Author Archives: femmefrugality

Father’s Day Gifts for Sports Fans Under $20

Father’s Day is just around the corner! And I’ve got a great roundup of Father’s Day gifts for sports fans for you!

While it’s good to celebrate Dad, buying gifts should always be done within your budget. I’m not encouraging you to be a cheapskate — if you can afford something very expensive that would add value to his life, go for it.

But if your budget is a little tighter, know that you’re not alone and that you can still get the father in your life something he’ll appreciate without draining  your bank account.

Here’s a Father’s Day Gift Guide for some inspiration. Keeping in mind that budgets may be tight, everything is under $20. And everything is sports-themed.

 MLB Watches

MLB San Diego Padres Men's Spirit Watch

Price: $19.99 – $24.99, depending on team.
Where to get it: Bed Bath & Beyond

Our perception of time has undergone a wild makeover in 2020. Help Dad keep track with this affordable watch from Bed Bath & Beyond. Featured here is San Diego‘s watch, but you can pick his favorite team.

Michael Jordan Motivational Poster

Price: $5.72
Where to get it: TrayFivePrints

If you didn’t spend five straight Sundays — including Mother’s Day — watching The Last Dance, go back and binge watch it now.

We could all use a little bit of this particular Michael Jordan energy in our lives right now. A lot of our own weaknesses are exposed in this moment of uncertainty and strife. I’m not talking about physical or monetary status right now. That’s mostly out of your control in the current climate.

But if we take this moment to reflect on our own characters, we can turn some of those flaws we have into strengths. Your money and your health can be taken from you. But your character cannot.

Father’s Day Golf Tees

Price: $9.98
Where to get it: XcaliburInk

Golf is supposed to be the safest sport to engage in right now — if social distancing is properly practiced. If Dad is choosing to visit the links, these tees will make his day!

Hockey Stick BBQ Spatula & Bottle Opener

Price: $14.99
Where to get it: Requipd

Requipd is a cool Etsy shop that takes hockey sticks and turns them into tools — primarily for grilling out. With its hockey stick handle, this spatula also serves as a bottle opener.

Greatest Plays Mug

Price: $15.00
Where to get it: PlaybookProducts

These mugs feature the four best plays from MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL teams. You can also pick from soccer teams and many college sports teams. PlaybookProducts also has slate coasters, poster and iPhone cases featuring some of the best plays of all time.

Featured here is the play that gave the Steelers one for the other thumb in ’09. Right before this play happened, I was sitting in a ‘Steelers Nation’ Bar packed full of Cardinals fans screaming at them bout our 4th quarter stats. I knew we had it, even though we were down.

AND WE DID.

I’m obsessed with Pittsburgh sports. But it’s really just an example. Whoever your team is, PlaybookProducts has a coaster set that features their best.

Pandemic Money Hacks

As I find money tips that may help through this crisis, I’m sharing them in batches. You can find Batch 1 here.

Here’s what we’ve got in store for Batch 2:

You won’t lose unemployment if your employer illegally reopens in PA.

Governor Wolf.

Through this crisis, he has allowed public health and science to inform his decisions, and as a result, saved countless lives.

He has offered Pennsylvanians the opportunity to do the right thing voluntarily, but has also held businesses accountable when they openly flout the emergency orders put in place to protect the health of our citizens, our healthcare systems and our communities.

And now, he’s out there protecting your unemployment benefits.

Human lives over short-term profit.

Here is the full statement from the governor. Please read it knowing it comes from a twice-democratically-elected governor in a very purple state, regardless of the skewed images you might see on social media.

Basically, about half the state had restrictions partially lifted last week. But that’s not how people here were treating it.

More important to the people of Pennsylvania, that’s not how some employers wanted to treat it. There was this very real, lingering question:

If an employer opens up in an area where it’s been deemed unsafe to work, will you lose your unemployment by refusing to go back into a potentially unsafe environment?

Because maybe, just maybe, you’re not willing to die or kill your grandma for your employer?

The answer is, ‘No,’ according to Wolf’s statement.

At the time of writing this piece, in the state of Pennsylvania, if your business or locality is violating state orders by opening prematurely, you are completely within your bounds to refuse to go in to work. If you stay home, you will continue to be eligible for unemployment benefits.

This is a huge relief for anyone worried about their own health, or the health of the communities in which they live.

It’s a huge relief for the average person struggling economically through this mess as their employers attempt use them as pawns to manipulate financial benefit programs like PPP.

Mortgage Forbearance

If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage, or are a renter who would like to know what your landlord’s options might be before you approach them about a late rent payment, it’s going to be really helpful to understand the mortgage forbearance rules out there right now.

You can find some perspective from Justine at Live with Plum. As she notes, forbearance is not forgiveness; you’re still going to need a plan to pay this off.

If you’re a renter, you’ll want to check the Batch 1 tips to find out why it’s so vitally important to understand your landlord’s options.

Virtual Therapy

This is not a money hack per se. But for all the other moms of special needs kiddos out there, I see you. You’re not invisible, even though I know we sometimes feel that way right now.

I know what little work you may have left is threatened by the hours you now have to spend serving as an untrained and uncompensated educator, therapist and entire social network to your child. The systems that did not do enough to support our children before have now all but evaporated. It’s not your fault.

This is hard.

In our house, we only really were able to start effective teletherapy for some of our services very recently. We are in a position of privilege to even be able to do that.

What has worked for us is engaging the kiddo by screen sharing a video of one of their favorite shows. Then, every once in a while, we’ll take a break to quickly work on one of the therapeutic goals.

We’ve been able to increase the amount of time we spend on the therapy exercises and decrease the amount of time we spend on videos as each week goes on. It’s far from getting back to a functional lifestyle, but it has been forward progress.

Start Looking at Summer Food Programs Now

Even if you didn’t qualify for or rely on the school lunch program before COVID-19, you might now.

At least in Western Pennsylvania, most school districts are distributing food via a basic signup list, waiving income eligibility limits to make sure all the kids have food.

This eliminates a lot of the paperwork barriers that often impede people from getting the benefits they need, and reduces social shaming.

If you’ve never dealt with the school lunch program before, you may not have thought about the summer yet. Luckily, there are summer meal programs across the country funded by the USDA.

Ask your school district about summer meals now. These meals are sometimes administered by community nonprofits and recreational organizations rather than in schools.

But during the pandemic, things have undoubtedly changed.

The USDA provides a searchable map so you can find local sites. But at least here in Western PA, the map is telling me to do the same thing: Contact your school directly.

Traditionally, admission to these summer meal programs required a separate application. In this time of crisis, so much of your eligibility and access is going to depend on decisions made at the local level.

Get in touch with your district to make sure your kids have enough food over the summer. Make your plan now.

Because believe it or not, we’re almost halfway through May.

3 secrets no one tells you when you copy trade Forex

This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

The foreign exchange market offers numerous opportunities, such as flexible trading hours and high leverage ratios. This helps investors extract profit from exchange rate fluctuations.

The most prevailing type of trading in the Forex market is copy trading. Copy trading makes it simple for individuals in the financial markets to replicate positions opened and managed by others. 

Just because you see the word ‘copy’ inside ‘copy trading,’ it doesn’t mean you’re cheating. Far from it. Buying and selling are automated, but it’s up to you to choose a good trading strategy. You observe the available positions and try to figure out the reasoning behind each movement. Once you’ve succeeded in identifying a connection, you need to be able to close trades, open up new ones, and attempt to control the result.

All you need to start is a PC or smartphone and an Internet connection. Select a reliable broker, create a trading account, open or download the terminal, choose your leverage, make a deposit, and start trading the foreign exchange market. Here are the secrets that nobody will tell you when starting to copy trade Forex.

Imitate an experienced trader in buying and selling 

Copy trading seems simple enough. You get in touch with one of the few Forex brokers who have their own CopyTrading platforms, put your money down, and start imitating successful traders.

However, there is more to it than meets the eye. You must get a good understanding of the facts that could possibly impact your profit or loss. If you copy the wrong Forex trader, you will end up disappointed and with an empty bank account. 

Set your eyes on a trader that shows consistent profits, not to mention a very appealing chart. You may be tempted to ignore the spread and buy at chance in the foreign exchange market. It is important to understand that it is just as easy to lose pips as it is to win pips. If you ignore the possibility of loss, your trading account will suffer for it. 

Follow Forex traders with A or B ratings. You’ll be amazed by the number of market participants that you can follow. Unfortunately, the more options you have, the harder it becomes to find a trader that will lead you to profitability.

When picking someone to follow, take into account your strategy, the risk-to-reward ratio, and, last but not least, think about how often the trades are placed. If you’re not the type of person who can multitask, choose a trader that makes fewer transactions a week. 

Do not put all your eggs in one basket 

You know the old adage. It means that you should not concentrate all your efforts or resources in one place because you risk losing everything. This saying holds true when it comes down to copy trading, so try applying the words.

Make your investment portfolio safer and less vulnerable to the whims of the currency market. You should have a portfolio made up of different traders with an assigned similar amount for each one. The road to long-term profitability implies diversification

Forex copy trading allows you to instantly add a level of diversification to your investment portfolio. Even a few trades will expose you to numerous assets, which can include currencies, stocks, commodities, and indices. You still need to copy more than one trader if you want to have success. Individuals do not seem to understand that even the best Forex traders have bad days. Losing days are inevitable, which is the reason why you need to put your eggs into several baskets. 

Follow several Forex traders and spread the risk. If your account is small and you cannot copy so many traders, 20 being the maximum number, diversify properly into more assets and limit the risk. You can enjoy a diversified trading portfolio even if you don’t have too much capital. Most importantly, do lots and lots of research. 

Take the profits from copy trading and reinvest them 

Copy trading could be profitable if you allocate enough time to your account. The profits that you make are used for copy trading. Even if your money grows as you continue trading, you’re still not going to become rich overnight.

There are two things you can do: Withdraw the profits right away or let them get reinvested back into the broker’s system when you copy trade. Tempting as it may be to withdraw your profits, you can let your winnings go into new, bigger trades. 

Making money out of copy trading is a real possibility, though the field is risky. Reinvest any profits you make and take advantage of the compound effect that enables you to reap huge rewards from insignificant actions.

It is not possible to predict how much money you will make buying and selling currency. The past results are not good indicators of future performance. As mentioned earlier, every Forex trader has bad days from time to time. If you want to make progress and be successful, embrace this aspect and take control of your investments. 

Do not hesitate to set a stop loss. This neat feature gives you the ability to manage risk when it comes to every copy relationship. It is based on profit and loss values. It is essential to put stop losses in place no matter if you are trading by yourself or automatically copying the moves of others. The stop loss is what prevents the trade from becoming a massive loss.

Survivalist Father’s Day Gifts Under $50

Everything in 2020 is marked by the corona virus. From our daily schedules down to our hobbies, nothing is free from the justified anxiety we all feel on an near persistent basis.

One way to work through that anxiety is to prepare. If the dad in your life has recently started showing an interest in survivalist gear, this post is for you.

The thing about prepping is it can be expensive. And right now, all of our wallets are at least a bit thinner than they were a few months ago.

That’s why every Father’s Day gift in this guide has been chosen for value — providing Dad with a lot of utility even if you’re on a budget.

Wingman® Multi-Tool

Wingman�

Price: $49.95
Where to get it: Leatherman

Usually the Wingman is $59.95, but this best-selling multi-tool is currently on sale. It’s perfect for someone who wants a tool box that fits in their pocket as it includes 14 tools:

  • Spring-action needle nose pliers.
  • Wire stripper.
  • Spring-action regular pliers.
  • Can opener.
  • Spring-action wire cutters.
  • Wood/metal file.
  • Spring-action scissors.
  • 420HC combo knife.
  • Package opener.
  • Ruler.
  • Bottle opener.
  • Phillips screwdriver.
  • Medium screwdriver.
  • Small screwdriver.

The Wingman can also be customized. You can add text, an image or pattern on either handle or blade.

Survivalist Candle Beeswax

Price: $9.50/lb
Where to get it: HungryBearFarms

If Dad needs a hobby through quarantine — whether imposed by the government or common sense — candle making is one that’s key to many survivalists. Typically, survivalists are making candles with the aim of replacing electric light sources.

When you do this, you want to ensure the candle will burn both cleanly and for a long period of time. The two best waxes to achieve this are soy wax and beeswax. Beeswax actually burns longer, but it is slightly more difficult to work with because it takes so long to melt and therefore form.

But Dad has time to perfect the art of beeswax candle making. That’s kind of the point.

And he’ll appreciate that you did your research.

HungryBearFarms is an Etsy shop. I love Etsy because each and every shop you buy from is an individual small business. In these trying times, it’s nice know the money you spend on your purchase is going to the little guy supporting their family.

I did my research on this one and found you the lowest price per pound on Etsy as I could. They got great reviews, too.

Square Candle Wicks

Price: $2.89/5 yards (Price per yard goes down as the quantity goes up)
Where to get it: BuyBrittique

Also integral to candle making — and also from an Esty shop — is a square wick. A square wick burns the longest, making it the best option for survivalist candles. Bear in mind this particular item has a zinc core in addition to the square braid.

Rugged Rechargeable 400L LED Lantern

Coleman Rugged Rechargeable 400L LED Lantern

Price: $49.99
Where to get it: via Coleman

If you’re ever without electricity, candles will serve you for the long-term. But a great, battery-powered lantern is a better alternative for as long as you have batteries, if only because it’s not a fire hazard.

This LED lantern from Coleman fits the bill and then some. You won’t even need actual batteries; this lantern is chargeable via USB.

CHOETECH 24W Solar Charger

Price: $49.99
Where to get it: CHOETECH

It’s great that the Coleman charges via USB, but if you’re in an off-the-grid situation, where are you supposed to plug it in?

Solar battery chargers are a great solution for this. Generally speaking, the more money you invest in your solar charger, the more quickly it will charge when you set it out in the sun. Then, you can plug in your devices, whether that’s your lantern or cell phone or iPad.

This one from CHOETECH gets rave reviews for the price range. It’s compact, charges relatively quickly for the price point and is compatible all kinds of devices.

Seychelle Water Filtration Bottle

Price: $29.99
Where to get it: Wise Company

When you’re hiking or otherwise spending time out in the wild, it’s a good idea to have a filtered water bottle. They’re also great to have around in a time of disaster.

This one from Wise Company is 28 oz, filters up to 100 gallons and removes:

  • Aesthetic contaminants.
  • Chemicals.
  • Dissolved solids.

It also removes 99.9999% of bacteria and 90% of fluoride.

Do Home Loans Need to Be So Stressful?

This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

One of the most daunting experiences of adult life is the anxiety-producing home loan. 

The constant hope that you will be able to maintain your income so you can make your mortgage payments on time can create a tension-filled life. 

Many of us sit with mountains of stress over the complications of maintaining and owning a home. It’s not uncommon to avoid financial problems by just hoping it solves itself if we keep making payments. Yet even when we’re avoidant, there’s always that constant worry that if things go wrong it could lead to the possibility of losing the house — despite our best efforts. 

If your mortgage provides more feelings of anxiety than security, it might help to know about the many helpful ways to reduce the stress of having a home loan. Yes, if you are in a bad spot with your mortgage, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

And it’s not necessarily the headlamp of an oncoming train. 

An Alternative to Foreclosure

There is an option available to homeowners who are no longer able to afford payments for any of several reasons — a way to get out from under the debt that their changing economic situations have left them with. 

If you are suddenly facing an uncertain and financially insecure future and still owe more than your house is worth, foreclosure isn’t the only way out. In cases where you believe a foreclosure to be around the corner, a slightly better options is short sales.

In the Ohio Valley, specialists like those at the Ohio Short Sale Center can help you determine if a short sale is a plausible option for you as a homeowner. You will have to move when your house sells, but it won’t be because the bank is kicking you out. 

In a short sale, the bank allows you to sell your home for less than you owe. The bank is taking a loss and so are you, but it’s better for the both of you than going through the losses that come along with foreclosure. 

Additional Financial Relief Options

More often than we realize, the value of homes can quickly change for several reasons, leaving many homes with a substantially reduced worth and owners with an existing loan that now exceeds the value of the property. Borrowing against your mortgage or property can also put you in a similar situation.

Or simply losing your job due to a pandemic.

You could consider a loan modification. This should be considered as an approach early on, and could involve options such as temporarily reduced interest rates, switching mortgage lenders, or restructuring of payments so the amounts become more manageable during the hardship you face. 

Temporary suspension of mortgage payments is sometimes an available option, but all of these options depend entirely on your financial lender. 

Whatever road you take, do so with the advice of a financial professional who knows the ins and outs of your entire, individualized financial situation. You can get the advice of a HUD-approved financial counselor for little to zero cost.

Learning Is Better Than Worrying

If you ever find yourself stressed out over your home loan or any other part of your financial situation, remember that knowledge is power. In the era of the internet, we’re lucky enough to live in a time when knowledge is literally at your fingertips. 

You don’t have to be great at trigonometry to ‘get’ personal finance, but putting effort into understanding how our finances work is something we can all benefit from greatly.