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

Grocery Savings: Is Aldi Supermarket the Store for You?

Although I write fairly regularly about saving money on groceries, believe it or not I’ve never been to an Aldi supermarket before, that bastion of discount grocery shopping! When I saw a coupon in the newspaper for a local one opening up, I knew the time was right to check it out and report back here on what I thought.

I love to save money on groceries, so you may be surprised that I've never been to an Aldi supermarket before. Check out my first shopping trip there.

 

Saving on Groceries

Even though there are lots of other ways we can save money, our food budget is still one of the largest parts of our annual expenses. After all, we all need to eat! Food accounts for about 8% for the typical American family’s budget. Therefore it’s only natural we would seek out lower grocery prices without sacrificing on quality. Continue reading

An Approach to Minimalism: The Waste Watcher’s Diet

Anytime I read about minimalism, my first thought is that I need to start decluttering, which would be a terrifying project considering the overstuffed closets in my modest condo. But while that would be quite beneficial, and it’s something I’m slowly working on, it’s not the only approach to minimalism.

Minimalism can be a great way to save money and grow wealth. Here's my approach to watching your waste and living simpler in order to reduce your expenses.

The Financial Argument for Minimalism

There are of course two ways to increase your wealth: increase you income and reduce your expenses. People spend a lot of time thinking about how to increase their income, from getting a raise to developing a side hustle. In fact, one of my most popular posts on this blog, Making Money at the Flea Market, is all about a side hustle. 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

“I’ll Gladly Pay You Tuesday” – 5 Life Lessons Popeye Taught Me

Last week, Mrs. Groovy wrote about six horrifying truths no one tells you about retirement.  And while all six are true, the third one about craving foods and interests from your childhood is spot on. Not only do I spend lots of time playing the music from my youth and occasionally watching old television shows on the MeTV channel, but I like to reminisce about the entertainment that shaped my young mind.

I like to reminisce about the influences of my youth. When I was a kid, I loved to watch Popeye cartoons, and here are some life lessons they taught me.

When I was a little kid, I used to watch cartoons on “Popeye Theater” broadcast on one of my local TV stations every day after school. It was a show that featured a local hostess Sally Starr better known as “Our Gal Cowgirl Sal” hosting 2 hours of cartoons and little skits designed to entertain and educate kids. Believe me, it was a popular show from the mid 1950’s through 1971 in Philadelphia. Those were kind of great times when local shows had their own stars and the afternoon airwaves after school were ruled by children’s programming and not by court shows and “real talk” like it is today. Continue reading

How Will You Pay Off Your Biggest Debt? Your Home Mortgage

If you are a homeowner, you probably know the feeling that you are under a tremendous weight and that you will probably be in debt for the next 20-30 years, or possibly even the rest of your life! It can be hugely depressing when you look at that and the likelihood that a mortgage will become a very close “friend” of yours—forever. It’s a huge decision to buy a home and more likely than not, it will be the biggest financial decision that you will ever make. Scary?

Most homeowners have a mortgage, but don't think about how to pay off the mortgage. Here's how to pay it off in your high-earning years before retirement.

In 2015, about 62% of all Americans owned their own homes, a number that’s been pretty consistent over the past 20 years (although there has been a decline since 2000). Here’s the scary part. Less than one third of all those homeowners actually own their homes free and clear, and that means that the majority of them have, wait for it…a mortgage! Continue reading

Celebrating St. Frugaltine’s Day Without Spending a Fortune

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.

If you're looking for Valentine's day ideas, think of St. Frugaltine and don't spend a ton of money. Here's how I'll be celebrating without spending a lot.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

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

15 Ways To Get Your Money’s Worth from Doctor Visits

There is so much talk these days about medical care, medical insurance, and medication costs, that no matter who you are or what stage of life and health you may be in, you have to think about those things. If you are ill of course it becomes a huge priority in your life. If you are healthy, you want to keep it that way. If you have a family, you think about your spouse and your kids and what kind of care and expense that all means to keep everyone as healthy as possible.

No matter what you spend on healthcare, you want your dollars to count. Here's how to get your money's worth from doctor visits and get the best healthcare.

If you are a young person on your own, you may not worry all that much about your medical care. That happens sometimes because with youth often comes a feeling of invincibility. When you have been active and healthy all of your life, you may even take that fact for granted. That’s not really a good idea. Continue reading