Revealing My Food Budget & Why You Need a Plan!

Budgeting is nobody’s idea of a really good time. But, it is the best way to get your family’s finances under control and—dare I say it—it is actually an absolute necessity to do so! Making a budget is making the decisions as to what you can spend in each category of your household expenses. Besides trying to figure out how you’re going to make your income spread out and cover all your bases, you might wonder where you stack up compared to other folks in the U.S. Today, I am going to provide you with the numbers of what Americans spend on their food budget, and then reveal what my wife Suzanne and I have been spending on average every month on food…for the past nine years!

Your food budget comes in right under your housing and transportation as one of the biggest costs. Make sure you are saving what you can on food.

The number one thing that we all have to spend money on is…food. Since I’m a retiree, I am on the proverbial “fixed income” so it’s become even more important to my wife and I than ever. So let’s take a look at that and run some of the numbers.

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How Your Supermarket Tricks You Every Time You Shop

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The astute super saving shopper is very savvy—or at least that’s what they will tell you if you ask. I have to admit that at one time I thought that I knew it all when it came to bargain hunting my way through the grocery store. After all, I had spent decades working in retail so I did have a leg up on the shopping experience and thought I knew every trick there was to get people to buy, buy, and buy more! But then a new reality set in and I started to have my eyes opened when I began working for supermarket chains as a consultant about 15 years ago. That’s when I learned exactly how supermarkets try to trick you into buying more every week when you make the time to shop!

When you do your grocery shopping, can you believe your supermarket tricks you into spending more? Be aware of these tricks so you can be a savvier shopper.

I wrote last year about the many “tricks” that in general retailers use in your favorite shops, especially around the holidays to get you to dig deep and spend more. (If you’re interested, here’s part 1 and part 2.) But you actually are more influenced each week at the grocery store than anyplace else you shop! Don’t think that’s true? Take a look at this!

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Why You Are Just One Step From Financial Disaster!

Being retired gives me the time to read more than I ever did when I was working every day. Sometimes being busy with a job can be a cushion from discovering some really worrisome facts that you may just hear about, but not really see the fine details. That may be the situation you are in when it comes to thinking about healthcare costs for you and your family. Healthcare costs are a reality that just might be the reason why you are just one step from financial disaster!

Many people don't realize that they are just a step from financial disaster. Healthcare costs from an illness or injury can easily push you into bankruptcy.

The Big Fear

It’s a fear that we all have, the fear that we may have to face financial ruin someday. We may not know exactly how or why, but it is something we sometimes do think about. Most often it comes when you lose your job or if you are really unlucky you might have to face some sort of natural disaster like a flood, fire, or weather event that sets you so far into debt you can’t see ever climbing out of that hole. But the number one thing that can send you into financial hell is much more devastating and personal then suffering through a hurricane.

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Re-Cycle Your Transportation Costs with These Car Alternatives

You probably own a car. In fact, you may even own more than one car, even if your name isn’t Jay Leno. Owning a car in the U.S. is not only the favorite form of transportation, but it’s a huge and important industry for us. There are about 300 million vehicles currently here in the U.S.A. and that number has been increasing steadily every year since 1960. Only China has a bigger car market than the U.S. and that is simply because there are so many millions and millions more people living there. The penetration of cars per population here though is much, much greater!

Transportation costs can eat up your budget, so if you're spending money on a car (or more than one!), try one of these car alternatives to save money.

Here is something to think about. The cost of a new car today is on average $35,263, according to Kelley Blue Book. That doesn’t include gas, oil, insurance, and maintenance money you spend. Compared to a dependable alternative like a bicycle (about $250 for a pretty good one) or a motorcycle (at about $3,000-$5,000) and you can see the huge differences. Going for a scooter or moped brings you down to an even lower and even better bargain! So, have you ever considered these car alternatives?

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How to Earn a Free Vacation in Las Vegas

It’s winter time and my thoughts do go astray in winter. It brings to mind taking a vacation. For me that vacation just has to be someplace warm, a lot warmer then central NJ in winter! So with that thought in mind, and a reminder of what a frugal genius I am, I’m planning a vacation in Las Vegas this year and my hotel and entertainment, food, and everything except the airfare is going to be free! Yes, I said it…free!

My wife and I like to do some "frugal gambling" and while our wins are generally small, being able to take a free vacation in las vegas is a huge perk.

You may recall back in July 2015 I wrote a post about frugal casino gambling and our occasional trips to Atlantic City to “spend” some fun time there with my wife.

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Free Coffee: How I’m Getting It Free for Nine Months

They say that a good day starts with a good cup of coffee. Well, at least I’m saying so today because for me it’s part of my morning ritual, every day. I am not alone here. When I used to commute to work for years and years, I’d always have a cup at home before I left for the office and then of course just had to have another one when I arrived and settled into my routine each morning at the office, too.

Most of us like our coffee to start us off on a productive day. But it doesn't have to be expensive. I'm getting free coffee for 9 months and here's how.

There are a lot of “golden rules” when it comes to saving money that tipsters often cite in personal finance blogs. I am guilty here too of stressing that skipping your morning coffee and bagel as you drive into work every day will save you some big bucks. It does. Simply said, if you don’t make your coffee at home, you are probably wasting a lot of hard earned money that you can easily save and put toward a far better use. Like maybe buying that small island in the Caribbean you sometimes dream about? OK, it’s good to dream anyway. But free coffee…it tastes so much better, I promise you.

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Conquer Holiday Stress and Make It Safely Into 2019

Now that the holidays are here, you are right in the middle of experiencing the “rush” of a lot of fun and happy celebrations. But as we all painfully do know, sometimes the holidays can also bring difficult emotional triggers, such as painful memories, grief for family members who can’t be with us, or challenging dynamics with family members who are with us. Holiday stress can also involve long to-do lists and financial strain to make things even worse.

We're all susceptible to holiday stress, so pay attention to these 6 ways of managing stress to insure you have a happy holiday season!

By no means am I trying to bum out the holiday season. Quite the opposite. Whether you have specific and unique reasons or not that can interfere with a happy holiday, we all go through some kind of stress during the month of December. The reasons can be simple or complex. Time pressures, money pressures, and family pressures seem to come together into a “perfect storm” and sometimes it’s really important to take some caution so that you can enjoy and yet keep your health and sanity too. That’s why I am suggesting some self–care precautions to get us through the holiday season and make it safely to 2019!Continue reading“Conquer Holiday Stress and Make It Safely Into 2019”

These Retailers Offer Free Gift Wrapping on Holiday Gifts

(Or for a small fee!)

Picture it, you and your beautifully wrapped holiday gifts, the family Christmas tree all trimmed, and your fireplace glowing with holiday cheer and warmth as you sit in your favorite easy chair sipping a cup of hot cocoa. Sounds like such a great way to enjoy an evening as you get ready to enjoy special family traditions.

If wrapping gifts is just another holiday chore for you, check out these retailers that offer free gift wrapping (or gift wrapping for a small fee)!

Ok, that’s really cool, isn’t it? But for others, wrapping those gifts is just another obligation on a long holiday to-do list. Luckily, plenty of stores still offer gift wrapping, even online, and your gifts arrive ready to put right under the tree. Here’s an even more pleasant surprise, sometimes it’s even free!Continue reading“These Retailers Offer Free Gift Wrapping on Holiday Gifts”