Credit Repair After Divorce Chat with Mandy Walker

Credit Repair After Divorce Chat with Mandy Walker

I recently had a chat with Mandy Walker about Credit Repair After Divorce on her Blog Talk Radio show. We had a great time getting to know each other but more importantly, talking about how to get your credit repair journey started. Separating or divorcing a partner after a few years means you have financial ties to your ex including credit. It can get messy and usually someone ends up with the short end of the stick. You get screwed and your credit score crashes along with the relationships.

In this chat, I share my credit repair strategies to help you protect your credit or recover from a crash. If you are facing any of the following challenges you should listen in:

  • Low credit score
  • Bankruptcy (I share my own story)
  • Budgeting challenges
  • Foreclosure
  • Making ends meet

At the end of the chat, I share my Budget Sanity Saver Worksheet, which is great for anyone who needs help getting started with their budget. Click here to download your copy (you will need Microsoft Word to use it).

Are you dealing with credit challenges? budget challenges? What steps are you taking to fix the issues and recover from a bad financial breakup?

[Video] – Single Parenting on a Budget Experian #CreditChat

[Video] – Single Parenting on a Budget Experian #CreditChat

Single Parenting on a Budget Advice

Are you struggling to create or manage a budget? If so click the button above to watch the video of the #CreditChat conversation I had with the Experian team.

We discussed everything from creating a stable financial future, establishing budgeting best practices, staying on top of your credit, starting an emergency fund, and choosing the right insurance.

You can download the Budget Sanity Saver worksheet to get a head start with creating your budget automatically. You need Microsoft Word to use it.

Chat Q & A

Here are the questions that were asked during the conversation and my answers:

Q1: What are the first steps a single parent should take when creating a stable financial future for his/her family?
Access where you are, decide where you want to be and create a written plan. Ask for help. check out Financial Planning Days for free financial planning in your area.

Q2: How should a newly single parent establish a budget? What are best practices? Write all current expenses like rent, food, car, etc. Subtract those expense amounts from your income. Best practices: Live below your means. Budget each paycheck before you spend. Pay yourself first.

Q3: What steps should single parents take to ensure they are staying on top of their credit? check your credit report regularly. Your bank may offer free monitoring. Get your annual credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Spend only what you can repay immediately. Pay your bills on time or at least make arrangements to pay.

Q4: What financial documents should newly single parents review when creating a financial plan? Review your bank statements to see the history of your spending.

Q5: Are there any tax credits or deductions that can help reduce the amount of taxes single parents pay? earned income credit. child care credit. Student loan credit.

Q6: What are best practices for establishing an emergency fund? Pay yourself first in each paycheck. Add most or at least half of your tax refund. Sell items you don’t really need and put it in the fund.

Q7: What insurance considerations should single parents take? Term life seems to be a good policy to have since it covers you for a specific period of time while your children are still in your home.

Q8: What should single parents know about creating an estate plan? Talk with a financial planner who has information and/or an attorney. Get your will made so your family and the state knows what to do with your property and your children in case of your death

Q9: What advice do you have for a single parent who is struggling financially? If it feels like you are drowning stop the leaks. Take a deep breath. Remember it is temporary. Create an action plan to slow your spending, increase your income, focus on what you have instead of what you do not have.

Q10: Do you have any final financial tips for single parents? You have the power to become financially free. Learn all you can about money management. Focus on increasing your income rather than cutting everything from your life. Get the kids involved and teach them the value of money but more importantly the value of life and family.

Resources mentioned in the video:

Financial Planning Days – Free financial planning in select cities

Alison – Free financial literacy course online

Practical Money Skills – Financial Literacy website

Prism – Budgeting & Bill Organization App

Garage Sale apps – YardSailr, Let Go, OfferUp, Varage Sale

Create a Will or Plan Your Funeral

National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) – Credit and Debt Advice

16 Ways to Save Money on Groceries for Single Moms and Students

16 Ways to Save Money on Groceries for Single Moms and Students

Great grocery tips for single moms whether you are in school or not!

Whether you’re spending your Freshman year in off-campus housing or you just left a dorm—and meal plan—behind, one big change is on the horizon this school year: you need to make food for yourself with your own kitchen, two hands, and brain. And that means besides making time in your busy schedule to cook, you’ll also have to budget for the shopping as well, which can be tough on a college student income.

While it might seem overwhelming to feed and shop for yourself, you’ve totally got this. Let us help you put your money worries to rest with these grocery shopping tips. (Unfortunately, you’ll have to go somewhere else for help with calculus.)

1. Check Student-Friendly Stores

The easiest way to save money while shopping is to frequent local markets that offer student discounts. Usually, stores close to campus know they’ll get more customers if they offer a 5%–10% discount for those with university ID cards. Buying your weekly groceries from these shops at a discounted price is perfect for sticking to your budget.

2. Buy Generic or Store Brand Products

Most supermarket chains offer generic packaged products. These store brand products are usually cheaper than brand name products, even though they’re virtually the same. To save some cash, switch to store brand whenever possible.

3. Shop (Mostly) Vegetarian

Besides being bad for the environment, meat is pretty expensive. So whether you plan for Meatless Mondays or go completely vegetarian, you’ll definitely save money. And if you do buy a little meat, avoid steak and expensive seafood entirely, as those purchases will take up a lot of your budget.

4. Buy Frozen Vegetables

Perusing the produce section might be fun, but buying frozen vegetables is often the best way to go. Bags of frozen veggies are cheap, and as a busy student, you’ll save time by not having to chop and prep anything. Frozen vegetables still have lots of nutrients, so you can easily eat healthy with minimal effort.

5. Plan Your Meals (and Stick to That Plan)

One of the most important things you should do before grocery shopping is plan out your meals for the week. A meal plan will help you stay on track and (hopefully) under budget when shopping because you’ll know exactly what you need. You can save a lot of money—and start to drop that Freshman 15—by skipping over those impulse buys like Cheez-Its and Oreos.

6. Use Coupons—Seriously

While it might seem silly to pick up a newspaper or coupon booklet, you should make the effort to clip coupons before shopping. You can plan your meals around items that are on sale, and you might even end up trying a new food or recipe. The cents and dollars you save will really add up. Plus, even if you’re against wasting paper or money on newspapers, you can still find plenty of coupons online.

7. Save Money on Bags

Some states have implemented bag taxes to reduce waste, meaning plastic bags at the grocery store cost money. Bring your own bag (any free bag from a college club will do) to both save the environment and save money. Those few cents would make a dent in your wallet after a few weeks.

8. Eat Before You Shop

Studies indicate that being hungry while looking at food only leads to greater perceived hunger—which could lead to more impulsive thoughts about food. Make sure to grab a snack at home or have a friend grab you something from the dining hall before you head to the store. That way, you can avoid spending more on things that excite your hungry stomach.

9. Use Technology to Your Advantage

These days, there’s an app for everything. Grocery shopping is no different. As a tech-savvy college student, you can easily download several apps that help you keep track of your pantry’s inventory, budget effectively, or eat healthier. There are quite a few different apps out there, so give several a try to find out which ones make your shopping experience easier.

10. Don’t Waste Anything

Along similar lines, you should use Supercook.com to turn whatever’s left in your fridge and pantry into a meal. All you have to do is plug in what you have, and then your edible odds and ends can be used instead of thrown away. It’s easier than you’d expect to make food—even older food—taste good.

11. Check Out the Dollar Store

Surprisingly enough, you can actually find plenty of affordable groceries at the dollar store. If there’s one near campus, make sure to frequent it to get great deals on basic necessities like bread, milk, and peanut butter. If there isn’t a dollar store nearby, make a trip every once in a while to stock up on shelf-stable food items like pasta or canned goods.

12. Shop Alone

Going shopping with friends can be fun, but shopping on a budget is not a social activity. If you’re serious about saving some cash, hang out with your friends another time. Shopping with others will increase the number of unplanned purchases you make, whether that’s desserts, extra snacks, or weird produce they want you to try on a dare.

13. Buy What’s in Season

Produce that’s out of season can be unreasonably expensive, so you might not want to buy strawberries year-round. Instead, check out the USDA’s website to see when your favorite produce buys are in season.

14. Freeze Anything and Everything

Yogurt, bread, vegetables, tomato sauce, you name it—almost everything lasts longer when you throw it in the freezer. Freezing leftovers from meals works great, too. Put some individual servings in the freezer to eat when you have to cram instead of cook.

15. Be Alert at the Cash Register

Make sure all the sale items you purchase are sold to you at the correct price. Be attentive when you’re checking out, and don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. After all, everyone knows college students work with slim budgets. If a can of beans or a bag of frozen chicken rings up incorrectly, simply ask the cashier to double check the price.

16. Avoid Perishable Bulk Item Deals

While some deals might seem really tempting, it’s not worth it for a college student with limited space and money to buy four gallons of milk, 10 pineapples, or seven cucumbers just to get a cheaper price per unit. The food will definitely go bad before you use it up, and then you didn’t really save money at all. If you want to buy in bulk, opt for nonperishable items like oats or rice.

If you’ve used all these steps and are still worried about your food budget each month, a credit card—used responsibly—could be the answer. Many cards offer rewards for groceries, which could help you earn a bit of cash back on purchases you’d make anyway. Read our guide on Credit Cards for Students, and don’t forget to check your credit report for free at Credit.com before applying.

The post Grocery Shopping in College: 16 Ways to Save Money appeared first on Credit.com.

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Ignore Deadbeat Daddies and Bid Farewell to Child Support Dependence

Ignore Deadbeat Daddies and Bid Farewell to Child Support Dependence

The following article is in response to a popular message board trend about complaining about dead beat daddies and child support dependence. Feel free to reply with your reactions and watch the video too.

5 Reasons You Should Ignore Your Deadbeat Baby Daddy and Bid Farewell to Child Support Dependence

Ever dream of finding the right way to forget about your deadbeat baby daddy, stop depending on unreliable child support, and start changing your life? Many single moms have actually done that. Most, however, never work through the daydream stage. Many lacked the desire to research, learn, and put a plan in motion, so all they do is dream, whine, and complain about how he’s a deadbeat.

So what is the positive impact of letting go? The negatives were covered all right, but why not consider the positives? Before we let the negatives rule, the positives deserve a fair hearing.

Let’s examine 5 positive reasons in favor of attempting to forget about your deadbeat baby daddy and inadequate child support to see those that ring true.

1. He’s proven he doesn’t want to be a part of the life of you and your child. 

I completely understand your rationale in thinking you had something special at one time, after all you had a baby together. I agree that that’s a rather valid objection, but please consider, if he hasn’t paid one red cent (or barely $100 a year) since the day the baby was born, he’s not interested in being a part of your lives. And moreover, you will need to consider you might be better off without him.

2. He’s probably more interested in the next conquest than raising a child with you. 

The leading reason behind that is he’s too immature to want to be a parent. And also afraid of any type of real responsibility.

3. Your anger and constant nagging about his inability to be a real man keep him running away from you and his responsibility.

Plus perhaps your habit of broadcasting his failures to your girlfriends and the rest of the world.!

4. You are giving him control of your life every second you remain angry at him.

Anger is a fuel for controlling people. The more you allow your anger towards him to boil in your heart the more you give up control of your life.

5. You can create a better life for you and your child.

When you take the focus off of him and make plans for financial security because of your own efforts you can create an amazing life for your family. You have so much more power when you are focused on the possibilities instead of the problems

What will you do now?

After you have had a chance to go over the reasons and think about them, you’ll find that a top notch case can be made in favor of forgetting about your deadbeat baby daddy and moving on with your life.

Just think about it. Perhaps you really, in all seriousness, should forget fighting tooth and nail for him to be a father and sending money to help support your child.

As soon as you examine each of the reasons and evaluate them, you will have to admit that a very compelling case can be made for starting to consider how you can forget about your deadbeat baby daddy and create drama-free life with all the trimmings.

So maybe, just maybe, you really should forget about depending on child support from a man who’s proven he doesn’t want to be responsible for taking care of his child.

This is just my two cents worth. It’s heartbreaking to see so many single mom struggle with this issue. The bottom line is it’s time to take control of our lives and destiny.

Begin by finishing school if you haven’t, upgrading your skills for a better position, start a business to make extra money, and most importantly release the pain of rejection and low self-esteem.

Feel free to talk more about it below. No flaming, please.

10 Tips for Parents to Bully-Proof Their Kids

10 Tips for Parents to Bully-Proof Their Kids

It’s fall and school is starting back again. I’ve seen moms running around getting back to schools supplies and new clothes to prepare their kids for the big first day. I can’t help but wonder are they preparing their precious ones for the bullies that lurk in the hallways and behind the school buses?

I saw a story on Facebook last month of a heartbroken mother whose son killed himself after bullies told him his life wasn’t worth living. My heart went out to the mother as I listened to her tearful plea to other mothers. I felt a little judgy of her because I felt she could have done more.

In reality, I suppose she did all she felt she could do. She went to the school to talk to the principal, she went to the superintendent and the school board. She asked that they move her son to a new school. She did all that but her son still was harassed, beat-up, and basically stalked online and on his phone. The bullies told him repeatedly to kill himself until one day he did.

I felt judgy because I felt his parents didn’t do all they could’ve done for their son. You see, I’m a mama bear and will fight anyone who hurts my kids. I am the kind of mother who will go to drastic measures to ensure their safety from other kids, other parents, the teacher, the principal, and anyone who intentionally harms them. I’m that mama who will go toe to toe with the biggest and baddest bully whether it’s in the classroom, the courtroom, or the boardroom. I don’t play. My 5’3” presence will be felt. That’s me; but then I had to remember that sometimes parents simply are not equipped to empower their children.

I was bullied as a child on the playground by peers and by kids in my extended family, but I learned how to stand up for myself and have never had a problem with it since that time. As a mom I was able to help my daughter deal with bullying by teaching her self-esteem comes from within. I taught her that others have no right to touch her without expecting consequences and how to give people the stare-down, daggers-in-the-eye look. No children were harmed with this strategy, of course. As a result of my empowerment training, she learned to carry herself in a confident manner so she was not a target. She reminded me that I told her never to come home beat up without at least making sure the other person felt her licks.

I believe parents who are confident raise confident children. On the flip side, parents who were bullied often have children who get bullied if they never healed and/or learned how to be confident. Children take their cues from their parents and unfortunately they may be bullied at school too.

Parents have to empower their children to feel strong and capable of going through school and life without antagonism from bullies. Adults get bullied in the workplace, the PTA, and in the home. Coping strategies start from within and it’s only after a child is strong internally that other tactics like self-defense, martial arts, etc. can work effectively.

I’m a mother of a special needs teen son who is on the Autism Spectrum. He has been homeschooled since 5th grade but insists on going to school to finish out his high school years. Of course, I am concerned about bullying because he is “different”.

To prepare him I’ve given him tips to deal with kids who may decide that his differences deserve abuse, mistreatment, and bullying. I’ve empowered him to:

  • Stand up for himself if provoked.
  • Walk away if confronted.
  • Face the issue if necessary and
  • Finish any fight that anyone starts with him.

Some parents may think that is too radical because it advocates violence. I respond by saying that if I do not empower my child then who will? I helped my adult daughter through the struggles of middle and high school bully-free. My son will do the same.

So what should a mom do to empower their child? Here are my 10 tips for parents to bully-proof their kids:

  1. Find the courage inside yourself as a parent and tap into your own self-worth. Kids model what you do vs. what you say.

2. Teach yourself and them to practice the Superhero Pose to build and help feel confidence. Stand with feet apart.Hands on lower waist. Back straight. Head held high. Cape is optional.

3. Allow (even encourage) them to fight back if they are shoved, hit, or punched. Teach them that no one has the right to put their hands on them. This teaches self-respect.

4. Reduce access to social media or monitor closely especially if you suspect bullying. Do the same with cell phones and require that phone numbers not be given out. Change the number if harassment or cyberbullying of any kind begins.

5. Come out of the fantasy world and live in the reality that not everyone has the same supportive and happy environment as your home. Some kids are sad, mad, and miserable and want other kids to be a part of that misery.

What to Teach your kids about bullies::

  • Some kids are being bullied at home so they bully others. Hurt people hurt people.
  • Some kids feel small and inferior at home so they want to feel superior and in control at school.
  • Some kids have parents that bully them so they bully kids that are different or look smaller.
  • Sometimes a bully will challenge them to see if they are tough/confident to stand up for themselves.
  • Whiners get bullied so either remain silent and look them in the eye or speak clearly while looking them in the eye.

6. Teach your kids that their body language will either attract or repel a bully. Show them to walk tall, look people in the eye and to speak up clearly, loudly, and with boldness.

7. Practice or role play at home with your kids how to stand up for themselves if a bully confronts them.

8. Check your fears at the door and don’t project them onto your children. Your children feel your feelings because their intuition is strong. They know when you feel helpless, fearful, depressed, or angry in the same way they know when you are confident, happy, and feeling strong.

9. Pray for and with your child and teach them the scripture, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might” Ephesians 6:10. If you don’t believe in prayer teach them positive affirmations.

10. Teach your child that compassion and kindness go further than being nice and non-confrontational. A kid with a cause (defending the weak) will learn compassion/ kindness is also strength.

A friend on Facebook shared that her daughter was hurt because the kids did not want to play with her. She felt left out and rejected. I share the following:

I hope it helps you empower your child to become a champion on the playground and have an amazing new school year!