Favorite Products

How to Buy the Right Wallet

I don’t know about you but I USED to struggle with finding the perfect wallet…. I would find one I thought I liked and then BAM, it wasn’t right.  here are some tips on how to buy the best wallet for you this season.  There are so many things to consider – the number of slots for cards, yah or nah on a coin purse, and will it fit my phone.  There are zillions (okay, so it may be an exaggeration) of wallets out there with just as many features, styles, colors and sizes.

What is a girl to do?

Thirty-One to the rescue! Here is a fun quiz to guide you toward which type of wallet best fits your needs – and your style.

#1 Which word best describes your personal style?

  1. Casual
  2. On-trend
  3. Classic

#2 Be honest: How much stuff does your wallet need to hold?

  1. Just my ID, credit cards and cash.
  2. Just essential cards – and my phone, of course!
  3. Umm…just call me George Costanza.

#3 How do you plan to wear your wallet?

  1. Tucked into my purse (although a wristlet option would be nice)
  2. Crossbody to stand in for a purse and keep my hands free
  3. In my bag during the day, then as a sleek evening clutch

#4 Now let’s talk prints and colors:

  1. Make mine easy-care fabric in my favorite Thirty-One print.
  2. This is tough: I love Thirty-One’s prints AND their faux leather.
  3. Let’s go all out with pebbled faux leather and silver-tone hardware.

#5 Do you want the option to personalize your wallet?

  1. I could go either way on embroidery.
  2. My initial or monogram would be nice.
  3. My look already has PLENTY of personality!

#6 What’s your budget?

  1. Under $30. But I still expect great function and style!
  2. Under $40. So I’ll need it to be even more versatile than a typical wallet.
  3. Under $50. This is an investment in quality I’ll use season after season.

Mostly 1s: Perfect Cents Wallet

This classic, budget-friendly wallet in plenty of print choices is just the right wallet for you to buy!  It may be small in size but it is big on functionality.   The Perfect Cents Wallet features a zipper closure, roomy front and back zipper pockets, 10 credit card slots, four bill slots and an ID window. Made of canvas or cotton in some of our top Thirty-One prints with a polyester lining, this billfold makes a great companion piece for our coordinating totes and purses – or wear it alone as a fun clutch by adding a colorful Wristlet Strap.

Mostly 2s: NEW! Call Me Crossbody

Millennials know a thing or two about minimalism – it’s why you see so many sporting chic, simple crossbody wallets! You don’t need to buy a big purse to stay organized (and stylish) on the go: Choose our Call Me Crossbody wallet for hands-free fashion which is super functional. With credit card slots, an open center compartment for your smart phone and keys along with a magnetic snap closure to keep everything secure, your everyday essentials stay right at your fingertips. The detachable faux leather strap adjusts to wear over your shoulder or as a crossbody. Make your wallet special with embroidered personalization!

Mostly 3s: All About the Benjamins Wallet

It’s our #1-selling wallet for so many reasons! Our Customer-favorite fashion wallet is the perfect choice: tuck it into your handbag or add a Wristlet Strap for carrying all the essentials. The roomy All About the Benjamins has the silhouette of a classic billfold and holds 12 credit cards, with reinforced stitching and interior structure to prevent stretching. Choose from sophisticated solids to coordinate with your purse or tote – or share the fun of Thirty-One for the opportunity to shop exclusive Benjamins in our famous prints!

Post a picture of the wallet you would pick OR if you have a Thirty One wallet, on my Facebook business page for a chance to WIN!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Budgeting

Got A Pay Raise?

Thank you to Julie of The Hallway Initiative for the inspiration for this post which appeared in MoneySavingMom.

“Nothing stimulates creativity like a good crisis.”

Living on a budget has never been a strong point for me.   I can remember very short periods of time in my adult life when I was credit card/debt free.  Then those addictive traits reared their ugly head and it was back.

Finances were almost always tight as a single mom.  As my own boss, my income depends on me which means it is sometimes inconsistent.  I have been  reading books on personal finance, working on a detailed budget (YKES!), and always on the look out for money-saving ideas. I ran into MoneySavingMom.com awhile ago and am eating up every penny-pinching post.  My initial thought is always to go back to work full-time then the realities of health struggles and age (everyone wants young social workers) hit me.  I will admit, I am great at managing money for others but when it comes to my own account it is a totally different story.

I don’t know about you but when I used to get a pay raise at work, my spending increased.  I mean now I could pay the bills (at least the minimums) and have extra money in my account.  The truth was (and still is) despite how much money is in the bank, I need to remember how I budgeted during the lean times.

I love these four strategies to maintain a frugal mindset:

1. Think in terms of stewardship.

I often forget everything I “own” is a gift on loan from God. When I remember it’s all His, no matter how much or little He’s given me, I am challenged to be a better steward with His things. I need to work with my money the same way I manage other people’s money.  Even during lean times, I found ways to help others in need.  It may not have been in cash but it may have been in groceries or time.  It is when I do things like this, the blessings come back in multitudes.

2. Keeping a budget.

This is probably the hardest thing for me.  I don’t remember much talk about budgeting when I was growing up.  I have tried to stick to a budget off and on for years with limited success.  I think I was the most successful with a budget when Elsie managed my money and bills in my early days of recovery.  I couldn’t trust myself to have cash laying around so she monitored it all.  Bills got paid and money got saved.  sticking to a budget is one of the best ways to maintain control of your spending.  It helps you keep track of your expenditures and reminds you to be wise with what you have. And, if finances permit, it’s perfectly okay to increase certain budget categories, such as giving, saving, and splurges! Just make sure you’re doing it deliberately rather than on a whim.

3. Keep up with penny-pinching resources

There are a lot of them out there…. I don’t necessarily mean “Extreme Couponing” unless it is something you love to do but I do have a few favorites besides MoneySavingMom.com.  I am always scrolling through financial blogs, keeping up with new frugal tips and making sure I am remaining a good steward of my money.

Some of my favorite resources include:

4. Save for the next crunch

This is where I made my mistake years ago.  When my finances were Just because your freed up for a moment, I didn’t plan for the next squeeze.  I didn’t listen to Dave Ramsey and other financial giants recommend building up 3-6 month’s worth of living expenses. If you’ve never been able to do so before, do it now while you have money left over at the end of the month (even if it is $10).

I haven’t done a perfect job of thinking in terms of stewardship, continuing to keep a budget, keeping up with penny-pinching resources, and saving for the next financial crunch, but those are the four strategies I’m working toward at this time.  I tried to keep in mind it is progress  not perfection.

What are some of you favorite money saving tips or resources?  Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Budgeting

Saving Money 

I don’t know about you but I always find summer a harder time to save money.  From farmer’s markets to flea markets, a little here and a little there is spent.  Before long, you are over your spending budget.  Yes, there are lots of things to do which are free BUT I always found the more we are out and about, the more tempting those quick stops are for snacks or dinner.

Here are some tips on how you can save some money and trick yourself into a fatter bank account.

Play A Mind Game
Target shopping for me is deadly.  I usually go in for just a few things and before long my bill is up to $75 of things I must have (or at least I think I need).  Try this mind trick (courtesy of the Peaceful Mom):

When deciding whether or not to purchase the cute new outfit or decorative item for your house, imagine someone holding the item you want to purchase in one hand and offering you the cash equivalent with the other hand. If you would take the cash then skip the purchase.

Carry a Savings Reminder
If you are a visually-oriented person, which I am, try this. Researchers at Duke University found study participants who kept a gold coin in their wallet as a reminder to save, saved more than twice as much as study participants who didn’t. I’m adding an arrow charm (to symbolize reducing debt) to the zipper on my wallet (see photo above).

So far, it’s working “like a charm” to help me remember to spend less.

Leave It In the Cart
How many of you are an impulse spender?  Admit it, many of us want instant gratification when we are happy, sad, angry or you can substitute in your reason.  I’m trying to curb the impulses.  When online, I put it in the cart and walk away from the computer.  It is easier for me to walk away in a store but online, I seem to quickly hit “order”.  This has really helped me to reduce my spending.  I have also found when I leave things in the cart, the store I am shopping with will usually send me an additional discount to encourage me to submit the order.  Another win, if I decide I really do need to place the order.

Use Automatic Withdrawal
I have an automatic withdrawal at the bank so when checks are direct-deposited, $25 or more goes directly into a savings account. If you don’t see it, you can’t spend it, so it’s probably one of the easiest ways to save more money every month.

Save All $1 Bills
If you are a cash person for spending, use this savings trick. Every time you break a larger bill and receive dollar bills for change, place those bills into a separate part of your wallet so you don’t spend them. Then every evening when you arrive home place those one dollar bills in a jar or an envelope. I have a friend who told me about this a long time ago but she uses $5 bills.  You will be surprised at how it adds up.

Calculate Your Cost of Time Spent
I haven’t tried this but maybe I should…..Whenever you want to spend money on a non-essential item, try converting the cost of the purchase into the amount of time you had to work to pay for it. YIKES!  Being self-employed, this could be ALOT! For example if you are paid $10 an hour then your $50 dinner out would cost you five hours of your life.

Thinking about your money in this way can help you to evaluate if the cute dress or dinner out is worth so much of your time — and many times it’s not.

Focus on the Positive
You know I am all about focusing on the positive to bring more positive into your life, right?  A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found people who focus on their reasons for saving (a fun vacation, a better car, buying a home, etc.) saved more than study participants who concentrated on specific strategies for cutting back like eating out less often or using coupons.  When you shift your mindset to focus on what you will be gaining, rather than what you are giving up, you will save more.

Saving money can be much easier when you “trick” yourself with these simple ideas.  What are your best tips for saving money?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Budgeting

Is it Possible to Budget on an Irregular Income?

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Budgeting – I cringe when I hear those words.  I used to say “don’t know how to budget” so guess what, budgets never worked.  The funny thing is as a grant writer, it was one of the things our funders loved about me.  I was always on budget or under budget.  Now, I am learning to apply it to my personal life……..

As a full-time direct seller, my income can be irregular.  There are months when sales are AMAZING and there are months when sales are less than desired.  I have always used the fact my income was irregular as an excuse not to stick to a budget.  I mean the key to getting and staying out of debt is a budget, right?  So I went on the hunt for some tips to help me (any maybe you) manage your money better when you don’t get a regular paycheck.

Budgets are easy on a fixed income but are a challenge when you aren’t 100% sure how much money you’ll bring in every month.  Honestly, the budget challenge is the fear factor which kept me from working my business full-time.  Not having faith in myself or in God to provide for my needs.  I have monthly bills to pay – old credit card debt and school loans along with the monthly cell phone, cable bill and our grocery bill.  Sounds basic enough, right?  I mean how tough can it be?  Here are some tips I found…

STEP 1: SET YOUR MINIMUM MONTHLY BUDGET

Your monthly bills stay the same, no matter what your income.  The first step is to figure out what your income and expenses were on an average for the last three months. You have to know there the money goes every month to build a budget.

List the bills you pay every month like rent or mortgage; car, house, or medical insurance; groceries, gas, and utilities.  Figure out the minimum number it would take to balance your bills.

STEP 2: SET EXCESS MONEY IN A SEPARATE ACCOUNT

Now you know the bare minimum amount you need to stay afloat each month.  On pay day, pay the necessary bills first, pull out cash for groceries and gas to last the month, and put the rest into a separate account.  Sounds easy right?  The cash system (or envelope system) by Dave Ramsey is a great way to get started.12141871_626490764164659_208335335_nBuilding up a reserve of cash from your “feast” months, you’ll have funds to rely on during the “famine” months.  I have set up separate savings accounts for my business and personal to “save” for those famine months.  Transferring money “excess” amounts over or even a minimal amount every month allows me to save for those tough seasons.

STEP 3: DON’T GO CRAZY ON PAY DAY

It is going to be tough to not go crazy when you get a large paycheck, especially after a famine month. Resist the urge to spend.  You won’t have money to set aside in your separate account for famine months if you spend excessively on unnecessary things. I’m not saying don’t enjoy a night out, just don’t make it a habit so your account drops to zero.

STEP 4: TRY TO LIVE WITH LESS

There are lots of ways to strip down spending to reduce your budget. We reduced our cell-phone bill, and cut got our cable bill.  I negotiated a lower payment rate on outstanding school loans which reduced the monthly bill.  I found when I went into saving mode, I wasn’t tempted to spend money on things I don’t need.  Now, I am not putting out to the Universe “I can’t afford this” because negative thoughts bring negative actions. BUT what I am saying is “I have plenty of money in my accounts” to bring more positive into my Universe.  When you save, you widen the gap between your minimum monthly budget and how much you have to use during your lean months.

STEP 5: BRING IN MORE INCOME

I know this sounds like a no-brainer, right?  If no matter what your try, you are still having trouble paying the bills in your famine months, it’s time to bring in more income.  Now for those of us in direct sales, it may be working our business a little harder or helping our team reach their goals.

Want something a little bit more concrete?  You can pick up a side job to bring in extra income and pad your bank account for when you need to rely on your savings. Find a way to monetize your skills, gifts and talents to earn some extra income.  Maybe it is being a freelance writer, or if you love graphic design, market your services to websites and bloggers. Maybe you are great at organization and secretarial skills, so become a part time virtual assistant for businesses and websites.  Extra income will help during the famine months and it will help to make them go away faster.

Do you live on a feast or famine income? What is your advice to people struggling to make a budget?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Clear the Clutter

Mini Organizing Tips

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Here are some quick tasks that will help you get things neat, clean, and clutter-free,

#1 Clear Off a Surface in Minutes.  Have you noticed that paper pileups in one spot – bills, school forms, and takeout menus all accumulate. Mount a pretty rack on the wall above that spot and keep it all together without cluttering the counter.

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#2 Corral Loose Coupons and Store Credits.  Are you always forgetting to use coupons and store credits/ gift cards.  Keep them in one spot that’s easy to access when you’re shopping—and that spot is the car.

13083194_1043041842401634_4446719247204189267_n#3 Store Shoes Toe to Heel
Flipping one shoe leaves room to fit more pairs, so you won’t have an overflow hogging the closet floor.

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#4 Start a Returns Bin.  A medium-size basket (or tote) placed next to the front door is a great place to drop library books you’ve read, tools you’ve borrowed from a neighbor, and clothing purchases you’ve changed your mind on. The visual will remind you to bring stuff back.

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#5 Streamline Your Wallet.  Bogged down with store reward cards, go digital. Download the FREE CardStar app, take a photo of each card and upload it, then toss the hard copy. At the store, the bar codes can be scanned at checkout.

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#6 Organize Electronic Bills.  Download the FREE FileThis app and gather all your financial docs in one spot. You will be able quickly access them anywhere. Select the institutions you want the app to collect from, enter your usernames and passwords, and your statements will download to a secure cloud.

#7 Make the Fridge More Functional.  Move condiments from the door to a lazy Susan on the middle shelf so you can find things with a quick spin. Turn the door space into a zone for grab-and-go snacks and beverages. Food on top, weightier drinks down below.

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#8 Shrink the Kids’ Puzzle Collection. The pieces may be tiny, but the boxes aren’t. Diminish the bulkiness by putting puzzles into zipper-style freezer bags. Cut out the full picture from the box to store along with the pieces.

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#9 Closet Time-Saver.  When you take out something out of the closet, put the empty hanger back at one end of the rod (the same end each time). Collecting them all in one spot keeps clothes neat and means never having to hunt for a hanger again.

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#10 Magnetize the Little Things.  Tired of losing bobby pins, tweezers, and nail scissors in the back of a drawer or the bottom of a toiletry bag? Attach them to a magnetic strip adhered to the inside of the medicine-cabinet door.

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What is your favorite mini tip for getting and staying organized?  Share it with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derul day!