Can We Break This Spending Cycle? Do We Want To?

cash_change_money

Amy Dacyczyn, author of the wildly popular 1990s The Tightwad Gazette, wrote a post one time about the television show Roseanne.

She noted that Dan and Roseanne are always struggling financially.

One time, they get an unexpected bonus of $50, and each Dan and Roseanne spend the money on things for themselves without discussing their purchases with one another.  Now, instead of having an extra $50, they are $50 in the hole.

Dacyczyn noted that every time Dan or Roseanne got extra money or worked overtime, they developed a “Yipee!-We-can-spend” attitude.  Yet, when money is tight, they scrimp and save and “feel poor” because they can’t spend.

Is America a Nation of Dan and Roseanne Connors?

The last several years have been rough ones financially for American citizens.

Many people lost their houses, and even if they were able to keep up with payments, they may have found themselves underwater.  People lost their jobs, and even if they were able to stay employed, they may not have seen a raise for years while health care and other costs escalated.

Yet, there are signs that the economy is improving.
Continue Reading

Real Life Bartering with Mavis of One Hundred Dollars a Month

Bartering used to be a common occurrence when people had more of an item or skill than they did money. 

Maybe you would see the doctor and pay him with some of your harvest.  Maybe you would help a neighbor build a fence, and the neighbor would then share a portion of his meat with you.

As we came to have more money than time, bartering fell out of use.  However, bartering has recently experienced a resurgence thanks to the economy.

I have bartered for a few things since I quit my full-time job and became a freelance writer.  I bartered with my son’s dance teacher–my son got free tap dance lessons, and in return, we cleaned the studio for 2 hours once a month.  Considering his lessons were $50 a month, we “made” $25 an hour.  Not a bad exchange.

While I like to barter, I don’t do it often enough.  My guess is that you probably don’t either.  We can all learn from Mavis Butterfield, a blogger at One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Who Is Mavis?

Continue Reading

7 Ways to Be Frugal Right Now

Some people are naturally frugal, but others come to frugality because they want to save money for some objective such as saving for their children’s college education or their own retirement.

Others learn to cut corners because they have less money due to job loss or pay raises that never come.

Whatever your situation, if you have decided to become more frugal, here are some steps you can take today to keep more money in your pocket:

Ways to Be Frugal Right Now

1.  Start cooking at home

Continue Reading

How to Create a Low-Cost Will

death_feet_toe_tag_will

Most adults, especially parents, know how important a will is. 

This one document can help determine who will raise your children in the event of your untimely death.  Die without a will and the state determines who will raise your children.  If your children are grown, a will keeps your estate out of probate and retains the inheritance for your inheritors, not the court fees probate generators.  A will can also curb fights over who gets what; your wishes are clearly written in the will.

Even though we all know wills are important, “a staggering 65% of adults do not have wills.”   When asked why, “a large number of people said that a will is too expensive and too complicated” (Mellert Law).

You may likely feel this way, too.  However, there are plenty of ways you can create your will without spending a lot of money.

Consider the following ways to create a low-cost will:

Continue Reading

Grow Your Own Garden This Summer to Save at the Grocery Store

Fruits_Vegetables

If you are like most Americans, you have probably felt the pain at the grocery store cash register when buying your family’s groceries.

While the increase in the price of gas most often makes the nightly news, the increase in the price of groceries hits consumers’ wallets even more so, especially if you have a family.

If you don’t want to resort to being an extreme couponer buying processed foods for pennies on the dollar, there is another way to save—grow your own garden.

Can’t Grow a Garden Because You Live in the City?  Think Again

Continue Reading

The Argument For Healthy, Simple Eating

I enjoy reading financial blogs as well as deal blogs.

What I find is that while financial blogs tend to argue that raising your income through your job and creating a side income is the best way to get ahead financially, many deal blogs argue that saving money, in part by using coupons, is the best way to get ahead financially.

Extreme Couponing Isn’t All It Is Cracked Up to Be

Several years ago, I was impressed to see a blogger share how she bought groceries with a retail value of $53 for only $3.67, but the cynic in me has taken over, especially after I watched an episode or two of TLC’s Extreme Couponing and watched how stressed out and uptight the couponers could get about finding the right deal, not to mention the time they were investing.  I also looked closely at what they were buying—pop, chips, frozen meals, boxed food, and bags and bags of candy.

If you can get it for free, that doesn’t mean you should be eating it. Continue Reading

Which Airlines Have Seats Open for Your Rewards?

ideaworks_switchfly_overall_reward_availability

Membership has its privileges but cashing in on those privileges is another story.

If you’re a traveler but you don’t fly enough to get in to the extra special diamond, platinum, or other private group of the most elite airlines, you know that amassing frequent flyer miles or points is easy but using them to get a better seat or a free flight might be exceedingly difficult.

The problem is simple: airlines save money by offering fewer flights which means less seats available.

Even worse, when an airline merges with another airline, the amount of people in the frequent flyer problem doubles but often, the amount of flights taking off and landing doesn’t.  More people but less seats doesn’t make you happy.

Finally, if that isn’t enough frustration, in order to make money, airlines sell points and miles to credit card and other companies to offer to their loyal customers.  Some of those people sitting in the first class seats that should rightfully be yours may hardly ever fly.  Go ahead and get a little frustrated!

Ideaworks knows how you feel and that may be why they conduct the Switchfly Reward Seat Availability rankings report (click here to see the report pdf.) Continue Reading

Free Newsletter to Keep you Free From Broke!Name: Email: We respect your email privacyPowered by AWeber email marketing