already! Wow, will this one set you free in more ways than one. There’s no need to keep up with the Joneses, especially when you think about how much the Joneses are spending. They may very well be in debt up to their eyeballs, as this old commercial reminds us.

That sure doesn’t look like freedom or independence to me!

Every day we are inundated by both subtle and blatant messages about what we “should” own. Women’s websites and magazines are among the worst. Unless we use a certain cosmetic, we’ll never be beautiful. Until we go on an expensive diet, we’ll never have the body we want, and of course, the message of this never-ending drumbeat is BUY-BUY-BUY!

Well, you and I can say, “NO!” to these messages of materialism and get back to just the basics and focus on wants vs. needs. This, by the way, is a great way to help our kids and grandkids also declare their independence and avoid the debt trap as adults.

7. Let go of THE PAST. Some of the most miserable people I’ve ever known are tied to past mistakes, past grievances, past relationships. They have never let go and moved on to see what the next chapter of their lives might hold.

This Independence Day, forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made and learn from them. One thing I’ve taught my own kids is this: Would you ever talk to your best friend the way you talk to yourself? Would you ever blame and never forgive your best friend because they made a mistake? Of course their answer is always no, and I say, “Then why do you talk to yourself like that?”

Be kind to yourself as though you were your very best friend. Give yourself grace, forgiveness, and mercy.

Have a grudge against someone who hurt or rejected you? The best thing I ever did in a situation like this was write a friendly, neutral email to the person wishing them the best of luck, and you know what? I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THEM AGAIN!  Really. That one simple step totally removed any power I thought they had over me, and I stopped my mental conversations of what I’d like to say, what I should have said, etc. I just wish I had thought to write that email months earlier!

When you take this step, also seek out people who are positive, happy, and excited about life. It’s been said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. If that’s the case, be purposeful and selective about who those 5 people are! Married to a perpetually grumpy spouse? Then determine the other four people will be rays of bright, shining lights in your life!

8. Decide to stop STUPID/RISKY BEHAVIOR. Why chain yourself to bad habits that are affecting your physical, mental, and/or emotional health? Even not getting enough sleep every night has extremely negative effects after a while.

Some people avoid going to the doctor, the dentist, getting any exercise, among other bad decisions, and end up paying a high price with an unhealthy body that couldn’t run a block if they saw a mushroom cloud on the horizon.

Don’t be that person!

9. If you’re a prepper, you may already have set yourself free from worrying about WHAT OTHERS THINK, but if not, this is something you need to make a habit of today. Nothing will bind you down more than worrying about what other people think, when the truth is, they really don’t think about you very often at all.

10. Declare your independence by taking charge of your TIME. You do realize that time is life, right? As those seconds and minutes tick away, that’s your life ticking away, so why squander it by saying “yes” to commitments you really don’t want or need in your life? Spending it on mindless video games and forms of entertainment that have no value at all. When we don’t manage our time, we give control of our lives over to everyone and everything else, and there’s certainly no independence in that!

When we manage time well, our lives become more balanced, and this leads to better physical, emotional, and mental health. Granted, it’s hard to achieve this during the baby/toddler/little kid years, but even an hour or so of alone-time can help. I love this book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Livesbecause it sheds so much light on the importance of using time strategically.

11. If you’re still SEEKING STATUS and approval from others, you aren’t truly independent, my sweet friend. Learn who you are, clarify your values, and decide what your own definition is of success. If you define success as having a happy marriage, healthy kids, and a home that is a haven for your loved ones, then you can hold your head up high because you’ve succeeded!

Self-confidence, modeled in front of your children, is a magnificent legacy that will extend to generations long after you’re gone.

12. If you do nothing else, set yourself free from SOCIAL MEDIA!! What a scourge this has become. On Twitter and Facebook, I have never seen so much rage, hatred, disrespect, and pure meanness on display every single day. Sometimes it’s aimed at “friends” but more often at total strangers. People who wouldn’t even look you in the eye in real life have no problem calling you a &*(&*!!! or a $%^^& or even a $%&^*&@ simply because you voice an opinion they don’t like.

Who needs that kind of “social” in their lives? Not me. Not only does social media expose you to a steady stream of negative vibe but it also sucks away time like nothing else can. I’ve found myself scrolling through Facebook posts for hours each week, maybe getting a recipe idea here or there, maybe watching a funny cat video — but how is that really useful or helpful to me? I have plenty of cookbooks with hundreds of recipes, maybe thousands, that I’ve never read and if our 5 pets aren’t here for my entertainment, then what are they good for???

I’m being a bit facetious with that last bit there, but you get my point. Nothing online, nothing at all, will ever contribute to your quality of life the way real relationships and real life will.

13. Finally, find ways to reduce your DEPENDENCE ON OTHERS. Preparing for emergencies and being ready for things like power outages, bad weather, and unexpected expenses. Simple things like clearing your home of clutter and unwanted/unneccessary belongings and getting organized, setting aside some money each week, and developing practical skills will all help you become independent and able to face challenges without total reliance on others.

Foster this attitude in your other family members as detailed in this article.

I’ve always wondered if it really is the nature of humans to fear independence and both need and want someone to rule over them, give them orders, and then obey, as in this speech by Loki in The Avengers movie,

I think you and me, though, we’re different. We were drawn to the idea of preparedness exactly because we reject the thought of being controlled and ruled over by others in a time of crisis and seek independence in ways that are often small but gradually accumulate to something of real significance.

Enjoy your Independence Day, not just this July 4th, but on every day of the year!

13 Ways to Declare Your Personal Independence via The Survival Mom

52 Weeks Savings: June brings sunshine and summer deals

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52 weeks savings challengeIn June, we celebrate summer, Father’s, graduations, weddings and Flag Day. It marks the halfway point of the year and on the 25th, it will only be six months until Christmas! Maybe this is the month to start making a holiday gift list and begin looking for bargain-priced gifts, well before the shopping rush begins.

There are loads of great June sales and bargains. Here’s what we’ve tracked down for you.

Food sales

June is National Dairy Month, which means there will be sales on ice cream, cheese, butter, milk, cream cheese, yogurt and popsicles. Most of these freeze very well, so it is an easy thing to stock up on. June is Turkey Lovers Month, so there should be sales on turkey deli meat (whole turkeys are cheapest to buy around Thanksgiving).

Cookout supplies are also on sale, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, buns and charcoal. If a charcoal grill is one of your alternate cooking options, it would be a good time to stock up on it. Soda, iced tea and bottled water also go on sale. Bottled water is a great thing to have on hand for almost every emergency. I keep a case in our vehicle during the summer months for when we are out and about.

Watermelon goes on sale during June, and there will be good deals on lots of seasonal produce. Consider going to farmer’s markets or researching what u-pick farms are near you to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. It can be preserved by canning, freezing or dehydrating.

TIP: Think about what desserts you might want to have in the winter months and get the fruit for it now.

Here is what is usually in season in June:

June Household Sales and Bargains

Tools, tools and more tools: with Father’s Day, the typical gifts for dad are on sale. Cologne and menswear will also be on sale for this occasion. Dishes and kitchen appliances should be on sale to coincide with wedding season. Graduations start winding down in June, so the party supplies will be on sale, which can be used for future parties or for food storage supplies.

TIP: Paper plates are a very handy items in an emergency. They don’t need to washed, so you avoid wasting valuable time and water, and you can either shred and compost them or burn them in a campfire. The best thing is that paper plates from any past holiday or birthday party work just fine for this purpose!

For household items, some small electronics like camcorders and computers should be on sale. Both are good items to have on hand for keeping track of inventory for personal and insurance purposes. Carpeting and indoor furniture are usually on sale in June.

Women’s underwear, bras and lingerie are a hot item in June, since Victoria’s Secret holds its semi-annual sale in June.

And, as always, be on the lookout for gifts! Sooner or later, a birthday, bridal/baby shower, wedding, or some other holiday will surprise you, and when that happens, most of us usually go into the panic-shopping mode! That’s the mode where we don’t care how much something costs — we just need to get that gift today! Don’t be that crazy-eyed lady at the mall! Shop ahead and look for the bargains posted here in this article as well as the entire, monthly 52 Weeks Savings series on this blog.

Outside the home

Gardening items start going on sale in June. It is never too early to start planning next year’s garden. Stock up on seeds and gardening tools. Seed planters are handy along with organic fertilizer. June is Rose Month, since most are in bloom. This can mean lower prices for roses and rose bushes in June.

Sports and Fitness

Summer sports gear and swim gear go on sale in June. Many people tend to focus their exercise outside in June, so indoor exercise equipment goes on sale and some gyms may offer discounted memberships. June is hosts National Fishing & Boating Week and National Get Outdoors Day, so local parks and recreation departments may offer special and possibly free activities for those days.

Events                  

Taking a staycation this year? Check out this link for a list of blogs for fun things to do in different states: .

June is also National Aquarium Month, so if you have a local aquarium, they may offer deals.

Some stores and restaurants like to participate in specific special days, so keep an eye out for deals on the following days:

June 5 – National Doughnut Day

June 7 – National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

June 10 – Iced Tea Day

June 18 – Go Fishing Day

June 20 – Ice Cream Soda Day

June 27 – Sunglasses Day

Flea markets and yard sales gear up this month and are a great way to find deals on almost any item. Here’s a list of 21 things to always be on the lookout for.

Activities for Children

Summer reading programs are in full gear in June as schools let out for the summer. Check your local library and local bookstores to see what they offer. For a list of stores, theaters and online programs, visit http://savingdollarsandsense.com/free-summer-reading-programs/.

Several stores also offer children freebies as a reward for a good report card. Ask your local stores if they do anything for report cards or, for a list, visit http://savingdollarsandsense.com/good-report-card-freebies/.

Check local hardware and craft stores for children’s make-and-take events.

Register at www.kidsbowlfree.com to get children up to 2 free games of bowling a day at your local bowling alley.

Some movie theaters offer discount movies during the summer. Check your local theater for prices and movie listings.

Money saving tips

In the summer, close blinds and curtains to keep sun out on hot days to reduce cooling costs. If possible, dry clothes outside on a clothesline to avoid running the dryer. Take a different approach to summer meal planning and incorporate meals that are light, such as salads that incorporate fresh ingredients, or that involve cooking outside on the grill or over a fire pit.

If you have a solar oven, Sun Oven, or want to make a DIY solar cooker, this is prime season and a great time to learn this skill before a power outage or some other disaster happens. Using a solar oven will help keep your kitchen cooler and you won’t be using any electricity at all.

By the end of June, you should have $325 saved if you’re following the weekly savings plan (25 weeks). If you have extra right now, perhaps going to a higher week in the chart and putting that money away would be a smart thing to do. Take things one day at a time and focus on what you can do and what you can enjoy.

If you’re on Facebook, it’s not too late to join our very active 52 Weeks Savings Club for tips and encouragement.

Saving money is a daily lifestyle and the key is having a good attitude. Take pride in what you have already saved up and learn from any mistakes.

Take advantage of June’s deals and start looking forward to a fun summer. Come back next month to see what deals July offers to help you save AND prepare!

52 weeks savings challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

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52 Weeks Savings Plan: Give this a try and have an extra $1378 by the end of the year!

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Best Of the survival mom

If I’m going to post the best and most popular blog articles, I have to include this one. It launched a very popular Facebook group page and an entire month-by-month series of money saving articles. National Preparedness Month may not seem like a natural fit for a money-saving article, but with no money at all, it’s hard to get fully prepared.

Jar full of money on white background

I spotted this ingenious and simple savings plan* on Facebook, posted it on my wall, and it went viral with 3,074 likes and 4,230 shares within a couple of days. I’ve never seen anything like it. Obviously, this plan hit a nerve with a large number of people who know they need to save, want to save, but are dealing with the reality of tight budgets.

On many calendars, each week is numbered, beginning with Week #1: January 1-7.  On this 52 weeks savings plan, you save the amount of dollars that corresponds to that week’s number. If one week you find yourself with extra cash, add it to the pot. You’ll end up with more than the $1378 total by the end of December or you’ll have created a bit of a padding for weeks that don’t have any extra cash left over. The 52 Weeks Savings Plan is highly versatile. You can begin with Week 52 in January, or start on whichever week is easiest for you.

Print out this chart or make your own and check off each week as you save. If there are other members in the family with an income, encourage them to do the same. A family with 2 breadwinners could end up with a grand total of $2756, and that’s no small-potatoes! *I have no idea who originally created this chart, but I thank them!52 week savings plan

UPDATE: Since this was posted, readers have made some really great suggestions

1. Get the whole family involved. Discuss how you’ll spend the savings, give some to charity, etc. and then post a progress chart. Kids who earn money for odd jobs, babysitting, and the like can contribute, so everyone learns how to save and then gets to share in the rewards!

2. The last half of the savings plan can be pretty pricey per week. If that’s too much for you right now, go through weeks 1-26 twice. You’ll still end up with a nice balance at the end.

3. Others have suggested starting with Week 52 at the beginning of the year so the larger savings can be set aside at a time of year when holiday expenses aren’t an issue.

For more help following the 52 Weeks Savings Plan…

Follow along with a special series of monthly sales, tailored specifically to the needs and interests of Survival Moms and their families. Check out these examples:

April discounts

May bargains

June discounts and sales

Retailers typically offer the same types of sales each month, year after year, so these articles continue to have value and important info for bargain hunters!

Join other Survival Moms in our very active 52 Week Savings Club on Facebook! 1625 members and growing!

Read, “10 Ways to Make the 52 Weeks Savings Plan Work For You” — even more creative ideas!

December deals bring the year to a close

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52 weeks savings plan December

This is the final month of the 52 Weeks Savings Plan!

The year ends with a month full of celebrations and deals. Remnants of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday may be found at the beginning of the month, which then moves to Hanukkah starting on Dec. 6, Winter Solstice on the 22nd, Christmas (25), Kwanzaa (26) and New Year’s Eve (31). Not to mention holiday festivities, get-togethers and winter weather all month long. Here are some of the things you could find deals on this month:

Grocery deals

There will be deals on feast items for post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas and post-Christmas. Discounts will vary, but you’ll find them both before and after each holiday. You will find the following on sale: Ham, turkey, butter, spices, dried fruit, baking supplies like flour, sugar and yeast, cheese, pie crusts and dough, pies and filling, nuts, cake mixes and frosting, oatmeal and soda. Holiday specialty items like eggnog, cider, gravy, stuffing and boxed potatoes will also be on sale. If you do a lot of baking year-round, stock up on those ingredients, both from scratch ingredients and mixes.

TIP: You’ll almost certainly end up with leftover ham and/or turkey. Read my tips for putting those leftovers to work in creative and delicious ways.

Another food item on sale in December is canned goods, which can help stock up a personal food pantry or the local food pantry to help those in need. You will see sales on soup, canned meat, vegetables and sauces. These are all worth buying for stocking-up purposes as canned foods, when kept in a cool location, have a very long shelf life.

Produce in season for the winter can vary by location. However, citrus fruits, winter squash, kale, chard, mustard greens, collard greens and turnips are in season. Putting nuts and citrus fruit together in a basket can make a great gift.

You will also see deals on champagne as it gets close to the end of the month for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Since champagne has a shelf life of at least 5 years, stock up and cheers!

Household deals

There may still be some Thanksgiving and fall decorations, crafts and table setting items on sale that can be used for other occasions during the year or for next year. There should be deals on disposable baking pans and plastic wrap so you can stock up on that for the kitchen. Foil is a great thing to have on hand for outside cooking. There will also be some deals on cookware and kitchen appliances. Stores know people will be doing a lot of cooking and will try to lure them into the store with those deals.

For electronics, December is a great time to find deals on TVs, computers, cellphones, camcorders, GPS units, and many electronics in general. Anything with a camera or video camera can be very useful when you need to document household inventory for insurance or if there is any damage to your home or property. Computers and tablets are great places to stock up on reference books and PDFs. December is also a great time to stock up on batteries for electronics (put some in the bug out bags, too).

TIP: Stores often try to get rid of showroom models at the end of the year to make room for new inventory. Ask if there are any showroom models available for purchase.

For gifts, a lot of jewelry is on sale in December. You can also find toys, gift sets and board games. Restaurants that have gift cards offer some great deals, too, such as buy a $25 gift card and get a $5 one free. You may also find some deals by visiting local craft fairs. Sometimes, they may offer you items that aren’t necessarily cheaper than a store, but could save you shipping and it supports people in your local economy.

Winter clothes and coats start going on sale in December in a lot of places because people already have their coats set for the season. Consider buying the next size up if you have children or get some extras to stash in vehicles or bug out containers.

If you are considering fixing up your house, this is the month to buy carpeting, flooring and tools. Some tools, such as hammers and shovels, are great to keep in a vehicle for the winter season. Can you really ever have enough tools, and they make great gifts.

Thrift stores often have discounted items over the holidays as they see more things coming into their stores. Many people would rather donate items than sell them during the holidays due to weather and lack of time, and some people are selling off unwanted items via Craigslist or consignment stores in order to raise a little extra cash for their own holiday spending.

Outside the home

Outdoor sports equipment is on sale during winter since it’s out of season. Think your children might join soccer in the summer? Buy the gear now. Pools, pool gear and golf equipment should all have some good discounts. Outdoor patio equipment, including gas grills, are in the same boat. Cooking with a gas grill can be a great backup cooking method for when you face a possible power outage.

Cars, motorcycles and bicycles are also on sale in December. Check out the deals at a local dealership this month if you think you need a new or replacement car. Make sure it can fit everything your family needs in case you ever need to evacuate. Bicycles are another alternative if you had to leave your home and the roads or damaged.

TIP: You may not be thinking “emergency evacuations” right now, but winter is a common time for power outages and devastating storms. Check out my newest book, all about this topic!

If you are in the market for a house, the winter months can create motivated sellers. There is sometimes a drop in people looking for homes during the winter because it’s cold and they would rather not move during the school year. Take advantage and see if you can find someone who has been trying to sell since the summer. Families with children are in a hurry to move and get their kids settled into a new school, so if you are pre-qualified and can move quickly, you may end up in the house of your dreams!

Travel

You can find travel deals in December by thinking of where most people want to go in the summer. Look at beach locations for a great deal. Weddings get cheaper in the fall and winter as most people try to have spring and summer weddings. We personally got a great deal for our honeymoon with a stay at a 5-star resort because it was a few days before Christmas and it was their slow season.

You can sometimes find good airfare prices for travel between Thanksgiving and Dec. 20 because most people stay home between the holidays.

December events

Did you know there are occasional “Leap Seconds” added to the official year? On December 31, 2015, the folks who maintain the official time for the planet will add an extra second to the day.

Some stores and restaurants like to participate in specific special days, so keep an eye out for deals on the following days:

1 – Eat a red apple day

7 – Cotton candy day

8 – Brownie day

9 – Pastry day

13 – Ice cream day

16 – Chocolate-covered anything day

17 – Maple Syrup day

18 – Bake cookies day

19 – Oatmeal muffin day

24 – Chocolate day

25 – Pumpkin pie day

27 – Fruitcake day

Winter tips to help your 52 Weeks Savings Plan

This is also the time of year when food and toy drives kick off. There are many people in need around us. If you find a good deal, it can be a good idea to pass it along to someone who needs it more.

Some family winter activities that don’t cost a lot of money are going to see Christmas lights in different neighborhoods, go on a walk while drinking hot chocolate, have snowman building contest and see what local festivals and tree lighting events are in your area. One year we printed out certificates labeled, “Best Christmas Lights”, “Most Creative Christmas Lights” and “Best Religious Display”, rode our bikes through our neighborhood one night, and awarded those certificates to unsuspecting neighbors!

There is one month left to make deposits in retirement accounts, decide how to spend health savings account money and make donations for a tax write-off.

If you followed the 52 Weeks Savings Plan, you will have $1,378 by the end of the month – congratulations! If you haven’t been able to put that amount away, be proud of what you did save this year and start planning for next year. Saving money can take some planning and determination, but it can be done!

TIP: Make a list of all the presents you plan to give in the next year and keep an eye our all year for possible gifts when there are deals rather than buying something at full price at the last minute. Think of holidays, graduations, weddings, baby showers, teacher thank yous and hostess gifts, along with birthdays and Christmas.

Learn more…

  • Check out my monthly series of past articles, “52 Weeks Savings”, with discounts, bargains, and deals for each month of the year. Here’s a sample month for June’s best bargains.
  • Learn more about the 52 Weeks Savings Challenge here and customize it to your own income and circumstances with these tips.
  • Join Survival Mom’s 52 Weeks Savings Club on Facebook. We’re over 2500 members and going strong!
  • Dave Ramsey has solid advice for taking control of your finances. I recommend his basic book, The Total Money Makeover for an easy-to-follow plan and a quick, motivational read.

52 Weeks Savings Plan: November is full of deals

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52 weeks savingsIf you are a bargain shopper, then November is probably your favorite month. The month begins and ends with holiday deals and it features a weekend dedicated to sales – Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday.

November’s main holiday is Thanksgiving (Nov. 26), but also features Election Day (3), Veterans Day (11), Children’s Day (20) and the start of advent (Nov. 29).

Take some time at the beginning of this month to set aside a holiday gift plan and budget. Then, if you see some deals on gifts you want to buy, you can save money.

Grocery and food deals

At the beginning of November, you can stock up on candy for the entire year for cheap as Halloween items go on sale. As stores stock up for the Thanksgiving holidays, you should be able to find deals on turkey, baking supplies (sugar, flour, baker’s chocolate, chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk), pie crusts and ready-made dough, frozen pies, marshmallows, nuts, cheese, butter and turkey. You can also find deals on gravy, stuffing, potato and cranberry mixes .There will be deals both before and after the holiday on these items, so think about stocking up for your Christmas and New Year’s festivities when you find these items on sale. Spices, nuts, dried fruit, oatmeal and soup are also November food deals and these items are great for stocking up on for food storage.

In November, produce in season are: apples, artichokes, arugula, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, clementines, cranberries, garlic, kale, lettuce, onions, pears, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, squash, sweet potatoes, turnips. Many of these items can be frozen, canned or dehydrated. For the Survival Mom’s tips on long-term food storage here are instructions for doing that.

Thrive Life’s Black Friday Sale

One event that thousands of people look forward to ever  year are the huge savings that Thrive Life offers during their famous Black Friday sale. I’ve seen a preview of their biggest discounts and you won’t want to miss it!

Get to know Thrive Life at this link.

And, if you want to receive an alert and sales flyer with information about this event, just email your request to thrivelife@thesurvivalmom.com, and you won’t miss a thing!

Household items

To go along with the holiday cooking sales, items like aluminum foil, plastic wrap and disposable baking pans and liners should be on sale. Cookware also goes on sale in November. These can be a great item to stock up on for presents.

Halloween costumes, decoration, paper goods and baking sets will be on sale the first few days of the month. Costumes make for great presents for children who like to dress up. Some Halloween items can be used very creatively – read more here. Holiday gift sets and candles are some other gift ideas you can find deals on this month.

You’ll start seeing deals on baby products and toys in November, along with leftover summer shoes and wedding gear. Tools, carpeting and flooring will see discounts as people think about indoor home improvement projects.

Large appliances and kitchen items will be on sale since cooking is a big theme for the upcoming holidays and the stores are hoping to draw you in with sales on those items.

For electronics, camcorders, GPS navigation systems, TVs, DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs are on sale. Camcorders can be great for providing an inventory of your home’s items for insurance purposes (make sure the time/date stamp is correct). DVDs and Blu-Rays can make for great presents if you find great deals.

Outdoor items on sale

November can be a great time to plant trees in some locations and you can find trees, shrubs and bulbs on sale, along with some gardening gear if stores have any left. Outdoor furniture can be on deep discount, too.

Gas and charcoal grills are on sale and are a great way to cook if you lose power. Make sure to keep a propane tank full or have charcoal on hand if you do plan to use that in an emergency situation.

You can find discounts on bicycles, and they are a great way to bug out if your vehicle or the roads are disabled. They are on sale this month. See if you can find bike trailers to help hold supplies to take with you.

Black Friday Deals and Tips

You can’t talk about November without talking about Black Friday. Look for many gift items being marked down the weekend of Black Friday. Some of the main items that you will see every year are video games, movies, TVs, gift sets, clothing, winter gear and kitchen appliances. Stores will often have items that are on a deep discount for certain hours of the day.

It is not smart to go out shopping on Black Friday without a plan. If you do plan to go out, check the ads out online or in the newspaper on Thanksgiving, compare the ads with things you already know you want to buy and make a list of where you want to go. Set a budget and a time constraint. Try not to buy something you don’t need just because it’s a great deal.

Black Friday deals can be great for preparedness supplies on top of household items and gifts. If you take the time to take stock of what you have on hand and what you still need to be prepared for emergencies, you can add those items to your list of things to look for on sale.

If you don’t feel like going out on Black Friday, there is also Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday where you can support local business or shop from home in your pajamas and still find great deals.

November outings

Travel is only going to get more expensive as each day passes now. At some point, if you want to travel over the holidays, you may decide a road trip is more feasible for your budget. Here are 13 Tips to Survive Family Road Trips  and things to think about if you were to get stuck in your car for a while. One big way to save money on a road trip is to pack your own food and stock back up at grocery stores instead of eating at restaurants.

Weddings get cheaper in the fall and winter as most people try to have spring and summer weddings. We personally got a great deal for our honeymoon stay at a 5-star resort because it was a few days before Christmas and it was their slow season.

Fourth graders and their families can benefit from a free pass to any National Park by visiting www.everykidinapark.gov. The pass is good until Aug. 31, 2016.

November events

November is Child Safety Month, National Adoption Awareness Month, National Novel Writing Month and Peanut Butter Lovers Month.

Some stores and restaurants like to participate in specific special days, so keep an eye out for deals on the following days:

Nov. 2 – Deviled Egg Day

Nov. 3 – Sandwich Day

Nov. 7 – Book Lovers Day

Nov. 15 – America Recycles Day

Nov. 17 – Homemade Bread Day

Nov. 19 – Great American Smokeout

Nov. 25 – National Parfait Day

Winter tips

This is also the time of year when food and toy drives kick off. There are many people in need around us. If you find a good deal, it can be a good idea to pass it along to someone who needs it more.

As we move into winter, it’s a good time to do a walk around of your house and look for any repairs that need to be done before it gets too cold. Check on insulation, heating fuel for winter and a furnace tune-up. Consider hanging up hooks for Christmas decorations and Christmas lights (you don’t have to turn them on yet) before the temperatures get bitter cold. There are two months left to make deposits in retirement accounts, decide how to spend health savings account money and make donations for a tax write-off.

 

By the end of November, you should have $1,128 saved if you’re following the 52 Weeks Savings Plan (47 weeks). Don’t get discouraged if you’re not there yet. Putting away anything you have extra is an accomplishment in itself. Compare what you have now to what you have when you got started and be proud! Keep focusing every day on the things you can do and enjoy while keeping your long-term goal in sight.

Take advantage of November’s deals and enjoy summer. Come back next month to see what deals December offers to help you save AND prepare!