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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

Work from Home? Why You Should Consider Child Care

Mother and baby in home office with laptop

When I first started working from home, my son (who is now in elementary school) was three. One of the most common questions I fielded was this: How do you get work done with a child at home?  The answer: I send him to the sitter.

People are often shocked to learn that my son went to the sitter, and later to preschool, when I am a work from home parent.  After all, isn’t one of the reasons some of us work from home is to avoid sending the kids to the sitter?  This is only partially true.  I like working from home because it provides me with flexibility, and, of course, because I can spend more time with my son.  But that doesn’t mean that I keep my son home all the time.  Indeed, having my son in child care has helped me be more productive, as well as provide the opportunity for more quality time with my son.

Here’s why you might consider child care when you work from home: Continue Reading

How to Change Your Stock Allocation for Value Informed Indexing in Response to Valuation Shifts

I explained in an earlier article here (“A Better and Less Risky Way to Invest in Stocks”) why you need to take into consideration the price at which stocks are selling when setting your stock allocation.  Stocks offer lower returns and greater risk when purchased at high prices.  So those who go with higher stock allocations when stocks are cheap and with lower stock allocations when stocks are overpriced can expect to be able to retire five to ten years sooner than those who follow Buy-and-Hold strategies, according to the academic research of the past 30 years.

The purpose of this follow-up article is to offer guidance on how to know when to change your stock allocation and by how much.  I suggest a four-step process: Continue Reading

Frugal Vacation Idea – Tag Along to Your Spouse’s Business Conference

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Many people have to attend business conferences, often at faraway locations.  While it is true some people like to spend this time away from their family to focus on work and make business connections, others would prefer not to be away from their family for a long period of time.  If you are of the latter group and your spouse has a flexible schedule, why not create a family vacation around a conference instead?  Tag along to your spouse’s business conference and you have the makings of a frugal vacation.  There are several advantages to doing so:
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How to Survive College Without a Car

Going to college has its challenges.  You are forced to adapt to a new environment, meet new friends, study countless hours and much more.  These difficulties are only made worse by financial hardship.  If you have already graduated from college, try to think of another time in your life where you have paid tens of thousands of dollars in expenses with little or no income.  I bet you can’t think of another time.  The truth is that getting through college without any debt is a very difficult task.  Trying to keep your student loans to a minimum is made possible by finding ways to reduce spending and cut costs.  One of the best ways to reduce your expenses in college is to get rid of your car.  In fact, some universities (because of limited parking) do not allow underclassmen to bring cars to college.  If you are one of those select few that has a choice whether or not to bring a car, here are some reasons to leave that car at home (or even sell it). Continue Reading

Pay Off Debt or Save? That is the Question

If you’re a typical American, you probably have some sort of consumer debt and are actively saving your money either in stocks or in a general savings account.  Unfortunately, those two things don’t go hand in hand.  Deciding to pay off debt or boost you savings is a tough choice.  The best decision for you might not work well for someone else.  It is entirely dependent on where you are at financially.  Let’s dig deeper and take a look at some of the positives of each scenario: Continue Reading

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