What Is the True Cost of Leasing a Car

The car dealership makes leasing sound so appealing.

You can drive a new car every three years, the majority of your car maintenance is covered under the lease, your monthly payments will be lower than if you were buying, and at the end of your lease term, turn the keys back in and start the process all over again.

As many as 25% of people driving choose to lease cars.

Leasing does sound like a can’t lose proposition, until you crunch the numbers, which leads us to ask — What is the true cost of leasing a car?Continue Reading

What About a Gift-Less Christmas?

It’s quite possible, even though we are well into December, that you have not started your Holiday gift shopping.

You are probably wondering who should be getting a gift, what budgets you are expected to spend, and who should get what exactly.

What about the notion of not buying anything for anyone?

I’m sure the word ‘Scrooge’ comes to mind but bear with me here.

Christmas and the whole holiday season has become the season to consume, over-consumption is absolutely rampant and your nephews request for a new Wii controller may make you his worst aunt or uncle — but standing up to it all and bucking the system may well be the most refreshing move you ever make.

The symbols of celebratory holidays shouldn’t be $10 board game deals at Walmart or Target’s Christmas Eve sale.  The emphasis should be on the people we are supported and surrounded by and how much we appreciate each other.

Each year, and especially in this economic climate, families are guilt-tripped into loading up their credit cards and depleting savings to keep up with what the holiday season expects of them.
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How and Why We Rationalize Spending

Millions of Americans find themselves in credit card debt, and many of them complain that they don’t know how the debt got so unmanageable.

While there may be reasons for accruing debt such as a medical ailment or job loss, often it is just the result of poor judgement and overspending.

Yet many people rationalize their spending and do not see themselves as the problem.

How We Rationalize Spending

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Don’t Let Your Purchases Fall Prey to Your Emotions

Many U.S. citizens would prefer to pay full price rather than negotiate.  Sometimes it is because they feel uncomfortable negotiating and other times it is because they have become emotionally attached to the thing they want to purchase and don’t want to try to negotiate for fear of losing it.

Psychologists recognize the power of emotional attachment and suggest that if you do want to negotiate for an item, do not hold it or touch it because it shows you are already emotionally attached to the item and “own” it in your mind, which lowers your negotiating power.

While many of us aren’t privy to private negotiations, a barrage of television shows allow us to watch others negotiate—successfully and unsuccessfully.  If you have ever watched TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, you may be surprised, as I often am, to see a woman go into the bridal shop with a firm budget of say, $4,000.  Perhaps a friend suggests she tries on a beautiful dress, and she does.  She falls in love with the dress and sees herself walking down the aisle in it.  It is HER dress.
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Cheap, Inexpensive, and Frugal Halloween Costume Buying Tips

chewbacca-and-yoda-costumes

Who dressed YOU?

Halloween is great fun! I remember how exciting it was going around town in my Halloween costume, getting candy from all of the neighbors.  I still get to enjoy that now through my kids!

Do you remember those old Halloween costumes? You know the ones that came in a box and it was made up of a thin plastic mask with eye holes that hurt and it was held onto your head with an elastic piece that usually didn’t last the night and the body of the costume was a plastic sack-like piece you climbed into which also didn’t make it through the night?  Those were great!  I remember one year I was Chewbacca and another I was Yoda ( I remember terrorizing my younger sister with those masks too; I was such a stinker!).  I’m sure I was Superman and Batman as well.
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Budgeting for Christmas Shopping Before it’s too Late

Shopping for christmas goodies

Yes, it is only just Fall and the leaves are barely starting to change color but before any of us realize it, the snow will be on the ground and Jingle Bells will be playing at the mall (OK, the holiday music will start once Halloween is over).

Budgeting for Christmas shopping now may sound like a chore but it can be the life line you need to avert debt.

Typically when a person goes Christmas shopping and there is no budget, then this gives the illusion of having no limits – and no limits often leads to January credit card bills that hurt.

Designing a budget helps you to avoid that steep downhill in January; and this helps to keep the happiness of the Christmas holidays lasting well into the new year.
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Rebates are a Sham and I Hate Them

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Rebates, ahh yes, rebates.  They have to be the greatest “catch” of them all when it comes to buying products at a discounted price.  I’ll say it: rebates are a sham!  How many times have you really wanted something and written a check for a rebate thinking you’d see your money back soon but don’t?  Then you get the sinking feeling.  You realize that your money is now gone forever.  It really is a terrible feeling.  Unfortunately, this story is all too familiar for a lot of people out there. Continue Reading

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