I know I sometimes make myself crazy thinking about money and how I might earn more and spend less. I don’t think I’m really any different from you though. If you’re a lot like me and everyone else who does pretty much the same thing, I want you to consider something. Are you already thinking about things like getting a new a job or a better job? Getting a raise in pay? Earning a bonus? Winning the lottery! Whether you are 18 or 80, money is a huge factor in our thoughts, dreams, and lives. But the real question to me is “how much do you really need?” Can lots of money really guarantee your happiness? Maybe you’ll be very happy and then again…maybe not.
If having lots of money makes you happy, then by all means you should go for it. Figure out all the new and best ways you can earn it and perhaps you will fulfill every dream you have ever have dreamed. Wouldn’t that be great! Having money is a way to fulfill your greatest desires for not only for a great life for you, but it can be blessing to help others who aren’t able to make do because of their own problems and misfortunes. You can help yourself and others and that’s very cool. Continue reading
We all like to think that we have total control of our money, don’t we? We certainly know our salary if we get a weekly paycheck and we also know about those monthly dividend checks, part time side hustles and other alternative sources of income that we receive like tax refunds, rewards from our credit cards and gifts for birthdays. You may even feel you don’t need any advice or input on your finances and you’re doing just fine. But where does your money go?
The truth is that people, no matter how good they are at their finances and no matter how careful they think they are, do “slip up”. That slip up can be a once-a-month thing when an urge to spend might just be so strong and the want so intense that you can’t say “no” and give in to it. Or it can even be just a bad habit you’ve formed that occurs each week or even worse every day. It can be looking only short range and not thinking about the “big picture”. These “drips” a little bit at a time are like having a leak in your plumbing that’s so small you don’t notice it. But it’s there and it’s doing damage to your finances just like that leaky pipe can do to the walls, floors, and foundation of your home. Don’t think you have a leak? Let me ask you just a few questions then. Continue reading
Every once in a while, if I’m lucky, I stumble onto something that intrigues me and I feel like I must share it with you. That is exactly what I’m doing today, when I share the surprise I had in discovering the new reality TV show “Life Or Debt” last month on Spike which airs Sunday nights at 10 pm Eastern.
The show is a reality show in the truest sense possible. It deals with real life, real people and real problems. It’s the kinds of problems that most of us have dealt with at some point, but in this show it’s magnified with a huge lens that puts the problems under the microscope for all of us to view. Continue reading
Every April since 2003, the United States has recognized and celebrated National Financial Literacy Month. It was called for by a joint resolution in congress and is one path to educating the citizens of our country about the importance and real necessity of developing a working knowledge in mastering the language, principles, and actions of finance.
But nowhere is it more important to begin that education than with our youth. High school financial literacy is more important than ever before. There are many levels of education and responsibilities that kids come in contact with that can be the inspiration and key to their developing a full understanding of the principles of financial education. I recently read a book that I think can really help both student and parent in that quest. Continue reading
With the new year now upon us, I am proud to say my wife and I have hammered out our new budget for 2016. As a retired person for the past couple of years it has become increasingly challenging to maintain a comfortable life style when a big part of our income comes from my Social Security benefit and IRA distributions. Because of that, we have to plan carefully each year to try to increase our savings and emergency fund by finding new ways to save money.
This time around, instead of just preaching what you should do, I’m going to go through our approach to creating a budget and examine what it is we actually do. I’ll also show you how we erred this past year and how we’re planning to change so we can achieve all our financial goals this coming year! Continue reading
Today is New Year’s Day and I’d like to wish everyone happiness, health, and prosperity for 2016. And how do we get to happiness, health, and prosperity?
Resolutions: every new year we make a list of them and then by February they just seem to disappear in the cold north wind. I know you know what I’m talking about. You’ve pledged to lose some weight or to give up your nasty smoking habit, but it’s so much easier to say it than to do it. You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?
Well, when it comes to your financial resolutions, it’s much the same. Making resolutions that can make real changes in your life is something that most of us think, talk about and plan every year. But what becomes of that plan?
About a year ago, I wrote about how to make a better plan, by setting measurable goals, dealing with setbacks, engaging others, and more. This year I’d like to talk about what some of those financial goals might include. Continue reading
There are so many ways, subtle ways, that we sabotage our finances and sometimes we don’t even realize we’re doing it. We become conditioned thinking we are on course and then we get blindsided by our poor planning or careless spending habits. Money mistakes have happened to us all, probably more that a few times.
Here’s my list of some of the big offenders and some solutions you can try if you find yourself too often behind the eight ball. Continue reading
Maybe you’re in your twenties and you’ve been out and about enjoying life. You socialize with your friends most nights and you finally got that apartment you always wanted even though it cost just a little more than you wanted to pay. You have a job, but it’s not the one you really wanted. It’s a paycheck and some experience, but you really want something better. And now this…you realize that you just can’t pay all your expenses each month and you’re in big trouble! Trust me on this: you’re not alone. Many young people (and even not so young people) start out with the idea that everything will just fall into place once they’re on their own. They’re all about the fun of independence, their first apartment and job, and what seems to be a great adventure with sunshine and happiness ahead. But, the reality is you never had to manage your own money before. Mom and Dad probably helped you quite a bit and if a shortfall ever arose, well they put a bandaid on it with a loan or a gift. There’s nothing to be ashamed of here. It’s part of growing up and now that you are an adult, you need to figure it out on your own!
So you can’t pay your bills…what can you do? Continue reading
A big part of savings that I write about each week, whether it’s in your supermarket savings or elsewhere, all contributes and shapes your financial destiny, and a budget is an important part of that.
If you wonder why I harp on budgeting, savings, and proper planning to insure you always have the ability to meet your expenses, I will admit there was a time when I didn’t plan well and save properly. I thought, “No problem, I always earn more each year, I’m young and healthy, and I have really good credit.” While that was true then, it’s not quite the same now. Today I have learned (the hard way, unfortunately) that earning potential is much more challenging. Age and health sneak up on you and planning your expenses and discretionary spending variables in detail (and yes, updating them) is truly essential.
Setting a budget goal for food will help you save money
Do you have a monthly grocery budget that’s working for you? Too many people head to the supermarket, start shopping and know that they are finished when their cart is “full”. Without a workable budget to guide your shopping, you’re probably spending more than you need every month with much of it going to waste.
Unfortunately, for lots of people the idea of budgeting is either scary (will I need to know spreadsheets?) or restrictive (I just want to buy what I want). It doesn’t have to be either one. A grocery budget is simply a goal to help you plan for what’s really important. You can treat it like a game where the object is to see how little you can spend while still providing nourishing and tasty meals and snacks for your family and the prize is putting that extra money toward another goal. Continue reading