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.
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
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Are you one of the millions who likes to dream about what you’d do if you won the lottery? I’ll confess, I have imagined how I’d divvy up my winnings, and I rarely ever even play. One reason is that your odds of winning a top prize aren’t good. In fact you’re more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than to win. And yet some people spend $10, $20, even $50 a week on lottery tickets. All that money could be put to better use saving for retirement, but some people can’t let go of the chance to “win big”. My recommendation? Online sweepstakes.
The Problem with the Lottery Habit
You might think there’s not much harm in playing the lottery, but you should think again. In 2014, Americans spent $70 billion on lottery games and the poorest third of households bought half of all lottery tickets sold. And while those lottery profits are helping states fund programs, they’re taking wealth away from all those players. If you invested $10 a week tax deferred over the 45 years you’re likely to be saving for retirement, with a 7% return you’d have over $150,000. While that may not provide a comfortable retirement, it definitely adds up to a good start. Continue reading
Imagine just for a minute what it would have been like if you were born at the turn of the 20th century and were told about all of the new and exciting ways you would be entertained and communicate during the next hundred years. It would have blown your mind and you probably would have thought it was science fiction. After all, the early 1900’s were barely the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and horses were more common than cars on the streets in those days. The telephone was still in its infancy and motion pictures were pretty much an experiment in a lab someplace here in NJ. The truth is that only a very few of the most inventive minds could have ever imagined what was to come over the next hundred years. But what about the price tag that comes with all of this progress? Are you happy with the tech impact in your life, your time, and your budget?
(With apologies to Led Zeppelin) Budgeting for things that entertain and communicate used to be pretty reasonable but not so much today. If you aren’t prepared for the costs of all of this technology that we now take for granted, be prepared to be shocked. It simply costs a small fortune to be living in an age of electronics unlike anything life has ever seen before because we are “plugged in” 24/7. Continue reading
I have to confess it, “free” is just about my favorite word. I just love free things and I don’t think there’s ever a time when I can have enough of them. You are probably saying to yourself, well if it’s free just how good can it really be? After all, who would give away free valuable stuff in this day and age?
As hard to believe as it might be, there are literally hundreds of things you can get for absolutely nothing these days, and they are all a real value to you or to someone you know. The trick is in knowing where they are and what if anything you need to do to take advantage of these treats! Continue reading
Watching TV, having a telephone, and using the internet have become so dammed expensive these days, which is one reason people are “cutting the cord” left and right. My cable TV bill is now the same price as my monthly gas and electric bill is and that’s really ridiculous! But if you’re not ready to leave cable, for whatever reason, what can you do?
This year, somehow they snuck in charging us to watch good old regular TV shows on demand if they are older than a few weeks. This is something I didn’t even know about until I went to view one episode of something I have missed on my DVR. This isn’t a movie or a special pay per view event, it’s a TV show! They all used to be free until this year. Continue reading
He’s baaaaaaack! Saint Frugaltine—the patron saint of all that’s frugal and yet still a romantic at heart—is about to take center stage again. With just about 3 weeks to go, the planning is probably already in your mind for Valentine’s day ideas. Even if I was ever to forget about it, I have a built-in reminder right here where I live. Her name is Suzanne, my wonderful wife, and she is an avid Saint Frugaltine fan in every way.
Now I don’t want to appear like someone who doesn’t believe in the celebration. I do, really. I have to admit that I like being romantic and letting my dear wife know that I adore her, but I also realize that it’s not in our best interest financially to spend all kinds of money on all the many varieties of gifts, jewelry, clothes and the like that the brilliant merchandising minds of our time come up with every year to entice us. Even just a nice dinner out can be a budget buster on a special day like this one. It’s not too far behind the biggies like Mother’s Day and New Year’s Eve as far as pricing and reservations go. So what can one do? I want to mark the day as special, and I want it to be romantic and memorable, but I don’t like the idea that if I spend a fortune on Saint Valentine’s Day, I won’t be able to fulfill all of my financial obligations in February! Continue reading
It’s almost the year 2017 (why do I think that phrase should be followed by the words: a space odyssey?) and you may think you are totally onboard with all the latest in electronics and technology trends that are happening right this minute. After all, you have so much stuff you bought in the past couple of years and it’s all over your house, so much so that they know you by name down at the local Best Buy. But wait just a second. You’ve spent a small fortune on that stuff, haven’t you? And painfully, I have to tell you, it may not all be around and useful that much longer. You may think it was all money well spent, but here’s a wakeup call: there are dying technologies out there.
Technology is changing every second and overlapping itself again and again. It is all very confusing. The companies that have brought it all to you are really good at advertising, promoting, and tempting you. They want to convince you that everything is a must have and you are completely out of the loop if you don’t buy right now! Many folks are still quite happy with what they have, even the 20th century tech (yes, it’s still around). But, there are about 83 million millennials who think that 20th century tech was a “B movie” and they demand more! Continue reading
Despite the calendar, this morning as I write this post, we still haven’t seen the temperatures make us feel like summer is just around the corner. In fact, “Princess” (our beautiful hanging basket of purple petunias…yes, we name our plants) slept last night in the house to avoid us having to put a winter sweater on her to keep her warm!
But just as light follows darkness, summer is going to arrive soon and for us, Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer! And what says summer more than a good old fashioned barbecue? Continue reading
There’s a subject that annoys me to the core, and I’m willing to bet it’s a major source of frustration for you as well. I’m talking about those annoying fees you find these days on just about everything. Businesses are busy thinking up new and even more annoying ways to grab our money even now as I write this post.
Ordinarily, I don’t condemn anyone or any business from making money when they are providing a valuable product or service. But when it’s a blatant predatory move and often obscure charge or fee, I do draw the line. And so should you. By becoming aware of these annoying charges before they’re part of you bill, you’re taking the first step in defending your money. Continue reading
We have all been there, haven’t we? We have a new appliance or device at home and then suddenly out of nowhere, it just stops functioning. You recently spent $700 on that thing and now it doesn’t work. What should you do? It’s under a warranty, right? It should be fixed! Should you return it and get another one? Can you return it? What happens if it gets repaired? Deciding whether to repair or replace it is an expensive guessing game.
One thing that’s important to know is that you don’t have to throw good money after bad. Repairing items isn’t always the best way to get an appliance or item to work properly again. Let’s take a look at some facts from a Consumer Reports study published in January 2014. They surveyed nearly 30,000 subscribers who own dozens of specific items of varying age to see what they did when an item needed a repair or replacement and they discovered several interesting things. Continue reading