How to Make a Budget That Works for You

It occurred to me the other day how often I write about budgeting, the importance and trials and tribulations of it all. There’s no doubt that everyone knows about budgeting, but the real questions are whether or not they actually make and maintain one and does it really work for them? In fact, budgets sometimes are strictly “fantasies” and that, my friends. is the rub in all of it. If you just pretend to have a budget, then you don’t have one at all and every cent that passes through your finances is a crap shoot. So today I’d like to talk about how to make a budget that works for you.

Woman rearranging piggy banks as she figures out how to make a budget that works for you

When you are doing that “big gamble” with your finances and ignoring a budget, you’re putting everything at risk. I’m just going to say it out loud here: it’s not very smart and you will eventually regret your actions. So today I am going to tell you how I think your budget should be made to actually try to make it work!

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17 Ways on How to Save $10,000 in a Year

Earning a salary is just one way to get money and if it’s the only way you get it, you probably don’t have enough of it. Why do I say that? Because finding new ways to get money—including alternate streams of income—are essential now and even more so when you retire and stop getting a weekly paycheck. That’s why you need to think outside the box now, figure out how to increase your financial cache, learn how to save $10,000 in a year, and save as much as you can for your future self.

Puzzle to put together a $100 bill on your way to figuring out how to save $10,000 in a year

You start with the money you earn at your everyday job and build from there. It won’t be easy, but when you get serious about it, it will fall into place in a short period of time. When should you start? Yesterday! But since you can’t start then, start now with these 17 ways to save. You can save $10,000 by saving extra money or simply not spending extra money this year! Here’s how…

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Debt Versus Investing: A Simple Solution!

For today’s guest post on debt versus investing, please welcome Jeff from Have Your Dollars Make Sense.

So I have often thought about and read about the idea of which is better when it comes to debt versus investing. Pay down debt or invest. This comes up a lot in forums, blog posts, etc. It seems to be a perpetual question and I get it. Who wants to be sitting in debt!? Being a slave to the man! That’s a big no for me. Debt flat out sucks and it can definitely limit all future choices… but on the other hand, we all want to build our net worth. We all want to build wealth. We don’t want to funnel all our cash into debt when it could potentially be earning more in capital gains in the market or elsewhere. So what to do… what to do?

Money gradually growing into more, as it does when paying down debt or investing

Debt Versus Investing

Max out all 401(k)s if there is a company match available

First off, max out all 401(k)s if there is a company match available. Free money is free money, right? Consider maxing out IRA accounts too due to the tax savings (if you make less than $117,000 as a single filer or less than $184,000 if married) and the beauty of the backdoor IRA otherwise. Okay, now that we have that out of the way, what about debt versus after-tax investments accounts?

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How Panflation Can Hurt Your Finances

Every once in a while, I stumble upon a word describing something that is stuck in my head. You may not have heard of it, but I swear it’s a real thing and this time you not only are going to hear me say it, you are going to be living it! The word is “panflation”!

Hands holding money losing value which is what happens during pandemic inflation, or panflation

What is it? Panflation was a term first coined in 2012 by The Economist, an international weekly newspaper printed in London, England, and originally it referred to the inflation of everything. That was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Top 10 Steps to Financial Empowerment

Please note this post contains affiliate links which help to fund this blog at no cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Being financially empowered is a goal that we all aspire to. Unfortunately, for just too many it never happens the way we want it to go. In fact, just about everyone suffers some form of financial difficulty in life and truthfully some never recover from a setback. So knowing that you will face financial adversity at some point, what should you do to shorten that timeframe and make a full recovery that can last long into your future?

A happy man in a shirt and tie holding up a fist in a successful motion, as if he has reached financial empowerment

There are certain behaviors that can get you on the road to financial success. They don’t involve being dishonest, stealing, cheating, or lying either. The people who resort to that pay the price for it eventually and don’t sleep well.

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Avoid Debt, the Enemy That Can Drag Down Your Finances

Personal finance blogs are filled with stories about people who have overcome big personal debt over the years and then write about it to try to help you defeat your own debt. Debt is such a major problem! I get messages from regular folks who need help dealing with debt all the time. Of course the best way to deal with it is to avoid debt in the first place, but that’s easier said than done.

Cartoon of man trying to avoid debt with debt weight falling down on him

About 15 years ago, after my divorce, I too had racked up thousands of dollars in debt and when I remarried, my wife and I had a combination of over $25,000 in debt on our books (not including my mortgage). That isn’t a real good way to begin a new relationship and frankly, much of it was divorce-related expense, so that there wasn’t really even any shiny, fun stuff to look at and play with despite that debt.

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What Dad Really Wants for Father’s Day

If I tried to write a new post for Father’s Day, I wouldn’t really be able to say it better than this one which I first published years ago. It’s how I felt then and it’s how I feel now. It may not be my best work, but it comes from the heart.

In 2016, I wrote a post about my thoughts on Father’s Day and I haven’t changed my mind yet. It really did come from my heart. I think the message in it says what every dad (and mom too) thinks and feels about a day like this. Even though the environment we live in makes us feel like honoring our dads and moms is all about buying gifts and making a big deal out of just the one single day a year, I can tell you from personal experience, that’s not what dads (and moms) really want from their kids.

Father's Day is coming on June 20th. I'll share with you the secret of what Dad really wants for his special day and you won't need to spend the big bucks.

I hope you won’t mind if I repeat my real feelings today about Father’s Day, in anticipation of this Sunday, June 20, 2021. I am republishing this old post so if you didn’t see it then, I hope you will read it now. I also hope that it says what you are feeling the same way it does for me. Here’s hoping all the “kids” of any age out there read and get the message I am conveying. Have a great Father’s Day and make it last all year long!

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Series I Savings Bonds: Save Money and Guard Against Inflation

On Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a market basket of item prices including food, energy, and housing costs, rose by 5% over the past year. The report showed the biggest CPI gain since August 2008. Here is the inflation I’ve been talking about since October! And with the Fed describing the inflation as only transitory, that means that the interest on money you’re stowing away in savings accounts won’t keep up with inflation. Enter the Series I Savings Bond.

Considering the low interest rates on most savings vehicles, Series I Savings Bonds are a great way to save money while guarding against inflation.

Often flying under the radar these days and almost forgotten about in the 21st century is a really good old friend that I grew up with as a child: the U.S. Savings Bond. They were originally developed as encouragement to save (called the “baby bonds”) in 1935 during FDR’s first term during the Great Depression. And they eventually evolved into the E bonds that helped finance and pay for World War II back in the 1940’s (War Bonds).

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