10 Essential Tips For Shopping Black Friday And Cyber Monday – Don’t You Dare Dare Shop Without Reading This

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Can you believe how far into November it is already?!?

Know what that means?  Yeah, seeing family and overeating on Thanksgiving.  There’s that, sure.

Know what else?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping deals!

These two days have turned into crazy whirlwinds of shopping and sales (actually the whole week is full of deals).  Do your homework and you can score some great deals that you might not find the rest of the year,

But if you aren’t careful these days can turn into a crazy hell that wastes your time and your money.

Here Are 10 Tips You Need to Read Before Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

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Diplomatically Say No to Friends and Family That Want to Borrow Money – 6 Tips

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One of the hardest things you will ever have to do in life is to look a friend or family member in the eye and say no.

It’s hard enough to do this when you’ve been asked to watch someone else’s kids, or attend some event.  It’s even more difficult to tell a loved one no when he or she is asking for money.

However, you might not want to lend money to family and friends since relationships can be ruined.  As awkward as it is to say no in these situations, the awkwardness can be even more intense when you have a loan (particularly an unpaid loan) between you.

If you don’t want to get involved with lending money to friends and family, here are 6 tips to help you say no:

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1. Make it Your Policy

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Keep the Kids from Being Bored With These Free or Inexpensive Summer Activities

Summer is here and children are out of school. 

If your kids are like mine, they count down the days until school ends, and they revel in their newfound freedom — for a week or two.  Then, the inevitable sibling bickering and the whines of “I’m booooored” begin.

By mid-July at the peak of summer when they’re most bored and the temperatures are soaring, things can seem pretty grim.  Parents may begin counting down the days until school is BACK in session.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

There are plenty of things you and the kids can do to have a fun, educational summer.  (All the better if they don’t realize they’re learning while they’re having fun!)

Best of all, many of these activities are cheap or free!

Fun Trips to Take

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Tips for Holiday Tipping

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This week, I’m reviewing all of the people who provide me with services, and figuring out how much to tip them.  The following are my tips for holiday tipping.

At holiday time, it’s appropriate to tip service providers that you see on a regular basis.  And avoiding services in December in order to weasel out of tipping someone who provides you with services throughout the year is frowned upon.

Who Should You Tip?

The general rule is that you tip anyone who provides you with regular services throughout the year.

This includes newspaper carriers, hair stylists, elevator operators in your apartment building, babysitters and nannies, the UPS guy that regularly picks up packages from your business, and maybe even your postal carrier.

Some of the people on my tipping list include: Continue Reading

How to Control Your Emotions When Shopping

When I was a teenager, I went back-to-school shopping with my best friend and got suckered into buying more clothing than I needed or had money for. 

The saleswoman was smooth and knew all of the right things to tell a 16 year old girl who was nervous about going back to school and looking just right.  That saleslady upsold me on everything—I even bought the matching socks and earrings at her suggestion.

An hour later, embarrassed and a bit angry, I returned everything.

I bought my clothes with my own money from my part-time job, and I simply didn’t have the money to buy that much.

My experience was not unique, but unfortunately, many people now don’t return the items or better yet, stop themselves from buying them in the first place.

We don’t think of shopping as walking through an emotional minefield, but many times that is just what the experience is like.

One of the best ways to combat this minefield is to take your emotions out of shopping, which is easier said than done.  However, knowing why your emotions come into play when shopping can help you better control them.

How to Control Your Emotions When Shopping

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Know Your Spending Triggers To Change Your Financial Behavior

Many financial experts advocate knowing your financial personality. 

Investopedia defines five major financial personalities: big spenders, savers, shoppers, debtors, and investors.  While these financial tests can be entertaining, most people fall into a several categories or none of the categories.

What can be more beneficial than learning what broad category you fit into is to identify your spending triggers and how to deal with them.

For instance, I am generally frugal.

I hang up my clothes rather than dry them in the dryer, my car has over 100,000 miles and is 8 years old, and I barter for services that I need rather than paying for them.

My one spending weakness is food, specifically going out to eat.

Generally, my desire to dine out is motivated by stress.  If I have had a busy or chaotic day, there is nothing I want more than to sit in a restaurant, relax, and have someone cook and clean up the mess.  To combat this trigger, I try to find other ways to relax, but I also prepare freezer meals so food is already prepared on a crazy day.  If I still want the dining out experience, I have learned to prepare ahead by buying deal certificates to our favorite restaurant so we can dine out for less.

By taking these steps, my family has curbed our dining out excursions from several times a week to once or twice a month.  I recognized my spending trigger and found solutions for avoiding it or ways to dine out for less.

Typical Spending Triggers

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The Cost of Food Waste and How to Prevent It

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Every week you clean out the refrigerator, and every week you may find some food to throw away—broccoli you didn’t get to eat before it went bad, leftovers from last Tuesday night’s dinner, lettuce that can no longer be revived…

If you are throwing away food on a weekly basis, you are not alone.

According to The New York Times, Americans throw away 27% of their available food.  This includes waste from people’s homes, restaurants and grocery stores.  Timothy Jones of the University of Arizona, who studies food waste, estimates that the average family of four wastes $600 in food each year.  (TLC)

The Financial Cost of Food Waste

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