I already sent an e-mail out to family, but figured, I could get on a soap box and brag about the co-op that I have participated in.
It is a co-op where you donate $15 and get a basket of fruits and vegetables. They work to get local growers. You make your donation on Monday night (in Utah it's around 8:00 PM). You sign up for a pick-up time and location. On Saturday you pick up your produce at the determined time and location.
They are in the following states - AZ, CO, UT, WA, WY, NV, ID and TX.
I have paired up with two neighbors. I do the order and we switch off the pick up.
This is why I like it
1) Great quality - I've never had better corn on the cob
2) Great price - you get about 15 to 20 pounds of produce for $15
3) Convenience - it takes a little planning, but for the past few weeks my fridge has been STOCKED and I feel like I haven't been going to costco or the grocery store as much. (therefor saving MORE money because there is less chances for me to buy the latest promotional item!)
You don't choose what you get, but there is quite a variety, so if you don't like something (brussels sprouts), don't worry, you won't be eating them for every meal!
Check it out!
2. Mint.com - IT's FREE!
So, I've always struggled with managing finances, budgeting, and getting a CLEAR picture of where we are at. I would log into one checking account, get the balance, type that into excel, next account, excel, and so on .. then I'd try and figure out how much I had left after our regular spending each month .. This is just your basic checkbook drill to make sure you will be in the clear when that big check or mortgage hits the checking account.
Budgeting, don't get me started. I've started so many, and failed so many times. "We will spend only $400 on groceries, $50 on gas .. etc .. and look how much money we will SAVE!" The bad thing is that the budget is broken before I can hit 'SAVE' to my dumb excel spreadsheet. It was NOT realistic. Where is my fountain diet coke fund? What about home improvement .. ? What about going to DI .. on occasion.
Finances ... don't EVEN get me started. It would take me FOREVER, to figure out our NET WORTH ( student loans, mortgage, 401k, assets, savings, etc). I would literally spend hours trying to figure out my sign-on account at the various financial institutions, plug the numbers into excel .. have a small grasp of where we are and our goals, but knowing that this little 'yearly family statement' will be obsolete in one month.
Anywho, I just was curious about an old site I had joined (quicken-online). However, mint.com has taken over the current quicken-online accounts. This personal finance tool is AMAZING!! and it's free!
You aggregate your bank accounts in one spot (no need to log-in more than once).
- Use a VERY strong password for your mint.com account as it is an aggregation of your personal finances .. gold mine for someone attempting to perform Identity theft. Strong password is *more than 8 characters, Upper and lower case, numbers and Sp3ci@l characters. Use a passphrase to help out ... substitute a $ for 's' or a @ for 'a'. '$@vingM0n3y' - 329,000,000 days to crack. vs. 'SavingMoney' - 0 days to crack.
- Use a different password than the old and trusty password as sometimes sites that you frequent do not encrypt user passwords.
- DO NOT use the password 'password123' (do I need to explain?)
WHERE DID I SPEND MY MONEY?
They auto-assign the spending categories. It takes some tweaking, but it does a LOT of the work for you. With a click of a button I can see how much I have spent at Salt City Burger in the past 3 months. There are a ton of cool trending and pie charts. See below. BTW, the picture I pulled off the Internet. This is not MY spending. That's too embarrassing!
WHAT IS MY NET-WORTH?
As I mentioned before, you sync ALL of your bank accounts, this includes the bank that holds your mortgage, your investment firm that manages your 401K, credit cards, savings, checking, etc ... You list any assets or liabilities manually for accounts that can't be added (car, home, other loans). Any time you login, you can see where you are at!
WHAT IS MY BUDGET?
Since you have linked ALL of your bank accounts, it loads the payment history of the last 3 months. When you create a budget, you select a category which you want to budget ..ex. Food-groceries .. the web-app will automatically suggest a number which reflects your spending over the last 3 months. AMAZING!
WHAT CAN I DO WITH ANY EXTRA?
You have set up a realistic budget, you may have some money left over to set aside. They have different tools to help you decide how much you should set aside for a personal finance goal. How much to save for kids tuition? How much to save if we want to retire at 65? How much to save if we want to put in a pool with a tube slide coming from our master bedroom (will really increase our home value!)
Check it out! It's free!