My daughter-in-law Jezzy loves Rice Krispie treats, so I’m always on the look out for a good Rice Krispie treat recipe to send her way.
When I saw a Rice Krispie Treats Recipe With Milky Way Candy Bars, and I also knew Milky Way Bars were on sale at the grocery store, I had to give this recipe a try.
The recipe was from Ruthie Wornall’s book, The Best of Cooking With 3 Ingredients, one of the best books with easy 3 ingredient recipes I’ve seen. In fact, I get recipes for all sorts of things from that book, not just 3 ingredient dessert recipes!
If you think you might like this older but forever great book, you can still purchase it at Amazon right here:
The recipe in the book is actually titled “Milky Way Squares”.
This quick and easy dessert recipe (a good dessert recipe for kids and adults alike) takes just three ingredients – Rice Krispies Cereal, Butter, and Milky Ways Candy.
The shear number of ingredients makes this an inexpensive recipe too, especially if you get the candy at a good price. Even if the ingredients are all at full price though, this is a very inexpensive dessert recipe. After all, it only takes three ingredients!
I also found this recipe a little easier to make than the traditional Rice Krispies with marshmallows. It just seemed like I had a couple of extra minutes before the Rice Krispie bars began to harden. I had just enough time to put all the ingredients into the pan to set!
For those of you who have made Rice Krispies with marshmallow cream or marshmallows before, you know what I mean!
I should make mention here, before you start, that this recipe makes a 11 x 7 inch square dessert, not the larger 9 x 13 recipe you usually find when you have a recipe for Rice Krispie Treats. However, the result is rich enough that you won’t feel like stuffing yourself, so the smaller size might be the best dessert to make anyway!
And one more thing, if my daughter-in-law Jezzy reads this (which I assume she will because she does read my blog on a regular basis-the best kind of daughter-in-law, lol), I have to admit Jezzy never got any of these. It seems my husband’s next-to-favorite candy is Milky Ways. This Milky Ways candy bar recipe wasn’t going to make it until my son and daughter-in-law visited us!
All will be forgiven though, I’m sure. Plus… with such a quick and easy dessert recipe as this, someone will be making this again soon.
So for Jezzy and all of you who didn’t get a chance to try the batch I made, here’s the recipe for Rice Krispie Treats With Milky Way Candy Bars.
Milky Way Rice Krispie Treats (aka Milky Way Bars)
Easy 3 ingredient Rice Krispie Treats Made With Milky Way Candy Bars
Melt candy and butter in large saucepan on low heat.
Stir in cereal, and coat cereal with the melted candy and butter quickly.
Pat candy-butter-cereal mixture into the greased 11 x 7 inch pan. (This must be done quickly before the mixture begins to set and sticks to the spoon.)
Refrigerate treats until firm.
Cut into squares, and enjoy!.
You can purchase 4 (2-oz) candy bars as listed in the original recipe, or purchase a larger 11.24 ounce bag of Fun Size Milky Way Candy Bars, and remove about 4 mini bars to use another time before using the remaining 8 ounces of candy for this recipe. I bet you can find a really good use for those four extra Fun Size candy bars, can't you?
Avoid costly mistakes when opening a savings account. You can start saving money and keep that money in savings if you dodge the problems and follow the principles listed here.
Below are the 10 most common errors people make when they open a savings account and saving money tips that help overcome them.
MISTAKE # 1:
Not having a smaller emergency fund on the side for immediate emergencies or problems
It is great to work on saving money for a long time, in big ways, or for a substantial emergency, but if you don’t have something to use for all the small immediate emergencies while you are working on your savings account plan, you are not going to have that very savings account you are working on for long.
This never-spoken-of step will help protect the money you have saved in your savings account.
Keep some money into a smaller separate emergency fund (let’s just call it your kitty) while you are working on the larger savings account so you won’t have to rob from your larger savings when problems arise during those first few days or months.
If needed, have a yard sale to help fund that “first response” savings, or work a few extra hours if you can and keep some of that extra earned income on hand. Toss some leftover spending money or vacation cash in when it wasn’t used. Skip a few restaurant outings and put those funds into an easy to use location. (Don’t worry. If you have the discipline to purposely cut down on eating out expenses, you’ll find the discipline to keep the money you saved doing that.) Even begin to save the change you get from cash purchases or put your birthday money away to use if needed. Just don’t rob your kids of THEIR birthday gifts from grandma!
You might even consider dividing your savings plan dollars up for a while, putting a certain percentage of those dollars into your emergency kitty while still depositing the other percentage into your larger account.
Keep this emergency kitty fund fueled too with the extra cash that comes your way from time to time or from surprise income that comes from unexpected places. (Thank you, Lord for those times and blessings.)
If you have some smaller savings close at hand to use when needed, you won’t need to take money out of your “official” savings account.
Using the money saved because it’s there (This is my pet peeve with many people who have found ways to save money on a tight budget only to spend it all in one shot)
I keep seeing this ad on TV about a home warranty that a family purchases because they had a $1,000 savings account and then “had to use it all” when their refrigerator broke down and they used all their set-aside money for a new refrigerator.
Really? $1,000? ALL of your emergency savings for a refrigerator when you worked months or a year or more maybe to get that $1,000 into your emergency savings account? Personally, I think you should have purchased a USED refrigerator to use for a while, TV Mom and TV Dad and TV Kids.
Look, I am not against home warranties. They have come in handy in our past as rental property owners in particular, and I can see where some homeowners might love these things and make good use of them. The problem is, these folk just used up every bit they saved to get a new refrigerator when their old one flew the coup. Didn’t they maybe have a better option at that very moment of their lives?
Just because you have money setting around doesn’t mean it is there to use all up, even if you have it there to use all up in an emergency. You COULD. You don’t need to, not usually anyway.
Instead, make purchase decisions like you would if you had nothing or a lot less than you have there to use.
Think like this: If I only had $300.00 to use right now, what would I do right now? I bet you would come up with several things, most of which cost $300.00 or less.
Feeling obligated to put a certain amount of money into a savings account
Do what you can, and feel good you did something.
After 30 some years of marriage and many months that went without saving a dime because I couldn’t save a boatload of them, I have realized that it would have been better to have put what I could into a savings, even if it was little, than to have put nothing aside at all. In 30 some years, that $5.00 here and $10.00 there and $100.00 once in a while could really been a lot today. I guarantee that I would have saved more doing ‘whatever’ than not having done ‘whatever’.
There is no absolute when putting money into a savings account. Just do what you can, even if it does not seem like a lot to you, and you will be better off for it later.
Being inactive instead of proactive
We are ostriches at heart. I’m sure God put ostrich feathers in our armpits… or somewhere . When times are tough, most of us respond by the self-preservationist act of putting our heads in the sand and letting life go by without us. We just stop doing!
Don’t let your financial life stop when life is tough. Do something – anything proactive!
It feels good when you move towards something. So move. It will make a difference in so many ways.
Being motivated by a life goal instead of a financial management goal
I used to have a pontoon boat on the front of a notebook which was supposed to serve as a reminder that I wanted to get rich someday. (So I got that from a multi-level-marketing company. OK? Just let it go now.) Someone told me to put a picture of something fancy in front of me to motivate me. Well, I am not the fancy type of person, so a larger boat might have made me feel awkward anyway. I picked a pontoon boat.
Know what? Even that pontoon boat never did really get me interested enough to try to get rich doing that MLM work! My life goals changed too many times! (Not to mention I wanted my family to benefit from any money I made, and I’m pretty sure a pontoon boat would have gone over that well.)
Then I discovered what worked better than a pontoon boat (or whatever may tickle your fancy at any given moment.) I discovered I really wanted to have my financial house in order… just because!
Realizing how much better life really is when you have control over finances really does feel so much better than any dreaming. It really does.
Stretch yourself to do the right thing with the money you have, and you will find the puzzle pieces of your life will fall together much more quickly than when your eyes are focused on tangible objects of no use to your family today.
Overlooking money saving ideas and strategies which get more money to save
It takes work to find money to save sometimes. Fortunately there are lots of books, websites, and even friends you can learn financial strategies and money savings tips from. Take advantage of them all! Figure out how to save money everyday, and you’ll find yourself with extra money to save.
Highly Recommended Money Saving Tool:
Discover easy money saving tips and fun ways to save money on everyday needs and purchases with All You Magazine. All You is full of easy-to-read articles which give practical tips to save money. It also has great advice and suggestions on budget planning, affordable menus and recipes, and healthy living on a budget.
It is so much easier to deposit money into savings if there is not a real person looking at you from behind a bank desk. You never have to feel funny putting $2.00 into your account if you so choose. You can add $300.00 one week and then $3.00 the next. You have perfect flexibility with a bank account online. You also have humble privacy, and it is easier to save.
You can set up online bank accounts right from your computer. Most local banks and credit unions have online back account access as well. If you need assistance finding out how to access your account from your local financial institution, go talk to them, and they will gladly assist you with this.
MISTAKE # 8:
Using a bank that does not have a free savings account program
There are banks that do not require you to have a minimum amount in your savings. There are banks that will charge you here and there and everywhere for this or that. Why lose money when you don’t need to? Look around for the best online savings account you can find. Find a bank with a no fee savings account.
You may be able to get a good savings account with bad credit even. If possible, clear up any and all outstanding balances from previous bank accounts first. Outstanding balances are usually the biggest obstacle in getting a good bank account.
Carefully read bank policies and costs for accounts at several local or online banks. If you think it might help, talk to your community’s bank or a credit union and see if they will hold a previous bank history against you and if so, what it will cost. You will probably find that getting a savings account is much easier with bad credit than opening a new checking account.
Whatever your financial situation, either get a savings account with no fees or at least get the best one you can.
Ignoring the need to manage your money overall, to manage finances well for your family
You may be thinking that great concert or a bigger gift for your husband is worth not having money to pay a bill on time, choosing to pay a late fee instead. You have cost your family money now and later.
You may be thinking you can start tomorrow. Let me tell you (because I know… I have been there) – When you start tomorrow, tomorrow never seems to come.
You may also be thinking there are more important things in life right now than saving. Here again, I am a painful exhibit of one who had that thought, and now I realize that for many of the things I felt I needed money for at some point in my life, I could have done without a lot of it.
Add to that the fact that I now have tenfold things, real family needs, I wished I had money for NOW, and that I might have had money for now had I not spent unwisely in the past and saved instead.
That is painful for me to admit. At least give me kudos for honesty.
Take money saving goals seriously, and don’t overlook them at any time of your life. You don’t know what is ahead of you and how much you might someday need that money you COULD have saved along the way.
Going it ALONE
If there is anyone at all that can share in the work at hand and in the joy from the labor, include them. Satan is alive and well in this world, and Satan loves money. He loves to mess people up, and he loves to use money to mess people up. It seems to be such an easy way to do so!
Keep a line of communication going with your spouse, and always do so lovingly and respectfully, so that the two of you can work through the challenges together and enjoy the fruits together as well.
There is someone else you can lean on to do this money stuff right this time. Your Heavenly Father has all the wisdom, knowledge, and ability to help you.
Call on Him to give you wisdom and strength and yes, grace and mercy too if you need it. He can help, and He wants to do so!
Starting a money savings account is not just for the rich. It does not need to be just for those who have lots of money to invest either. If you learn how to save money, set your heart towards that goal, and begin doing whatever you can to put money aside for the future, you can begin saving now, keep money in a savings account for years to come, and reap many of those rewards you so badly want your family to enjoy in the later years.
And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. -Habakkuk 2: 2-3 (ESV)
Can’t seem to open a savings account or build one up for something important? If so, then you need an easy way to save money fast so that you can get to your savings goal or help you with something you want or need more quickly!
Best thing of all? This money saving strategy is like a game. It’s like a game with savings rewards, and it might just work for you!
You see, too many folk want or need to find ways to save money but get hung up somewhere between trying to save money and actually finding a way to do it.
Here is a fun and easy strategy to save money – a game in fact which you can use to save money fast this year.
What To Expect
You will stay busy depositing money into your account, mostly in small amounts at first.
You will get to know your savings account quite intimately with numerous small visits throughout the year (or other time frame which you have set for yourself).
You will need to add some daily money saving tactics and make some wise financial choices on a daily basis to keep your progress going forward for a longer period of time.
However, most everything here is pretty easy to do, and if you play the game in earnest – that means make the moves you need to make and reward yourself for making those moves – you’ll find yourself with a lot more money in your bank savings account than you could ever have imagined when you first began.
What This Is NOT:
This is NOT a “budget money and save” strategy.
This is a process of movement and a system of rewarding yourself when you move a certain way instead of moving a different way.
When you make a good move, you reward yourself for that good behavior by putting some money into your savings account.
If you make a bad move along the way, forgive yourself and go on. Just don’t give yourself a savings account reward for that bad move.
Such “rules” help you from outright overspending on your reward payments. They may also serve to remind you of your own imperfection but your chance to do better on your very next move.
What You WON’T Be Doing:
Please note that in this game, sometimes you will do things that will save the exact amount of money you will use to reward yourself. Sometimes though, you may not have a direct correlation between the specific amount of money saved (if any) as a result of your actions and the amount of money you deposit into your savings account.
In other words, you WON’T always put the same amount of money into your savings as you have saved in a given day, week, or month.
Again, this is a rewards system for doing the right things, not JUST a way of moving money from one place to another (although moving money from one place to another is what will happen).
To get the best results in this rewards game, you must have at least some raw motivation to save money for something or a reason that keeps you going strong in the game.
However, You WILL Be Doing This
If you are completing actions, plans, projects… basically, if you follow smart money principles and make wise financial choices everyday, you’ll have a much easier time saving because you should have more money to save!
At least your money won’t be going to places that have no return or that don’t help you get what you need. You’ll be using the money you already use. You will just be using your money wisely!
Choose Your Game
If the game rewards below do not quite fit your situation, you can adjust the numbers up or down accordingly.
If the game movements or requirements do not quite fit your situation, feel free to omit, add, or change any criteria that does not apply to your family.
The idea is to find how you can move your family further along the savings game board and to reward yourself each time you do.
No matter what you do, the forward movement and resulting game rewards will help you build a savings as you build good habits and become more disciplined with money.
Here’s the game. Make it your own. Then own it.
Prepping For The Game
Set Up The Game Board:
Open a savings account online with a bank or credit union, or make sure you know how to access your existing one online.
First off, you’re going to be making lots of smaller transfers during this time. Save money on gas doing your work from home.
Secondly, save face not running into bank personnel all the time with small deposits.
And then finally, just know this:
Some banks have a limit restricting how many withdrawals you can take FROM a savings account during a set period of time. However, none (at least none that I am aware of) have any limit how many times you deposit money INTO your savings account.
So get set up to deposit away.
Money Saving Tip: You can usually save money if you open a new savings account with the bank you already utilize for other accounts such as an active checking account. Otherwise, your bank or credit union may charge you a monthly fee to have just a savings account with them.
Capital One 360 is one of the best places to have a savings account, a free savings account with no minimums and no fees even with no checking account with them. It will just take a while to transfer money to them from an outside checking account, and that’s OK. The site is really easy to use too.
The Barclays savings account is well worth mention here as well with its high yield savings account, remarkable customer reviews, and their “Dream Savings Accounts” where you receive rewards from Barclays Bank for what they call “smart savings decisions,”. (Hey, their rewards for your savings rewards… Sounds good to me!) Ally Bank also has an excellent savings account program with one of the best savings account rates you can find anywhere.
All rewards and totals are estimated, for explanation purposes only, and should be adjusted to meet the needs and abilities of each individual and/or family.
This needs to be YOUR game, YOUR rules, and YOUR rewards.
But believe me, you’ll like your rewards!
1. If you received any cash incentive to open a new savings account, keep that in your savings account. If not, start your account with at least $25.00, and keep it there as your first reward.
$25.00 rewarded one time / $25.00 rewarded in a year / $25.00 saved in 1 year
2. Begin a 52 Week Savings Plan Such as the 52 Week Savings Challenge.
Here’s how: Each week, on the same day each week, put a pre-selected amount into your savings account.
Some save money by putting $1.00 in the first week, $2.00 in the second week, $3.00 the third, etc. until they are putting $52.00 in 52 weeks later.
Some begin putting $52.00 in the first week, $51.00 in the second week, etc. until they are putting $1.00 in 52 weeks later.
Some put an equal $26.50 in their savings account the same day of the week for 52 weeks.
$26.50 (averaged) rewarded weekly / $1,378.00 rewarded in a year / $1,378.00 saved in 1 year
Time Out – Let’s Huddle!
Take a side step for the moment now.
Now that you have your rewards savings account set up and have moved one step forward on a savings plan, you need to do something that will protect this account.
You do NOT want to find yourself using all those rewards to fund an emergency.
Instead, please do these things right now:
* Set up another location to keep emergency funds separate from your rewards-driven online savings account.
* Sell unneeded household items or vehicles (or even vehicle parts) on Craigslist and unneeded books on Amazon, Ebay, or through an online book buying service, and keep those profits in a safe place OTHER THAN the savings account you are using for this game of rewards.
Do this ASAP!
You are going to use this fund to help cover any absolute emergency that may arise during game time.
* Weather permitting (or on the first nice day), hold a yard sale to sell any other unneeded household items, personal items, or miscellaneous items.
Keep these profits in that same separate emergency savings not connected with this game.
You should always be prepared for emergencies!
* Put any cash back, leftover budget money, portions or totals of windfalls or unexpected money, and change from purchases into this unrelated savings account as well.
It never hurts to pad an emergency savings a tad, even if you won’t need it all.
You can always move any excess savings to a long term savings next year if you like!
* Take on some extra money making projects or work hours ASAP and then as you can throughout the year, and add that specially-earned money into this separate emergency savings account throughout year.
Taking on some additional work or doing something extra to make money during this time will be easier to handle if you remember you are giving selflessly of yourself to care for your family should something drastic suddenly occur.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family… Hebrews 11: 7a (NIV)
The above steps, while not an official part of the game, will help you stick with your game plan and continue receiving game rewards.
Protect your new savings account with this emergency fund, and then use your emergency fund as wisely as you can so that, if at all possible, you do not drain your emergency savings.
Sometimes though, we do what we need to do, and that is OK. That’s life. Just live it as best you can, and be thankful you had some money saved back to begin with.
Now… Back to those rewards!
3. Cut out 1 fast food visit per week, and reward yourself with $20.00 into your savings account each week.
Reward Yourself: $20.00 per week. Just transfer $20.00 each week from your checking account right into your savings account!
$20.00 rewarded weekly / $1,040.00 rewarded in a year / $1,040.00 saved in 1 year
4. Commit to absolutely no purchases (other than gas) from any convenience stores unless it is a planned part of a day trip or vacation.
This includes coffee purchases, hot chocolate, donuts, candy or chips, Tylenol, etc.
Reward Yourself: $5.00 per week transferred into your savings account!
$5.00 rewarded weekly / $260.00 rewarded in a year / $260.00 saved in 1 year
5. Set a very low and strict budget for birthday gifts, wedding gifts, Christmas gifts, Easter baskets, Mother’s Day gifts, etc. and stick with that limited amount.
Reward Yourself: $10.00 per special event transferred into your savings account. Shall we count 12 special events for your family this year? Sure!
$10.00 rewarded per wise gift purchase / $120.00 rewarded in 1 year /$120.00 saved in 1 year
6. Take your family vacation plans ever-so-slightly down one notch more than you can afford (one less hotel night, packing one dinner or more lunch food, camping instead of staying a hotel, staying several nights at a family member’s home, booking a family cruise with fewer extras, doing one less paid recreational activity) and give yourself a $50.00 savings reward.
$50.00 rewarded one time in 1 year /$50.00 saved in 1 year
7. Cut out one (1) sit-down restaurant family outing each month. Reward yourself $45.00 a month for each month you follow through.
$45.00 rewarded monthly / $540.00 rewarded in a year / $540.00 saved in 1 year
8. Save money on food, grocery and drug store shopping, and other routine purchases however you can with a plan to save $30.00 per week, and reward yourself $30.00 per week put into your savings account.
$30.00 rewarded weekly / $1,560.00 rewarded in a year / $1,560.00 saved in 1 year
9. Reduce monthly expenses associated with monthly bills, utilities, or other monthly expenditures (any one, several, or all – however you need to do it) by $65.00 a month, and reward yourself $65.00 a month to put into your savings account.
$65.00 rewarded monthly / $780.00 rewarded in a year / $780.00 saved in 1 year
10. Reward yourself $1.00 each day you do a good job making financial decisions or use wisdom using the funds you have to use. (Only the quarter back should do this so as not to have one spouse constantly asking their other half to see if they have “behaved” or not every single day. Well, that’s what it might come off like to them!
On the other hand, I’m thinking some couples might actually benefit from that extra communication!
Well then, you decide. We’ll count it here for ONE person here, and we’ll only count it for 25 days a month with the thought that no one on this earth at this moment should feel they are “perfect”.
$25.00 rewarded monthly / $300.00 rewarded in a year / $300.00 saved in 1 year
Talley The Points
Here’s What You Did: Started a Savings Account
Here’s What You Got: $25.00 Reward Total
Here’s What You Did: Took the 52 Week Savings Challenge
Here’s What You Got: $1,378.00 Reward Total
Here’s What You Did: Cut Out One Fast Food Visit a Week
Here’s What You Got: $1,040.00 Reward Total
(By the way, this IS what saving $20.00 a week by eliminating that one fast food visit can do for you. Check it out on a calculator if you don’t believe me!)
Here’s What You Did: Did Not Purchase Treats or Drinks From a Convenience Store
Here’s What You Got: $260.00 Reward Total
Here’s What You Did: Strictly Limited Gift Purchase Prices During the Year
Here’s What You Got: $120.00 Reward Total
Here’s What You Did: Made More Inexpensive Family Vacation Plans This Year
Here’s What You Got: $50.00 Reward Total
Here’s What You Did: Cut Out One Sit-Down Restaurant Family Outing per Week
Here’s What You Got: $540.00 Reward Total
Here’s What You Did: Save Money on Food, Grocery Shopping, and Other Retail Purchases to Save $30.00 a Week
Here’s What You Got: $1,560.00 Reward Total
Here’s What You Did: Cut Monthly Utility Bills, Other Monthly Expenses, or Other Bills by at Least $65.00 a Month
Here’s What You Got: $780.00 Reward Total
Here’s What You Did: Tried Your Best to Make Smart Decisions Based on Your Family’s Finances and Follow Good Financial Practices Every Day (or for at least 25 days a month)
Here’s What You Got: $300.00 Reward Total
FINAL SCORE – ANNUAL REPORT
$25.00 (For Starting a Savings Account)
+ $1,378.00 (For Saving Money Weekly)
+ $1,040.00 (For Cutting Out One Fast Food Visit a Week)
+ $260.00 (For Getting Your Drinks, Donuts, and Snacks From Home Instead of a Convenience Store)
+ $120.00 (For Budgeting the Purchase Price of Gifts Throughout the Year)
+ $50.00 (For Saving Money on a Family Vacation This Year)
+ $540.00 (For Cutting Out One Sit-Down Restaurant Outing Each Month
+ $1,560.00 (For Cutting at Least $30.00 a Week Off the Costs of Your Food, Grooming, Office, Etc.)
+ $780.00 (For Saving at least $65.00 a Month on Utilities, Monthly Expenditures, and Other Monthly Bills)
+ $300.00 (For Making the Best Financial Choices on a Daily Basis)
Which Adds Up To: $6,053.00 Savings Rewards
$6,053 Total Saved in Just One Year!
THAT’S OVER $6,000 SAVED IN JUST ONE YEAR PLAYING THIS GAME!
And just think…. Using this particular savings plan, this family was already using most of the reward money somewhere anyway. They just had to have someone motivated enough to lead them through a period of transition and a change of habits.
– The savings gleamed from actions helped fund some of the rewards.
– Wisdom, forethought, an eager heart, and a little constraint added the rest.
The Locker Room Round Up After The Game
Remember, the rewards in this game were based on a typical family budget (parents with kids) who have not yet already pared their expenses down as much as humanly possible.
This is also geared towards a typical family income.
If you fall outside the scenario represented here, you can still use the principles here to start and build a savings account!
It is possible guys. It really is possible.
It may not be easy. It might even be hard.
However, there ARE ways to save money fast (what we did the huddle above) so you can get money quickly and have it in an emergency.
There are also ways to put money into savings quickly as well.
You just need to find your motivation, design your game plan, keep moving forward, and reward yourself as you move forward.
It can work. It can work for you!
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! Psalm 66: 20 (NIV)
Save money this month with these great money saving ideas that are perfect for the month of February.
You’ll learn where the February deals are so you can:
Save money on tax software,
Save money on furniture,
Save money buying a house,
Save money eating out,
And a whole lot more!
We think you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy all over when you see the things you can do in February to save money. If you can find some ways here to save on the February purchases you would need to make anyway or to get more out of your budget or planned expenses, we’ll feel all warm and fuzzy too! Here we go!
1. Be on the lookout for drastic discounts on entertainment and recreational purchases right now.
The winter is lingering at this point, but it’s not nice enough to do much outside yet. The mass is getting antsy here, folk, and businesses know that!
Cable and satellite companies want to give you something to do while you are still stuck indoors, and you’ll see some good introductory deals to grab your attention right now. Now don’t get cable if it’s not in your budget, but if it is, or you want to find a competitor’s deal that will lower monthly bills, you’ll find some good lock-in prices and incentives right now.
You can also find some good prices and deals on season passes right now if you take the time to go to some websites of amusement theme parks, water parks, sports team sites, and fitness centers with gym memberships.
Additionally, you’ll find outdoor sports gear like ski and snowboarding supplies and indoor fitness equipment like stationary bikes and treadmills on sale during February.
Is that cabin fever getting better yet?
Another great recreational deal just got better in February too, and this one will give you savings all year long.
Entertainment Books from Entertainment.com are now 50% off! (Until February 13, 2015)
You probably already know that when you use these well-respected coupon books, you save money on eating out; on hotels, airfare, and travel; on movies, events, and attractions; and everyday things you purchase at many of your favorite local stores like Target, Office Depot, Gap, and Michaels.
With one modest annual purchase of an Entertainment Book, you are saving money throughout the year. Even at a regular price, this purchase adds up to fantastic savings. Half off? That’s even better.
2. Purchase hot-weather home purchases now before the warm weather really comes your way and prices begin to rise right alongside the temperatures. This is true whether you are buying those items new or used.
First of all, if you see summer items like grills, lawn mowers, or room air conditioners on the shelves in February, before all the stores begin getting filled with summer items to sell to the masses, chances are you are seeing some left-over models that will have lower list prices on them than the newer models will have.
Not only may these year-old models be lower priced than the new models will be, the stores may have lowered their list price even more to better guarantee this inventory off moves off the shelves to make room for new products coming in.
Even if you know you are going to have to purchase these things but plan to do so on Craigslist or some other local buy and sell group, you will have a much better chance getting it cheaper now than when everyone else has realized they need the very same thing. Supply and demand can really be seen in play when it comes to one person selling one item and lots of people wanting to buy that one item!
3. Keep an eye out for good deals based on Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.
There will be sales galore on jewelry BEFORE Valentine’s Day as jewelers compete to offer treatment for that romance bug going around this time of year.
(NOTE: April usually boasts some pretty major discounts on jewelry as well. Just tossing that out there so you know!)
You’ll also see some good sales prices on perfume before Valentine’s Day. It’s hard to find flowers discounted right now, so if you want something sweet smelling and you don’t have your heart set on giving flowers, maybe perfume would be the way to go instead. Or maybe this is just the time to stock up on perfume!
Candy will be there for thrifty shoppers AFTER Valentine’s Day. You know, some of those cute little boxes of Skittles and stuffed animals might work quite well for Easter baskets. Some of the chocolates might work quite well in a gift basket for Grandma on Mother’s Day!
Then we’ve got President’s Day where you can easily find huge discounts on mattresses and furniture at most stores that sell those items.
For those who want a good deal on used furniture this year, watch for the very first nice weekend after President’s Day to see if some people who just purchased new furniture then will put their older furniture out to sell. These pieces of furniture may alternatively arrive at Goodwill the Saturday after President’s Day. You might even find these new furniture buyers have placed ads on Craigslist right on President’s Day since they are home and trying to make room for their newly-purchased furniture collections.
4. If you are buying Turbo Tax or other tax preparation software and have not purchased it yet, you will most likely get a better deal on it this month than if you purchase it closer to April 15.
As with everything else, if you know you are going to purchase it anyway, buy it when it is at its cheapest price instead of holding off and paying even more. Being prepared and moving forward at the right time is one money saving tip I can not emphasize enough.
5. While December and January may be great months to purchase a house at a lower price, February may still yield a healthy list of desperate home sellers willing to negotiate a great price on a new home for your family.
Here’s the deal – Some of the houses that were put on the market during the winter months may still be on the market. These sellers were motivated enough to put their house up on the market at a bad selling time to begin with. If after the lean winter months (by lean I mean fewer buyers out and about) a house is still there, those sellers may be getting a little antsy.
Add to the mix that spring buyers and summer-moving families are not quite moving about yet. In fact, it may be at least a couple more months, and possibly longer than that, where sellers might expect to see activity substantially pick up.
This might be where the rubber meets the road for some of these sellers. When you combine a motivated and possibly now slightly-frustrated seller with the thought of having to hold on to their listed house for an even longer period of time, it is possible you could be looking at some of the lowest list prices (and possibly most highly-motivated sellers) you will see before the spring housing market starts up in full force again.
If you are going to be in the market to buy a house anyway this year, consider your ability to write a contract on a house in February. If you are ready to fly anyway, jump out of the nest a little early, and take advantage of that worm.
6. If you are in college or plan to be in college soon, you should be applying to every college scholarship you can this month. This may not save you money right now, but it will sure save money in college later!
I don’t think many realize that many businesses and organizations still offer scholarships for college. However, while there still are many of these available, you have to apply before the deadline for each one to be considered for them.
What even fewer people realize is that the scholarship opportunities for this upcoming fall are quickly going to pass you by if you don’t act soon. Many of the application deadlines have come and gone. Many are still available, but you may start finding fewer and fewer to apply for after February.
If you are a parent, get that FAFSA done ASAP for your child! If you are a college student returning to college or a high school senior entering college this fall, get your parents going on that FAFSA if it is not done already. (Be nice guys, but you can remind mom and dad at least… or make sure they are aware of how important this is.)
7. Plan dinner menus and recipes around food that is in season during the month of February or that is on event sales at your local grocery store.
You can save money at the grocery store and still eat healthy if you eat seasonally! And yes, there are still seasonal fruits and vegetables in the winter!
Here are some of the fruits you can find on sale in February:
Oranges, Tangerines, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Lemons, and Raspberries
Here are some of the vegetables you can find on sale in February:
Cabbage, Spring Onions, Celery, and Red Potatoes, Russet Potatoes, White Potatoes, Radishes, Spinach, and Cauliflower
Do a web search for seasonal fruits and vegetables in the United States (or wherever you may live), and find out what seasonal fruits and vegetables are available to you at a lower cost in February. Also check the grocery store circulars for sales. If you see something coming up for sale over and over again at different stores in one given week, that’s probably an indication that it’s priced at a low seasonal price.
It’s good to save money now. It’s even better when you can do something healthy for your family during the dead of winter.
8. Take advantage of the numerous national days and national holidays in February since these days spur stores and restaurants to offer coupons, promotions, and sometimes even free samples, free activities, and free food products.
February is National Cherry Month, National Children’s Dental Health Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Heart Month, National Fiber Focus Month, and National Hot Breakfast Month. There are probably some more national months or days out there as well.
Now take a look at all the special days in February:
You know that these very smart stores and businesses like to have a reason to put something on sale to get people to notice them above the competition, so keep your eye out for sales that may correspond with the above national days, national weeks, and national months.
And for those of you who want to plan ahead to a special national day and to be prepared to move forward when the price is right, keep March 3, 2015 available for FREE PANCAKES AT IHOP 2015!
Hey, I told you all above to be ready so you could move forward when you saw a good deal, didn’t I?
See, sometimes I do know what I’m talking about.
Hope you find yourself saving money with these great money saving tips for this month.
If you know of other ways to save money in February or can tell us how to save more money than we have talked about here, let us know!
In the last post, these were our first five money saving steps to focus on this year:
Be determined to save money every day.
Find ways to save on groceries.
Take steps to pay off any credit card or debt as you can.
Take advantage of a tough economy that affects businesses.
Take steps to save on monthly bills and utilities.
Of course, there was a little more to those money saving strategies than listed right here, so you’ll want to read more about those in the previous post. For now though, let’s get rolling on more things you can do this year to start saving more money.
10 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY THIS YEAR – PART 2
6. Set aside a cheap date night with your spouse at the very beginning of every month to discuss monthly goals, upcoming purchases, and special needs you know you may be facing that month.
Have you ever thought about how you might as well be upfront and honest with the Lord about your thoughts, deeds, and actions in life because… well, what is in your life “IS” (or perhaps what was “WAS”)… and He knows it all anyway? If you have ever come clean with God, then you already know that when you do that, life actually seems so much better and your vision is so much clearer! God’s yoke really is lighter, you know.
Well, being upfront and honest with your spouse… and yourself… is a very important part of money management. If you face your battle with some prior forethought, advanced planning, and a soul mate you have brought to battle with you, you will have a better chance of doing the right things when you come across those speed bumps and challenges that month. Bring what “IS” and “IS TO BE” to light with your spouse before it happens, and you’ll be amazed how much better you will handle your finances when those expected financial tests actually come to your door.
Take paper. Takes notes. Focus on the upcoming month the most, but also let each other know about other things a little further down the road that you might have some concern over or that you might need to be planning for. This will help prepare you both for not only what is coming up more immediately but will help you start thinking about ways to handle other things coming up in the not-so-far future.
Brainstorm. Make some decisions if you need to. Give some suggestions or thoughts when that seems more appropriate. Encourage one another. Be a resource and a sounding board, not a bump on a log or a bummer. Then let each other fly like an eagle in the roles you each have.
Before I leave this area of thought, note that I did just say “date night” with your spouse.
It doesn’t matter if your time together is at night time, at a breakfast buffet, on the weekend, in the middle of the day, or in the middle of the night (providing you both are wide awake). However, if you want to make economic battle plans and prepare for a financial win for your family, you NEED to have a special time together that is not hindered by children, pets, the news, cell phone notifications, or any other distractions that could keep you focusing on what you need to do as a couple.
Talk money. Talk life. Take it all to God. Just don’t do it with distractions, disruptions, and interruptions galore. You’ll take the work you do during this time much more seriously and leave that time much more energized if you tackle this chore without everyday life beating you up while you are doing it.
7. Make family vacation choices this year that will keep you within your spending ability this time.
I may be a little odd. Perhaps I have just been blessed in this one area, but somehow I have been able to figure out how to have really cheap family vacations that have been really great (or at least great most of the time – great ALL the time if you ask me – great most of the time if you ask my kids). I’ll have to write about some of our inexpensive family getaways and how we did them someday!
That said, I will tell you that you CAN find fun things to do for trips and vacations that don’t have to break your bank.
Even if you love going on an actual vacation and don’t want to give that up this year, you can figure out ways to have a vacation you can afford if you really want one. You may not go where you had wished you could go this year. You may not do the kinds of activities you hear about others doing this year. You can find really cool things to experience in life though. You can have fun with your family. AND you can feel really, really good you made wise decisions instead of using credit or taking money from other places it is needed.
Here are some of the tricks to figuring out some cheap vacation ideas for your family:
Get on that computer of yours and start researching some places.
Look for free or inexpensive activities you can do there.
Then look at the lodging options at your destination of choice. Don’t assume anything yet. Be creative if need be.
Cut down the nights if need be. If you can’t afford more, then don’t stay more. Or spend some time in one place and stay someplace else for a while. We have combined hotel stays some nights with primitive campsites on other nights, and it has been wonderful (again, wonderful if you ask ME). hehe
If what you started planning feels like too much, then start all over again with something different and go until you discover what you feel you CAN do this year.
The point with all this is: Have a vacation with your family this year. With life as hard as it is, you all need some fun time together as a family. Just do whatever it is that you can afford.
But don’t look over at your neighbor when you do. Just enjoy what YOU are doing with your family this year.
And enjoy the savings.
8. Make a list of twelve things you want to do or learn this year that will help you save money in little ways or make extra money to help out.
My first try at making homemade bone broth!
For instance, some of the things I know I want to do this year include:
Find 20 good bean recipes,
Make bone broth from scratch for homemade soups,
Make all my own clothes detergent, dishwasher detergent, and olive oil soap with tea tree oil,
Learn how to market products online (to help me make money),
Set up two niche blogs for my husband, which he requested (to help HIM make more money)
Figure out how to buy two things free per month using sales and promotions coupled with apps, coupons, and /or rebates,
Spend a romantic weekend getaway with my husband using Military Space A (a great savings for active duty military families and military retiree families),
Save on one thing each month in a way in which I can share the savings with someone else.
If your list includes some things that help reduce expenses, then you will soon find yourself with additional funds to pay down debt, to put money into savings, or to set aside for something special down the road.
9. Start a savings account this year using some of the money you have saved throughout the year.
My husband and I have an old savings account we have not paid much attention to in more recent years. Sorry guys, but that is the way it is. At least I am being truthful here!
Our daughter Amy told me about a 52 week money challenge she saw on one of her favorite websites around the beginning of this year. I’ll need to find out what that website is and let you know.
Anyway, when I didn’t do anything myself about the challenge (or our savings account), she came into my bedroom with a printed copy of the 52 week savings challenge. I looked at it, and it actually seemed do-able for us!
Beginning a little late in the year, but making up for those first couple of lost weeks, we are putting one dollar extra in each week into a savings account. In a nutshell, the plan is such that you put $1.00 into your savings account on January 1. One week later, you put $2.00 into that savings account. One week later, you put $3.00, and so forth.
Looking at the challenge on paper, it looked like it could get a little tricky by the end of the year when we saw we would be putting $50.00 in our savings one week, $51.00 in the very next week, and then $52.00 in the very next week, the last week of the year (especially at a time when my husband’s teaching income goes down).
Then the Spirit inspired me just enough to know it was possible. If we worked hard at managing our money and saving money more and more throughout the year, we should HAVE the funds necessary to save more and more throughout the year.
That realization is not only the impetus that motivated my husband and I to jump on this plan to save money every week, it is now also the motivation for me to work really hard every day this year to be disciplined and save money everywhere I can.
I’ve got to share this too. I now wake up so excited on Thursdays! That’s the day we put our extra dollars into our savings account. It just feels good to do that after so long of savings neglect.
If you have a bigger cash flow, your savings plan may be much larger obviously. You may adjust your savings plan for larger amounts or decide to begin investing, or to invest more. If your budget is even tighter than ours (and ours is pretty tight, but I know some people have more to deal with than even we do), then you might need to adjust amounts to fit your budget or to design a savings plan in a different way.
But I do encourage you to begin saving something this year, even if it is $10.00 this month and $15.00 next month, or $10.00 each month even. Without fail, mind you!!! I bet you’ll begin to feel more and more in control of life if you put something, ANYTHING, into a savings account on some kind of planned schedule.
You’ll also enjoy seeing that savings at the end of the year.
Did you know that putting $1.00 more in each week results in a balance of $1,378.00 saved after 52 weeks? See why I’m motivated to follow good financial principles throughout the year to do that now?
10. Go to the Lord every day.
Thank Him. Praise Him. Give Him your worries. Ask Him every day to direct your path and to bless every decision you make that day, every single day this year. Then know you are in good hands every moment of it.
With God at your side , you have all the resources you really need. You can do this!