Do you wonder if your TV provider (Cable, Satellite, Fiber-Optic) is giving you the best deal possible?
What is the first thing that pops into your head when I say the word frugal?
Do you see an image of grumpy, old Ebenezer Scrooge sitting alone at his desk counting his money? Or perhaps you imagine yourself shivering in the dark, afraid of wasting money on heat or electricity?
If that’s what you think frugality is like you’re way off!
I had the pleasure to interview Anja Winikka, editor at the well-known wedding website TheKnot.com. We discussed affordable weddings and how the current economy is affecting wedding decisions.
Hope you enjoy!
Going to the movies is one of my favorite past-times – since December I’ve seen four movies on the big screen: The Princess and the Frog, It’s Complicated, Avatar, and Sherlock Holmes.
I love the big screen, the great sound, and the cushy seats. But prices for movies haven’t been so comfortable for consumers. In 2009, the average cost of a movie ticket is $7.50, according to the National Association of Theater Owners. Southern California, where I live, is an area with one of the highest costs of movie tickets. Tickets now cost $10-$13 for evenings and $8-$10 for matinees.
That older car of yours is starting to show signs of wear, and it seems month after month you’re fixing something or other.
When should you call it quits and upgrade to something newer?
If you’re frugal, you’re trying to get every last stinking mile out of your car possible. If you’re like me with 4 kids, you think it makes no sense to get something newer that kids will destroy. The body of my black 2000 Nissan Maxima (bought used with 50,000 miles in April of 2005) is in fairly good condition, the car looks decent, and I’ve taken care of it. I’ve got 145,000 miles on the car and in the last couple of years I’ve had to replace several costly parts, including new tires for about $300, the alternator cost about $600, the new radiator last month cost another $500, and the exhaust system replacement cost another $300. Not to mention, someone broke the lock last Thanksgiving breaking into my car (which cost $350 to fix). Throw in other small items and the bill in just 2 years was over $2000.
Nearly every time a new bill came up I wondered to myself if it was time to buy something newer.
As an Accountant who has worked for various large manufacturers with multiple plants and millions in equipment, I’ll share how we evaluate purchasing or replacing capital equipment and other big purchases. I’ll then help you better evaluate a potential large purchase or replacement purchase should your car breakdown, your roof starts leaking, your water heater starts giving you problems, or maybe your A/C is on the fritz and your unsure whether to pay for a service call or if you should go ahead and buy instead of taking a chance wasting money on a call.
My wife was vacuuming the house. She notices that the vacuum isn’t picking up as well as it should (this has happened before and we had discovered that the hose was backed up). No big deal. Then we smell a real nasty smell of rubber burning. And the vacuum stopped picking up dirt. Oh no. “Great, we have to buy a new vacuum,” I say to my wife. “What did this one cost us? Around $150-$200? Maybe we can get a good deal with it being the holidays and stores are trying to get rid of their inventory,” I say, trying to find the silver lining. Just what we need though, another expense.
My Money Blog posted an article a few months ago talking about the theory of “price targeting”, where companies try to sell the same product to different people at different prices, hoping to come as close to an individuals’ target price as possible. In the use of price targeting, shoppers are generally broken down into three categories.
What a wealth of culture and learning we have here in NYC!
The only thing holding us back from taking in all of the museums, gardens, zoos, and whatnot is time and money. We’ve been trying to make the time to take the kids out and do things with them whenever we can.
That leaves money!
It’s expensive taking a family out these days. Well, it was a most pleasant surprise to learn that Bank of America was extending it’s Museums on Us program. Not only did they extend it but they added museums and states that the program takes part in.
What is Museums on Us?
Take Up a Sport and Become Good at it
This is a guest post from the blogger behind Studenomics, a personal finance blog that offers common sense advice for college students and recent graduates. Studenomics is the ultimate resource for young people looking for advice on how to survive this current recession, grow their careers, manage their finances, and still be able to enjoy the weekends.
We all want to have a productive summer but we just don’t know where to start. Here’s a little secret: you can start by reading The Summer of George- The Most Productive Summer a College Student Will Ever Have.
Remember right before the Summer of George begins and he stumbles into the guys playing frolf (frisbee golf) in the park? Costanza plays one game and he gets all excited about how he will spend his summer learning how to play frolf and then that could not be further from what actually happens. This post may not have a whole lot to do with personal finance but the point of this series is to help young people have a highly productive summer.
Obviously I’m not trying to recommend frolf as a summer sport for everyone but I’m sure all of you have a sport in mind that you have always wanted to play. For me this sport is Mixed Martial Arts and for the past few weeks I have been training 5 days a week to learn the sport.
Please don’t fall prey for the two most common excuses: no money and no time because there is a solution for both.
The no money excuse. If you can’t afford to pay for professional training then simply don’t get professional training. First of all there are plenty of free tutorial videos available online (what would our generation do without You Tube?) and practice makes perfect. If you can’t organize a group of your friends to play soccer one afternoon then go towards a major park in your area and join in on a casual game. You will get to meet new people, practice, and improve your skills.
The no time excuse. The excuse of having no time is a self imposed restriction used as an excuse for procrastination. I can maybe count on one hand the amount of college students that I actually know that don’t have any time at all to spare during the summer. We all have at least an extra hour a day where we can sneak in some sort of physical activity. The trick is to figure out how we can play this sport with our free time. I figured out that I could sneak in a kickboxing class in the mornings since I have been working evenings lately. A couple of summers ago when I was into golf (not frolf) I would wake up really early and go to the park to tee off a little so that no one would see my embarrassing swings. Whatever the sport is you can always sneak in an extra hour or so to improve your skills.
What other ways do you think you can afford a new sport?
Please enjoy the rest of the series:
Summer of George Introduction @ Studenomics.com
Learn a New Language @ TotalCandor.com
Help Your Local Church @ GatherLittleByLittle.com
Take Some College Courses This Summer @ PoorerThanYou.com
Summer Jobs With Little Startup Funding Required- Part 1 @ MoneyNing.com
Summer Jobs With Little Startup Funding Required- Part 2 @ PTMoney.com
Take Control Of Your Financial Situation @ Bargaineering.com
Work Abroad This Summer @ CashMoneyLife.com
Enjoy Cheap Summer Activities @ MoneySmartLife.com
Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! It’s easily a day you can go crazy taking care of the moms in your life. But there are ways you can be frugal for Mother’s Day!
Here are some frugal Mother’s Day ideas:
Cards – You must know you don’t have to go to the local card store and buy cards, right? Remember when you were a kid and you heard Mom say that a present you made was the best? Yup, still applies! That Mom in your life will so appreciate it if you take the time to create a card on your own rather than buy a store card. Got kids? Have them craft together an awesome card that shows off their love. Mom will love it!
Photos – Get together some great photos of you and that special Mom (or Mom and the kids). In today’s age of digital cameras it should be easy. Craft a mural of different photos for Mom and design and frame it yourself. You can also find some of your favorite photos for Mom and create a photo album for her.
Dinner – Going out on Mother’s Day can be hectic. Even if you have reservations the restaurants will be crowded full of other families celebrating Mother’s Day. And you’ll pay more just because of the day. Instead egt the kids together and make dinner for her yourself! She’ll appreciate the effort and you save on hassle and cost. Extra bonus can be breakfast in bed for Mom!
Flowers – Flower companies can’t wait until Mother’s Day! They haven’t been able to jack up their prices since Valentine’s Day! If you want to help their bottom line then go out on Mother’s Day and get your special Mom some flowers. She’ll appreciate it for sure just don’t tell her what you spent! If you have an understanding, frugal Mom to celebrate then get her flowers a day or two before hand when the price isn’t all jacked up! Heck, even the day after will be tons cheaper (though she may think you forgot so be careful waiting). If you have to have them on Mother’s Day then make sure you plan ahead and check online for discounts and coupons.
No Work Day – Mom does a lot doesn’t she? That’s why you celebrate her this day. Take it a step further and institute a no-work day for Mom. She’s not allowed to do any house tasks. Instead you’ll take over so Mom can have a day of relaxation and you can show her you appreciate all she does.
Picnic – Get a lunch (or brunch) together and head out to a local park for a picnic. Spend it out in the sun with all of the blooming flowers and trees. Go and have a great family day! After all, it’s Mom who’s helped make the family as awesome as it is.
Mix Tape – OK, maybe you won’t make a tape per se (unless she still has a tape player). But a CD or MP3 play list of some of her favorite songs is still a great considerate gift. “Mix Tapes are cheesy,” you say. Maybe, but they are still fun to receive and she’ll love the work you put into it. Find songs that tie into special occasions you shared. Put together some of her favorite songs. Find songs that will remind her of you and the family. Get creative!
Mother’s Day is about the special Moms in you life. It doesn’t have to be about spending a lot of money. Go and make that Mom feel loved and appreciated!
What are some other frugal ideas for Mother’s Day?