Why You Should Christmas Shop All Year Long

For today’s guest post on Christmas shopping all year long, please welcome back fellow blogger Anum Yoon.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—unless you leave all your Christmas shopping until November and December. The long lines, the rush to get to the mall on Black Friday, the stampede to pick up this year’s hottest toy—it’s all part of the game, and it’s a game that can make you very, very tired.

Black Friday to Christmas Eve may be prime shopping time, but it's better for you & your wallet if you do your Christmas shopping all year long. Here's why.

What happens when you don’t put off your Christmas shopping until November? Does it matter? It actually does, and you’ll be a lot less likely to encounter the emotional dumpster fire that ignites as the clock steadily marches closer to Christmas. Not convinced? If you need more reasons than that alone to start shopping sooner, here are five more reasons to start picking up presents year-round. Continue reading

Frugal Ideas for a Cheap, Low Cost Weekend

Have you ever sat down and figured out how much you actually spend during a weekend? The results could shock you. From errands to entertainment, the money you shell out every Saturday and Sunday can really add up over time. And if you have financial goals like getting out of debt, saving for a large purchase like a house or car, or building your retirement nest egg, your weekend spending could be hindering those goals.

It's easy to let weekend spending spiral out of control. Here are 10 frugal ideas of how to spend a low cost weekend that's productive or enjoyable.

 

A good way to revamp your weekend spending habits is to try to avoid spending any money at all—at least for one weekend. Think that’s impossible? With a little advance planning, you can do a lot without big spending. Continue reading

How “Bargain Brain” Can Tank Your Finances

Bargain hunting can save you money, and who doesn’t love a bargain? Of course, we all do. But for some people, looking for the next “great deal” becomes an addiction. The call of the clearance rack wins out over practical matters like common sense and whether you need or want what you found. You may not even have a place to put it. I’m almost positive you have some things hanging in your closet right now that still have the tags on them from way back when you got “that great bargain”.

If you're addicted to bargain hunting, you may have what is known as Bargain Brain. Endlessly shopping for bargains you don't need will ruin your finances.

 

Getting a “bargain” on something that you will never need or use is a complete waste of your time and money! Continue reading

5 Easy Steps to Save Up to 50% on Your Grocery Budget

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News flash—food is expensive! But I bet you already knew that. Suzanne and I are pretty proud that somehow we manage to keep our food expenses under control and since I track it all to the penny for the past 10 years, I actually have the evidence that we have done a great job of saving (and patting ourselves on the back!).

Your grocery budget is one of the most important places to save money. Use these five tips to tame your spending and save big.

According to the USDA, the typical family of four spends about 10% of their household budget on buying groceries for their family and that’s well over $7,500 on the low side to an unbelievable $16,000 on the high side each year depending on income. For our family of two, our grocery budget lies somewhere between the thrifty and low-cost food plans. All these numbers don’t include the money a family spends dining out which is about one third of total food expenditure itself. Continue reading

What You Need to Know: 5 Key Medicare Questions Answered

Understanding all of your choices and getting the most out of Medicare can be overwhelming. According to the National Council on Aging, more than half of Baby Boomers ages 60 and older find the program and its alphabet soup of Parts A, B, C and D very confusing. Today I’m going to answer 5 key Medicare questions to help clear things up.

Healthcare is confusing, and none are more confusing than Medicare. Here are 5 key Medicare questions answered so you know what to do to be covered.

Before we get to those questions, here’s the details you need on getting started. Continue reading

Retail Tricks That Make You Spend More Money

Happy Halloween! Today’s a day for tricks and treats, but no one likes getting tricked by retailers who make you spend more money! I’ve spent most of my working life inside retail stores starting way back in 1972. That’s when I began a job as an assistant buyer at R.H. Macy’s, a real learning experience for me as to exactly how a retail business is run and how it makes lots of money. Some of that knowledge was valuable then and is still just as valuable today. There’s an old saying “the more things change the more they stay the same”, and that couldn’t be more true in the world of retail.

It may be difficult to go out shopping and not spend a lot of money, but these retail tricks are making it even harder. Here's what to look out for.

Retailers, marketers, sales professionals, and CEOs are determined to make you buy more than you planned when you shop. In addition, retailers have an arsenal of sales tactics that may seem silly, but serve as heavy-duty artillery when it comes to persuading you to part ways with your cash. Remember the phrase accredited to P.T. Barnum when he said “a sucker is born every minute”? That’s where the tricks come into play. Continue reading

Record National Debt + Tax Cuts = an Alarming Scenario!

Andy Kim had a hit record back in 1968 with the song “Baby, How’d We Ever Get This Way?” That was a great question then and an even greater one today, especially when it comes to the national debt.

With a record high national debt and proposed tax cuts, I'm worried about our future and I'm not the only one! Can the federal government go bankrupt?

I feel a little like Sgt. Joe Friday of “Dragnet” as I give you “the facts and just the facts” on the status of “all things debt”. This week both the Senate and the House passed the Trump proposed budget for next year and it will not be cutting any of the national debt in the plan, that’s for sure. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the proposed tax cuts combined with the CBO’s already-projected mounting deficit could ultimately drive the deficit upwards another $10 trillion in the next 10 years. Increasing the debt another $10 trillion seems just crazy! Continue reading

Today’s Mail Brought Me an Unexpected Financial Windfall!

Today started like any ordinary day around here. Had my breakfast, watched a little CNN, checked out my emails, and played a bit of free online slots. It was a typical Monday morning here in exciting retirement land. Yeah, real exciting, huh? Well, nothing like a financial windfall to add a little pizzazz to your day!

I am thrilled to receive an unexpected financial windfall, but I should have known it was coming. Make sure you know what your retirement situation will be.

I am a creature of habit these days and although there are a few surprises here and there that do happen, what happened today was totally unexpected! I am still pinching myself and I am overwhelmed. Today’s mail brought an amazing letter from one of my former employers, R.H. Macy. Continue reading

Student Loan Repayment: 13 Ways Millennials Can Deal with Debt

In 2017, Americans are more burdened by student loan debt than ever. You’ve probably heard the statistics: Americans owe over $1.45 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers. That’s about $620 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt! In fact, the average Class of 2016 graduate had $37,172 in student loan debt, up six percent from 2015. That translates to an average student loan payment of $372 a month for 10 years. Even if you yourself aren’t dealing with student loan repayment, someone is and that someone may just be your child. Either way it’s a big weight to carry.

Student loan repayment has become a significant financial burden for millennials. Here are 13 ways to reduce that burden and pay off student loans faster.

One thing we can all agree on: paying off student loan debt isn’t any fun. One of the worst feelings is tearing open your paycheck or seeing your direct deposit hit your bank account and getting really excited, only to remember that you need to use a huge chunk of that money to make a payment on your student loans. If you are thinking things will be improving soon, I have some really bad news for you. They’re probably not. Continue reading

The Drug Habit I Just Can’t Kick

I have a serious drug habit. I’ve had it for the past nine years and I am not able to quit it. No, I’m not breaking any laws by taking drugs nor am I robbing any bank or committing any crimes to get them. All I have to do is see my doctor regularly and get a prescription and I’m in business. Unfortunately for me and my wife, filling those prescriptions each month is costing a small fortune and puts a serious dent in our personal finances. On top of that, the problem of prescription costs only increases from year to year. But then again, what choice do I really have about it all? I need the drugs.

Prescription costs can take a huge bite out of your budget. This is just one reason why it's important to take care of your health before there's a problem.

My Medical Condition Heads South

In case you don’t know all the details as to why I am in this situation, dependent on prescription drugs to maintain my health and prevent my deterioration any further, let me give you a brief medical history as to how I got myself into this mess. Continue reading