Frugal or Cheapskate… Am I Just Too Damned Cheap?

So I’m out having dinner with my daughter and the bill comes to the table. It’s my treat (of course, since she rarely has the money to pick up any tab) and I pull out my rewards card for the loyalty points and of course the coupon: “Save $10.00 off any 2 dinners with the purchase of 2 drinks”. And then it happens.

“Dad, do you always have to use a coupon? It’s so embarrassing, like can’t you just enjoy this without having that? Are you that cheap?”

There's a difference between being frugal and being a cheapskate. It takes some self-reflection to determine which you are, and how you got that way.

It never fails to amaze me when that conversation begins, and it often does. I have tried most of my life to teach both my children about being thrifty, or frugal if you prefer! For some unexplainable reason they just don’t seem to get it. Is it being cheap to want to conserve my money? Is it being cheap to take my daughter out to dinner? A free dinner for her? Exactly what is it that embarrasses her? Continue reading

How Will You Handle The Final Affairs Of A Loved One?

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences you will ever have, which is only compounded by having to handle their final affairs and their estate. There’s no doubt that dealing with a subject like the loss of a friend or family member is emotional, stressful, and a cause of great despair. When you get to be around my age, you have probably dealt with this kind of event far too often, and frankly no matter how many times you have, it is never a comfortable feeling.

Losing a loved one is tragic, but are you prepared to handle their final affairs and their estate? Here's a short primer on what you need to know.

There are many details that must be taken care of to make this kind of event orderly and to take care of all of the important details that the decedent wanted. This only adds an element of anxiety and pressure to an already stressful situation. Knowing what needs to be done can help to ease your mind. Continue reading

If I Had a Million Dollars, I’d Spend It Like This

How many times have you thought about how you’d spend a million dollars if it were suddenly yours? Like a zillion times? And that was probably just this past week, right? So here’s my problem. I really want a million dollars and I’m tired of just wishing for it.

Have you ever wondered what you'd do with a million dollars? I've given it a thought or two (or more) and here's how I would spend it.

Getting a Million Dollars

Back in the 1990’s, one of the biggest hit songs was The Barenaked Ladies singing “If I Had a Million Dollars”. Imagine, they probably made a million dollars just singing about that. Kind of ironic, isn’t it? So simple and yet why didn’t any of us do it? Continue reading

Income Tax Time – Do It Yourself or Tax Pro?

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It’s now income tax season and (hopefully) you are gathering all of your tax information and planning to file your return over the next couple months, certainly by the April 18th, 2017 deadline. Yes, you have a couple of extra days this year because the 15th is a Saturday and the 17th is a Washington, DC holiday this year.

It's time to get those income tax returns rolling. Are you going to hire a tax pro or DIY with online tools and software? Here's how to decide.

But once you’ve gathered your information, how are you planning to prepare your returns? Are you planning to do it yourself, or will you hire a tax professional to help? Continue reading

Do You Suffer From Fruguility (Frugality Guilt)?

Being frugal is an ideal that an awful lot of people follow these days and that number seems to be growing all the time. And there’s a good reason for that: things are really expensive. I mean if you’re looking to buy clothes and accessories, housing and furniture, cars and travel, we have to fight our urges to spend too much or else we may end up with guilty feelings.

Frugality is an admirable goal, but if you don't control your spending, you end up feeling guilty. It's important to strike a balance with your money.

Frugality and Its Challenges

Being frugal, that is being economical or thrifty with your money and your purchases, is a very worthy goal. There are so many thing that we actually need in our lives to not only survive, but to have some degree of comfort and satisfaction, that we must trade our money for things. We just can’t help that. Food, a place to live, etc. are requirements. But the vast majority of us go way beyond what is required and find ourselves involved with the attractive “wants” in our lives that are just so damned tempting and expensive. Continue reading

The Biggest, Most Foolish Financial Mistake I Ever Made!

If you’re anything like the typical guy or gal, you have stumbled into a few financial mistakes with your money over the years. It happens to an awful lot of people, usually when they are younger and less experienced in such matters. But have you ever made a big, dumb, crazy, stupid money decision that cost you thousands of dollars? One that you are mortified to tell people just how bad that decision was?

Everyone makes mistakes, but when I was younger I made a huge, foolish financial mistake. Those can be hard to recover from but it's important to move on.

Guilty! I have a real doozy in my financial past, and I am going public today to share it in detail with all of you. Not even my mother knew about this one, it was so personal and embarrassing that I just couldn’t tell her when it happened, or ever. The only person who knew how dumb and silly my actions were was the other person involved and my wife. Or should I say my ex-wife…hmmm, could there be some kind of connection there? Continue reading

6 Types Of Debts You Can’t Kick Out In Bankruptcy

Please welcome Stacy Barbee from Oak View Law Group for today’s guest post on debts you can’t discharge in bankruptcy.

“Today, certain people file for bankruptcy, business and individuals, and it no longer has the stigma it once had. Now it’s almost considered wise, a way to regroup and come back again.” – David Dinkins, former mayor of New York City

 

Bankruptcy, a popular debt solution, allows you to pay most debts and make a fresh financial start. But, there are a few kinds of debts that aren’t dischargeable. This means you can’t get rid of a few kinds of debts in bankruptcy. If you’re planning to file bankruptcy (especially without getting any help from an attorney), then it’s important to know about the debts that aren’t dischargeable. Otherwise, you might apply for bankruptcy unnecessarily and end up wasting time and money.

There are many types of debt that can be discharged through bankruptcy, but before you consider filing, you should know which types cannot be discharged.

Debts That Can’t Be Discharged

Continue reading

The Best and the Worst of Being Financially Successful

Being highly motivated to take control of one’s personal finances is a good thing. I think we can all agree to that. The idea of making a practice of the right choices and decisions to provide well for yourself and your family—of being financially successful—is really an ingrained idea in our minds once we are old enough to understand the concept. Again I say good for those who do just that.

Being financially successful is an admirable goal, but how you achieve it counts for more than the goal itself. Here's the best and worst of it.

 

It isn’t easy to put your nose to the grindstone and work so hard that at times you think that you may have given up too much. It may be at that time that the thought of being financially independent or wildly wealthy gets you through your second thoughts about the sacrifices you might be making to become financially successful. Continue reading

Budgeting: The Ups and Downs and All Arounds

January 1st is over, so unfortunately it’s right back to reality. While the celebrating was fun and well deserved after a long year, it is back to basics at our house. What is most basic for us, and for that matter anyone else, is budgeting.

When budgeting, you have to deal with the annuals ups and downs the affect your income and expenses. Check out our budgetary changes for this coming year.

We hashed out our budget plan for 2017 in December, and we are set now to dig in and make this year a winner in what really is a war. Why do I say that? Just look at some of the stats and you’ll quickly see that for a huge number of us, our finances and economic wellbeing has suffered from a lack of personal income growth and increases in many of the basic costs of living. Continue reading

Financial Security for Women: Closing the Gender Wage Gap #WMWeek17

This week, January 1-7 2017, is National Women’s Money Week #WMWeek17 and there is no better time to learn about, discuss, and attempt to correct the disadvantages that women face in the world of personal finance and in their own financial future. I think we are all quite familiar with what is known as the gender wage gap, the fact that women earn less than 80% of what men do. Equal pay for equal work is an ongoing struggle that is making just small inroads at best. You may be surprised to learn that the wage gap itself is just the tip of the financial iceberg that hinders women and their abilities, and potential for financial security and independence. The vast majority of adults in poverty in America today are women.

 For National Women's Money Week, we take a look at the gender wage gap, what causes it, and more importantly what can be done to close it.

What causes the gender wage gap?

There are several reasons why women, even in the 21st century, are facing roadblocks to financial security and there is more to it than systemic sexism and discrimination (which certainly play a large role). Let’s look at a few issues first that are influencing women and their continued lack of financial equality in the workforce which hinders their overall financial wellbeing: Continue reading