Money Saver, Parenting, Tips and Tricks

How can Families Ensure a Sound Financial Future?

Photo by from Pexels

Parents start worrying about their children’s future practically from the time they are born. Considering the fact that the average young adult graduates from college with a debt close to $40,000, it is logical that parents should worry about how to balance needs like saving for college funds with enjoying time together as a family. Building a healthy savings nest involves establishing a sound strategy from the very start. How can you reduce your family expenditure, enjoy regular family vacations, and give your children a start by helping with their college expenses in the future?

Setting a Budget

Financial advisors recommend that families save at least 20% of their income, while setting aside 50% for necessities, and 30% for additional items. Known as the ‘50/30/20 Rule of Thumb’, it enables you to build a nest for everything from retirement to emergencies. Setting a budget involves sitting together as a family and really crunching numbers. With respect to the 30% set aside from additional or discretionary items, which items/activities/experiences should win out? This is a matter for you to decide together, but you should come up with an exact amount to be saved, and an exact amount to be saved.

What do American Families Waste their Cash On?

The National Resources Defense Council reports that Americans waste $165 billion annually on food by throwing away items they simply do not wish to consume. CNBC, meanwhile, states that almost 70% of Americans say they waste money eating back, nearly 12% throw cash away on tobacco, and around 19.34% lose out on credit card interest. Around 9.25% even waste money by not returning items they don’t use – imagine the toll on your bank account and on your total carbon footprint!

Energy Costs are High

In CNBC’s list, electricity and heating or air conditioning were also high on the list of top money wasters. To what extent are you willing to change your habits (even a small way) to bring down your electricity bill? Some steps in the right direction are small. These include using a programmable thermostat, dressing more in accordance with the season, and even washing clothes in cold water. On a larger scale, switching your energy supplier can help you make significant savings. Quake Energy states that natural gas is almost always cheaper than electricity, for instance. Opting for natural gas is a matter of long-term thinking, of course. This is because gas appliances may cost more upfront, but in the long term, gas will impose a smaller cost on your utility bills.

Technology can be an Eye-Opener

Unless you keep every single bill and receipt, knowing exactly where your money is going can be difficult. This is where apps like PocketGuard, Goodbudget, and Mint can come in handy. Mint, usually voted as one of the top apps of its kind, works by automatically classifying transactions from purchases made by card, tracking them against your personal budget. The app actually sends you alerts when you have gone over-budget, which is very handy if you don’t track all expenses by hand. PocketGuard, meanwhile, helps you eliminate erroneous/double payments by tracking bills from phone companies, Internet providers, etc.

Parents know the extent to which the years seem to truly fly by once children are born. It is important to enjoy these years – and this means having a nice balance between leisure and vacation experiences, and a healthy savings system. By seeing exactly how much you need to save and how much you can ‘play with’, cutting down on unnecessary costs and making key changes at home, you can ensure your family’s future and have plenty of fun in the meantime.

Food, Money Saver, Mother's Day

Sips By Boxes Review: Try Before You Buy Tea Brands

What I love best about sample boxes is the ability to try brands before you buy. With this Sips by™ box you get to try tea brands before having to take the cost risk that you will enjoy the flavors or benefits of the box you choose as you stood in the store aisle browsing so many choices.

  • Each month is completely customized, featuring 4 teas uniquely selected for you and your profile
  • Discover 100+ artisan brands from around the world
  • Choose from both herbal or caffeinated options
  • Expand your palette with unique flavors and blends
  • Receive exclusive offers and coupons
  • Great for gifting the tea novice or afficionado this Valentine’s Day
  • Vegan options available
  • Affordable monthly service at only $15 each month

I am so glad this box arrived because I got the try the Jasmine Pearl Bird Song Oolong lose tea and I love it! I also got to try a vanilla matcha and this s why the Sips by™ box is such a great gift. It covers so many tea varieties and you get enough to try more than 1 cup of each brand. I even got some tea bags for the lose tea in a pouch.

With Mother’s Day approaching, this makes a great gift. Send a box of tea brands so she can try them too!

2018 Holiday Gifts, Deals, Money Saver, Reviews, Toy Reviews

Destiny 2: Forsaken Legendary Collection Video Game

Destiny 2: Forsaken Legendary Collection

2018 Holiday Gift Guide Feature: Destiny 2: Forsaken Legendary Collection

Are there video games on any of your wish lists for the family? Chances are someone on your lists wants video games especially the tweens, teens and young adults. I recently gifted a family friend an extra code for Destiny 2 and this code was for the Legendary Collection. My son (Anthony) is 10 and typically shares the video game reviews as  I allow him to play certain T-Teen games but this is a fresh opinion from a college-age player for my readers. Anthony has this game, but not the collection so I wanted to feature why buying the Legendary Collection is the best way to gift this game.

Destiny 2: Forsaken is a fast paced first person shooter providing a fun yet challenging experience. Allowing you to play solo or with other players creating different scenarios. The game itself has characteristics of an rpg (role playing game) but is set in a universe filled with other players, making the game feel a little more lively.

Getting the legendary collection is best because it expands the universe that’s already long to begin with, adding even more hours to the story. The legendary collection also provides equipment and weapons for your character that would be unavailable in the base game.

Shopping for Destiny 2: Foresaken Legendary Collection video game

Available at Best Buy  for around $59.99 on PlayStation®4, Xbox One and PC

Need more gift ideas? Visit the 2018 Holiday Gift Guide!

Comment: I was sent product so that my feature can be authentic and my own original thoughts for you. I am a Best Buy Associate and I may be compensated for your purchase through my links.

Car Talk, Deals, Education, Money Saver, Tips and Tricks

Finding The Best Car Insurance in Washington Is Full of Surprises…

Trying to find the best car insurance can be a trial. We all know the big car insurance brands: State Farm, Geico, Progressive, Allstate — but after browsing those sites, I’m never sure if I’m actually getting the best deals. So this time I used Clearsurance, and what I found totally caught me by surprise. All those household brands we all see advertised so often? They aren’t ranked very highly. Clearsurance, which is a website that collects reviews from people about their insurance company, uses the data it gathers to create unbiased rankings of car insurance companies, both by state and nationally for 2018. The detailed breakdown helps you compare companies and find coverage that’s actually the best deal for your location and driving history.

Once I got over my surprise, I decided to see what companies other consumers ranked as the best car insurance options in Washington and if my car insurer was rated highly by other consumers. I didn’t even recognize some of the companies that ranked ahead of the giants in car insurance, including my own insurer.

For instance, Amica Mutual, which offers a home ownership discount, was founded in 1907 and ranks as the third best company in all of Washington. Amica Mutual’s 4.46 rating out of 5 on Clearsurance is significantly higher than that of Progressive (4.16) and Allstate (4.1).

Take a look at what companies are ranked as the top 5 car insurers in Washington on Clearsurance:

  1. USAA — 4.68
  2. California Casualty Group — 4.47
  3. Amica Mutual Insurance Company— 4.46
  4. Metromile— 4.45
  5. American National Property & Casualty Company — 4.43

These aren’t the names we typically associate with car insurance. So why are these brands so much better than the big companies we all know? Clearsurance has tons of great information to help you navigate your car insurance coverage, and one of the things I discovered is that companies like Geico and Allstate spend billions of dollars a year on advertisements to become the names we think of when it’s time to buy car insurance or consider switching car insurance. But those advertising dollars have come to from somewhere, and it ends up driving up the cost of our insurance premiums.


Why should we be paying more to insure our cars so that our insurer can solicit new business?

For the most part, the companies rated highly in Washington are lesser known than the big names. But the bottom line is, they’re better. These are the companies that other policyholders have found offer fair prices with good customer service and claims handling.

Still, we’re not all eligible for these top insurers, and we don’t all have the same insurance needs. That’s something else Clearsurance understands and helps you navigate. For example, USAA is the best car insurance company for Washingtonians, but it only serves active and former military members and their families. And at a company like Metromile, it offers a multi-car discount. Plus, not all car insurance companies cover high-risk drivers, so if you have a lot of accidents on your record or a DUI, you may not be able to obtain coverage from one of these companies.

What’s a good option for high-risk drivers in Washington?

I did some digging into the car insurance companies that sell in Washington and offer policies to high-risk drivers, often referred to as non-standard drivers. If you’re looking for a cost effective option, The General offers affordable coverage. The General has a rating of 3.68. Consumers seem to believe The General offers cheap prices, but the low rates are reflected in the customer service and handling of claims.


Finding the best car insurance for you or your family shouldn’t have to be completely mind-boggling. Once you step outside the buzz of all those big name brands, figuring out which companies actually offer the best customer service at the best price becomes a lot easier, especially if you’ve got Clearsurance on your team.