11 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter, Conserve Energy, and Save Money

How to prepare your home for winter to conserve energy and save money.

The changing of seasons is the perfect time to check your home’s energy efficiency, especially when much of the country will be facing cold temperatures in a few months (except for those lucky few living in warmer climates).

As temperatures cool, now is the time to make some updates to your home to save energy and efficiency and avoid costly repairs.

Here are 11 ways to prepare your home for winter and conserve energy:

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Why a Tight Budget Will Make You Better With your Money – 6 Benefits

6 Reasons a Tight Budget Makes You Better With Your Money

For most of our married life, my husband and I have had a very tight budget.

When we were first married and living in an area with a high cost of living (the near suburbs of Chicago), we had $24,000 in student loan debt and $10,000 in credit card debt from getting my Master’s degree and a year of working adjunct until I could get a full-time job.  My husband was not working (he was a graduate student and was volunteering in a business related to his field), and I was making a mere $34,000 gross a year.

Every single purchase was carefully analyzed.

Paying for Christmas presents required a few months’ worth of careful savings, and we made our money stretch by carefully shopping deals and discounts.  We spent a lot of time at home, and our entertainment came from the library for free.

About five years into our marriage, I had almost doubled my salary, and my husband was bringing in a small income as a Ph.D. teaching assistant.

We didn’t have to be so careful with our money, so we weren’t.  We bought things we didn’t need (that we later sold at a garage sale), and we went out to eat several times a week.  Besides having more material things, we were no further ahead than we were at the beginning of our marriage.

And now that we have three kids and I have quit my full-time job to raise them, we’re right back to a super tight budget, just as we were when we were married.

Only this time, I welcome the super tight budget because it’s teaching me to be a better money manager.

The Benefits of a Tight Budget – 6 Reasons It Will Make You Better With Your Money

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Is Your Money Mindset Killing Your Finances?

Is your money mindset killing your finances?

Millions of Americans are struggling to pay their bills and meet their financial obligations. 

The last eight years have taken a toll on Americans economically, and many are still feeling the financial repercussions.  According to one study, indebted Americans owe $14,517 on credit cards on average (Forbes).

But how much they owe isn’t the only problem.

The other half of that equation is how much they’re saving. . .or not.

According to TIME, only 1/3 of Americans have at least $1,000 saved in an emergency fund.  Of course, logically, if they’re not saving for the short term, they’re also not saving for the long term.   As CNN Money reports, “About 49% of Americans say they aren’t contributing to any retirement plan, according to a new survey conducted by LIMRA, a trade association for the financial services industry.”

Americans are in bad shape financially.

But what if the secret is not learning how to live more frugally?  What if the secret is instead to look at your money mindset?

If you’re stuck in a financial rut, could one of these reasons be the cause?

4 Crucial Places Your Money Mindset is Killing Your Finances

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Setting Up Your New Freshman: How to Decorate Your Dorm Room for Less

How to decorate your dorm room for less

There are very few rites of passage bigger than the day a grown child moves out of the house and onto the college campus. 

This is the child’s first major step toward adulthood and independence, and it can be an exciting time for both parents and children.

What is not so exciting is the expense of setting up new living quarters.

Whether college students live in the dorm or in an apartment, getting settled can cost a pretty penny.  However, there are ways to curb those costs.

12+ Money Saving Tips to Furnish Your Dorm Room for Less

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How to Teach Your Children to Be Financially Responsible

How to teach your kids to be financially responsible.

As parents, we all want what is best for our children.

You may often hear parents boast, “I want my kids to have what I didn’t have.”  We want the next generation to be more successful than we are.

Yet, more and more that’s not happening.

“Johnny” is a 54 year old man who still lives with his parents.  He moved out briefly when he married and had two children, but 8 years into the marriage, he and his wife divorced, and he moved back home with his parents.  That was 20 years ago.  He is unemployed and has been for over a decade.  His parents pay his living expenses.

“Renee” is a 27 year old college graduate.  She went to college at an expensive school to get an art history degree.  She is now paying back over $40,000 in student loan debt.  She’s working at the local coffee shop while she looks for a job in her field, though in her small town, such jobs are nearly non-existent.

Unfortunately, these types of situations are more and more common.  As parents, we want to do everything we can for our kids, but often that turns into enabling, which can lead to the situations above.

A far better response is to teach our children to be financially independent at a young age.

Remember, the earlier you start, the more adaptable your children are.  Consider these strategies below…

Here’s How You Help Your Children Be Financially Responsible

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Moving Abroad to Maximize Self-Employed Profits

Maximizing self-employed profits by moving abroad.

You might have had this happen:  You decide on a great business idea and launch your business.  You nurture it from the beginning, investing your time and energy into it.  You know you have a good idea, and business is growing.  But it’s not growing enough to support you–yet.

If your savings is dwindling, what choice do you have?

Sure, you could throw in the towel and close up shop, but you know this business has potential, and every month business is steadily increasing.  You don’t want to walk away.

Another more radical idea may be to move to an area with a cheaper cost of living

My husband and I have thought about doing this.  If we move away from the suburbs of the major city we’re living outside of and move to a quieter area, my freelance money would go much further.

But what if you want to be even more radical?  What about moving out of the country? 

You could move to a country with a much lower cost of living than anywhere in the United States.  Not only would you be able to live off your business income, you’d be able to save, too.  When you move back to the United States, you’d have a nice cushion.

Sound tempting?

Making Your Profits Grow By Moving Abroad

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7 Reasons We Have Trouble Sticking to Our Budget

Reasons We Can't Stick to Our Budget

Every month, I diligently write out our budget and track how we spend our money. 

Most months we stay close to our target budget.  However, there are some months, especially the winter months when we have a number of expenses due at once, where we struggle to make ends meet.

I’m sure you’ve experienced this as well.

If you struggle with your budget, you’re not alone.  Turns out, there are many reasons why most of us spend more and save less than we should.

Here’s Why We Have So Much Trouble Sticking to Our Budget

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